The EU has set ambitious policy targets for its sustainable development. To attain and sustain such goals, the EU funded the APRAISE (Assessment of policy impacts on sustainability in Europe) project, consisting of 10 environmental research agencies. The project has provided an analysis that will allow the formulation of more efficacious, efficient and effective (3E) EU sustainability policies. One of the project's main accomplishments was the development of the 3E method for evaluating policy results. It is intended on helping policymakers to more systematically assess the anticipated effects of a policy, by making better-informed assumptions about their contextual, implementation and stakeholder behaviour aspects. It accounts for a wide range of factors influencing policy and, as it is implemented, it is envisaged to improve knowledge, and the consequent effectiveness, of environmental policy instruments. The APRAISE 3E method, in combination with quantified models, was tested through six case studies across seven EU Member States. Case studies considered the interactions of various policies. These included, among others, policies relating to wind energy and hydropower generation and their effects on ecosystems, as well as renewable energy generation and its conflict with other environmental policies. Additional fields included policy interactions on sustainable buildings, waste management policies and synergies and trade-offs among proportion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources production and energy efficiency promotion policy instruments. APRAISE importantly noted the necessity of focusing not only on achieving targets as this can mask underlying unsustainability or policy inefficiencies, as some of the case studies showed. Instead, environmental policies must pay close attention to processes of policy design, implementation and evaluation if they are to support the EU's medium- and long-term sustainability goals. The project used a variety of methods to ensure dissemination of its results and continued implementation of its methods and tools. These included the production of leaflets, brochures, videos, newsletters, and several articles in high-visibility newsletters and magazines. Members have also attended external conferences and workshops where the case studies and the 3E method were analysed and discussed. Valuable feedback provided by the project on effective policy implementation will hopefully lead to a stronger and more sustainable EU. This will be an EU capable of environmental leadership, not only setting but also continually attaining goals through effective policy processes.
Sustainability policies, policy implementation, policy analysis, sustainable development