Evaluation and reporting Baseline review Target setting Political commitment Implementation and Monitoring Integrated management system Organisational setup Involvement and communication

Introduction to Baseline Review

The first important step of the integrated management system (IMS) is to analyse the present sustainability condition of the city. The purpose is to create a stock of information that will serve as a basis for setting priorities, targets and for monitoring progress. Improvements are visible only if they can be compared to a starting point – the baseline. It is also an analysis of the pressures that have led to the current situation, as well as the impacts those pressures have on various parts of the society, economy and environment and the policies and measures already in place.

The baseline review is a regularly repeated part of the IMS that should be conducted by a cross-sectoral working group. Available data on all relevant sustainability aspects should be collected. Even if all the data cannot be delivered during the first cycle, it serves to identify the gaps. The baseline review maps legal requirements, data regarding all significant aspects, emerging issues and trends, political priorities, departments and external organisations involved, existing instruments and systems. Using the Aalborg Commitments as a framework for the data collection will already help a lot to structure the review, as they already predefine the categories to analyse.

Based on the information and data available in the baseline review, the first strategic programme can be drawn up. The baseline review is renewed every 3-5 years or more often if the surrounding world has changed substantially.

Planning the baseline review

A crucial part for being able to prepare a good baseline review is to plan the process of preparing it well.

In many cases, a coordinator of the integrated management system is appointed when the decision to implement the management system is taken. However, developing the baseline review requires more people, and this first step is therefore very much related to the organisational set-up (see section organisational set-up). Initially, the coordination board that will lead the process of developing the baseline review has to be established. As the IMS should also allow for integration between policy areas, the organisational set-up for doing the baseline review has to be cross-sectoral in order to provide a foundation for true integrated management.

The coordination board also needs additional input in the form of expertise that could be found outside the city administration. Stakeholders such as universities, companies, NGOs and citizens can provide the needed expertise. At this stage, an initial stakeholder analysis can be carried out to find the stakeholders needed for the baseline review and in general for the following steps of the integrated management system. (See section: Communication and involvement)

The coordination board sets up a work plan and divide the tasks among them or requests others to provide the input. Plan the communication and interaction with the public with regard to the baseline review as well.

In planning the baseline review, the coordination board defines the structure to be used for the content of the baseline review. To capture all aspects to be described in the baseline review, it is easiest to follow an existing framework. The content of the baseline review can be structured according to alternative ways. Suggested possibilities are:

a) According to the Aalborg Commitments or
b) According to municipal services/responsibilities.
c) A third possibility is to follow the PSIR framework (see guidance paper on Implementation and monitoring for a description of the PSIR framework).

Furthermore, the coordination board defines the method to be used for evaluating the significance of the environmental or sustainability aspects. It is of vital importance that the city takes an unprejudiced and complete look at the environmental/sustainability aspects of the services it provides. Not all environmental or sustainability aspects have the same importance to be improved with the same priority. It has to be demonstrated that all “significant environmental/sustainability factors” were considered in the baseline review. Only in this way can the baseline review serve as a basis for setting priorities and elaborating a strategic programme.

Direct and indirect aspects
In accordance with the EMAS Regulation and ISO 14001, the integrated management system differentiates between direct and indirect (environmental) aspects. Direct aspects are defined as being under direct supervision, for example by the municipality, and as wholly dependent on the influence of the supervisory instance.

Indirect aspects are related to those activities of the municipal administration that it does not control completely but aspects which the municipal administration can influence to a certain extent. Indirect aspects can result from a municipal administration’s interactions with third parties.

To define the significance of environmental or sustainability aspects, apply a comprehensive and transparent methodology. Neither EMAS or ISO 14001 request a special methodology to do so but instead make the choice and argue for how this methodology can be considered comprehensive and transparent.

One method chosen by some cities is the SWOT analysis, but there are also other methods that can be used.

Structured according to the Aalborg Commitments

The Aalborg Commitments were adopted in 2004 within the context of the European Sustainable Cities & Towns Campaign and have been signed by more than 500 local governments (Feb 2008). The Aalborg Commitments are regarded as voluntary commitments and describe ten fields of action and 50 key activities for municipal sustainable development and propose concrete actions as well.

The benefit of structuring the baseline review in accordance with the Aalborg Commitments is that the Aalborg Commitments constitute agreed policy guidelines for municipal sustainability, and can also provide concrete framing of the baseline review. If the analysis of the city is carried out under the angle of each of the commitments and their key activities, the necessary aspects have been covered.

Aalborg Commitments
Field of activity
A1. Governance: We are committed to energising our decision-making processes through increased participatory democracy.
A2. Local Management towards sustainability:
We are committed to implementing effective management cycles, from formulation through implementation to evaluation.
A3. Natural Common Goods:We are committed to fully assuming our responsibility to protect, to preserve and to ensure equitable access to natural common goods.
A4. Responsible Consumption and Lifestyle Choices:
We are committed to adopting and facilitating the prudent and efficient use of resources and to encouraging sustainable consumption and production.
A5. Planning and design:
We are committed to a strategic role for urban planning and design in addressing environmental, social, economic, health and cultural issues for the benefit of all.
A6. Better Mobility, less traffic: We recognise the interdependence of transport, health and environment, and are committed to strongly promoting sustainable mobility choices.
A7. Local action for health: We are committed to protecting and promoting the health and well-being of our citizens.
A8. Vibrant and local sustainable economy:
We are committed to creating and ensuring a vibrant local economy that gives access to employment without damaging the environment.
A9. Social Equity and Justice:
We are committed to securing inclusive and supportive communities.
A10. Local to Global:
We are committed to assuming our global responsibility for peace, justice, equity, sustainable development and climate protection.

