5th IMPEL General Assembly, Cordoba, 15.-16.4.2010

 

5th  IMPEL General Assembly, Cordoba
15-16 April 2010

Before the welcome address, Mr Gerard Wolters expressed the sympathy of the meeting towards the colleagues from Poland following the recent tragic deaths of the Polish President and other senior Polish officials.

Session 1 Welcome and presentations

Agenda item 1.0

Welcome Address by Mrs. Carmen Canales,  Chief of Industrial Pollution Area

Ms. Carmen Canales opened the meeting and welcome all the participants to Cordoba. She expressed hope that the  meeting would be very participative and engage a dialogue among everyone, which represents the true spirit of IMPEL.

Agenda item1.1

Welcome Address by Mrs. Mª Jesús Rodríguez de Sancho, General Director of Quality and Environment Assessment

Ms. Mª Jesús Rodríguez de Sancho addressed her welcome to the meeting saying she had been involved in IMPEL from the beginning. She wished everyone a fruitful exchange during the meeting and gave an outline of the Spanish Presidency's priorities which focuses on the following areas:

-Progress in climate change

-Biodiversity

-Coordination of environmental policies

-Promotion of water management as an economic tool

-Promotion of coastal marine sustainability

 

Agenda item  1.2

The meeting adopted the agenda

 

Agenda item 1.3

Presentation of the Environmental Inspections in Andalucia,

Jesús Nieto González (General Director for Environmental Prevention and Quality from the Andalucia Government)

The presentation covered the situation and work in Andalucia in relation to EU Directives and the relevant legislation. The legislation enabling the environmental inspections originates from 3 different levels:

-European,

-National and

-Autonomous Community Legislation.

There are two types of plans:

-    Annual environmental inspection plans, drafted by environmental agents

-    Industry environmental inspection plans, drafted by the technicians of the Department of the environment.

The presentation described progress made on inspection plans in 2009, working methodology, regional and thematic distribution of inspections, as well as the proposals for the future goals to be implemented throughout the Autonomous Community of Andalucia.

The participants were especially interested in the concept of

cooperating entities and the number of inspectors and agencies in Andalucia.

The meeting noted the presentation.

 

Agenda item 1.4

REDIA: Environmental Inspection Network in Spain,

José Gil Bernabé (Director of Environmental Laboratory from Xunta Galicia)

The presentation explained how the Environmental Inspection Network in Spain was created. All Autonomous Communities and the Environmental Ministry are members of the Network.  The Network already helped improve the collaboration among Spanish regions. A website was created  within the Spanish Environmental Ministry.

One of the challenges in the future will be a high turnover of the staff that manages environmental inspections. Also, efforts need to be made to promote the Network to the environmental authorities.

One of the important future plans is to become a  member of IMPEL Network.

 

Agenda item 1.5 REDIA: Analysis of the Environmental Inspections of IPPC Directive in different Autonomous Communities of Spain – Jesús Ángel Ocio (Inspection service from the Basque Government)

The presentation gave a detailed description of the method of collecting information by means of a questionnaire, planning and result-based management. Concrete examples were used to illustrate the planning of inspections.

In conclusion, it can be said that REDIA has already proved to be useful for the regions. Several good practices have been identified and ideas for new projects are being formulated.

Italy asked  whether regional data is linked to national data. It was explained that  at the moment every region is developing one tool, but recently a project was started  by the Ministry to see how information is  collected, and work is ongoing on this.

Portugal pointed out that  cooperation with Galicia has existed in the framework of TFS actions and asked if it was possible to expand collaboration to other Spanish regions through  the network.  In fact there had already been discussions and it certainly should be possible.

Romania asked if REDIA is financed from the state budget.  It was explained that at the moment it is financed by the regions, on a project by project basis, but there is a need to look for more permanent funding.

On the European Commission's question about the participation of the autonomous communities, it was said that all the 17 of them take part in REDIA, and 5 of them are on REDIA Board. The Secretariat of the network is provided by the Ministry and projects are financed from other sources.

The meeting noted the presentations.

 

 

 

 

Session 2 Cluster Reports

Agenda item 2.1 Cluster 1 progress report – Isabel Santana

The last Cluster meeting took place in Vienna from 11-12 March 2010.

The update from the IMPEL Secretariat informed the meeting that the overall IMPEL budget in 2010 is higher than the previous year and that new financial procedures applied by the project managers are working very well.

Horst Buether gave an update on the participation in the Mutual Joint Visits to SEVESO sites, as well as on the participation in the Cluster 3 project on Common Regulatory Framework.

The Cluster adopted several project reports and a follow-up will be considered for some of them.

Progress on ongoing projects was also discussed. Several ToRs for new projects will be submitted to the Cluster to be included in the IMPEL AWP 2011.

Michael Nicholson stepped down as the Cluster Secretary and temporary replacement will be provided by the Netherlands.

Horst Buether was appointed as co-Chair of Cluster 1.

The next two meetings will take place in Oslo and in Hungary.

Will Fawcett gave the update from the IRI Review workshop which had taken place the previous day. It was decided that the “IRI Pack” would be produced for the interested countries, giving information on the roles of different participants in the IRI, costs etc. This should help promote the IRI within the institution that was to be reviewed and help get a positive decision from the management.

