The EU’s imprint on both the global environment and on environmental policy has been sizeable. It is expected to remain important in the years ahead, even as major economic players and new political dynamics emerge.

How should Europe’s role evolve in a changing world? What has Europe got to offer and to learn? How can its own policies align better to global imperatives? We seek to explore these questions from nearly forty years of experience of policy making in the EU and its Member States.

EU policies have both global aspirations and implications. The EU aims to support sustainable development in third countries through its external policies and assistance programmes. At the same time a range of EU policies (trade, energy, agriculture and fisheries etc.) have direct and indirect impacts on land-use, natural resources and ecosystems as well as on the pattern of economic development at the global scale. While EU policies can – and indeed should - promote environmental and social good practice and avoid precipitating damage beyond its borders, the Union can also learn from other countries’ experiences and approaches to addressing environmental challenges.

IEEP’s work in this sphere focuses on the global dimension and external impacts of EU policies, both positive and negative alike. We aim to support the development of environmental and environment-related policies with global implications as well as feed into relevant international processes and discussions. These include follow up to the Rio+20 Conference and the development of Sustainable Development Goals for the post-2015 period. Our key areas of work include addressing the global challenge of biodiversity conservation, mobilising finance to support a shift towards a sustainable global green economy, addressing the global environmental impacts of EU policies, and enhancing environmental policy dialogues with Europe’s neighbours and partners.