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Local targets agreed to tackle climate change  

Local leaders call for expanding the Environmental Implementation Review’s scope to include the Industrial Emissions Directive and the EU policy on chemicals. Rapporteur Andrew Cooper also proposes including action on Climate Change and has proposed the new concept of Locally Determined Contributions as a way to enable Local And Regional Authorities to contribute to the Paris agreement obligations.

Environmental law is one of the areas in which cities and regions hold more competencies and are more actively contributing to shape its implementation in Europe. Lead by rapporteur Andrew Cooper (UK/EA), members of the European Committee of the Regions have adopted and opinion on how to better implement environmental law in Europe.

The opinion points out to a series of shortfalls when it comes to implementing the environmental acquis. Amongst them is an ineffective coordination between local, regional and national authorities, lack of administrative capacity, insufficient financing and deficient compliance assurance mechanisms.

Members put forward a series of recommendations such as setting up a structured dialogue involving each Member State with local and regional authorities. The CoR suggests strengthening IMPEL networks and expand them to the national level. IMPEL is the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law.

The CoR urges the European Commission to develop a common methodology for the national EIR dialogues and provide guidelines to ensure the full participation of local and regional authorities throughout the process.

EU cities and regions request Member States and regional and local authorities to apply swift enforcement measures and adopt proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for breaches of EU environment law. The CoR asks Member States to facilitate the establishment of Local and Regional Environmental Implementation Reviews corresponding to the national reviews. The CoR urges national, regional, and local authorities to address corruption and to ensure the proper functioning of justice systems

EU’s assembly of cities and regions urges the European Commission to place climate change into the next round of the EIR and to include both climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The initial focus of the EIR is on waste management, nature and biodiversity protection, air quality, noise pollution and water quality and management.

Rapporteur Andrew Cooper (UK/EA) said: "the reduction of CO2 emissions achieved by local governments needs to be measured, valued and encouraged. A system of Locally Determined Contributions needs to be established in addition to Nationally Determined Contributions to help bridge the emissions gap.”

The Kirklees Councilor says "Locally Determined Contributions will help limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, It would also allow us to set up higher yet remaining achievable targets." Andrew Cooper's LDC's initiative is in line and has the support of the adopted opinion by Marco Dus (IT/PES) on climate finance.

The CoR requests that the European Commission work with relevant national authorities, the European Committee of the Regions, the EU Covenant of Mayors, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and ICLEI to develop the concept and methodologies for introducing Local and Regionally Determined Contributions, thereby contributing towards Climate Change targets agreed under the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement. Local and regional authorities would initially be involved on a voluntary "proof of concept" basis.

Notes to editors

CoR’s recommendations on better implementing environmental law in the EU build on the assessment report of the EIR package (February 2017) on the implementation of EU environmental policies and laws. It includes 28 country reports and is available here.

For a detailed summary of the results for the different policy fields see: EPRS (European Parliament Research Service) Briefing 03/2017: Environmental Implementation Review. Produced at the request of the CoR in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Parliament and the CoR.

To support the opinion, the CoR has commissioned a study on "Effective multi-level environmental governance for a better implementation of EU environment legislation", to be completed by mid-September 2017.

On implementing environmental law, The European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission are closely cooperating through the Joint Technical Platform for Cooperation on the Environment. The EIR is an opportunity for cities and regions to foster cooperation with the European Parliament, says the adopted opinion. It’s added value is that it brings together the interests of the co-legislator and the experiences of decision-makers and implementing authorities. EU local governments wish to push forward joint meetings between the CoR ENVE Commission and the EP ENVI Committee.


David Crous

+32 (0) 470 88 10 37

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