The meeting adopted the report

 

 

 

 

Agenda item 2.2 Cluster TFS progress report , Nancy Isarin

Nancy Isarin presented the report on behalf of TFS Cluster Chair Edgar Freund.

The TFS Steering Committee held its meeting in Wiesbaden in February 2010. They discussed the preparations for the TFS Conference, the 2nd Multi Annual Work Programme and the restructuring of the Cluster. Ongoing IMPEL projects were discussed, as well as the Augias project, led by the Belgium Federal Police, in which IMPEL TFS is a partner.

Work is ongoing on the Waste Shipment Training DVD, and it is expected in June 2010.

The meeting adopted the report

 

 

 

 

Agenda item 2.3Cluster 3 progress report, Ed Mitchell

Ed Mitchell presented the report, also on behalf of the other co-chair of the Cluster, Jan Teekens. The last Cluster meeting took place in Rome, from 5-6 March, with the best attendance so far, involving 20 participants from 12 member countries. The cluster was updated on the organisation and application of environmental law and better regulation in Italy.

Traditionally, one of the most useful parts of the meeting was the tour de table on current work priorities in different countries.

The meeting also discussed ongoing projects and future initiatives. The ToR for checklists on Seveso will be circulated by written procedure, as it is  currently being drafted.

The next Cluster meeting will take place from 15-16 September in Brussels.

The meeting adopted the report.

 

 

 

 

Agenda item 2.4Improving links SKEP network with Cluster 3 – Terry Shears

The presentation pointed out there are currently 3 networks focusing on the needs of environmental regulation and regulatory authorities: IMPEL- focusing on implementation and enforcement, NEPA- focusing on strategy, and SKEP- focusing on research. A fruitful collaboration between these networks could be realised in the future. For this purpose, SKEP asked for a contact person from the side of IMPEL to serve as a link between the two networks in the future. The meeting appointed Terry Shears.

 

 

 

 

Session 3: On-going activities and completed projects

Agenda item 3.1On-going project: Comparison programme for landfill inspection and monitoring, financing and reporting in June 2010, Waltraud Petek

The Commission initiated this IMPEL project because of considerable gaps in the implementation of the EU provisions. The project deals with 3 problems of landfilling, namely avoiding of uncontrolled waste dumping and illegal landfills, reduction of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfills, and correct waste characterisation and waste acceptance procedure. The activities of the project focused in particular on illegal landfills, reduction targets and sampling. After the kick-off meeting in Vienna in 2008, the questionnaire was drafted and project meetings were organised including 3 site visits.

In 2009 the project had to face serious obstacles as the main consultant had to leave the project due to health reasons. Moreover the project failed to apply for funding in 2010 in time to be included in the LIFE+ application. It was therefore decided to cancel the second questionnaire and the final meeting and to finalise the project.

The final report will be circulated in summer 2010 and recommendations for a possible follow-up project will be given.

The meeting took note of the report.

Peter Wessman thanked IMPEL for the initiative in this area with considerable lack of enforcement. Implementation of waste legislation has been a priority for the EC in recent years, and there is good collaboration with TFS. Hopefully there will be  new initiatives in the future.

Gerard Wolters said that the meeting with the EC on 25 March showed that the waste is indeed a priority. At this point it is good to finalise the current landfills project and think about another one in the meantime.

Germany made a remark on procedural handling. Both the report on the current project and new ToR will be received at the same time. It would be good to receive report in advance so that there is adequate time for discussion.

Portugal said that at the Cluster 1  meeting Austria promised to make the effort to send report by summer so hopefully there  will be enough time to discuss and decide on the new ToR at the next Cluster meeting.

The EC said that regarding the funding arrangements involved, LIFE+ is a  mutual learning exercise. The project could have been saved if the remaining activities had been included in the AWP 2010 before the LIFE+ application was submitted. LIFE+ application is submitted on a yearly basis and every year is regarded separately, so if the money under a project is not spent it does not mean that money can be automatically transferred to the next year.

Gerard Wolters concluded that the meeting took note of the presentation and looks forward to the finalisation of the current project in summer, as well as to the efforts of Cluster 1 to come up with a new ToR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agenda item 3.2 Completed project: Lessons learnt from accidents, Benjamin Huteau

Benjamin Huteau gave the presentation on behalf of BARPI, the bureau of the

Ministry recording and analysing industrial accidents.

This project is organised every 2 years. Its aim is to analyse accidents and share lessons learnt in order to reduce the frequency and gravity of these events. For each accident, a detailed account  is given, including the description of facilities, the event itself, the emergency response, causes and consequences, measures taken and finally, lessons learnt from that particular accident. 270 participants from 21

countries attended the last edition of this project in June 2009. 21 accidents were presented.

The report of the 2009 conference includes the different presentations, speeches and some short analysis about transversal issues. It is available in French and English in paper version, on CD Rom, and at: www.aria.developpement-durable.gouv.fr.

The next conference will take place in 2011.

The EC observed that there are many incidents in connection with pipelines, and asked if any particular difficulties are being encountered.

Benjamin Huteau answered that they are mostly covered by national law, however interesting work can perhaps be done on this.

