Factor in the project Assessment of government capacity to implement sustainability transitions in the European Union for the World Bank
26 June 2020
The European Union is one of the world's most important actors in the field of climate action and sustainable development. In 2019 the European Green Agreement was approved. Thanks to the Agreement, one of its most important policies, the European Cohesion Policy, was developed and one of its five priorities is to make a "greener, lower-carbon Europe" between 2021 and 2027.
In order to make Europe a reference in the area of sustainability and the environment, fundamental changes must be made to both its economic and social system, which involves a transformation of traditional businesses through sustainable transitions.
All Member States of the Union do not operate equally in terms of environmental transitions. Therefore, a framework has been designed to assess the individual capacity of the members, in order to design and implement these transformations in a personalized way. Thanks to the results of their assessment, EU Members can learn and implement specific efforts to achieve policy objectives at European level.
The framework consists of two dimensions:
- Attributes of government actions (such as leadership, strategy, policy, coordination, accountability).
- Features of sustainability transitions (which are evidence-based, socially inclusive, long-term, backed-up by resources, aware of trade-offs and synergies)
In practice, assessment takes place using a detailed set of multiple-choice questions. Given the variety of contexts sustainability transitions must take place in, the assessment framework is conveniently split into several sectoral assessment frameworks on specific topics ranging from public expenditure to biodiversity. In some cases, there are over 100 questions addressing government capacity to implement sustainability transitions in a certain area. In addition, the questions are accompanied by guidance on their relevance and how to answer them in practice, the end-users of the framework being the EU Member States. The employment of user-friendly ICT tools that summarize the assessment results facilitates their easy interpretation by decision-makers and thereby assures the usefulness of the tool.
Overall, the project poses an interesting challenge on how to strike the right balance between detailed sector-specific evaluation, cross-sectoral consistency and practical applicability.
Factor Ideas for change
Factor has more than 15 years of experience offering technical consulting services in the areas of climate change adaptation and mitigation, carbon footprint analysis, sustainability, circular economy, renewable energy and carbon markets, amongst other things, undertaken on behalf of governments and international organizations, as well as for over 400 companies, with more than 1,100 projects undertaken within 40+ countries.