27th EPA Network plenary meeting, Porto

The European Network of the Heads of Environment Protection Agencies (EPA Network) held its 27th plenary meeting in Porto, Portugal, on 27-28 October 2016. The meeting was hosted by the Portuguese Environment Agency.

About 60 participants representing around 30 environmental organisations from across Europe took part in the meeting. The Network was also pleased to welcome again Daniel Calleja-Crespo, Director General of DG Environment in the European Commission, to the meeting.

The meeting was opened by Nuno Lacasta, Director General of the Portuguese Environment Agency, who welcomed participants and gave an overview of the work of the Portuguese Environment Agency. Thereafter, the mayor of Porto, Mr. Rui Moreira, welcomed participants to Porto.

In the 2nd session, Daniel Calleja Crespo (European Commission) and Hans Bruyninckx (EEA) updated the plenary on current development in EU environmental policy and the ongoing and planned work of the Commission and the EEA. Current activities of interest for the EPA Network are the Commission’s Environmental Implementation Review and the Fitness check of EU environmental monitoring and reporting.

The meeting continued with a session on sustainable food systems with presentations from experts from PBL, the EEA and ISPRA on pathways towards resource smart-smart food systems, a food systems approach for sustainability and on the preventing and reduction of food losses and waste in Italy’s food supply chain. The EPA Network concluded that more work is needed to build a solid knowledge base on the food systems approach and that exchange of experiences between EPAs could be useful in this context.

The last session of the 1st day was dedicated to giving an update of the activities of the EPA Network and its interest groups (IGs) since the last plenary meeting. The results of a survey on EPAs’ use of external funding was presented and it was agreed that the plenary agreed to perform a survey on automated licensing tools among EPAs. Furthermore, there were oral reports from the IGs West Balkans and Better Regulation and from the two new IGs on Plastics and Green and Circular Economy.

The main topic of the 2nd day was sustainable mobility. Peter Vis from DG MOVE presented the European Commission’s low-emission mobility strategy, followed by a presentation from the EEA on electric passenger mobility in Europe. The Portuguese Deputy Minister for the Environment, José Mendes, spoke about state-of-the-art and future developments of sustainable mobility, followed by a presentation of the German Environment Agency on Germany’s strategy towards a transport transformation and energy transition. The session was concluded by a presentation from the Austrian Environment Agency on car emissions and new test cycles, which was followed by discussions.

In the closing session, the main conclusion and action points of the meeting were summarized. The next EPA Network plenary meeting will take place in Rome on 6-7 April 2017.