France advanced the opinion that the starting point should be the installations with a problem.

Germany observed that in that country there are 3 kinds of laws and authorities covering pipelines and they are not responsible for Seveso. It might be helpful to think about having a pipelines directive.

The Netherlands said in their country pipelines are outside installations and the  Inspectorate has new competences in this. It was proposed that it could be investigated if there are authorities within MSs with supervision competences. There are issues with transboundary pipelines, as there are many of them and collaboration is needed in this field.

France said a contact person would be given to provide the requested information.

The EC clarified that the question was not of a political nature, but its aim was to get practical feedback.

It would be useful to know if it would pose problems if  different rules would have to be followed.

Belgium asked if  France would consider broadening the scope of the project to include accidents happening to inspectors. As an example, there was the case of an inspector exposed to chemical substances, and the analysis on the risks was made. It  would be useful to see experiences from other countries, how inspectors need to be trained to avoid accidents etc.

Gerard Wolters proposed that maybe Cluster 1 could discuss this.

France said the project already covers a lot of accidents so perhaps it would be difficult to get relevant persons for a broadened scope. However this can be discussed under Cluster 1.

The meeting adopted the  report and it will be published on the website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agenda item 3.3 Development of performance indicators for inspection authorities (Benjamin Huteau)

The aim of the indicators project was to assess whether simple, comparable, relevant indicators could be identified. In the first phase a long list of 250 indicators was established. The project concluded that single figure indicators are not sufficient and that input, output and outcome indicators are necessary. In the second phase, the list was narrowed down to only 10 indicators, divided into 3 abovementioned categories:

Input indicators: Number of installations, number of installations covered by the plan/year, number of inspectors, number of complaints received relating to installations, staff time per installation inspected.

Output indicators: Number of planned inspections carried out versus total planned inspections, number of site visits, number of non routine inspections, number of complaints dealt with. Big differences were noted between the countries. Time per installation ranged between  5 to 100 hours.

Outcome indicators: number of compliant/ non compliant installations. Compliance is the only outcome indicator retained by the project, but again it is not clear. Sometimes the more you look the more you find, and registered cases of non-compliance are therefore an ambiguous indicator,  however  the general tendency should be that the level of compliance is increasing.

The aim of the third phase was to pilot the indicators. The project concluded that comparability is often low and there is a need for national context. Follow-up work is envisaged both at international and operational level. 

Gerard Wolters observed that these are complicated issues and many opinions are possible. Proposals for future work could be envisaged  at the level of EC, OECD, and perhaps INECE could be involved too as they had a project on this and much information is available there.

Hans Lopatta acknowledged the complexity of the subject. This is a difficult and challenging project but perception that it failed is not true, as results are valuable and good basis for future work.

Some indicators could be dropped but some could be a  good foundation for future work. The  EC is interested in contemplation of further work together  with the OECD and thinks outcome indicators are most important.

As for the difference from  5 to 100 hours per installation, it is an input indicator, which is not meant to say anything on effectiveness but nevertheless represents valuable information . IMPEL was encouraged  to continue work on this.

Belgium said it was very engaged in this project and agreed that conclusions are very complex  as the project touches upon  the heart of the matter, more precisely outcome indicators for enforcers, as the work of inspectors needs to be continued after inspection.

Belgium was also engaged in the  OECD study and the first report is there, but the  results will probably not go much further than the current state of play.

There is also a Canadian study,  but nevertheless  we might only be at the beginning of understanding of this issue.   Work however needs to be continued as it is essential for all compliance and enforcement work.

Mihail Dimovski from ECENA Secretariat said ECENA was involved in this, and a manual was published  on benchmarks, funded by the World Bank. ECENA would be interested in IMPEL project and willing to contribute to it. INECE would definitely be good to consult because it has lots of experience.

Germany also underlined the value of the project, pointing out the value of indicators that are meaningful and comparable.  The results of the project will help to think twice before burdening inspectorates with another reporting obligation because comparability is not something that has been reached until now. We need further projects to find other ways to assess performance.

If comparison between countries proves difficult, the same applies to countries with federal, regional structure. Differences can be noted between regions, local entities and single inspections.

Gerard Wolters concluded that we can be grateful for the work done,  and the project team did a very good job. The report was adopted and  will be published on IMPEL website. There is general consensus about the  need for further work and Cluster 1 will discuss this.

 

Agenda item 3.4 African collaboration project (Erik Forberg)

This project deals with the problem of huge volumes of waste coming from Europe into some west African countries. The project aims at  assessing the situation, both concerning the waste problem and the capacity and organisation of the competent authorities. Furthermore, the goal of the project is to establish contacts in key African countries with competent authorities and to develop a training curriculum for the enforcement programme. A workshop was held in Accra in November 2009 with the participation of five African centres, regional Basel Convention centres, Basel Secretariat and several IMPEL members. The workshop included two site visits and resulted in a comprehensive list of contact points in the region as well as an agreement on future actions. It also got media coverage. Organising a project under LIFE+ in an African country was a big learning experience.