Structured according to municipal services and responsibilities

The second alternative of structuring the baseline review would be according to the services and responsibilities of cities. The following table provides an idea of relevant aspects for sustainable development – without claiming completeness! This survey reflects the “typical” organisational structure of a municipality and can – adapted to the administrative structure – be used as an example for the contextual structure of the baseline review.

SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is a method for conducting a qualitative evaluation of data on relevant environmental/sustainability aspects. (Note: SWOT analysis constitutes a significant part of the environmental assessment required by EMAS II.) It establishes what impact the organisation has on the environment (performance audit). In addition, it provides a categorisation of these environmental/sustainability aspects, examining whether they have direct or indirect impact on the environment (direct impacts can be controlled 100% by the organisation, whereas indirect impacts only to a limited extent). The priorities are set in accordance with the aspects determined as significant. Priority setting takes place during the target setting process. See more in the target setting section.

A disadvantage of SWOT analysis may be the fact that the evaluation of data and information has to be subjective, especially when the data for all direct and indirect aspects about the starting points is unavailable: hence, very few possibilities of comparison (standards respectively) can be brought into the discussion of how to evaluate the local data. Due to the fact that the results of SWOT analysis are discussed in the framework of a workshop, the final results also clearly depend on the people who participate.

A SWOT analysis can be done for each step of the integrated management system. The coordination team compiles the results for all elements and perform a generic SWOT-analysis for the city’s potential to perform the entire integrated management system, thereby better coordinating existing instruments.

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Involve the right people

For a comprehensive baseline review covering the whole urban area, the city needs all information and estimation of all relevant stakeholders. (see section Communication and Involvement) The coordination team is responsible for coordinating the baseline review. But the coordination board is responsible for carrying it out or involving additional people. Further relevant stakeholders should also be consulted in a collective workshop about the results of the baseline review.

Make sure that departments whose responsibility and measures are concerned in a direct or indirect way with the impact on the sustainable development of the municipality, do participate. Possible impacts on the municipality’s sustainable development that can be achieved are, for example:

  1. Through measures or activities which have a direct impact on the environment (heating, roadwork, maintenance of green spaces),
  2. Through a plan for limiting the stress put on the environment (e.g., land use plan, development scheme, informal plans, the budget),
  3. As a regulatory authority which manages environmental stress through the official approval of a plan including its authorisation and rejection, as well as looking after bidding, prohibition or conditions (e.g., building permit, water rights-related terms and environmental conditions),
  4. Through politically created measures for indirect influence on environmental stress (e.g., environmental education, finding a consensus in the Agenda 21 process, negotiations, economic incentives).

At the beginning of doing the baseline review, develop an overview of all participants and their contributions/responsibilities in order to enable the involvement of all relevant actors. See to it that the overview not only presents the actors respectively but also presents their sphere of action.

Map the local situation

The necessary data and information have to be requested from various administrative departments, agencies and other institutions or have to be searched for in various plans and statistics. Generally, the availability of these data first has to be checked and all relevant institutions have to be identified.

In most of the cases, the city does not need to start from zero when elaborating the baseline review. Cities collect information for different purposes: the environmental assessment of an EMAS or ISO 14001 certified department or service of the municipality, an environmental report or sustainability report, the Preliminary Report within ecoBudget, the Environmental Report required within the Strategic Environmental Assessment - all these compilations of environmental information are important components of the baseline review.

To create a complete picture of the local situation, map the following issues:

  • Legal requirements
  • Data regarding all significant aspects
  • Emerging issues and trends
  • Political priorities
  • Existing instruments and systems
  • Risk sites

The mapping of these issues will lead to an evaluation to determine city’s priorities

Legal requirements

All organisations have to comply with legal requirements. For local authorities, it is a complex issue that requires a systematic approach.

Legal compliance can be defined as “Full implementation of applicable legislation. Compliance occurs when requirements are met and desired changes are achieved”. However, the majority of local authorities are currently not, according to this definition, in full compliance with national and European legislation.

The main reason for this lack of legal compliance is that the local authorities have various roles. These roles can be defined as:

  • Local authorities need to fulfil legislation themselves (e.g., direct aspects such as Environmental Assessment Studies or Strategic Environmental Assessment on programmes and plans, legislation related to air quality, waste, waste water, etc.
  • Local authorities act as the enforcement authority and should control the legal compliance of stakeholders (e.g., companies)
  • Local authorities act as the competent planning organisation and approve legally binding plans, but they are not the implementer of the plan (e.g., land use planning and urbanisation planning) and do not have direct influence on all aspects of implementation.

