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IMPEL General Assembly 2016

The 15th meeting of the General Assembly of the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) took place in Bratislava, Slovakia, on December 1 and 2, 2016. During the meeting, the following decisions were taken:

  1. Serbia was welcomed as the 36th member country, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection.
  2. After four years, John Seager stepped down as chair of IMPEL. He will be replaced by Chris Dijkens of the Netherlands. Ana Garcia of the Portuguese Environmental Inspectorate becomes the new vice chair of IMPEL, as of January 1, 2017.
  3. The budget for 2017 was approved, including 28 new projects.
  4. In order to measure the impact of IMPEL’s activities at national and local level, it was agreed that member countries will complete an annual national reporting form. This will give IMPEL a better understanding of the quantitative and qualitative impact of its activities in member countries, and of whether activities are targeting identified implementation gaps.
  5. The following 2016 project reports were adopted: Guidance on the Implementation of the Industrial Emissions Directive; Guidance on Effective Waste Shipment Inspection Planning; the Waste and TFS Conference 2016; Financial Provision – Legacy Liabilities: reports of the IMPEL Review Initiatives carried out in Turkey, Italy and Austria; and the Comparison Programme report "Doing the Right Things for Environmental Permitting".
  6. IMPEL continues to value and foster cooperation with other organisations and networks, including the Themis Network. Other networks participating in the meeting were the Heads of European Nature Conservation Agencies (ENCA); the European Network of the Heads of Environment Protection Agencies (EPA Network); the European Union Forum of Judges for the Environment (EUFJE); the European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment (ENPE); EnviCrimeNet (an informal network connecting police officers and other crime fighters in the field of environmental crime); and Europol. IMPEL strives to bring together various European networks with the aim of uniting efforts to combat environmental crime and improve implementation of the environmental acquis. The Environmental Enforcement Networks conference, held in May 2016, is an example of such efforts.

A member of the Themis Secretariat, representing the Themis Network, outlined the current state of play in terms of cooperation between Themis and IMPEL; provided an overview of achievements in 2016; and introduced Themis plans for 2017, including possibilities for cooperation with IMPEL.