International scan 2014

Emerging issues at the European and global levels

The secretariat of the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) has, at the request of the Council, conducted an international scan to support the production of the Council’s Work Programme 2015-2016. Various experts working at the Rli secretariat contributed to the scan. The scan focuses on a selection of ‘signals’ in the international context and contains an overview of the global and European policy agendas based on the question: Which emerging international issues may have a bearing on Rli’s advisory activities in the coming years? The secretariat’s experts set to work with this question in mind. The Rli secretariat is pleased to share the results – which should be regarded as the Council’s preliminary exploration of the issues – and hopes the international scan will serve as a source of inspiration and reflection in preparing and advising on policy.

The  international scan covers the entire domain of Rli’s activities, which includes the following policy fields: spatial planning, housing, traffic and transport, climate policy, food and food quality, water, agriculture, nature, the environment, external safety, energy and energy infrastructure, and spatial-economic development. Although each policy field has a different international context, the international dimension is gaining in importance for all fields.

The international scan covers a wide range of topics, including the consequences of a changing mindset on safe and just ‘planetary boundaries’, new market arrangements in sustainable energy and water, and growing international attention to the role of cities. Examples are also given to illustrate the importance of ‘civic engangement and responsibility’, as illustrated by the inclusion of concepts like active citizenship and decentralisation in the current German coalition agreement and the current British government programme, respectively. Hyperlinks have been included to provide readers with access to further information.

The emerging issues have been classified according to the six multiannual programme lines described in the previous Rli Work Programme. The international scan does not merely rely on the existing descriptions of the programme lines, but presents a number of new issues relevant to each programme line.

The international scan also provides an overview of the most relevant global and European policy agendas for the medium to long term. The appendix includes a table showing an overview of the main agenda points, the Council’s relevant policy domains and programme lines, the responsible policy bodies, important (assessment) moments, as well as emerging and key issues.­

Feedback welcome

The international scan does not attempt to quantify the relative importance of the individual signals, establish the priority of the topics on the global and European policy agendas, or determine the appropriate moment for the Council to present its advice. These are matters to which attention will be devoted when preparing the new Rli Work Programme 2015-2016. The current document is limited to an account of the international scan findings.

We welcome your feedback, which may be sent to International Coordinator Agneta Andersson via e-mail at

International scan 2014 (pdf, 673,6 Kb)