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Policy instruments

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Policies have a key role in determining, and improving the state of our environment. European environmental policies developed significantly since the first Environment Action Programme was decided in 1973; since then several hundred legal acts addressing environmental issues have been adopted. Environmental policy evaluation helps to identify how and which policies work; and what their contribution can be for ‘living well, within the limits of our planet’. More

Key facts and messages
Driven by structural change, fast-growing workforces and trade liberalisation, developing regions are rapidly increasing their share of global economic output, trade and investment. more
For Europe, this rebalancing presents competitive threats but also economic opportunities in meeting the demand of a fast growing global middle class. The emergence of a larger and more diverse mixture of major economic powers may, however,... more
In the context of rapid globalisation, governments are facing a mismatch between the increasingly long-term, global, systemic challenges facing society and their more national and short-term focus and powers. more
The need for more coordinated governance at the global scale has been reflected in the proliferation of international environmental agreements, particularly during the 1990s. More recently, businesses and civil society have also taken an increasing... more
Per capita consumption of material resources increased between 2000 and 2012 in 13 countries and decreased in 19. Significant increases were primarily due to large-scale infrastructure investments, with the largest declines related to the economic... more
Four countries have consistently been the most resource-efficient economies, with six remaining at the bottom of resource-productivity rankings, indicating opportunities for further improvements and actions. more


European Environment Agency (EEA)
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