Local authorities do have structures and procedures in place to fulfil legal compliance with regard to their own activities, but often they do not have sufficient resources to control the legal compliance of stakeholders or the fulfilment of requirements requested in local plans, e.g., urbanization planning.

The integrated management system should be built on these existing structures and/or be flexible enough to integrate them.

There is a conflicting situation for local authorities. On the one hand, legal compliance is the basic and essential level for environmental or sustainability quality. Furthermore, stakeholders, regional administrations and citizens have to trust that the local authority is legally compliant. They would especially trust the local authority to be fully legally compliant if the city has a certified management system in place.

Usually an environmental management system is implemented for a certain public site (school, public bath, etc) or a certain service (e.g., public transport). All relevant legislation has to be fully achieved at this public site or for this certain service. In this case, the definition above is absolutely applicable.

But on the other hand, to enable more sustainable urban areas there is the need to widen the scope of management systems and to implement the management system not only for a site or a public service but for the whole urban area. This would include all departments and services of the municipality and all strategic aspects, and implies close cooperation with stakeholders. This is needed to make sure that the whole area of a local authority is made more sustainable and that an overview exists of the whole urban area.

When an integrated management system is implemented for the whole urban area and includes all strategic aspects, it will be more complicated for the local authority to fulfil legal compliance according to the definition above. However, the important thing is that the local authority is aware of its gaps and does everything to fulfil legal compliance within a certain time. It is not possible to define a level of acceptable incidents or transgressions. It depends on the “significance” of the lack of legal compliance and if there are appropriate procedures and action plans in place to close the gaps.

All official environmental management systems include legal compliance as a “must” element of the management system. Currently, however, not even EMAS registered or ISO 14001 certified local authorities can guarantee to be legally compliant at all times. Internal audits and official verifications are always “spot checks”, and cannot confirm total legal compliance. Nevertheless, they can provide knowledge on the status of legal compliance and control it if appropriate procedures to obtain legal compliance are in place. Both internal audits and official verifications are very important for local authorities as a method to work with legal compliance.

What is required within EMAS, ISO 14001 and the integrated management system?

The baseline review serves to determine how the requirements set in current legislation are implemented. All issues mentioned below need to be mapped as part of the baseline review. The potential gaps are dealt with in the next step, i.e., target setting. Furthermore, as part of the organisational set-up, a procedure and an organisation for fulfilling these elements is to be established.

A. The local authority should elaborate an index to have an overview of all relevant legislation on local, regional, national and European level – relevant to its work regarding the environment and/or sustainability.

This overview fulfils two main tasks:

  • to make sure that all relevant legislation is known in the responsible department and on an overall city level in order to make non-compliance a highest priority issue in the strategic programme
  • to provide the basis to compare baseline review data on their own status with limit values or in order to detect the lack of legal compliance. In this case, the organisation needs to put appropriate procedures and action plans in place, in order to make sure compliance occurs within a certain time period. An environmental and/or sustainability aspect with lack of legal compliance has to be included in the Strategic Programme and Action Plan with highest priority.

B. The local authority should describe the system or procedure regarding how to keep the legislation overview up-to-date at regular intervals (service to up-date legislation, etc.). Furthermore, the local authority has to describe how to ensure that all staff members have access to the updated list of legislation.

C. The local authority has to be prepared for new legislation. For example, if new European legislation is approved and adopted into national law, the local authority then needs to train the responsible staff on time to be able to deal with these new legal requirements. Appropriate training measures need to be included in a training plan.

Data regarding all significant aspects

For being able to create a basis for a solid and comprehensible evaluation, draw up a chart of the current reference data and indicators regarding the environment/sustainability. As mentioned earlier, some data might still be missing within the first assessment. The important thing is to find the missing gaps, and to fill them within the next revision.

Pay attention to how the data sources are tracked and stored. A lot of work can be avoided if the data collection and storage is organised in a way that allows keeping track and updating it easily when it is time to repeat the data collection during a new management cycle. Give consideration to how various players can have easy access to the data and how the documentation can be made comprehensive.

Base data are usually statistics that measure for example land, population and use and can be found in nearly every local authority’s planning records. They establish the status quo for the local authority. These data can be obtained from federal, state and municipal statistical offices.

Indicators are indicating the status of something. Just as our body temperature shows if we should possibly see a doctor, indicators can show us the most distant targets and at which point the development of our municipality is going in a direction that harms the subject of protection.

Indicators are commonly used to illustrate statements made in an assessment, evaluation or other report where facts need to be explained in a direct and efficient way. They provide ‘hard facts’ that visualize statements and support new analyses and conclusions. The choice of indicators determines what kind of data will be needed for the report, and thus helps to structure and guide data collection. Indicators are representative, concise and easy-to-interpret parameters.

Indicators are typically used to make assessments and comparisons at various scales and against goals and targets. Indicators do not necessarily need to be quantifiable. Indicators can also be qualitative questions/queries (e.g. listing of existing processes or plans, existing measures to strengthen the potentials, existing local consciousness, existing measures to involve the citizens in planning and decision processes, existing cooperation between municipalities). With the help of models, indicators allow forecasting of the consequences of management decisions.

