The Environment Directorate helps countries design and implement effective policies to address environmental problems and sustainably manage natural resources. It examines the linkages between the environment and economic, sectoral or social concerns in areas such as green growth, climate change, biodiversity, water, waste and the circular economy, the ocean, resource efficiency, environmental taxes, genetically modified crop safety, agriculture, transport, trade, investment and development.
In 2020, The Environment Directorate will continue its efforts to support countries in implementing the Paris Agreement, heightening mitigation ambitions and adopting a more circular economy. It will also further explore how to ensure a sustainable ocean economy.
In 2018, The Environment Directorate led a major multilateral project to help countries move beyond an incremental approach to financing low-emission, resilient infrastructure towards the transformational agenda needed for decisive climate action. The report Financing Climate Futures: Rethinking Infrastructure highlights 6 transformative areas and 20 key actions to align financial flows with climate and development goals across planning, innovation, public budgeting, financial systems, development finance and cities.
The Environment Directorate continues to focus on the social, environmental, economic and financial dimensions of the transition to low-carbon and resource-efficient economies, including exploring the role of green finance and investment, and the macroeconomic implications of the transition to a circular economy. The 2019 report Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060 was a first-of-its-kind, is a key report with global projections of materials use and their environmental consequences to 2060 at the global, sectoral and regional levels for 61 different materials (biomass resources, fossil fuels, metals and non-metallic minerals).
The Committee structures
The OECD Environment Policy Committee
The Environment Policy Committee (EPOC) implements the OECD’s Environment Programme. Established in 1971, EPOC consists of senior-level delegates from capitals and meets three times every two years. The Committee holds meetings at the Ministerial level approximately every four years.
EPOC oversees work on: country reviews, indicators and outlooks, climate change, natural resource management, policy tools and evaluation, environment and development, and resource efficiency and waste, supported by EPOC’s seven Working Parties. 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. The committee 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 OECD Chemicals Committee
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.