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

  • How do the proposed new EU climate and energy targets stack up?

    The Commission has suggested major changes in policy for 2030, with fewer binding targets. An institute briefing offers an analysis of what is proposed and sets out some proposals of where the package of measures could be strengthened, especially in relation to renewable energy and energy conservation.

  • Winter 2014 Newsletter - A Question of Targets

    The latest edition of IEEP’s newsletter is now available.

  • Enhancing enforcement obligations for EU environmental law

    A new study examines the challenge Member States face in ensuring inspection and enforcement of EU environmental law and considers the option of a new horizontal law to strengthen these requirements.

  • Steps towards greening in the EU

    Despite some positive steps, further efforts are needed to achieve the transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient Europe.

  • Four decades of EU environmental policy

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is out. Director David Baldock reflects on 40 years of EU environmental policy, plus an update on biofuels policy, costs and benefits of energy savings, developing Natural Captal accounts, and much more...

  • Evaluating international experiences with environmental tax reform

    Today, there is close to 25 years of experience with environmental tax reforms (ETR), with a growing number of countries engaging in ETR for various reasons. International experiences provide important insights on the design and implementation of ETR to facilitate more effective use of such instruments in the wider policy mix.

  • 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.

  • Sustainable management of natural resources with a focus on water and agriculture

    Can sustainable management of natural resources in Europe’s agricultural sector contribute to sustainable water use? What other sectors have a role to play in significantly improving water use across Europe and what are the good practices and tools that are available? A new report for the European Parliament explores these questions.

  • Execution of EU budgets

    IEEP has authored a study for the Temporary Commission on the EU budget of the Committee of the Regions. The study analyses the execution of the EU budgets from 2007 onwards.

  • Execution of EU budgets - Presentation to the Committee of the Regions

    IEEP’s Axel Volkery presented a report on execution of annual EU budgets to the Committee of the Regions Ad-hoc Commission on the EU Budget, highlighting needs and implications for local and regional authorities.

  • Use of financial instruments to address climate change policy objectives

    Proposals for financial instruments under the new 2014-2020 EU budget could benefit from further changes to help ensure adequate level of investment into a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.

  • The Guide to Multi-Benefit Cohesion Policy Investments in Nature and Green Infrastructure

    Investments in nature and green infrastructure have helped meet Cohesion Policy objectives and vice-versa. This new guide presents some examples, tools and approaches making it a useful toolkit for stakeholders implementing Cohesion Policy up to 2020.

  • Does the EU benefit the UK environment?

    This report considers how environmental policy in the EU effects the UK and looks at some alternatives. Overall the impact within the environmental domain can be judged to be strongly positive to the UK. The action taken has been well balanced, with benefits for human health and welfare and the sustainability of the economy as well as the environment itself.

  • Guidance manual for TEEB country studies - Version 1.0

    Co-authored by IEEP staff, the Manual is for anyone who is considering or currently undertaking a TEEB country study. Its purpose is to provide guidance throughout the entire TCS cycle, from initiation to policy analysis and ecosystem service valuations, communicating findings, and using results to support decision making.

  • 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.

  • How to climate-proof CAP and Cohesion spending

    The Commission has published two key technical guidance documents on climate proofing of Cohesion Policy and CAP expenditure as part of the Adaptation Strategy Package. Guidance builds on work carried out by a consortium led by IEEP.

  • Environmental complaint handling and mediation mechanisms at national level

    Gradual harmonisation of Member States’ approaches to handling complaints over environment law breaches could have major benefits for the EU.

  • IEEP at the conference ‘Next MFF: incentives and safeguards for climate friendly investments’

    Axel Volkery, Head of the Environmental Governance Programme, presented the final results of the European Commission study ‘Optimal use of EU grants and financial instruments in the next Multiannual Financial Framework to achieve the climate objective’ at a high level conference organised in the European Parliament.

  • IEEP presentation on EU budget and green economy

    Axel Volkery, Head of the Environmental Governance Programme, gave a presentation on the role of the 2014-2020 EU Multi-annual Financial Framework to kick start the transition towards a green and low carbon economy at a public hearing in the European Economic and Social Committee.