Environmental policy integration and bilateral development assistance: Challenges and opportunities with an evolving governance framework

Åsa Persson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this article is to examine progress so far, as well as current challenges and opportunities for EPI in bilateral official development assistance (ODA). A short review of progress shows that effectiveness has so far been limited. Although there has been intense donor activity in relation to stating commitment to the EPI principle and developing a wide range of processes, institutions, and tools, a large part of ODA still is likely to have directly harmful impacts on the environment. The implications for EPI of the emerging governance framework for ODA, namely, the principles stipulated in the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, are then discussed. Both challenges and opportunities are presented, and these are empirically illustrated with a case study of the integration of climate change adaptation in ODA. Finally, this article proposes that at least four special conditions apply to EPI in the bilateral ODA context as compared with domestic EPI: two or more jurisdictions, electorates, and governments are involved; a negotiation context characterized by sovereign states but with a potential power asymmetry; potential conflicts of interest and equity concerns in cases where environmental objectives refer to global environmental problems primarily caused by developed countries; and a policy-making process characterized by a comparatively wide span of both strategic and operational decisions, where EPI can take on very different meanings. The initial exploration presented in this article suggests that these conditions hold, and that, as a consequence, EPI arguably involves more 'high-politics' decisions and questions than in a domestic policy context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-429
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Environmental policy integration
  • Official development assistance


Dive into the research topics of 'Environmental policy integration and bilateral development assistance: Challenges and opportunities with an evolving governance framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this