Inspections conducted by government authorities, supplemented by self-monitoring by regulated entities, remain the backbone of any compliance assurance programme.
This area of work has been closely linked to the activities to develop capacity of environmental inspectorates in the EECCA region. A comprehensive Inspectors Toolkit was developed by the Secretariat, covering management, procedural and substantive aspects of compliance monitoring. The Toolkit introduces general aspects of compliance assurance from the perspective of policy and regulatory development, focuses on issues of environmental inspectorate management, analyses key tasks carried out by inspectors, and describes the organisation of site visits, from the planning of an inspection to the reporting phase, and post-inspection activities. The Toolkit contains case studies, examples of internal guidelines, and checklists.
The growing number and variety of statutory environmental requirements and the diminishing resources of environmental enforcement authorities are driving the need for prioritisation (targeting) of inspections. Risk-based prioritisation seeks to focus compliance monitoring on business activities that represent a higher risk for human health or the environment. The Secretariat has provided assistance to the State Environmental Inspectorates in Georgia and Moldova in improving their inspection planning procedures through using risk-based approaches. The pilot project in Moldova developed and tested an electronic tool for risk-based prioritisation of regulated entities, prioritised the actual regulated community in the City of Chisinau based on environmental risk and compliance behaviour, assessed human resource requirements for compliance monitoring activities, and draft an annual inspection plan following the new methodology.
The growing emphasis on self-monitoring and self-reporting by enterprises is a means of substituting government compliance monitoring efforts by passing some of the monitoring responsibility and costs on to the firm without decreasing regulatory pressure. Self-monitoring also gives industry more ownership of compliance. The Secretariat has prepared a Technical Guide on Environmental Self-Monitoring and a related training programme. The Guide proposes benchmarks that can be used to develop self-monitoring systems in the long-term and to improve the reliability of environmental information in EECCA countries. The report on self-monitoring in Kazakhstan provided a roadmap for industrial operators to streamline environmental monitoring, record-keeping, and reporting.