Regional networks have proven to be highly effective mechanisms allowing government actors at all levels (including legislators, judges, prosecutors, police officers and regulators) to pursue shared environmental and sustainability objectives without a centralised power structure. The ability of regional networks to bring together officials with common goals facilitates information sharing and consensus building in order to enforce policies that transcend borders.
When used effectively, regional networks enable government officials and staff at all levels to safeguard the environment on a regional scale, streamlining the cross-border enforcement of environmental laws and permitting continuous improvements in capacity based on the cumulative expertise of all participants. But these benefits are not automatic. Networks must be managed effectively, based on good practices and driven by shared goals.
The Manual for Creating and Sustaining Regional Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Networks (Regional Network Manual), prepared by the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), is the result of an ongoing effort to gather lessons learnt and experiences from successful networks around the world, and to provide guidance for network participants and stakeholders. It is intended to present a concise overview of the principal areas of practice that relate to the start-up and operation of successful regional networks. It is also designed to demonstrate how cross-border cooperation can be leveraged to acquire significantly greater capabilities than those of domestic government agencies and staff acting alone.