Today the European Commission has launched a new high-level expert group to help deliver the actions of the Action Plan on environmental compliance assurance and governance in 2018 and 2019. The Environmental Compliance and Governance Forum is composed of Member States representatives and representatives of the EU networks of judges, prosecutors, police officers, inspectors, and environment agencies.
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: “Over the years, judges, prosecutors, inspectors, police officers, and other enforcement bodies across the EU have developed a vast expertise in the implementation of EU environmental laws. To make sure these laws are delivering for European citizens and the environment, we are bringing these key networks and Member States together. The new expert group will help address major challenges in applying EU rules on water, nature, air and waste.”
Focus of the meeting was on the 9-point Action Plan, adopted by the European Commission on 18 January 2018, to increase compliance with, and improve governance on EU environmental legislation. The actions will be implemented over 2018-2019 with the help of EU countries and European networks on compliance and enforcement. The European Commission (DG Environment) has asked IMPEL to contribute to a number of the 9 Actions. Chris Dijkens, as Chair of IMPEL was invited to attend and represent IMPEL in this meeting.
The Chair of the Forum, the DG Environment of the Commission, underlined the important role the networks play in supporting the implementation of environmental legislation in Europe. The Forum recognised the particular strength of IMPEL, namely that it provides its member authorities with the opportunity to access a pool of practitioner expertise who carry out practical implementation and enforcement on a day-to-day basis and that the implementation of various actions of the Action Plan can benefit from that.
Chris Dijkens said:” IMPEL welcomes the Forum and supports the ECA initiative and its Action Plan. We aim, where we can, to play a significant role in carrying out the actions. In particular an active involvement of IMPEL in implementing actions with a focus on IMPEL peer reviews, Joint Enforcement Actions, training, sharing of knowledge and good practice as well as the development of an environmental implementation portal. We will continue and support developing guidance materials, as well as our work in the area of geospatial intelligence. Our main focus will remain exploring ways to that regulatory authorities like in IMPEL, can be assisted in translating innovation into their daily practices.”
Extraordinary General Assembly meeting
Through an extraordinary General Assembly meeting in early 2018 IMPEL’s members will explore more in detail how our network can contribute to the implementation of the various actions of the Action Plan.
On 19 January 2018 the European Commission launched an Action Plan to help Member States improve the application of EU environmental laws. Poor implementation is linked with persistent problems such as water pollution, poor urban air quality, unsatisfactory waste treatment, and species and habitats in decline. The Action Plan set out nine actions to strengthen compliance assurance mechanisms. A high-level expert group, the Environmental Compliance and Governance Forum, was established to steer the implementation of the Action Plan and to serve as a platform for strategic discussions on environmental governance topics.
Some of the expected practical outputs are: guidance documents on tackling environmental crime, handling of complaints and protecting the rural environment, and a new framework for assessing how well Member States are doing on environmental governance.