Indicators are a powerful communication tool. They greatly facilitate understanding of complex issues if well chosen. They often contain a graphical component that constitutes an integral part of the indicator.

Base data and indicators can generally be drawn up and calculated independently of a municipality or a planning authority. However, they can also be established for a single municipality or for a single planning context, in which case they serve to characterise this particular case. They nevertheless require data for comparison so that conclusions can be drawn from them or so the results can be applied to other planning contexts or local authorities.
Reference figures are findings that are assembled by comparing the relationship between different sets of data. Normally, they are not directly accessible in planning records, rather are constructed according to specific needs. They can be used to size up a concrete environmental goal for appropriate measures and to come to a conclusion as to whether this goal will be achieved or not.

As a prerequisite, an integrated management system requires the selection of those measurement categories which lead to measurable and comparable results on the basis of the available base data and applicable indicators. Experience suggests that it is best to choose fewer but more significant reference figures that can be used more regularly and on a long-term basis. ecoBUDGET, for example, recommends using not more than 15 indicators.

Emerging issues and trends

Being proactive and knowing what will happen in the near future benefits cities. This includes having a clear view on what legislation soon to be issued on a national level will have an effect on cities. By collecting information on any potential future programmes and strategies that could have an effect on a local level or to find out if the region or country is to issue instruments that could be of help in meeting local challenges, a city’s preparedness increases. Issues may also emerge from city inhabitants. For instance, what are the risks that might appear related to the climate change issue? Does the city have the means to tackle potential threats to its city? To have a clear view of what will happen gives the city preparedness for what will come as well as the measures to be taken.

Political priorities

As the integrated management system is about integration, the baseline review includes a mapping not only of the things it is required to do by law but also the priorities set by the existing political leadership. Not taking into account the political priorities as a foundation weakens the analysis. Changes of political leadership after elections also call for a revision of the baseline review, taking into consideration the political priorities of the new leadership.

Existing instruments and systems

Well-coordinated and coherent management provides an opportunity to strengthen various sectoral policies. The aim is to review all management instruments available that relate to sustainability issues and their interfaces with the agreed integrated management system. All cities have a specific set of management instruments in place. However, the current management setup of many cities does not entirely qualify for matching the elements of the IMS. One of the issues is better coordination of these activities and instruments in order to qualify for a coherent management system. For this reason, it is important to perform a system review so that a broad vision of the starting point may be gained.

As a first step, identify and review all relevant management systems and procedures in place. It is very useful to identify not only existing programmes and plans, but also all systems and procedures in place to realize municipal plans and programmes as well as all legally defined processes to fulfil legal obligations. To complete the picture, take into account general organisational structures and procedures as well – such as the regular exchange of information between heads of departments, or procedures related to financial control and management of the city’s household.

In the system review, it is important to highlight the management structures behind existing formal agreements, programmes and plans related to sustainability, e.g., the signature of the Aalborg Commitments, municipal resolutions, joining a network on sustainability, political commitment towards environment or sustainable development by the public administration (mandate programme, council resolutions) and sectoral planning tools dealing with environmental/sustainability issues.

It is time-consuming work, but the only way to have a complete overview of all relevant management systems and procedures is to really give matters attention and plan the work out carefully. Very often the overview reveals surprises: Identical procedures working in parallel and without connection, procedures structured as a one-way street ending in a black hole, time-consuming documentation which nobody needs, interesting information which does not reach the right persons. Integrated management is always about management aimed at making organisational structures more efficient.

Issues to check:

Get overview of duties!

  • What relevant programmes and action plans are in use?
  • What relevant management instruments are in use?
  • Which stakeholders are involved? Which sectors/departments? How?
  • What management systems and where?
  • Which reporting routines?
  • Which auditing mechanisms?
  • What budgeting requirements?
  • What training requirements?
  • When, where and how is the public informed/involved?
  • What data-bases / requirements for data collection with relevance to the Aalborg Commitments (Which data collected by whom, when, how, frequency)?

Evaluate the local situation

As a final part of the baseline review, carry out an evaluation on basis of the findings in the baseline review. This is done to find the significant aspects and whether they have a direct or indirect impact.

Initially, the coordination board chose a method for evaluating the findings of the baseline review. Once all data have been gathered with the help of departments, companies, NGOs and other stakeholders, the evaluation can be carried out. The evaluation of the findings of the baseline review is an exercise to be done in a larger group also involving external stakeholders.

One method suggested at the beginning of this section was the SWOT analysis but further methods can also be applied.

Present the findings

The findings of the baseline review should be presented to the council but also to the public. The way of presenting the findings could be different, according to levels and targets.

Transparency is very important: The public (or an external verifier, as a matter of fact) has to understand very easily by what criteria the environmental and sustainability aspects were evaluated and how the priorities regarding the strategic programme were set. The findings of the baseline review provide the basis for understanding how the process was further developed.

When presenting the same, consider that there are different sorts of target audiences. Use understandable language and appealing graphics to help communicate the message. Make a structure with the main findings and recommendations, etc. See more in the section about communication and involvement

  • Example: The baseline review of city X

What is next?

