Environment within the European Commission: the role of integrated impact assessment

2012 EEEN Forum / Evaluation

Emilie Mutombo, IGEAT – ULB

In the current context of economic and environmental crisis and their related complexity and uncer­tainties, what the demand side seems to expect is, among other, robust factual evidences about the effectiveness of its policies and programmes; effectiveness with regard to their core objectives but also with respect to side effects in areas not primarily targeted by the measures. In the environ­mental domain, this call for evidence finds an answer through ad interim and ex post environmental evaluations, but also through environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strate­gic environmental assessment (SEA) – ex ante evaluations of projects, policies or programmes which still are to be designed and adopted. In parallel to EIA and SEA, sustainability and integrated impact assessment procedures (SIA and IIA) have now been developed and implemented; the European Commission (integrated) impact assessment (EC-IA) procedure is said to be one of the most institutionalised and successful of those. This internal ex ante inte­grated evaluation does apply on almost all Commission initiatives and is meant to address ‘all’ potential significant impacts of the foreseen measures with regard to the economic, social and environmental domains. The question we address is whether and to which extent environmental considerations are taken into account in the EC-IA procedure. To answer this question we will present the results of a literature review, based i.a. on the numerous meta-evaluations performed since 2003 and complement these with an analysis of a sample of the latest EC-IA reports with regard to environmental integration at the EC-IA level.

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