This report by Ecologic Institute and IDDRI, commissioned by the European Environment Agency (EEA), provides a comprehensive mapping of climate advisory bodies in European countries and the national governance systems in which they operate. It proposes a typology to account for the diversity of advisory bodies and a three-tiered frame by which to evaluate national climate policy-making systems. The research was based on an in-depth investigation of national policy documents and structured interviews with country experts.


Evans, N., Duwe, M. (2021). Climate governance systems in Europe: the role of national advisory bodies. Ecologic Institute, Berlin; IDDRI, Paris.

Read the report

Key insights

  • National climate policy systems in Europe differ in terms of their degree of formality, specificity and accountability. The analysis identified three main tiers into which existing systems fall. The first tier countries only include essential elements required by EU or international law ('EU/UN Baseline'); while the second and third tier countries have additional functionality specific to national policy cycles, increasing the windows of opportunity for expert and stakeholder involvement ('light framework' and 'robust framework'). Increasingly, European countries have turned to national framework laws to organize climate actions, often establishing supporting advisory institutions.
  • In total, the research found 57 advisory bodies operating in 27 European countries. These can be categorized based on their composition and degree of autonomy into four different groups: (1) 'independent, scientific councils', (2) 'in-house scientific advisory bodies', (3) 'stakeholder engagement platforms' and (4) 'stakeholder and/or inter-ministerial roundtables'.
  • Ten countries have established independent scientific councils dedicated specifically to climate (i.e., Type 1a advisory bodies). Each council's ability to influence policy formulation is a function of their mandate (specific responsibilities and windows to be involved) and the capacity they are given (through staff and means to create visibility). Without a clear and visible role and proper resources, impact is low.
  • Despite capacity and contextual limitations, they play a unique role, exercising a combination of watchdog, reliable information provider and convener/stakeholder outreach functions. Experience from across Europe suggests that they can be positioned to enhance the accountability of a national governance system.