European Environmental Bureau (EEB)

Happy 50th Anniverary!

Set up in 1974, the EEB is the largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations in Europe. Initially the Bureau was developed as a by-product of the European community economic integration but slowly evolved to an independent policy organization covering all aspects of environmental issues and European environmental law.  The European Council adopted, for example, more than 600 pieces of environmental law between 1970 and 2013, exceeding one act every month.

It currently consists of over 180 member organisations in 40 countries, including a growing number of networks, and representing some 30 million individual members and supporters.  It is headquartered in Brussels, and funded by the OECD, the UNEP, the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the Climate Works Foundation, and EU member state governments.

The EEB advocates for progressive policies to “create a better environment in the European Union and beyond through agenda setting, monitoring, advising on and influencing the way the EU deals with environmental problems.”  Such work focuses on a wide variety of issues, including climate change, biodiversity, pollution and waste prevention.

The EEB is seen as an umbrella organization that is open to NGOs active in dealing with the environment.  It includes a broad range of national members including the following from Ireland: An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland; Feasta: the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability; FIE – Friends of the Irish Environment; IEN- Irish Environmental Network; IWT- Irish Wildlife Trust; SWAN- Sustainable Water Network; VOICE – Voice of the Irish Concern for the Environment; and Zero Waste Alliance Ireland.  The following organizations from the United Kingdom are members of the EEB: Green Alliance; LINK – Scottish Environment Link; Population Matters; RSPB – Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; The Restart Project; and, Woodland Trust.

“EEB runs working groups with its members, produces position papers on topics that are, or EEB feels should be, on the EU agenda, and represents its members in discussions with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council.”

The EEB also reaches out to other groups, networks and campaigns that are focusing on specific issues and challenges, including mercury contamination and energy-related Coolproducts, as well as broader pan-European matters such as access to Justice, the Aarhus Convention and Sustainable Development.

As part of its engagement with others concerned about the protection of our environment, “The EEB supplies quality information to the public, its members and the European institutions through articles, reports and papers. It offers expert comment, analysis and recommendations on most of the latest environmental issues.”

In selecting which issues to address, the EEB evaluates a variety of criterion such as the impact a specific policy has on the environment, the EEB’s potential to make a difference on a policy level, public and media concern, or a project’s potential to get funded.

There are numerous academic publications that document environmental issues from highly technical perspectives.  But many of those deeply engaged in environmental issues, including individual members of the many organizations belonging to EEB, need clarity as much as details.  And one of the most important contributions of EEB has been been its commitment and success in presenting complex environmental issues in ways that are both accessible and accurate.

The EEB has provided that function for 50 years and we look forward to more of the same for another 50 years, and beyond.

 

Sources:

EU  Organisations, European Environmental Bureau bit.ly/3VlSHpv

Henning Deters, “European environmental policy at 50: Five decades of escaping decision traps?” Environmental Policy and Governance (Sept 2019).  bit.ly/4bL3sXA

Brittany Demogenes, “Best Climate Practice EU: The European Environmental Bureau,” Climate Scorecard (May 10, 2021). bit.ly/4dTlqJq

 

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