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Implementation of EU Action Plan on Environmental Compliance and Governance – Framework Contract

Implementation of EU Action Plan on Environmental Compliance and Governance – Framework Contract

The European Union has quite a number of directives and regulations on environmental matters. While all Member States are obliged to apply and/or transpose them, the degree to which these legal rules effectively help protect the environment depends to a large extent on their implementation in practice. In particular, proper environmental enforcement requires sufficient staff, with appropriate expertise and technical equipment, and good cooperation between different authorities. There is evidence that environmental law is not consistently enforced in Members States. Therefore, in 2018, the European Commission published an Action Plan on Environmental Compliance and Governance; it sets out various actions aimed at improving environmental compliance and governance in Member States. Ecologic Institute leads a consortium supporting the Directorate-General for Environment in implementing the Action Plan.

In one project, a methodology for assessing the environmental governance of public administrations in each of the EU Member States was developed. The assessment covers areas such as transparency, accountability, rule of law, public participation and effective administration. It links to global environment and sustainability governance initiatives, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals. The assessment results are presented in country reports, which feed into the second round of the European Commission's Environmental Implementation Review (EIR). In addition, the assessment framework will inform activities related to environmental governance in the EU, including the implementation of the Action Plan and the streamlining of reporting at national level. Ecologic Institute supported the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) in developing the methodology for the assessment. Based on that methodology, Ecologic Institute prepared the country reports for Austria, Germany, Poland and Spain, and supported IEEP in the review of all country reports and the design for presenting the results of the assessment framework. The governance assessments were launched at the Environmental Compliance and Governance Forum on 14 May 2019, where all Member States are represented. They were also discussed with stakeholders during the Green Week on 16 May 2019.

In another project, Ecologic Institute, together with other institutes, supported DG Environment in implementing actions on environmental crime, compliance assurance in rural areas and the handling of environmental complaints under the Action Plan on Environmental Compliance and Governance. On these actions, a consortium led by Ecologic Institute, contributed to the drafting of guidance documents that will eventually support practitioners in Member States in better implementing environmental law. The draft guidance documents were discussed with stakeholders, including representatives of administrative authorities, the EU enforcement networks, judges, police officials, prosecutors, and NGOs in altogether nine workshops in Brussels in 2018 and 2019. Ecologic Institute helped organise these workshops.

In a third project Ecologic Institute, together with consortium partners, supports the work of the European Commission in Improving Financial Security in the Context of the Environmental Liability Directive with a focus on organisational issues, events and with language expertise. The 2016 REFIT Evaluation of the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD) showed that the national implementation is working to a much lower extent than could be expected and with a great variation between the Member States. Under the Multi-Annual Work Programme for the period 2017 to 2020, the European Commission promotes, among others, the availability of financial security across the EU. Supporting this objective, the project aims to enhance the evidence base in relation to the current situation in Member States.