The meeting adopted the  report

Session 4: Organisational matters

Agenda item 4.1 Update of IMPEL Business Plan and Financial issues, IMPEL Secretariat Lukrecija Kireta

Lukrecija Kireta reminded the meeting that some activities were ongoing at the time of the GA in Stockholm and these activities are finalised now, as planned:

-all reimbursements for 2009 were finalised

-the work with the accountant was finalised on closing the accounts for 2009

-documents were prepared for the auditor's review which took place on 2 March 2010. The meeting with the auditor lasted the whole day and consisted of going through all invoices and payment documents for 2009, and answering questions. The audit went very well and the report shows that everything was approved without objections.

-Financial and narrative reports for 2009 were submitted to the EC on 31 March. They are currently being reviewed by the Commission.

Lukrecija showed the graph comparing the planned and spent budget for 2009. Generally, the budget was underspent and the biggest discrepancy between planned and spent money exists under the budget line 2- travel and subsistence. This was due to high normative prices for flights and hotels which were used to calculate the budget. These prices were adjusted for the 2010 budget and therefore the budget should be much better spent and implemented in 2010. Other budget lines were spent with no major gaps between planned and realised.

New financial procedures are working very well and feedback is very positive from Project Managers and participants in projects. Invoices are sent directly to the Secretariat and payments are made before or shortly after the meeting. When reimbursements cannot be avoided, they are notified to the Secretariat in advance and payments are made promptly. In this way, financial certainty is achieved as it is possible to close the budget of the meeting shortly after it takes place and see if there is a leftover that can be spent on other items. It can be concluded that new procedures are a good basis for optimal implementation of the budget in 2010.

The overall budget for 2010 is higher than in 2009. The Budget line 1 is higher because administrative assistance and TFS Secretariat were included in it for the first time. The second budget line-Travel and subsistence- is slightly lower, because of previously mentioned adjusted normative prices for hotels and flights. Budget line 3- Rental and equipment- is lower than before because parking was cancelled and furniture no longer figures in the budget, as it was a one-off cost. Budget line 4- External assistance- is much higher because in 2009, only consultants for website and communication strategy were included in the budget. Meanwhile many countries which responded to the IMPEL Questionnaire said it would be very helpful to have consultants to assist projects paid from the IMPEL budget. Many of them therefore have consultants paid out of this budget line. Budget line 5- Other direct costs- remains the same and covers insurances and bank costs. Budget line 6- Other office costs- was reduced almost by half because now that the office is set up and fully functional less money needs to be spent on this.

The report on the money spent under the 2010 budget shows that it is being implemented as planned. On 8 April, cca 70.000,00 EUR were spent. This is much better compared to 2009, when at the time of the GA in Prague in June, only cca 28.000,00 EUR were spent from the 2009 budget. It is expected that the 2010 budget will be optimally spent and that underspending will not be an issue.

There are some financial points that should be taken into consideration in the future and that stem from the experience in 2009:

-IMPEL is a non-profit association and should therefore realise no profit. This stresses the importance of the good implementation of the budget as the balance on the account at the end of the financial year should be 0. Ideally, budget would be spent exactly as planned, together with contributions from members and the Commission.

-Other sources of financing should be clearly separated from LIFE+. A problem was encountered when the Secretariat of Basel Convention offered to finance a part of the African collaboration project and there was a danger that due to an inflow of money from the third party into the 2010 budget, the Commission's contribution would have to be lowered. The situation was solved by drafting a separate ToR to cover only the part financed by the Secretariat of Basel Convention. This ToR will be included in the LIFE+ application but as a separate item, clearly indicating that this does not belong to the part co-financed by the Commission. The LIFE+ application which was submitted in November 2009 is now being completed by including the missing A6 forms and the second ToR for the African collaboration. The application will be resubmitted by the Secretariat by the end of the month.

-In 2009 the budget was underspent and this is not expected    in 2010 as a result of adjusted normative prices and new financial procedures. However, the thing to bear in mind is the fact that IMPEL only gets the first instalment of the Commission's contribution after the approval of the LIFE application. The second instalment for 2010 will be received after the approval of the Financial and narrative report for 2010, probably in the first months of 2011. This means that IMPEL will have to find a way to pre-finance this second instalment in order to be able to implement the budget and the annual work programme as planned.

Gerard Wolters said excellent work was done on finances by the Secretary  and results are very good in this field, especially considering that IMPEL is going through this process for the first time.

Italy asked whether there is a link between the amount for TFS Secretariat in the budget and the contribution of the Netherlands which figures in the overview of membership fees. It pointed out that if this is paid from IMPEL budget, the requirements for TFS Secretariat should be the same as for the IMPEL Secretariat.

The Secretariat explained that the amount foreseen for TFS Secretariat indeed corresponds to the earmarked contribution given for this purpose by the Netherlands. The Netherlands confirmed this.

Italy further enquired what is the purpose of the item “Organisation of other events” under the budget line External assistance and why it is separated from the consultant for the communication strategy if it is a part of it.

The Secretariat explained that the consultant of the communication strategy will be working essentially on updating the webpage, whereas the amount of 5.000,00 EUR foreseen for other events will cover events that do not fall under any particular project, but will be developed throughout the year with other stakeholders. Some of these events were discussed during the meeting with the Commission on 25 March, as well as during Cluster meetings.