To manage environmental or sustainability performance successfully, it is necessary to set priorities. This is the link between the baseline review and the next step within the IMS, the determination of the mission statement and the targets for the Strategic Programme.

The results of the “evaluation of the local situation” are the basis for the establishment of priorities for further work. It means that the focus should be kept on significant aspects of sustainability as well as on weaknesses that have become apparent within the evaluation. Of course it is also important to realise the strengths and potentials of the municipality for further improvement.

Once this comprehensible evaluation of the sustainability/environmental aspects and the assessment of the results of the evaluation are done, the city is well-positioned to continue its work on a solid basis. These results can also be used for an environmental assessment in accordance with EMAS II, ISO 14001 and the pre-report of ecoBUDGET. Finally, as described above, the assessment also offers a good base for the implementation of the Aalborg Commitments.

The full revision of the baseline review is completed every 3-5 years. However, if the local situation has changed dramatically, a full revision may be required even earlier in order to renew the assessment on a current basis. Generally, the baseline review is a report that can be added to during each cycle to improve the data and the basis for making further decisions on priorities, targets and actions.

Further reading

Guidelines – Indicators for a Local Agenda 21
FEST, Forschungsstelle der Evangelischen Studiengemeinschaft e.V.
Schmeilweg 5, 69118 Heidelberg, Tel: 06221 – 9122-0

As well as other publications about indicators.

Set of indicators of the Competition “Sustainably developed Community“ – Guidelines

www.bayern.de/lfu (text in German only)



  • Annex 1: The Environmental Assessment according to the European Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and ISO 14001
  • Annex 2: The Preliminary Report, ecoBUDGET
  • Annex 3: The SWOT-analysis within the urban land use planning as an example of ECOLUP
  • Annex 4: Core reference figures set for land use planning as an example of ECOLUP
  • Annex 5: Credit system to evaluate the significance of the environmental aspects regarding land use planning with the example of ECOLUP
  • Annex 6: An alternative frame for the baseline review following the services and responsibilities of a local authority
  • Annex 7: Example for indicator characteristics with ecoBUDGET of the city of Kaiserslautern
  • Annex 8: Indicators within the ecoBUDGET of the city of Kaiserslautern (total budget)
  • Annex 9: Defining and distinguishing indicators as an example of ecoBUDGET

Description of the ECOLUP methodology to select significant environmental aspects regarding land use planning

Annex 1: The Environmental Assessment according to the European Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and ISO 14001

According to EMAS II and ISO 14001, the environmental assessment is a “first thorough examination of an organisation’s environmental issues, its effects on the environment, and its environmental performance in direct relation to its operations”. The environmental assessment takes 5 key areas into consideration:

  • the legal, administrative, and other regulations that the organisation has committed itself to abide
  • the registration of all environmental aspects that have a substantial impact on the environment according to the standards in Annex VI; evaluation and quantification of their qualitative effects, if necessary, in which case a register of all aspects deemed substantial is to be put together
  • description of criteria used to evaluate the substantiality of the environmental impact
  • assessment of all techniques and procedures applied in environmental management
  • evaluation of reactions to earlier incidents

The environmental assessment in accordance with EMAS consists of three elements:

  • Establishment of environmental impact (Performance audit)
  • Assessment of legal security (Compliance audit)
  • Assessment of the (environmental management-) system (system audit)

These three elements are permanent aspects of the environmental assessment, the (internal) organisational environmental assessment and the validation conducted by the environmental verifier.

Concerning the Performance Audit, EMAS and ISO 14001 differentiate between direct and indirect environmental aspects. Direct environmental aspects are defined as being under direct supervision, for example by the municipality, and can be entirely influenced by it.

Indirect environmental aspects are related to those activities of the municipal administration that it does not control completely, but that it can influence to a certain extent. Indirect environmental aspects can result from a municipal administration’s interactions with third parties.

This differentiation has proved to be realistic and practical and has therefore been included in the recommendations for the IMS Baseline-Review.

The municipality has to identify and assess all environmental aspects of its activities which will be subject of validation, review them, and decide according to significance criteria how substantial each one is. These substantial environmental aspects form the basis for drawing up environmental goals and measures, i.e. they have to be reflected in the content of the environmental programme and made accessible to the public (e.g. through an environmental statement).

Annex 2: ecoBUDGET: The Preliminary Report

In financial budgeting, the preliminary report that accompanies the budget explains the budget framework, in particular the factors governing changes in income and expenditure development, as well as planned investments and their financial effects over the forthcoming years. This is not only important for informing the council, the general public and regulatory bodies, but also provides an essential foundation for evaluating the local authority's financial efficiency for the forthcoming budget year, for which the budget is available for discussion and ratification.

ecoBUDGET adopts the function of the preliminary report and slightly extends its use. Information collected for the preliminary reports can be used by the technical departments much earlier than when it is submitted to the council. This will be first at the time when they are asked to predict their resource consumption needs for the forthcoming year. The transparency provided by the preliminary report, of the environmental situation, of emerging legal or political frameworks and of the development of individual environmental areas, allows trends to be deduced that specialists can compare with their own planning schedules, enabling them to produce realistic values for the budget estimates.

