In 2019 the IMPEL project ‘National Peer Review Initiative’ (NPRI) started with some preliminary meetings at the premises of the initiators, Italy (ARPA Milano) and ODNL (Association of Dutch Regional Environmental Protection Agencies). Project leaders Giuseppe Sgorbati and Pieter-Jan van Zanten met up with former IMPEL chair Chris Dijkens, now acting as project manager, to develop a firm basis on which we could move forward. After the IMPEL General Assembly in Helsinki in November 2019 where the project budget was granted and we could welcome five countries on board (Portugal, Finland, Albania, Greece, Belgium) it was time to plan the first project meetings.
The NPRI project is all about developing practical tools and schemes for members of IMPEL to be used in peer reviews between inspectorates in their own countries. A toolbox containing relevant instruments and guidance will be made available and further promoted. The intention of the NPRI project is to make peer reviews accessible in any country, at any level between every organization, and even within one organisation, all for improving the performances. In addition, a support team will be trained and ready by early 2021 to assist any organisation or country, should they have this need.
On 23 and 24 January 2020 the first project meeting took place in Dordrecht, The Netherlands. Firstly, the peer review mechanism in The Netherlands was presented, followed by an introduction of Regional Environmental Protection Agencies South-Holland South province (ODZHZ) and Middle and West Brabant province (ODMWB) about their experiences with the mechanism. In addition, a tour around the industrial and rural area of Rotterdam harbor was undertaken. The second day was spent on the project itself, planning and discussing the preliminary studies.
The next meeting will take place in Rome, Italy, on 27 and 28 February 2020. After that time a seminar will be conducted to wrap up all the results and plan the try outs of the draft scheme with three volunteering inspectorates.