 

Agenda item 4.2 Overview by IMPEL Secretariat , Lukrecija Kireta

Lukrecija Kireta began the presentation by showing the photograph of the IMPEL office. Setting up and equipping it was a long process which the Secretary finalised after 9 months and the last item was installation of the fax line. The fax number of the IMPEL office is: 00 32 2 770 87 17.

The Secretary hosted several meetings in the IMPEL office in 2010. The first one was the visit of the ECENA Secretariat. The Secretary took the opportunity to thank ECENA for very good collaboration and fruitful exchange programmes and meetings she attended. IPPC-WFD and CRF projects also organised meetings in the IMPEL office and plan some more at the same venue. The Secretary pointed out that the advantage of holding a project meeting in Brussels is that it is very easy to also schedule a meeting with the representatives of the Commission and get some inputs from them. She therefore hopes that Project managers will continue using the IMPEL office in the future. Also, several Board meetings were held there, as well as meetings with the accountant and the auditor.

The Secretary thanked all Cluster Chairs for inviting her to Cluster meetings, which was a very good and useful experience.

On 10 February the Secretary attended the final conference of ECAP (Environmental Compliance Assistance Programme for SMEs) in Brussels. The organisers were interested to know if IMPEL was developing a project targeting SMEs. As this was not the case, the Secretary presented the Easy Tools project, as an example of IMPEL work. This could perhaps be an opportunity for future collaboration.

On 25 March, a meeting was held between the representatives of the IMPEL Board and the Commission. The minutes of the meeting will be circulated by the Secretariat after the GA.

The following activities are planned to be held at the Secretariat before the end of the month: Meeting with the consortium that will be running RENA, of which ECENA will be a part in the future; final meeting with the accountant; IPPC-WFD project meeting.

The Secretary will produce an updated financial report covering the whole first trimester of 2010. All payments for this period will be made before the end of the month and Project managers are invited to send any pending invoices to the Secretariat by 20 April at the latest.

 

Agenda item 4.3 Amendments of IMPEL Rules, Terry Shears

Terry Shears reminded the meeting that the GA in Stockholm proposed  several amendments to IMPEL Internal and Financial rules. The Rules were circulated to all National Coordinators for comments and after that the amendments were finalised by the Board, and agreed upon at its meeting of 9 February. The modified rules were circulated to National Coordinators together with the minutes of the Board meeting and no further comments were received.

Regarding the recruitment of the Secretary, Italy made the following comment: the initial proposal was that no member of the interviewing panel should be of the same nationality as the interviewed candidates. Even if this proposal was not accepted in the modified Rules, they should at least contain the provision on avoiding the conflict of interest. This is the case with many other international organisations.

France pointed out that the same nationality does not imply the conflict of interest, but agreed with the general point about avoiding the conflict of interest.

Germany suggested that the  IMPEL address be checked in the rules, and also said that every document entered in the online library should have a date to help keep track of the different versions of the documents.

It was unanimously agreed that the clause on avoiding the conflict of interest when recruiting the new Secretary would be included in the rules.

 

Agenda item 4.4 Election of new Chair and Vice-Chair

Carmen Canales presented the proposal of the Board to re-elect the current Chair and Vice-Chair for a period of another year. The meeting unanimously re-elected Gerard Wolters as Chair and Terry Shears as Vice Chair of IMPEL for another year.

 

Agenda item 4.5 IMPEL Communication Strategy and website; Survey on Inspection networks, Jan Teekens

Jan Teekens presented the Survey of Networks Supporting Inspection and Surveillance in the Member States, which was previously presented at Cluster meetings. The Survey is of special importance for IMPEL because it is one of the networks targeted by the study. The conclusions of the study show that many of the characteristics of successful networks in the field apply to IMPEL which proves that it has evolved into a mature network.

Jan Teekens gave the update on the new  IMPEL website which went online even though work is still ongoing on filling in some of its sections. This is a very time consuming task and the meeting witnessed the demonstration of uploading an item on the website.

Basecamp is a useful tool for project management and it will be made available to Project Managers and other project participants. More instructions will be sent on how to use it.

All IMPEL members are invited to share their comments and suggestions on how to make best use of the new website.

Gerard Wolters concluded by thanking Lukrecija Kireta, Will Fawcett, Nancy Isarin, Jan Teekens and Rob Kramers for the work done on updating the website.

The meeting took note of presentation on the Survey and endorsed the necessity of making instructions on how to use the website, as well as the need for users' feedback.

 

Agenda item 4.6 IMPEL Conference 2012 , Sergei Golovkin

Sergei Golovkin thanked the Board for approving Malta's proposal to host the Conference in 2012. Malta is especially honoured by this, also because 2012 is a special year, as the 6th EAP will be replaced by the new instrument and IMPEL with its reputation, expertise and Europe-wide representation is well placed to assist this process.

Mr. Golovkin  showed the movie presenting Malta as a historically and culturally rich conference destination. He mentioned that Malta is the smallest EU Member State in terms of surface and population. Nevertheless, it has been a melting pot and “meeting place” for many centuries and nowadays  this tradition is continued.

