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Mechanisms of Vertical Integration


National — sub-national linkages

Overall co-ordination of policies at the national and subnational levels is ensured through a system of “permanent conferences”. The State-Regions Conference allows regional governments to discuss issues related to the transfer of functions from the centre, while the State-Local Authorities Conference discusses relations between state and metropolitan areas, municipalities and small communities.  The Unified Conference brings together the two conferences on issues pertinent to implementation of the 2001 reform of the Italian Constitution. A number of environmental projects have been undertaken within the conference system, such as a programme for co-financing regional environmental education, information and training programmes. In parallel, the horizontal Conference of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces meets regularly and frequently discuss environment-related issues of mutual interest.

In the field of environment and sustainable development, the Italian Network of Environmental Agencies, which comprises the ISPRA (Institute for environmental protection and research) and all regional environment agencies, promotes implementation of national objectives at the regional level and development of harmonised methodological and operational guidance.  A separate National Network of the Environmental Authorities and the Programming Authorities of the Community Structural Funds provides ongoing assistance to southern regions which benefit from the EU funding.  The National Observatory for Organization and Management of regional agencies (ONOG) was established to prepare management and technical studies and guidelines on funding and management. These co-operation mechanisms were effective, but after an intensive period in the early 2000s, their activities slowed down and the ONOG’s work was discontinued.

EU linkages

The renewed EU Strategy for Sustainable Development (EU SDS) that was adopted in June 2006 foresees that Member States bi-annually report about how they address the priorities of the EU SDS. Italy has published its first national report on implementing the EU SDS in June 2007.


This Country Profile has been last updated on: Monday, 27 May 2013

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