The OECD secretariat has been monitoring trends in the reform of environmental policies and institutions in EECCA since the beginning of their transition to a market economy in the early 1990s. After the 1993 Ministerial Conference in Lucerne, reports reflecting monitoring findings have supported decisions at every “Environment for Europe” ministerial conference. Such reports helped to focus domestic efforts and external support on priority issues, especially those that need to be solved from a cross-cutting perspective.
The content of these reports has been closely related to the mission assigned to the OECD/EAP Task Force to assist countries to: (i) integrate environmental considerations into the process of economic and political reform; (ii) upgrade institutional and human capacities for environmental management; (iii) broaden political support for environmental improvement, and (iv) mobilise and make cost-effective use of financial resources.
In 2003-2007 this has been done within the framework of the EECCA Environmental Strategy. Several high-level and expert meetings were organized within this framework and partnerships aiming to implement this Strategy were monitored.
Given the continuously dynamic and fragile economic, social and governance context in many EECCA countries, as well as the fluctuating political support for environmental action, such independent assessments can help support policy and institutional reform through cross-country comparison, benchmarking, and peer learning and support. Another factor that makes this work relevant is the widening political backing for a “greener” path of growth. The need to speed up transition towards green growth has become evident in many countries after the global economic and financial crises challenged the sustainability of growth aiming at short-term financial gains only.
Country policy dialogues were one of the five other methods used to promote capacity development in EECCA.