Mr. Golovkin  gave the following update on the progress  with the first phase of organising the Conference, included in the Annual Work Programme 2010. In  Stockholm, countries expressed interest in participating in the Preparatory committee. The IMPEL Secretary contacted these countries and asked them to nominate the participants in the PrepCom. Some countries already replied.

The work will continue on two tracks:

Logistically, different options will be explored by Malta.

As for the agenda, the Conference should be clear about its objectives, as the goal is to make a conference that will stand out from the rest and make an impact.

A suggestion was advanced that the GA should have a workshop to brainstorm ideas for the agenda of the Conference.

Mr. Golovkin  concluded by saying that Malta is very pleased to have the support  of Ed Eggink who offered assistance to co-chair the PrepCom.

Gerard Wolters said IMPEL appreciated the offer of Malta to host the Conference. There is a lot of work ahead, which also includes  discussing  funding arrangements.

 

Agenda item 4.7 New Members

Terry Shears informed the meeting that Iceland formally requested membership of IMPEL, and proposed that the issue of the membership fee be discussed with the Board.

The meeting unanimously adopted the proposal.

Kristin Linda Arnadottir offered to give a presentation on the latest volcano activity in Iceland, which  the meeting followed with interest.

 

Agenda item 4.8 - Developments with regard to the implementation of EU Waste legislation-Waste Implementation Agency and Minimum Criteria for waste related inspections (Terry Shears)

Terry Shears said that the meeting with the Commission of 25 March showed clearly that waste and especially landfills are a big issue. He asked Peter Wessman to inform the meeting about the latest state of play regarding the implementation of Waste Agency

Peter Wessman said that this area has the highest rate of complaints alongside nature protection.

The EC is collaborating with MSs to emphasise the importance of enforcement,  but at the same time  new ways of tackling the issue are being explored.

The study on the feasibility of the Waste Agency is available on the EC webpage. The study recommends an EU mechanism, mentions the agency option, as well as the  possibilities of other bodies. IMPEL is mentioned in the final  report. The report was produced by independent subcontracted experts, and the EC has not yet decided how to use the study.

The study identifies seriousness of gaps, but also potential benefits of strengthening enforcement and implementation, such as creating a level playing field, possibilities of innovation etc.

The Commission is now at the stage of the assessment, and  would like to continue close exchange of information with IMPEL. It would  also like to promote new projects, especially regarding the implementation of the Landfill Directive.

France observed that it might not be such a good idea to add another body to the local level. France is enthusiastic about the exchange of  information  with IMPEL and other levels of collaboration, but not so much about the agency.

Gerard Wolters said perhaps it is not time for IMPEL to give views on the desirability of the Agency. A proposal was prepared for a response on behalf of IMPEL.

Terry Shears agreed that it is probably not appropriate for IMPEL as a network to say “yes” or “no” to the Agency, as different countries have different views. He read the text of the proposal for IMPEL's response on the feasibility of the creation of the Agency, and asked for comments:

Suggested elements for IMPEL’s response

to the Study on a Waste Implementation Agency

·    IMPEL appreciates the efforts of the EC in general to improve the implementation of the EU legislation on waste;

·    IMPEL is concerned about the multitude of EC initiatives in this field and asks for a transparent and coherent strategy;

·    IMPEL would like to stress in this respect also the importance of linking the Waste initiatives to other EC initiatives related to improving implementation and enforcement of EC Environmental law, like the review of the RMCEI;

·    IMPEL would like to suggest the Commission to more regularly inform IMPEL about the different developments so that IMPEL when deemed necessary can give timely and adequate feedback from the practitioners’ point of view;

·    IMPEL is interested to hear from the Commission what further steps it currently is considering;

·    IMPEL acknowledges the challenges when it comes to strengthening the  implementation and enforcement of EU Waste legislation;

·    Such a challenge is for instance the need to develop commonly agreed minimum requirements and comprehensive practical guidance on planning and carrying out WSR inspections and the review of authorities implementing these ;

·    IMPEL thinks it can and should take up these challenges, regardless of a future debate on a possible Waste Implementation Agency; the expertise and experience of the participants within the different IMPEL Clusters make the network uniquely qualified to work on such regulatory and technical aspects of EU environmental legislation;

·    When broadening and intensifying its work on Waste, IMPEL would however need the increased support and cooperation from the Commission.

Germany mentioned that  TFS Steering Committee  also prepared a report on this, and asked who  this response will  come from?

Nancy Isarin confirmed that TFS SC drafted some inputs and circulated them to some Board members.

Gerard Wolters concluded that only one draft response is to be considered as IMPEL's official response.

France said the response is balanced,  as it talks about future work and is responding to the problem

Belgium observed that the  north of Belgium has had a waste agency for 30 years and no major problem on the  treatment of waste was encountered. It is not sure if that part of Belgium is covered in the Survey.

As TFS Cluster is about shipments of waste, and not waste treatment, it  is not so sure TFS would be the right body to prepare a response.

Italy proposed some stylistic improvements and pointed out that the waste agency would not look only on shipments but also other issues, so the proposal for response should be reformulated in this sense.

It also pointed out that the reviewing of a policy of a country is not possible so the point mentioning the review should be modified.

