Pan-European Analysis of Environmental Assessment Processes

Pan-European Analysis of Environmental Assessment Processes

Robert Kenward (Anatrack Ltd, UK), Julie A. Ewald (Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, UK) and Robin J.A. Sharp (European Sustainable Use Specialist Group of IUCN-SSC, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2824-3.ch007


This chapter presents data on variation between national and local levels for information requirements, and on the pattern of data within these levels across Europe. It notes high decision-making, use, and generation of information at local level, with high variability between countries in some factors relevant to governance of environmental decisions.
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The strategic objective of TESS is “to design a decision support system related to environment and land use that will enable policy makers to integrate knowledge from the regional and local level into the decision making process, while also encouraging local people to maintain and restore biodiversity ecosystem services”. To design such a system, three requirements are to:

  • Identify the information needs of policy makers and how this information is obtained;

  • Identify information needs for decision making at more local levels; and

  • Identify governance that aids biodiversity and thus that such a system should support.

These requirements were the basis for the Pan-European survey.

The pilot studies of governance in Chapters 2 and 3 tested questions to be used for the Pan-European survey, while Chapter 4 showed how information flows could be visualised to examine differing requirements between stakeholders and levels of government. Chapter 5 started a process of assessing forecasting capabilities available in models. Chapter 6 set the scene for more detailed analysis of how governance may impact the environment, and hence be guided through a TESS, by describing the Pan-European survey and resulting database of 65 variables across 31 countries.

The variation in cultural history and governance processes across Europe provides a rich field for analysis of associations between social institutions and impacts on the environment. Some of these associations are likely to be causal, and thus indicate governance mechanisms which, if identified, can be used to minimise adverse impacts or even promote beneficial ones. Thus, if governance mechanism A causes impact B, modifying A may provide useful adaptive governance. Alternatively, if environmental impact B affects people and thus relates strongly and causally to a socio-economic impact C, and C is more easily measured than B, then C may be a useful indicator of B.

Chapter 6 included recognition that robust analyses of associations need statistically representative information. However, robust analyses also need to take into account the patterning of information across countries. The patterns across countries are of interest because they show differences between countries; however, patterns also need to be smoothed (and if possible normalised) before use in the parametric multivariate analyses in Chapter 8. Thus, looking back to Figure 4 in Chapter 6, a majority of 12 countries had 3 Ministries at national level making decisions affecting the environment, with 9 having just one or two such Ministries and then a tail of 1-2 countries each having 4,5,6,7 or 8 Ministries involved, again totalling 9 countries. This skewed pattern gave 3 categories (of 9, 12 and 9 countries with 1-2, 3 and 4-8 Ministries respectively, for analyses in Chapter 8 to see whether environmental outcomes related to having more Ministries involved.

Figure 4.

The intensity of decisions, taking account not only of decision numbers per management unit but also area covered by each decision and relative abundance of different management units, indicates greater importance of private than state decisions

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