‚ÄčThe next spring session will be held in April 2018 in Helsinki, Finland.

See the Draft Agenda (30.01.2018)



Background Information


The Spring Session aims to approach the essential elements of environmental governance.

For the purposes of the seminar, environmental governance is understood as processes which discuss, control and manage environment and natural resources. It includes both the formal structures but also modes of interaction among public sector, private sector and civil society.

The focus of the seminar is in the public-sector governance at the state and European level. Good governance is one of the basis of a well-functioning public sector. A particular focus of the seminar is the concept of good governance, where the environment is a specific point of reference.

First, the seminar gives an overall picture of environmental governance by briefing about the rise of environmental concerns and institutionalisation of environmental administration. It also explains the sustainable development approach and attempts to mainstream environment to all sectors, as well as the emerging of climate policy. In addition, it provides a toolkit of basic concepts ranging from polluter pays principle to decoupling and environmental impact assessments. 

After the general introduction, seminar gives a deeper understanding and audit examples on following topics:

  1. Government level sustainable development processes and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. A particular focus here is the whole of government approach and involvement of stakeholders and citizens, indicators and how SAIs could get involved in assessing and supporting this process.
  2. Strategic environmental assessment of public plans and programmes (e.g. on land use, transport, energy, waste, agriculture, etc.). The focus is how the SEA process can help in considering environmental matters in preparation of plans and programmes, and how audits could scrutinize this.
  3. Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. A special focus here is in the public participation and citizens' rights concerning environmental issues, and the experiences auditors have on the topic.