Environment Directorate

Environment Policy Committee (EPOC)


Committee structure

The Environment Policy Committee (EPOC) implements the OECD’s Environment Programme. Established in 1971, EPOC consists of delegates from capitals and meets 1-2 times per year. The Committee holds meetings at Ministerial level approximately every four years. The latest Environment ministerial meeting was held on 28-29 September 2016 at the OECD Headquarters in Paris.

Supported by EPOC’s Working Parties (see organigramme below), the EPOC Committee oversees work on:

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This brochure details how our Organisation is helping governments face up to cross-cutting, systemic challenges with a more holistic approach that is increasingly joining the dots between environment, growth and equity. The OECD report presented to the German G20 presidency in 2017, Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth, underlines how fiscal and structural reforms combined with coherent climate policy can generate growth that significantly reduces climate risks, whilst providing employment and health benefits. In a similar vein, our work on the circular economy and on biodiversity aims to promote policies that are environmentally effective, economically efficient and distributionally equitable.

EPOC also formally co-operates with other OECD Committees, including through Joint Working Parties on Trade and Environment and on Agriculture and Environment, as well as Joint Meetings of Experts on Tax and Environment and Joint Task Teams on environment and development issues. EPOC also works with other OECD committees to ensure consistency of the messages as they pertain to environment as well as ensuring horizontal links with other work in the OECD.

The Chemicals Committee, like EPOC, reports directly to the OECD Council. EPOC’s Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology and the Chemicals Committee together form the Joint Meeting which oversees the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Programme. EPOC is a major partner in two horizontal programmes at the OECD, one on Green Growth and the other on Water.

The OECD Environment Directorate and the International Energy Agency jointly serve as the Secretariat for the Climate Change Expert Group and undertakes studies of issues related to the negotiation and implementation of international agreements on climate change.

The OECD Environment Directorate also functions as the Secretariat for the Task Force for the Implementation of the Environmental Action Programme in Central and Eastern Europe (EAP Task Force). The Task Force provides a forum for dialogue and co-operation for countries in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA).

The Environment Programme is carried out in co-operation with international and regional organisations, e.g. the World Bank, UNEP, WTO, UNECE and Secretariats for UNFCCC, CBD and the Basel Convention. Key research institutes are also important partners, as is civil society represented through business, labour and NGOs. EPOC is actively engaging with key emerging economies through Global Forums on Environment.


The OECD Council adopted a Recommendation on Water on 13 December 2016.

The OECD has been providing policy guidance on water to OECD members and non-OECD member countries since the early 1970s, covering a wide range of issues including water quantity and quality management, the management of water-related risks, governance, and pricing and financing water services and infrastructure. It covers water uses in agriculture, urban water management and related issues.

The Recommendation of the OECD Council on Water captures the main messages that derive from that work. It builds on a 2-year consultation process with OECD member countries, and stakeholders, in particular members of the OECD Water Governance Initiative.

The Recommendation of the OECD Council on Water provides a unique source of policy guidance that help address the pressing issues that central and subnational authorities need to respond to.

Celebrating 40 years of the committee (1971-2011)

2011 marked OECD's 50th anniversary and EPOC's 40th anniversary.

The Environment Policy Committe is playing a key role as a pathfinder for effective and economically efficient responses to pressing environmental challenges – from polluted air to municipal waste, from scarce water to the ozone depletion, and from biodiversity loss to climate change.

Brochure - 104 pages

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