State of Play Review of Environmental Policy Integration Literature
Environmental Policy Integration (EPI) has provoked several attempts to provide comprehensive analytic frameworks and syntheses. Academic analyses and policy-focused synthesis of EPI emphasise multifaceted approaches rather than advocating a singular understanding. This work will provide an up-to-date review of the EPI or environmental main-streaming literature in both academic and policy debates. It will provide an overview of the (i) theory and conceptual development; (ii) methodologies outlined and (iii) provide useful examples of current applications in policy across Europe and internationally. In section two we discuss the ‘meaning of integration’ and more specifically the issues of ‘environmental’, ‘policy’ and ‘sectoral’ integration and various attempts to provide useful analytical frameworks for EPI. We suggest that the challenges facing EPI are best understood within the context of a multi-dimensional approach to the governance of sustainability. Despite the fact that sustainable development and climate change appeared to become increasingly decoupled in the 21st century sector empirical cases studies suggest that a conceptual and practical re-coupling is necessary to prevent societal responses to the climate challenge doing more harm than good. We explore the growing emphasis on Climate Policy Integration (CPI) in policy debates and sketch an evaluative framework synthesising recent insights from the literature on CPI and EPI. In section three we consider the relationship between transitions to sustainability and EPI. We begin with a short discussion on sustainability transitions and ‘transitions management’. We then consider lessons from the wider landscape scan for new normative horizons and developments in governance with relevance for EPI. The report then moves on to look at re-framing of EPI in two distinct policy areas over a longer time-frame; specifically agriculture and energy in the EU, showing how changing goals have posed different challenges for integration. This section concludes with an exploration of different cases in geographical clusters across Europe to gain an understanding of both successes and challenges emanating from practical engagements with EPI at the level of implementation. In the conclusion we reflect on the contextual challenges of addressing environmental policy integration and the re-framing of sustainability in Ireland as the concept of sustainability transitions begins to enter the lexicon of Irish environmental policy discourse.
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