Policy Integration Indicators

According to Article 6 of the EU Treaty, environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of EU policies and activities. Thus, environmental policy integration (EPI) can be defined as inserting environmental requirements into other policies during their development and implementation (EEA 1999b, 1999c, 2005; CEC 2004). EPI is distinct from conventional environmental policymaking because it involves a continual process to ensure that environmental issues are reflected in all policymaking, which generally demands changes in political, organizational, and procedural activities. The aim is to secure coherent policies in all fields that can support environment and SD. Apart from demanding appropriate systems, structures, and processes to ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account, EPI should lead to real progress in terms of political commitment, policy change, and environmental improvement.

Why is there interest in EPI? It emerged because conventional environmental policy and legislation alone were insufficient to address the many driving forces and pressures exerted on the environment by key economic sectors such as energy, transport, and agriculture. Environmental concerns are insufficiently weighted in political, policy, and practical terms, leading to environmental concerns being traded off against economic concerns. Poor integration is caused by numerous factors, including a lack of high-level political commitment to environmental issues, diverging or conflicting policy objectives, and insufficiently coordinated administrations. There are many theories on the root causes of these problems, including the basic problem that organizations and their cultures are deeply entrenched and very slow to adapt to new demands and circumstances.

The European Commission's 5th Environmental Action Programme (5EAP), published in 1992, addressed integration of environment into key sectors, and in 1997—1998 increasing attention began to be paid to the critical role of key economic sectors in causing major environmental problems. This was reflected in the Cardiff Process on sectoral integration and in the EEA's "Europe's Environment: The Second Assessment" (EEA 1998). This raised the following question: How do we recognize progress and the related information gap? In order to fill this gap and to monitor progress toward sectoral integration, a number of criteria were proposed.

The criteria1 (Table 9.1) were developed from the experience gained in applying them in particular to the Global Assessment of the 5EAP (EEA 1999b). Four sectors originally were covered at member state level: energy, transport, industry, and agriculture. Tourism was not included because it was not initially identified as a priority in the Cardiff Process.

These criteria are meant to steer assessments, information collection, and indicator development in order to be more effective for measuring integration, which is often overlooked and difficult to measure. The aim is to shed light on progress with integration in its different stages and manifestations by covering a wide range of facets of integration. This will lower reliance on end-of-pipe results arising from integration, which may take years to show up. Although these criteria were used by some organizations (e.g., CLM 1999), many of the criteria need further work to become operational.

After the initial focus in the EU in the 1990s on integrating environmental concerns into sectoral policies, increasing attention is now being given to policy coherence as a

Table 9.1. Some criteria for assessing environmental integration into economic sector activities.

A Institutional Integration

1 Are environmental objectives (e.g., maintenance of natural capital and ecological services) identified as key sectoral objectives and as important as economic and social objectives) in a sector integration strategy?

2 Are synergies between economic, environmental, and social objectives maximized?

3 Are trade-offs between environmental, economic, and social objectives minimized and transparent?

4 Are environmental targets (e.g., for eco-efficiency) and timetables agreed? Are there adequate resources to achieve the targets within the timetables?

5 Is there effective horizontal integration between the sector, environment, and other key authorities (e.g., finance and planning)?

6 Is there effective vertical integration between the EU, national, regional, and local administrations, including adequate public and other stakeholder information and participation measures?

B Market Integration

7 Have environmental costs and benefits been quantified by common methods?

8 Have environmental costs been internalized into market prices through market-based instruments?

9 Have revenues from these market-based instruments been directly recycled to maximize behavior change?

10 Have revenues from these market-based instruments been directly recycled to promote employment?

11 Have environmentally damaging subsidies and tax exemptions been withdrawn or refocused?

12 Have incentives been introduced that encourage environmental benefits?

C Management Integration

13 Have environmental management systems been adopted?

14 Is there adequate strategic environmental assessment of policies, plans, and programs?

15 Is there adequate environmental impact assessment of projects before implementation?

16 Is there an effective green procurement (supply) program in public and private institutions?

17 Is there an effective product and service program that maximizes eco-efficiency (e.g., via demand-side management, eco-labeling, products to services)?

18 Are there effective environmental agreements that engage stakeholders in maximizing eco-efficiency?


Table 9.1. Some criteria for assessing environmental integration into economic sector activities (continued).

D Monitoring and Reporting Integration

19 Is there an adequate sector and environment reporting mechanism that tracks progress with these objectives, targets, and tools?

20 Is the effectiveness of the policies and tools for achieving integration evaluated and reported, and are the results applied?

Source: EEA (1999b).

whole. Coherence is a prominent feature of good governance (RMNO/EEAC 2003) and SD. Therefore, it is now the EU's SD strategy (European Commission 2001) and the EU governance agenda (European Commission 2001) that provide the broad framework for promoting the integration of economic, social, and environmental objectives in Europe. In practice this suggests a two-way integration, from environment into sectors and vice versa. However, EPI is specifically justified by the fact that environmental policy concerns have been persistently underemphasized in other policies. The more integrated and mutually reinforcing policies are in their formulation, the easier their effective (and cost-efficient) delivery should be. In the EU context, coherence at the political and policy levels eases the work of the institutions and subsequent (national, regional, or local) implementation efforts (Peters 1998; Wanden 2003). The burden on individual actors is also reduced if regulatory requirements are streamlined. Ultimately, policy coordination makes it more likely that multiple objectives will be met.

In this broader context, and in addition to the initial EEA EPI criteria, other attempts have been made to identify suitable ways to measure progress with integration. Prominent among these is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development checklist on policy coherence and integration for SD (OECD 2002). This checklist contains five groups of questions, related to understanding, commitment and leadership, steering, stakeholder involvement, and knowledge and scientific input. Other approaches include national SD strategies and EU integration strategies (Persson 2002; Dalal-Clayton 2004; Fergusson et al. 2001).

The challenge still is to identify a small set of headline criteria and indicators that can be applied to assess progress at both the EU and the national levels, within different institutions, and relating to both cross-sectoral and sectoral efforts. Thus, building on past work, an evaluation framework for EPI was developed in 2003—2004 (Figure 9.1) from which a set of more concrete criteria were identified (Table 9.2). Presented as a checklist to ensure wide applicability, the criteria serve two main purposes: They provide a single framework for undertaking evaluations of EPI supporting consistency

Figure 9.1. Virtuous cycle for EPI.

and shared learning between administrations and sectors, and they support understanding of how to promote integration.

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