Decentralisation and environment Local government environmental tasks and environmental aspects of physical and development planning Why In many countries the responsibility for the actual implementation and enforcement of the national environmental legislation is devolved to the local government on different levels. In principle, this is a good approach because it provides local government with the opportunity to prioritise their resources based on their knowledge on the local environmental conditions and on the local developments in general. However, in most developing countries local government do not have the necessary capacity making them able to actually coping properly with this responsibility. Typically, local governments lack capacity in terms of number of human resources, qualifications of the human resources available, institutional set-up and financial resources. In addition, local government are not capable of monitoring neither the local environmental developments nor their own performance in environmental management. This means that local governments cannot contribute properly to providing a general overview of the development in the environmental situation nationally and that environmental consequences of local development initiatives stay more or less unknown. As a consequence many international donors support reform processes in developing countries within the field of environmental management. Typically, the purpose of the support is to devolve more functions to decentralised levels, to increase environmental awareness and to improve coordination and information exchange in environmental management and decision making both vertically (between administrative levels) and horizontally (between sectors having an adverse effect on the environment) in order to in these ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental administration at all levels. What In general, LGDK can support programming and project cycle management of environmental assistance. This includes design of environmental assistance programmes on national or sector level, programme appraisals, reviews of projects and evaluations of programme progress. In addition on the more particular level, LGDK can support environmental management within the following fields: Allocation of tasks and responsibilities in environmental management in general between the different administrative levels Cooperation between different administrative levels regarding Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), environmental permits and inspections Allocation of tasks and responsibilities in environmental management in general between the different administrative levels Cooperation between different administrative levels regarding Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), environmental permits and inspections Openness and transparency in the field of environmental management Mapping of capacity development needs in environment (staff and institution wise) Strategies for capacity development in environment (CDE) Issues of financing of local environmental management .../2 Issues of monitoring: Indicator systems for monitoring local environmental developments Indicators for monitoring of environmental management performance Indicators and approach for monitoring of CDE-strategies Issues of monitoring Reporting on local environmental developments to support local (and national) decision making How Communicating Danish and international experience on developing an effective and efficient environmental management system (adjusted to the local circumstances) Often in cooperation with partners with the relevant technical environmental experience, where LGDK can handle the governance aspects of environmental projects and programs Designing and evaluation of donor programmes and projects within the field of decentralisation and environmental management A brief illustration In 2009, LGDK assisted in formulating the final Danida-funded environment programme for Bhutan. The five-year programme targeted support to local government environment management in alignment with the overall decentralisation policy of Bhutan and the joint Local Governance Support Programme. The formulation team outlined a dual approach to decentralised environmental planning at district and gewog (block) level consisting of 1) Sector budget support to environmental schemes under the gewog local development plans and 2) capacity development targeting the district environment committees and staff as well as support to climate change initiatives. In 2008, LGDK conducted a workshop in Vietnam on Environment and decentralisation. Both in Vietnam and in Denmark the implementation of a considerable part of the environmental legislation is decentralised. At the workshop, the Vietnamese and the Danish system were compared to each other and it was discussed if and how lessons learned in Denmark could be made useful in the Vietnamese context. Participants in the workshop included staff from the Ministry of Environment, a number of sector ministries, staff from environmental units in provinces and municipalities and some university people.