Environment in emerging and transition economies

Environmental Enforcement


Environmental enforcement comprises any actions taken by the competent government authority alone or in cooperation with other institutions to correct or halt behaviour that fails to comply with environmental regulatory requirements. Non-compliance response is commonly based on a so-called enforcement pyramid which includes administrative and criminal measures, complemented by instruments of civil law.


The Secretariat has developed a guidance document on the determination and application of administrative fines for environmental offences, which:


  • Summarises the fundamental principles of the design of effective environmental fines;
  • Describes a methodology to assess economic benefits of non-compliance;
  • Explains how to take into account the seriousness of an environmental offence and other operator-specific factors in determining the size of a fine;
  • Addresses the implementation issues, including the consistency, transparency, and enforceability of penalty decisions; and
  • Provides specific short- to medium-term recommendations for EECCA countries that follow from the international best practices.

The guidance document’s recommendations were illustrated in the case study of Azerbaijan which focused in particular on how to calculate the economic benefit of non-compliance and remove it through an appropriate monetary penalty.


A more general study on enforcement tools has been conducted in Kazakhstan, where a comparative analysis of the country’s environmental enforcement system and good international practice resulted in range of specific recommendations for policy makers and environmental regulators.