In order to make optimal use of the IMPEL membership, some members organise national activities to strengthen the national and regional/local network. In this update two examples are being addressed: The Portuguese National IMPEL Network and the Dutch National IMPEL Day. Both initiatives have a different approach and both can be very effective in reaching their objectives.
- Portuguese National IMPEL Network
The Portuguese IMPEL Network has 16 authorities (environmental agencies -national and regional, inspectorate, public prosecutors, police authorities) that work together under a Protocol signed in 2016, also by the IMPEL Chair, in the presence of the Ministry of Environment and the Prosecutor General for the Portuguese Republic. The english version of this Protocol is available here.
The aim is for national environmental organisations to work together in close cooperation ensuring the best possible national representation on the work done and the events organised by the IMPEL Network, given the respective legal competences and responsibilities, aiming to contribute to the improvement of the implementation of environmental law, by increasing:
- the knowledge on the implementation of environmental legislation, and its dissemination;
- the cooperation and collaboration between public entities with responsibilities on the implementation of environmental legislation; and
- the practical and effective implementation of the knowledge acquired.
This Portuguese IMPEL Network is now consolidated after 5 years, with major benefits, also on the strength of cooperation between authorities. Each year, the Network organises a strategic group meeting and a conference, and produces an annual report that is disseminated not only to the representatives, but also to the Ministery of Environment. The last event was held on 14 February 2020, where a meeting and an half day IMPEL Conference was organised on Madeira Island by regional authorities. Another full day conference is planned this year on 16 October 2020. Further information can be found on the IGAMAOT website.
In addition, the National Coordinator for Portugal, ms Ana Isabel Garcia, shares periodical messages about updates on IMPEL activities and results with the group.
Via Basecamp, on the “National Coordinators – Discussion Group”, more information has been posted, to provide a contribution on how to establish an IMPEL National Network based on the Portuguese experience.
- Dutch National IMPEL Day
The National Coordinator for The Netherlands, mr Henk Ruessink, took another approach. There is an informal collaboration group of representatives of the 4 Dutch IMPEL members, gathering twice a year. This group also organises the Dutch IMPEL Network Day on a regular basis. Colleagues of the Dutch IMPEL members are invited to this one day event. Normally around 50 colleagues participate in this event.
The mornings usually start with plenary sessions addressing European and Dutch issues. During the afternoon there are several workshops. Of course, throughout the day, there is opportunity for networking.
Topics of the Network Day can be the challenges that the participants face in relation to the implementation of European environmental legislation and how to deal with these; the value of IMPEL for a Dutch inspector/permit writer and vice versa; or the insights, views and initiatives of the European Commission.
Another objective of these IMPEL Network Days is to create awareness and gain interest of potential new IMPEL members, in particularly those in the sectors that are less represented thus far. Representatives of these stakeholders are invited to attend as well.
The next Dutch National IMPEL day is planned in the autumn of 2020
Interested in organising a similar national network day? Please contact Henk Ruessink
Other MPEL members are kindly requested to share their national activities with us as well, so that we can update this article with other examples. Please send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org. And who knows, IMPEL members will be inspired to organise similar activities as a result of learning from their fellow members in IMPEL and may be able to attract potential members to join the IMPEL membership as well.