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HTML Document Distribution of biodiversity-related competences in Belgium

Release date 20/04/2006
Geographical coverage Belgium
Keywords Competences, Government, biodiversity

General overview of competences

Belgium's Federal government, Communities and Regions are equal from the legal viewpoint, but have responsibilities in different fields. These are summarised in the table below (click the table to enlarge it).

For more information, the 'Center for socio-political research and information' (CRISP) has produced a useful recapitulative table on the distribution of competences per theme and per level of authority (from federal to municipal) - only in French or Dutch.

Competences for biodiversity

Since the Regions have authority and legislative responsibility in territorial matters including environment and nature conservation, implementation of biodiversity agreements is essentially of regional competence.

The Federal government maintains responsibility for

  • drafting product standards and encouraging sustainable patterns of production and consumption;
  • protection against non-ionising and ionising radiation;
  • nuclear waste management;
  • waste in transit;
  • protecting the marine environment;
  • import/export and transit of non-indigenous plant and animal species.

Coordination for international environmental policy

Due to the complex organisational structure, decisions regarding international aspects of the environment policy are taken as a consensus between the different decision-making levels. 

This consensus process has been established in 1995 as a cooperation agreement between the Federal State, the Brussels-Capital Region, the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region.

The consultation takes place through the Coordinating Committee for International Environmental Policy (CCIEP), which is composed of representatives of Federal and Regional administrations. This body functions under the high level authority of the Inter-ministerial Conference for the Environment (ICE), chaired by the Federal Minister for Environment.

The main tasks of the CCIEP are

  • to prepare the positions to be adopted by Belgian delegations before international bodies;
  • to organise the consultation between federal and regional levels to ensure coordinated application of the recommendations and decisions of international bodies;
  • to supervise the collection of the data required for responding to requests for information from international bodies;
  • to appoint delegations to represent Belgium before international institutions;
  • to propose international environmental policy issues for the agenda of the Interministerial Conference on the Environment (ICE).
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