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

  • 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 ...

  • Evidence before ideology

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in 2015 solid evidence rather than political fashion will be required in scrutinising EU policy and economic performance. Also: fossil fuel subsidies; allocating fishing quota; and the launch of our new training programme.

  • 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.

  • Getting delivery right: the EU 2030 climate and energy targets and the challenge of governance

    The EU’s commitment to GHG reductions of “at least” 40% by 2030 are a useful contribution to international climate negotiations. But does the package of energy targets offered by the European Council at the same time put us on the right track to long-term decarbonisation goals? IEEP’s Martin Nesbit offers a personal perspective on what needs to be done, and how the governance arrangements need to be tightened.

  • 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 1 - Policy framework

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. In this chapter, the reader is introduced to European environmental policy, EU institutions and agencies, and the development of EU treaties.

  • The Manual: Chapter 2 - Air quality

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter focuses on EU air quality policy. The policy field is extensive and contains many directives that impose standards, provisions and developments of air quality management and regulation.

  • The Manual: Chapter 3 - Climate change

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter on EU climate change policy outlines the initial EU programme to stabilise CO2 emissions in the EU with explanations of the directives, decisions and legislation that were employed to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.

  • The Manual: Chapter 4 - Industrial pollution

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter provides information on EU industrial pollution policy, which outlines and discusses the legislation in place to minimise the negative effects of harmful substances and pollutants on the environment and human health.

  • The Manual: Chapter 7 - Resource use

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter illustrates the variety of EU laws, policies and guidance documents that have been adopted to improve the efficiency of our use of natural resources and to reduce environmental impacts throughout a product's life cycle.

  • The Manual: Chapter 11 - Supporting policy

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter provides a detailed analysis of a number of existing measures currently in place used in assessing the impact of particular projects and activities on the environment.

  • The Manual: Chapter 12 - Funding instruments

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter sets out the EU's main funding instruments that have environmental implications, including the European Agriculture funds, the European Fisheries Fund and the Structural and Cohesion funds.

  • 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.

  • Environmental legislation and TTIP – looking into the detail

    New study from BIO by Deloitte, Ecologic and IEEP examines key differences in EU and US legislation in eight areas of relevance to the TTIP agreement.

  • 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.

  • The EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets – a triumph of short-termism?

    European leaders have raised the stakes for the Paris talks by agreeing a set of climate and energy targets for 2030. The challenge will be to implement the tortuous detail on energy policy in a way which matches with longer term decarbonisation ambitions.

  • 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.

  • Motivating progress on environmental tax reform

    IEEP gave a presentation on how coalitions of like-minded countries can help motivate progress on environmental tax reform at an international conference in Copenhagen.

  • 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.

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