Likewise, the point on the support from the Commission seems to be unnecessary as  there is already an MoU with the  EC.

Peter Wessman said there are significant diversities across the EU on how legislation is put into place. No position has yet been taken at the EC level.

Gerard Wolters noted the preference for  a general reaction of IMPEL as the most appropriate, considering that the study is only a first step. It is important for IMPEL to be on board when the EC is talking to stakeholders, otherwise IMPEL is standing aside from the process.

If necessary,  more time could be taken to respond, given that a general comment is not immediately necessary.

The EC said it would be very useful to have IMPEL's views within 2 months. There are no deadlines for this, but  any contribution is welcome.

Germany observed  that perhaps it is useful to first pronounce IMPEL's  general opinion and say we would  like to be involved. Later on perhaps individual members can specify and add on to this with their knowledge

Croatia  suggested that the point asking the Commission to inform IMPEL on further developments would be better placed as a concluding point of the document.

Gerard Wolters agreed  that would be an  improvement, and also agreed with Germany and France that it is a good tactical step to advance a general IMPEL view first and then perhaps complement it at a later stage.

Italy agreed that a response should be given, but  stressed the importance of changes in the point on the review.

Terry Shears  explained that on the point of review, that is exactly what the IRI initiative  does and this represents an important part of the work of IMPEL.

Regarding the point on more resources to broaden the scope, it has to be noted that IMPEL has been  very active on TFS issues, but has not done much on landfills. So this point is saying that this is a new direction and this will require  more resources. Obviously this would have to be subject of negotiation and we will see what happens, but at this moment it is a  fair comment to make.

Germany asked if it would help to say “IRI” instead of the review.

Ireland observed that calling it IRI might be limited but as IMPEL is not a regulator, maybe we can call it voluntary review instead of IRI. This wording was agreed upon.

 

Session 5: Parallel Workshops

Agenda item 5.1 and 5.2

Two parallel workshops were held, one covering IMPEL Strategic Issues: MAWP 2011-2015 and the other discussing IMPEL Organization Issues: Organization of General Assembly and Cluster Meetings

 

Session 6: Reporting back from the parallel workshops

Agenda item 6.1 Results from workshops/small discussion

Strategic issues

Due to the financial crisis, a lot of countries are undergoing budget cuts, and this has to be taken into account.

When discussing the scope of IMPEL’s work , climate change initiatives received support, however the focus should remain on permitting, inspections and enforcement.

Training of inspectors is important, which prepares them for the new directives.

New upcoming directives should be kept in mind, as well as international  level developments at OECD, as well as synergies between Stockholm, Rotterdam and Basel conventions.

Better integration between work of clusters would be welcome. There should be a clear link between MAWP of IMPEL and those of the individual Clusters. They should refer to the new EAP and reflect the new IMPEL structure.

It was decided that the MAWP issue would be taken forward by a working group, in which  Clusters and the Board should be represented. The work could be done using Basecamp, and  perhaps a meeting could be held if necessary. Terry Shears will contact Cluster Chairs to nominate people who will participate. France and co-chairs of Cluster 1 already volunteered.

Organisation

It was agreed that IMPEL should retain two  General Assemblies per year, which would take place a bit later than this year, namely  in May and November.

Cluster meetings would take place 3-4 weeks before the GA to allow for time to deliver materials.

Agenda for the spring meetings would focus on priorities and strategy of the network.

The second one would deal with projects approval and LIFE+ budget and application.

 

Session 7: Other Networks

Agenda item 7.1

Reports from European Commission (Hans Lopatta)

 

Hans Lopatta said that there were not many new developments since the last update.

The Spanish Presidency presented the  progress report at the Council meeting in March and the position of the EC remains unchanged.

The work is ongoing on the  implementation of air pollution legislation.

The second reading of the emissions directive at the EP is ongoing

Concerning Seveso II directive, the  incorporation of the new system of classification is a  major issue

In the area of the EU waste legislation, the emphasis is on implementation and enforcement.

The review of drinking water quality directive is being prepared.

The transposition of the environmental  crime directive is  due in the future.

On RMCEI, the  EC launched an  impact assessment study, and the deadline for completion is June 2010.

IMPEL's view on the present situation and the revision of NEC Directive would be welcome.

Austria asked if it would be possible  to get information on the level of implementation on waste from the Commission when getting the update.

Italy supported the  Austrian proposal not only for  waste but also on other issues of interest to IMPEL.

The meeting noted the report

 

Agenda item 7.2 Update on NEPA activities

Terry Shears reported on the recent plenary meeting in Bilbao. One of the interest groups is focusing on better regulation and is  trying to encourage EC to have 7th EAP and putting forward ideas on what might be in it.

The network is also looking at the  lack of coherence between different pieces of legislation, especially  in the  light of climate change.

It was agreed that the proposal on waste agency is not a particularly good idea.

The network is also working on the so-called  “irritation factor” of environmental legislation.

A proposal was advanced for an interest group on noise.

Paul Leinster was chair of the Better Regulation Interest Group and had suggested joint or overlapping meetings between BRIG and IMPEL Cluster 3 at least once a year.

