The Swedish Agency for Public Management
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The agencies' work in the environmental objectives system – interim report (2013:12)

The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) has been commissioned by the government to evaluate the environmental work carried out by the 25 national agencies that are involved in the environmental objectives system. The commission is made up of two parts. The first part involves mapping the work of the agencies in contributing to the achievement of the generation goal and the environmental quality objectives. This part of the commission will be presented in the following report. In the report we also highlight the work carried out on a regional level by the county administrative boards.

In the environmental objectives system, 25 agencies are responsible for carrying out environmental work that will lead to the achievement of the generation goal and the environmental quality objectives (implementing responsibility). Eight of these also have a special responsibility to follow up the conditions in the environment in relation to one or several environmental quality objectives (monitoring responsibility).

The mapping of the environmental work that the agencies have carried out in 2012 shows that:

  • The responsibility for ensuring the achievement of the generation goal and the environmental quality objectives generally has little influence on the environmental work carried out by the agencies. Many agencies suggest that the formal implementing responsibility is unclear. Instead they mainly carry out environmental work from other perspectives.
  • Few agencies act to achieve all environmental quality objectives. Instead the agencies are carrying out environmental work based on the environmental quality objectives that they feel relate to their activities.
  • The agencies that are responsible for monitoring one or more environmental quality objectives are under the impression that they have the designated responsibility of acting for the achievement of these environmental quality objectives.
  • It is difficult get an idea of the environmental work carried out by the agencies from their annual reports. It is also difficult to get an idea of the outcome of the work. Very few agencies systematically combine their environmental work with one or more of the 16 environmental quality objectives.
  • A prerequisite for the realisation of the aims of the environmental objectives system is the achievement of synergies between the environmental work of individual agencies. Statskontoret's mapping shows that the agencies involved in the environmental objectives system have a great deal of contact with other agencies and different actors. It is not clear however whether this interaction affect the agencies' environmental work.
  • Many agencies have stated that there are conflicts between objectives within the environmental objectives system. However, the result of the mapping does not indicate that the conflicts between objectives constitute an obstacle for the agencies' environmental work.

In the second part of the commission we are requested to assess how the agencies' environmental work contributes to the achievement of the objectives in the environmental objectives system. The assessment will be presented by 31 March 2014 at the latest. In the report we discuss issues that are relevant to pursue in that part of the commission. The starting point for the assessment is how the responsibility should be shared within the environmental objectives system and how the agencies' environmental work should be organised to ensure that the environmental work is carried out as efficiently as possible. Statskontoret believes that there is need to analyse the means for achieving a clearer overall perspective of the implementation of the environmental work, similar to how monitoring is carried out of the environmental quality objectives.