The ecoBUDGET Co-ordination Team asks other departments for information and produces a provisional preliminary report at the beginning of the environmental budget preparation. It serves to provide guidance and support to the participating administration units before being used - together with its own specialist evaluations and calculations of resource demands - as a regular inclusion to the environmental budget, when the latter is presented to the council.

The main content of the provisional preliminary report, as intended for the technical departments is described in the box below.

Provisional preliminary report for the drawing-up of the environmental budget
  1. Information and instructions regarding procedures for drawing up the environmental budget, substantiation of the business directives by means of deadlines, contacts, technical indications, etc.
  2. Explanations and examples of how the predicted resource consumption needs are to be reported.
  3. Values of the previous annual balance (previous year's values) within the area of the local authority (e.g. through planned projects).
  4. Values and information pertaining to the current environmental budget year (if an intermediate report is available).
  5. Expected developments in the municipality.
  6. The local authority's general future development, using population figures, economic and social parameters, and other relevant statements.
  7. General trends (regionally) that influence the development of the locality significantly.
  8. Possible other national and international developments that can have a direct effect on the local authority's budget (e.g., the expansion of motorways or technical progress in motor vehicle emissions).
  9. Indication of changes in the regulatory framework (e.g., changes in environmental legislation, new standards and regulations or new scientific results).
  10. Possible voluntary commitments through, e.g., the local Agenda 21 Forum.

The provisional preliminary report provides the departments with information and instructions regarding the procedures to be followed by the administrative units when drawing up the environmental budget. It substantiates the managerial directives that govern deadlines, contacts, and technical indications. It is also advisable to produce explanations and examples of how the predicted resource consumption needs are to be reported.

Dealing with further topics in the preliminary report can be helpful. These include current values (e.g., the expected account balance) that can be predicted for the current budget year, the development expected within the local authority area (e.g., through planned projects) and the external trends that influence the locality.

The values of the preceding annual balance can be taken directly from the previous cycle.

The conclusions of the political debates and those considered important by senior management should complement these figures. The latest values for the current environmental budget year can of course only be quoted as partly qualitative estimates. In addition, if quarterly or half-yearly reports have been compiled, the figures and data they contain can be used. Individual measures or events that have a significant influence on the overall future development should also be emphasised.

For future reference, the local authority's general future development should be outlined

using population figures, economic and social parameters, and other relevant statements. The statistics office should provide the data required for this. Even more importantly, there should be an indication of any changes in the regulatory framework (e.g. due to changes in environmental legislation, new standards or deadlines stemming from the obligation to implement EU guidelines, or the availability of new scientific results).

The ecoBUDGET Co-ordination Team circulates the preliminary report to all relevant departments (environment office, health office, town planning office, agency for economic development, etc.). These departments are asked to: (i) determine their predicted resource consumption (i.e. spending forecasts), (ii) identify planned measures and (iii) predicted events

that could influence indicator or budget development. This should, if possible, be quantified.

If voluntary co-operation agreements exist with external actors (local authority services,

companies, associations, etc.), they should be provided with a copy of the preliminary report

and requested to communicate their estimates.

The planned measures on an increased or decreased use of resources are setup by the ecoBUDGET Co-ordination Team within its time frame. The same holds for the application of cooperating actors outside the administration.

Annex 3: ECOLUP - SWOT-Analysis regarding urban land use planning

In order to comprehend the impact of urban land use planning has on the environment and to identify the environmental situation in the ECOLUP partner communities, a SWOT-Analysis was conducted for each municipality.

General Conditions and Input for the SWOT-Analysis:

  • The region to be studied were the districts administered by the four municipalities; for specific topics however it was permitted to vary so that smaller or larger areas were determined as required.
  • For each municipality three to five planning processes were examined, including a land use/zoning plan, a development plan and a specialised plan or project from each. The plans were no more than ten years old. The reference data and indicators were developed on the basis of these planning processes, together with environmental teams/responsible people of the municipality.
  • The basic information used to draw up the plans and the planning concepts were collected (according to a checklist, see Annex 1).
  • For each community, a planning profile (overview of planning structure incl. information on competencies, flow of information, involvement of citizens/ representatives of interest groups, supervisory mechanisms) was drawn up.
  • Statistical data about the municipality were collected.

Procedure and Experience with ECOLUP

With approximately 20 working days for expert consultants and 10 working days for municipality representatives, the data research for the SWOT analysis took much longer than planned because extensive data stocks had to be reviewed and checked for their applicability. The following information was collected:

  • description of the area
  • main goal
  • environmental goals
  • measures
  • participants
  • reference data
  • timeline for the planning phases

When collecting the data, it proved to be problematic that none of the city or municipal administrations had central statistical offices that collected and evaluated all data relevant to municipal administration. Although the most important base data such as population density and sealing of soil are available, but they exist in various forms: differing years of collection, in reference to differing areas, varying categories of measurement, and different sizes of collection.

