Cohesion Policy and Sustainable Development

A report on how to improve the integration of the environment into the Cohesion Policy period 2014-2020 as part of a study commissioned by DG Regio. This report is the main deliverable of the study and draws on the findings from the various tasks that have been reported upon in a number of supporting papers. These supporting papers contain more detailed evidence and analysis that underlie the conclusions in this report.

The report demonstrates that Cohesion Policy is currently missing important opportunities to promote environmentally sustainable economic development in European regions. The study identifies ways of improving investment patterns and governance mechanisms to foster environmental and economic wins. It provides extensive evidence of innovative approaches to environmental integration in Cohesion Policy expenditure programmes through 26 case studies on issues such as ex-ante conditionality, proofing tools (eg carbon neutrality), assessment tools (eg holistic use of Strategic Environmental Assessment, contributing to indicators and project selection criteria and ex-post evaluations), financial engineering and organisational set-ups. By taking these innovative examples forward, EU Cohesion Policy has the potential to be a key mechanism in driving the economic, environmental and social changes required for the transitions towards a green, low carbon and resource efficient economy.

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