 

Agenda item 7.3 Update on INECE activities

Gerard Wolters gave the update on INECE activities. The preparation of 9th conference will be discussed shortly.  It was highlighted in particular that a climate change event will take place in London in June, and people are invited to register.

The meeting noted the report

 

Agenda item 7.4

Update on ECENA activities (Mihail Dimovski)

In the framework of the new ECENA Communication strategy a new comprehensive webpage was created, online discussion forum was developed, and ECENA newsletter and Facebook profile were created.

Under Cluster 1- Exchange and training- two exchange programmes were held, in Ohrid and Zagreb.

Several national trainings in national languages were held in different countries, focusing on IPPC, Seveso II, LCP and RMCEI.

Under Cluster 3- Environmental crime- programmes were organized in Hungary and Austria.

REC has not formally been notified if ECENA ToR will be updated so it is not clear if REC will carry on with its work.

The meeting noted the report.

 

Agenda item 7.5 Update on RENA activities (Joanna Fiedler)

RENA stands for Regional Environmental Network for Accession. It has the following 4 thematic working groups:

-Strategic Planning & Investments

-Climate Change

-Cross-Border Cooperation on water, nature, EIA & SEA

-Implementation and Enforcement

Inclusion of ECENA in the working group 4 of RENA will allow  for the work on implementation and enforcement to be more closely linked with other pre-accession tasks. In the first phase of RENA collaboration with IMPEL should be defined.

Austria observed that it has a lot of bilateral projects with the Western Balkans, and presumably this is the case of other countries too.

In reply to questions, it was explained that the  members of working groups will be selected in a way that  Ministers of environment will nominate contact points.

It might be interesting to have an IMPEL representative, so once the working plan is there, the Commission will send it to the IMPEL Secretariat and consider future collaboration

The meeting noted the report

 

Agenda item 7.6 Update on REPIN activities

The meeting took note of the written report.

 

Agenda item 7.7 Update on Greenforce activities (Martin Baranyai)

Exchange of experiences related to INTERREG funds took place in March. In June, awareness raising activities covering NATURA 2000 were organised. Especially interesting were the issues concerning poaching situation in Malta and the illegal logging in Czech Republic.

The meeting noted the presentation.

 

Session 8: Miscellaneous activities

Agenda item 8.1 Summary conclusions

Lukrecija Kireta presented the Summary Conclusions of the meeting and they were adopted as outlined below:

Summary Conclusions of GA Cordoba

Session 2: Cluster Reports

The meeting adopted the reports of Cluster 1, Cluster TFS and Cluster 3

Session 3: Ongoing activities and completed projects

l    The meeting took note of the progress report of the project on landfill inspection and monitoring. The final report is expected in summer 2010.

l    The meeting adopted the reports of the following projects:

    -Lessons learnt from accidents

    -Development of performance indicators for inspection authorities

    -African collaboration project

Session 4: Organisational matters

l    The Secretariat will undertake the following actions before the end of the month:

-produce an updated financial report

-resubmit the LIFE application with the remaining A6 forms and with another ToR for African collaboration project, in order to accommodate the financial contribution from the Secretariat of the Basel convention.

-circulate the minutes of the meeting between the European Commission and the Board

l    The meeting took note of the amended IMPEL internal and financial rules.

The Italian proposal on the introduction of the clause on avoiding the conflict of interest when recruiting the Secretary will be taken forward by the Board.

l    Gerard Wolters and Terry Shears were reelected as the Chair and the Vice Chair of IMPEL for the period of another year

l    IMPEL Conference 2012 will take place in Malta. The interested countries are invited to nominate participants for the Preparatory Committee.

l    Iceland was welcomed as the new IMPEL member. The membership fee will be discussed with the Board

Session 5: Two parallel workshops

IMPEL Strategic issues

A small working group will be established to draft the new MAWP. Terry will contact Cluster Chairs and ask them to nominate participants

IMPEL Organisational issues

2 GAs  per year will be held in the future, one in May on organisational and strategic issues, another in November on projects, budget and LIFE application

Session 7: Other networks

l    The meeting took note of the update of the European Commission as well as of  following networks: NEPA, INECE, ECENA, RENA and Greenforce.

l    The next General Assembly will take place in Brussels from 18-19 November 2010.

 

Agenda item 8.2 Next General assembly in Belgium (Jean-Pierre Janssens)

The next General Assembly will take place in Brussels from 18-19 November 2010. The venue for the meeting will be the Atomium, the symbol of Brussels.

Before closing the meeting, Gerard Wolters said goodbye on behalf of the meeting to the following members of IMPEL family:  Tricia Henton, Mihail Dimovski and Inga Birgitta Larsson. He expressed appreciation for Tricia's involvement in the Network in spite of a very busy schedule at the Environment Agency. He said Mihail's enthousiasm would be missed and thanked Inga Birgitta for her involvement in the Network.

He also said goodbye to Lukrecija Kireta, the  first Secretary of independent association, who had made a lot of progress in setting up the Secretariat, especially on administrative and financial issues. IMPEL can be very proud of the results achieved and thanks Lukrecija wishing her all the best in  the future.

Zveřejněno: 07.07.2010 –Jana Rambousková ; Přečteno 3668 x
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