Each municipality was given a city profile in which the SWOT analysis’ evaluation was recorded. The profile contained a summary of the conclusions the project team drew of this analysis, which was used as basis for discussion in the SWOT-Workshops.

Results of the SWOT Analysis: City Profile Überlingen

Strengths Weaknesses
1 Main goals for land use and local development are regarding its content in good relation to one another
Measures cover environmental areas of substantial importance for the region concerned
Local development concept (Targets and strategies for development)
No environmental model (targets not explicitly formulated)
Existing goals not concrete (strategies and measures not included)
No submodels (e.g. no forestry development plan)
2 Application of wide variety of instruments for realisation of environmental targets (codification, recommendations, information, public presentation of arguments)
Good co-operation between administrative units and between administration and external specialised offices
Great effort required to maintain co-ordination due to the distribution of environmental responsibilities
3 Good basis for subareas (e.g. Level B Plan) No systematic observation and progress-check for measures
Check of targets achieved unclear (who reviews what), also due to lack of means for sanctioning
4 All important groups included (administration, council, citizens, associations, public interest groups, supervisory legal instances)
Wide variety of opportunities to participate for interested and concerned citizens beyond extent of legally required citizen participation
High public participation and support
Quality of participation needs improvement (representatives of public interest groups need better information, especially if directly affected by planning measures)
Effect of participation not always transparent
5 High potential of natural landscape allows tourism to be strong economic factor
Sustainable forestry practices
Only a small part of potential for densification of settlement and construction used
Opportunities Threats
1 Undertake initial measures on city property Building contractors/investors do not feel to be bound to these targets
Economic pressures makes environmental targets to political issues
2 Reorganisation of Department for the Management of Green Spaces
Environmental officer (co-ordination function EMAS)
Specialised responsibilities still divided among offices (according to current plan)
Concentration within city means making decision involving big amounts of money (investments)
3 Without reference data, controlling is not possible
General Traffic Plan 1995 soon outdated
4 Overall, well-developed culture of participation facilitates public and interest group participation City council fails to provide political support for public participation
5 Limited opportunities for expansion force community to turn to densification
High potential for densification of housing and workplaces
Limited opportunities for expansion vs. role as focus of settlement (impact on districts)
Conflict btw. tourism development and landscape potential (e.g. shoreline)

Performance Audit: SWOT-Workshop during the ECOLUP-Project

Targets and Results of SWOT-Workshops

  1. Establish and discuss strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats for municipal urban land use planning/municipal spatial planning
  2. Identify weaknesses for discussion in municipal workshops: Which are the significant environmental aspects, which can be dealt with in clusters?

In workshops, the individual strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were discussed and when necessary completed or corrected. Special consideration was given to the following aspects:

Environmental Targets –essentially:

  • High densification of housing and workplaces
  • Soil conservation, e.g. through reduction of urban sprawl
  • Establish energy balances
  • Measures to decrease environmental impact of mobility, transportation and noise
  • Densification of areas, in combination with energy-saving measures

Planning Structure:

  • Responsibilities of the environmental planning and urban land use planning (organisational structure as well as horizontal co-ordination between specialised units)
  • Practical implementation of public participation (comparison to legal standards with respect to the type of participatory procedure)
  • Instruments ensuring the realisation of environmental measures agreed upon

Reference Data:

  • To date, the participating municipalities have hardly ever used environmental reference data or indicators for the level of the city as a whole. However, balances have been employed (land-use, energy, traffic, water)
  • Through the planning processes it was realised, necessary basis data, was only partially accessible, or this data could easily be calculated. By means of this basis data, the necessary reference data could be collected.

The results of the SWOT-Workshops were made available for each municipality as a revised SWOT matrix.

Annex 4: Example ECOLUP: Credit system to evaluate the significance of the environmental aspects

Significance Criteria Environmental Aspects
Land-use Surface Sealing Greening of spaces Transportation/ Mobility Energy/ Climate Landscape Development/ Flowing Water Flora Air Noise Raw Materials/ Waste Participation
Is the aspect a permanent factor of municipal urban land-use planning? 3 2 2 3 1 1 1 3
Influence of aspect through municipal urban land-use planning? 3 3 2 3 1 2 1 1 2 2
Does the aspect fall under the municipality’s planning obligation? 3 2 1 3 1
Is there a necessity to weigh interests related to the environment? 3 1 3 3 1 3 1 1
Specifics of the municipality
Is reliable information to this aspect about the environmental harm available in the municipality?
What kind of action should be taken?
Is this aspect part of the current environmental discussion within the municipality?


3 Points: completely valid
2 Points: partially valid/from case to case
1 Points: rarely / in exceptional cases valid

Annex 5: An alternative frame for the baseline review following the services and responsibilities of a local authority

As an alternative to structuring the Baseline Review according to the Aalborg Commitments it can also be structured to the municipality services or responsibilities.

