September 21, 2010

Environmental Governance Tops Countries’ Concern for Meeting Rio Convention Commitments, International Network Is Helping Bridge Gap

Washington, DC, September 21, 2010 – Environmental governance, including implementation and compliance with national laws, is a significant challenge facing countries trying to meet their commitments under the Rio Conventions, according to a new study released last week by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The National Capacity Self-Assessments Synthesis Report called for countries to identify their priority environmental issues such as combating deforestation, promoting sustainable land management, minimizing their vulnerabilities to the impact of climate change, or controlling biodiversity loss, and their challenges in responding to these priority issues.

Countries prioritized “environmental governance” as a key concern to achieving and sustaining global environmental outcomes, in addition to the other top needs: 1) public awareness and environmental education; 2) information management and exchange; 3) strengthening organizational mandates and structures; and 4) economic instruments and sustainable financing mechanisms.

Within the environmental governance context, 79% of respondents highlighted “policy development and enforcement” as the priority constraint and priority capacity development need.

“The main governance need lies in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental policies, legislation, and regulation, including the mainstreaming of [multilateral environmental agreements] into national environmental management and development frameworks.”

Environmental compliance and enforcement play a fundamental role in building the foundation for the rule of law, good governance, and sustainable development.

The International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), the only transgovernmental network of independent practitioners dedicated to pursuing the rule of law, good environmental governance, and sustainable development at all levels of governance, has 20 years of experience building capacity among compliance and enforcement practitioners to make environmental law work on the ground.  International environmental mandates, including Agenda 21, have recognized and incorporated INECE’s message on the relationship between compliance with environmental laws and sustainable development.

“INECE  has the tools and the experience for improving country implementation and compliance with their Rio commitments,” said Durwood Zaelke, Director of the INECE Secretariat in Washington, D.C. “INECE is pioneering the use of indicators to measure country compliance and enforcement, and our many training courses are state-of-the-art. We welcome the UN report, and agree that enforcement and compliance are key aspects of good governance.”

Responding to the need to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of environmental compliance programs, INECE continues to pioneer work on performance measurement indicators for environmental compliance and enforcement. INECE has built capacity in hundreds of practitioners from over 50 governments in its indicator methodology (available through a practitioner’s handbook and integrated training course) to better measure and manage national environmental compliance programs. Specifically, INECE has piloted projects with several countries to assess how implementation and compliance with national environmental laws and policies serves as a measure of the effectiveness of efforts to meet MEA obligations. INECE activities have enabled numerous countries to better understand their contribution to the collective efforts to respond to global environmental challenges and sustainable development.

Produced by the Global Support Programme to the NCSAs, the report is the culmination of a ten-year partnership with the GEF, UNDP, and UNEP. 119 countries submitted NCSAs. The Synthesis Report is available online at For more information on INECE’s performance measurement indicators methodology, see


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