Keywords: European Environment Agency, indicators, integrated environmental assessment, policy evaluation, research needs
Towards integrated environmental assessment support for the European Community's environmental action programme process
This paper firstly discusses the strategy for integrated environmental assessment (IEA) at the European Environment Agency (EEA), addressing the principles, definition and scope, and summarising the state of the art. The IEA process is described within the framework of the DPSIR concept a chain of causal links going from Driving Forces, Pressures, States to Impacts, which finally leads to political Responses. A key objective of IEA is to facilitate the framing and implementation of policies and strategies. Secondly, the paper summarises the results of the first broader exercise of IEA at the EEA an environmental assessment of the European Community's Fifth Action Programme. Although limited in scope, the exercise provides lessons to be learned. Therefore, the paper concludes, assessments should be validated and be based on the most up-to-date findings, and links need to be created and maintained with the appropriate scientific/research communities. The IEA concept and its approaches should be further elaborated on a European scale according to prominent environmental problems that have a transboundary or a multi-national character. Cost-benefit studies should be enhanced. Finally, improved information is required on the DPSIR framework, including the interrelationship between the economic and environmental systems.