Municipal services/ responsibilities Direct and indirect aspects of sustainability




Municipal Land-use Planning Surface sealing
Soil quality
Traffic/ Mobility
Energy/ Climate
Air Quality
Water bodies/ ground water
Land use
Landscape development
Fauna/ Flora/ Habitats
Resources/ Waste
Enhance of degenerated and disadvantaged districts/ use of inner urban waste land
Balanced density of urban buildings
Balanced population structure
Attractive inner urban areas/ recreational areas
Adequate conservation and renovation of urban heritage
Sustainable design
Availability of health assesment
Public security
Affordable inner urban housing space
Adequate costs for the preparation of building land and infrastructure
Equal distribution of work
Equitable economic structure
High level of self-supply
High stability of prices
Sound budget structure
Equitable distribution of services
Waste Management Energy/ Climate
Air Quality
Water bodies/ ground water
Land use
Landscape development
Fauna/ Flora/ Habitats
Raw materials/ Waste
Promotion of sustainable (responsible) consume and lifestyle
Waste disposal
Economically functioning enterprise
Sustainable procurement
Promotion of sustainable production
Public Transportation Services and Transport Planning Energy/ Climate
Air Quality
Landscape development
Fauna/ Flora/ Habitats
Availability of attractive public transport
Availability of attractive bicycle roads and footpaths
High level of safety
Use of vehicles with low emissions
Integrative and sustainable local plan of mobility
Reduction of health problems caused by traffic
Economically functioning enterprise
Attractive competitive prices
Reduction of costs for diseases caused by traffic
Reduction of costs for environment and renovation of buildings caused by traffic
Consumption of primary energy
Public Supply Services
(Water/ Energy/ Gas)
Energy/ Climate
Choice of resources
Air quality
Landscape development
Fauna/ Flora/ Habitats
Water consumption
Water bodies
Equitable availability and quality of public supply
High level of safety
Technical standard
Economically functioning enterprise
Availability of supporting programmes for regenerative energy
Staggered tariffs
University/ Public Schools/ Kindergardens Surface sealing
Energy/ Climate
Water consumption
Fauna/ Flora/ Habitats
Transportation/ mobility
High-level of training and further education (education for a sustainable development)
Appropriate capacity
High level of safety
Equipment suitable for children
Equipment suitable for people with special needs
Children with overweight/ eating disorders
Equitable access to public services, education, jobs, further education information and cultural activities
Sound structure of budget
Kindergartens: affordable for families with low income
Public Sports and Recreational Infrastructures Surface sealing
Energy/ Climate
Water consumption
Fauna/ Flora/ Habitats
Transportation/ mobility
High level of safety
Equipment suitable for children and teenagers
Equipment suitable for people with special needs
Equitable access to public services, education, jobs, further education, information and cultural activities
Sound budget structure
Attractive prices
(Also affordable for families with low income)
Public Buildings and Public Space (administrative buildings, museum, theatre, concert hall, places, streets etc.) Surface sealing
Energy/ Climate
Water consumption
Fauna/ Flora/ Habitats
Transportation/ mobility
High level of safety
Equipment suitable for people with special needs
Public security
Pleasant atmosphere
Equitable access to public services, education, jobs, further education, information and cultural activities
Sound budget structure
Attractive prices
(Also affordable for families with low income)
Public Hospitals, Health Services Surface sealing
Energy/ Climate
Water consumption
Fauna/ Flora/ Habitats
Transportation/ mobility
Awareness for health aspects outside the health sector (quality of life)
Municipal health programmes
Partnerships within the health sector
Availability of health impact assessments
Sound budget structure
Municipal city- marketing and Local Economy Support/ Sustainable Economy Surface sealing
Energy/ Climate
Water consumption
Fauna/ Flora/ Habitats
Transportation/ mobility
EMS-certified companies
Companies with a high amount of regenerative energies
Organic agriculture
safety of long-term employment
apprenticeship training positions
Opportunities for education for migrants
Companies with ethical/ sustainability management
Sustainability criteria for new settlements
Enhancing the consumption of local/ regional products
Enhancing sustainable tourism
Degree of Diversification
Low number of insolvency
Number of people setting up businesses
Number of newly created jobs/Number and development of sustainable jobs
Adequate investments in modernisation etc.
Efficient land use for industries and industrial areas
Cooperation enterprises/municipalities (PPP)
Local/regional markets and economic relations
Local/regional products
Sustainable tourism
Social Services/ Social and Cultural Institutions/ Social Justice Programme against poverty
Identification and consciousness for local society
Equitable access to public services, education, jobs, further education, information and cultural activities
Enhancing of social and intercultural integration
Safety and protection of citizens
Good and social integrative living conditions
Governance/ Participation
Process for the development of a long-term vision (mission statement)
Municipal capacities for participation and sustainable development
Processes of participation (Local Agenda 21)
High honorary engagement
High democratic engagement
Municipal engagement for international justice
Equitable participation of women in public life
Enhancing of living environment for children and teenagers
Positive costs/benefit relation
Foreign Relations/ Global Responsibility
Strategic and integrative approaches against climate change/ climate protection policy in all municipal sectors
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
Awareness-raising of causes and expected impacts of climate change
Enhancing the basic principles of global environmental justice
Strengthening the international cooperation between cities and municipalities
Partnerships of cities and municipalities, local communities and all relevant stakeholders
Local/ regional markets and economic relations