Table of Contents

Environmental Governance and Decentralisation

Environmental Governance and Decentralisation

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Edited by Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone

This book examines how different countries define and address environmental issues, specifically in relation to intergovernmental relations: the creation of institutions, the assignment of powers, and the success of alternative solutions. It also investigates whether a systemic view of the environment has influenced the policy-making process. The broad perspective adopted includes a detailed analysis of seventeen countries in six continents by scholars from a range of disciplines – economics, political science, environmental science and law – thus producing novel material that moves away from the conventional treatment of decentralisation and the environment in economic literature.

Chapter 17: The Netherlands: An Integrated, Participatory Approach to Environmental Policymaking

Duncan Liefferink and Mark Wiering

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, public sector economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental governance and regulation


Duncan Liefferink and Mark Wiering1 1. INTRODUCTION The Netherlands has a reputation of being one of the more progressive states in Europe when it comes to its environmental policy. The ambitious National Environmental Policy Plan (1989) was one of the first plans that tried to internalise environmental issues in society and used ‘sustainable development’ as an encompassing strategy to integrate different policy fields. Over the years the Dutch have played an active role on the European playing field too, sometimes exporting their own environmental policy concepts to Europe and frequently standing firm in all kinds of negotiations on environmental matters (Liefferink, 1997a: 210). These ambitions and activities cannot only be reduced to an overly strong Dutch engagement in environmental issues, but also stem from the fact that the Dutch confront huge environmental problems. The Netherlands is a small and extremely densely populated country, with large industries, an extensive road and rail infrastructure, one of the biggest harbours in the world and a major European airport. And, maybe most remarkably for such a small country, it is the third largest exporter of agricultural products in the world. In the next section, we will briefly characterise Dutch environmental policy by way of its history and the policy strategies that the main governmental bodies have employed. We will do so from the point of view of institutionalisation. For the remainder of the chapter, our main interest is to analyse which types of policy arrangements evolved in certain periods and...

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