Environmental Performance Reviews: the process at a glance

 

Each OECD peer review has its own procedure, but all consist of three phases: preparation, consultation and assessment. All reviews are published. This is how the process works for an environmental performance review of a given country:

The preparatory phase

The preparatory phase defines the outline of the report, with standard topics, such as water, and country-specific topics, such as forestry. The country being reviewed reports on its situation, covering areas such as its environmental objectives, or progress on implementing recommendations from a previous OECD review. The review team includes Secretariat members and experts from several reviewing countries. Occasionally, it includes observers from non-members or international organisations. A questionnaire is developed for use in the next phase.

The consultation phase

In the consultation phase, the review team carries out an intensive dialogue with the country concerned, as well as with academics and representatives of industry and environmental NGOs. It also conducts on-site visits to places such as industrial plants or protected areas. The review team and the Secretariat prepare a draft report, examining the country’s performance against domestic objectives in environmental management and sustainable development, and in meeting international commitments, including the principal goals of the “OECD Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century”. The draft report includes conclusions and recommendations.

The assessment phase

In the assessment phase the body responsible for the review – in this case the Working Party on Environmental Performance (WPEP), grouping all 30 OECD member countries – discusses the draft report. A delegation from the reviewed country, answers questions from the other 29 countries. The WPEP then amends the conclusions and recommendations in light of the discussion and approves the review. The report is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General.

Publication and follow-up include a press conference on the final report and its recommendations. The report is usually presented to parliamentarians and decision-makers in the reviewed country and special effort is made to distribute the report in the national language. The reviewed government generally produces a formal response within two years of publication, specifying actions taken on each of the report’s recommendations. The next OECD review of the same country also monitors progress. To date, 58 reviews have been carried out covering 35 countries, including OECD members and some non-members such as RussiaChile and China.