Peer reviews (under 2003-2006 BERCEN)

  • During the second BERCEN plenary meeting, held in September 2003, an agreement was made to carry out peer reviews of the transposition and implementation of the IPPC Directive and of the Recommendations on Minimum Criteria for Environmental Inspections (RMCEI). The main purpose of the peer review is to assist countries in the EU accession process by identifying and analysing potential weaknesses in the IPPC legislation and in RMCEI implementation in inspection practice. The experts involved in the peer reviews are fellow members of the ECENA network and external IMPEL countries' consultants on an equal basis. The ECENA Secretariat manages the process: the secretariat team wrote some of the texts and carried out the benchmarking part of the peer review in its entirety. The methodology for the peer reviews included a preliminary preparatory phase, followed by a mission in the country, the drafting of key findings and recommendations, and their compilation into a single document. The host country provided feedback, which was then incorporated into the final text.

    The peer review is strictly confidential and is to be used only by the European Commission and the host country for the purposes of improving legislation, implementation and inspection practices. 

    The following ECENA member countries underwent peer reviews in the period 2005-2006:

    • Serbia, October 2005
    • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, February 2006
    • Kosovo (as defined under UNSCR 1244), March 2006
    • Croatia, June 2006
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina, September 2006
    • Albania, March 2006

    If you would like further details about the individual reports, please contact the ECENA network coordinators.

    Among their potential benefits, peer reviews:

    • provide a clear picture of the situation regarding enforcement systems and integrated permitting in ECENA countries;
    • assist countries with recommendations for follow-up steps to improve enforcement systems and IPPC implementation;
    • encourage action in these countries in order to speed up reforms in the enforcement system and IPPC implementation;
    • encourage further collaboration between inspection bodies of ECENA member countries, as well as with the inspectorates of EU member states on common issues or problems, on exchange of experience and the development and dissemination of good practices in environmental regulation;
    • provide advice to inspectorates who may be seeking an external view of their structure, operation or performance by trusted, knowledgeable and independent counterparts for the purposes of benchmarking;
    • spread good practices, which will lead to the improved quality of inspectorates and inspections, and contribute to the continuous improvement of quality and consistency in applying environmental law;
    • create closer links to IMPEL and transfer experience from the Impel Review Initiative;
    • assist countries in the EU accession process; and
    • provide the European Commission with expert views on the situation in ECENA member countries regarding environmental permitting and enforcement.

    Purpose of the peer review

    Peer reviews provide an opportunity to examine each country’s policy in a particular area. The IPPC Directive and the RMCEI are examined by fellow members of the ECENA network and external IMPEL countries' consultants on an equal basis, and this lies at the heart of the process. A country seeking to improve its system can learn valuable lessons from its peers on what has worked and what has not worked in other countries. This can save time and costly experimenting in establishing the best policies for a particular country. The recommendations resulting from such a review can also help governments win support at home for difficult measures.


    The peer review starts with a preparation phase, during which the ECENA Secretariat, together with the country counterparts, collects all the information relevant to the peer review. This includes IPPC laws and subsidiary legislation, MCEI laws or decrees, relevant reports, relevant templates, country background etc. All documents are provided in English where possible. Where an important document is not available in English, a short summary of the main points is drafted. All documents are sent to the consultants well in advance so that they can get acquainted with the materials. The ECENA Secretariat identifies all possible informers to the peer review team. An agenda is drafted.
    The second phase of the process is the mission in the country. Meetings last between one and three days, depending on the scope of the issues discussed. Where an ECENA member country has adopted IPPC legislation, an entire day is dedicated to it. Issues concerning MCEI and benchmarking are covered in a day; and one day is dedicated to site visits. During the meetings and the interviews, consultants facilitate the sessions and ask questions. Each consultant is responsible for a certain section of the report. The ECENA Secretariat compiles and edits the individual reports.
    The drafting of the reports is the third phase of the process and is managed by the ECENA Secretariat. The consultants discuss the findings, conclusions and recommendations.
    The draft final report is sent to the host country for comments and corrections, which are then discussed and incorporated in the report. The final report is shared with the host country and remains confidential.

Network plenary meetings

Annual meeting of all ECENA members

Regional training programmes

Training for key personnel, helping them to spread know-how in their home countries

Exchange programmes

Informal trainings featuring roundtable discussions, the sharing of experience and practical approaches to enforcement

Peer reviews (under 2003-2006 BERCEN)

Assisting countries to identify and analyse potential weaknesses in implementing environmental legislation

Study tours

Visits to third-party countries to gain understanding of how a national environmental protection system works

Participation in international meetings

Participation of ECENA members in the events of sister networks

National Trainings

Trainings held in the beneficiary countries and in the local language


Collection of useful documents