Environmental country reviews

OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Norway 2011



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OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Norway 2011

The Environmental Performance Reviews identify good practice and make recommendations to improve the reviewed country’s environmental policies and programmes.

This review of Norway, analyses the way it has addressed national objectives and international commitments regarding climate change, biodiversity conservation, waste and materials management and, more generally, the management of its environment and natural resources.

The Highlights (also in French) contain the main OECD findings. A summary is presented here below.


Developments since the 2001 Review

  • Showing strong signs of economic recovery following the 2008-09 global downturn, Norway continues to develop its capacity as a pioneer in various aspects of environmental policy.
  • Since the 2001 OECD review, Norway has prioritised certain policies that aim to reduce environmental strains, notably in the areas of: climate change, biodiversity, marine environment, waste management and chemicals management.
  • Even as a non-EU member country, Norway has influenced EU environmental policy, and in some areas has adopted requirements more stringent than those set out by the EU.
  • There are continuing issues concerning the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; the threat posed to certain species in forests, waterways, and agricultural landscapes; and the escalation in waste generation.



Greening growth

  • Norway has set ambitious objectives for environmental policy. With a strategy aimed at promoting sustainable development in policy design, these objectives are backed by a strong analytical framework for considering environmental, social and economic issues.
  • This is complemented by a focussed approach to the management of human, natural, produced and financial capital.
  • A further look at the cost-effectiveness of environmental policies will be necessary to ensure further progress for the environment, as will getting a grip on fiscal policy, with respect to certain taxes and subsidies.
  • More investment in R&D could also bolster the sustainable growth agenda.


Implementation of environmental policies

  • A number of initiatives including simplification of regulation, decentralisation of environmental responsibilities and the intelligent use of economic instruments has facilitated the successful application of many environmental policies in Norway.
  • New requirements have expanded the coverage and scope of projects subject to environmental impact assessment, and introduced better consultation arrangements with the general public.
  • With a number of areas requiring closer attention such as air pollution, water and wastewater infrastructure, and river management, making use of the strong policy base is critical to progress.



Climate change
  • As one of the first countries to adopt a carbon tax, Norway uses this, along with its membership in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in a determined attempt to reduce emissions.
  • Norway experienced a rise in emissions over the past 20 years, meaning its ambitious reduction target by 2020 will need support through the establishment of a more consistent price for carbon across the economy, the development of an economy-wide energy efficiency strategy, and a review of transport taxes and exemptions.
  • If it can successfully manage these elements, Norway could act as a positive example for other countries in the move to a low-carbon economy.


Waste management

  • Norway now has a simpler regulatory framework for waste management and isstriving to reduce the significant increase in waste generation that it has experienced since the last OECD review.
  • Efforts have been made to make the selective collection and treatment of household waste more cost-effective, and to improve the safety of landfill operations.
  • Progress has been noted in reducing emissions of hazardous chemical substances, many of which were linked with disposal of end-of-life products, as well as addressing problems related to contaminated sites.
  • Concerns remain however, over the volumes of hazardous waste and waste transfer across Norway’s borders. How to effectively use the mix of instruments in managing waste, along with better implementation of waste  management plans, is examined in this chapter, along with best ways of dealing with tax and other incentives that can improve performance.


Nature and biodiversity

  • Norway has set up a strong biodiversity framework. Substantial progress has been made, promoted by increased spending on biodiversity, with the new Nature
    Diversity Act, the Biodiversity Information Centre and the sea management plans resulting in better protection of certain land and sea habitats and threatened species.
  • Targets and actions should be further developed for forest protection, plus coastal and river zones which are still under threat by human activity.
  • Norway must prioritise sustainable management of biodiversity and nature conservation, and consider the impact of climate change on these areas.


International co-operation

  • Norway has continued to play a significant role in promoting international environmental co-operation bilaterally, regionally and globally.
  • The country has positively contributed to international negotiations on climate change, marine environment protection and chemicals. Reducing environmental impacts in sea waters of oil and gas extraction, shipping activities and fisheries are some of the challenges that Norway has to address in co-operation with other countries.
  • Norway is setting the standard in development assistance with a high rate of per GNI financial aid and significant support to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

Access the full version of Environmental Performance Reviews: Norway by choosing from the following options:

For more information please contact Krzysztof Michalak or Shayne MacLachlan




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