Project Peer to Peer for Sustainability in Impact Assessment
Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires that they are integrated in an early stage of the preparation of laws and strategic policies. Integrating sustainability in Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) procedures is an excellent way to avoiding unsustainable laws and policies.
A growing number of EU member states, as well as the European Commission, are integrating the SDGs in their regulatory impact assessment procedures. It is also part of the Commission’s online Better Regulation Toolbox. The OECD supports such mainstreaming of the SDGs with extensive guidance and good practice collections.
Peer learning as support for mainstreaming
From December 2021 until July 2022, thirteen (and ultimately seventeen) EU Member States, the European Commission and the OECD participated in a dynamic and highly interactive project aiming at mainstreaming the SDGs into RIA procedures.
A second phase started in October 2022 and attracted up to 22 countries.
The first report of this project is available for download here:
Download Part 2. Workshop Reports
The project was implemented by the think tank Public Strategy for Sustainable Development (ps4sd) and financed with a grant from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection (for further questions contact email@example.com).
The thirteen countries with which the first part of the project started took part in three peer learning workshops on key challenges identified through a survey: (1) the framework conditions for SDG mainstreaming in RIA schemes, (2) methodologies and process design, and (3) embedding sustainability impact assessment in inclusive policymaking.
The project brought together national experts on sustainability /SDGs and on RIA world, to exchange practices and experiences with their peers. The European Commission and OECD took an active interest in the workshops and shared guidance and research findings, as did speakers from civil society organisations and academia
The interim event of the first phase on 14 June 2022 attracted seventeen EU countries, European Commission and OECD. The project showed great interest among the national SDG and RIA experts to continue with this promising approach and addressing the identified challenges and obstacles.
The interim report of the project (July 2022) presented four recommendations:
- Strengthen leadership and increase resources for mainstreaming SDGs in national RIAs.
- Continue with peer learning workshops, supported by a moderated network and political involvement.
- Develop and organize training for policy officers about how to mainstream the SDGs in the RIAs they are responsible for.
- The European Commission could support the national mainstreaming of SDGs in RIA with existing instruments (such as the existing TAIEX peer-2-peer tools).
In several of the participating countries, the project resulted in a first-ever collaboration across the ‘silos’ between SDG and environment coordinators and those responsible for regulatory impact assessment (RIA). In addition, since the project started, some countries have started revising their RIA regulations. The European Commission and the OECD are open to support the EU member states in this endeavour.
Topics for further exchange and learning
The project resulted in many topics for further exchange and learning, including:
- Case studies from national RIAs integrating the sustainability perspective.
- Linking sustainability in RIAs to national sustainability strategies and action plans.
- Using IT-tools to facilitate lean and effective sustainability-informed RIAs.
- Methodologies to integrate foresight; multi-criteria analysis; impacts on vulnerable groups and poverty; assessment of climate impacts.
- Avoiding that sustainability RIAs become just a box-ticking exercise, by ensuring focus.
- RIA helpdesks and guidance with respect to sustainability mainstreaming.
- Communicating the results of sustainable RIA to political decision makers and parliaments.
- Linking RIA to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development.
On 4 May 2023 a 6th (hybrid) workshop was held in Brussels, followed by a final event in the format of a Beau Lieu Café. The livestream of this event can be seen at our Youtube Channel.
After the first phase, all participants of the online workshops and in-person ‘closing’ event agreed that it would be important to maintain the now established network collaboration and continue with peer learning workshops on outstanding challenges. The Czech Republic (EU Presidency from 1 July 2022) kindly hosted the in-person event at their Representation in Brussels and facilitated a presentation of the project results in the Autumn of 2022 at the EU Council Working Party on the 2030 Agenda.
On 5th September 2022, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection (BMU) decided to extend the project grant, thus enabling ps4sd to organise two additional peer learning workshops end of 2022, and one in-person workshop early 2023.
On 8th November, as start of the 2nd phase of the project, the 4th online peer learning workshop took place. With five excellent speakers, and 54 participants registered from 21 EU member states, the European Commission and the OECD, the four-hour workshop was full of energy. The speakers at this workshop were:
Patrick Ten Brink, Secretary-General of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
Lieve Van Woensel, Foresight Advisor, European Parliament
Daniele Giovannola, Head of Impact Assessment Unit, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italy
Aída Ponce Del Castillo, Senior Researcher, European Trade Union Institute
Luisa Marelli, deputy Head of Unit, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Ispra
The 5th online workshop was held on 7th December 2022. More information soon.
More information soon!
The project team at ps4sd: Louis Meuleman, Andreas Versmann, Ingeborg Niestroy and Francesca Valentini
New Finnish RIA Guidelines
On 8 May 2023, Finland has published its revised RIA Guidelines in an English version. They can be downloaded here. The new Guidelines include more comprehensive instructions on, for example, the stages of an impact assessment as part of the law drafting process, data collection and assessment methods, and special questions related to impact assessments concerning EU legislation.
New Dutch RIA Guidelines
The Netherlands adopted revised RIA Guidelines – The Policy Compass – in April 2023. The presentation (pdf) in English can be downloaded here. The RIA website (in Dutch) is here.