Environmental Governance

Our Work

The environmental governance team covers strategic questions and examines the mechanics and processes behind the formulation and implementation of environmental policies. Our work is spread across a wide, often cross-cutting, range of issues. Key tasks include monitoring current developments in EU environmental policy, including the role of the budget, assessing environmental policy integration and policy coherence, conducting impact assessment and policy evaluation studies, evaluating policy implementation and enforcement, and looking at the global dimension of European environmental policy.

At its founding in 1957, the then European Economic Community (EEC) did not have an environmental dimension. Today the EU has some of the most progressive environmental policies in the world. EU legislation has played a vital role in improving habitat and species protection and river management, and has contributed to dramatic improvements in air and water quality and waste management. Although significant challenges remain, it is widely acknowledged that EU policy has successfully reduced a number of pressures on the environment and stimulated investment in more sustainable economic growth.

The EU has developed a ‘tool box’ of policy instruments, approaches and strategies with which to pursue its environmental objectives. It has also adopted a number of cross-cutting strategies and approaches to policy making to provide the overarching context for environmental decision-making. These are seen to be increasingly significant to the environmental debate in Europe.

Over the years the EU has taken on a growing leadership role in the global context.

Latest in Environmental Governance

  • Innovative instruments for conservation funding

    IEEP and partners evaluated EU biodiversity conservation funding, including the potential of novel financial instruments

  • Plugging the conservation finance gap: a new EU fund?

    IEEP and partners evaluate the EU funding landscape for biodiversity conservation. Could a new, dedicated EU fund for biodiversity address the existing financing gap?

  • Integration approach to EU biodiversity financing

    For the European Union to meet its goals of protecting and restoring biodiversity, the availability and effective delivery of adequate funding is essential. The current EU framework ...

  • Access to Nature Reduces Health Inequalities: An IEEP Briefing

    Improving access to nature can help address health and social challenges across Europe and reduce health inequalities.

  • Towards sustainability: Future policies for European livestock

    The CAP is failing to reward adequately those livestock farmers who produce public goods. Brexit and CAP reform are opportunities to do better.

  • Tracking biodiversity expenditure in the EU budget

    The European Commission is in the process of developing a methodology to track biodiversity related expenditure in the EU budget. This effort is similar to the parallel process for tracking ...

  • Looking beyond Paris

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in the next six months the EU has a substantive role in contributing to agreement on an ambitious but credible set of SDGs and more stretching climate targets. Also: energy efficiency and security; bioeconomy; and circular economy.

  • Beyond GDP Newsletter – March 2015 edition out now

    The latest edition of the Beyond GDP newsletter looks closely at the Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) 2014 and discusses the challenges of developing sustainability indices.How might a ...

  • Access IEEP’s definitive guide to European environmental policy

    The award-winning Manual of European Environmental Policy is now available on IEEP’s website. This archive provides free access to the definitive guide to the development of European environmental policy.

  • The Manual: Front pages

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter provides information on the authors, editors and editorial board involved in the Manual, as well as guidance on how to use it, and a brief outline of its content.

  • The Manual: Chapter 13 - Sectoral policies

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter sets out the development of some of the most important links between EU environmental policy and other policy areas, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, trade, and so on.

  • Time for an updated global agenda for protected areas - IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney (12 – 19 November)

    The landmark international forum on protected areas - IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) – will take place in in Sydney 12 – 19 November. IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen will be attending the event, showcasing and drawing lessons from IEEP’s longstanding work on protected areas.

  • IEEP to support the European Commission’s nature legislation fitness check

    As part of its Smart Regulation policy the European Commission is to undertake a Fitness Check of EU Nature legislation, which will comprise a comprehensive assessment of whether the regulatory framework is “fit for purpose”. IEEP is part of a consortium, led by Milieu, that has been awarded the study contract to support the Commission in collecting and assessing evidence for the fitness check.

  • Whither the new Commission?

    IEEP’s David Baldock gives his take on the new Commission in the latest edition of our newsletter. Read about how IEEP is raising ambition for the next EU climate and energy package, plus: priorities and policy options for a circular economy, payments for farmland biodiversity achievements, biodiversity proofing EU spending, and more.

  • Guidelines for biodiversity proofing the EU budget

    This report provides a practical framework to ensure that spending under the EU budget has no negative impacts on biodiversity, and that spending under the EU budget is overall supportive to achieving the biodiversity targets.

  • Environmental policy and the UK’s review of the EU Balance of Competences

    The UK Government’s Balance of Competences review has now taken evidence on 25 subject areas, including the 6 with the most relevance for the Environment. We take stock of the IEEP’s contributions, and consider what a possible UK renegotiation might mean for the environment.

  • 40 years of cooperation in protecting the Baltic Sea

    IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen gave a presentation at the Helsinki Convention (HELCOM) Jubilee Session on the understanding and valuation of marine ecosystem services, Helsinki, 5 Mar 2014.

  • Sectoral resource mobilisation to implement global biodiversity targets

    There is an urgent need to find sufficient resources to enable developing countries to implement the global targets for biodiversity by 2020. Financing the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity from different sectoral funding flows can complement global biodiversity financing.

  • Natural capital in a Nordic context

    A report for the Nordic Council of Ministers reviewing five different approaches to natural capital accounting and exploring their links with biodiversity and ecosystems.

  • Incorporating biodiversity and ecosystem service values into national strategies and action plans

    This guidance document has been prepared to support practitioners of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans to update their plans to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem service values. Six in depth country case studies provide common lessons of good practice.

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