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Reform Support

Supporting reforms to transition to a green economy and fight climate change

Strengthening environmental considerations in public investment management. 

The Commission supports Ireland to strengthen the government’s capacity to take into consideration environmental and climate change aspects in the decision-making process on public investments. The project supports the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) in reviewing the Public Spending Code to identify options for accounting for climate risk and uncertainty, and options for measuring the environmental impact of public infrastructure investment within the appraisal process. 

Context 

Ireland has updated its Public Spending Code (PSC) in 2019 and implemented a new methodology for valuing the shadow price of carbon. However, the code requires further development to thoroughly evaluate the environmental and climate-related aspects of public capital spending. Integrating such considerations in decision-making on public investments is crucial for achieving progress towards environmental objectives in line with the EU Green Deal. This is particularly important in the context of the significant investments to be channelled through Ireland’s Recovery and Resilience Plan. 

Support delivered 

The Commission provides support delivered through an agreement with the OECD. The support measures consist of:  

  • Reviewing existing international best practices and academic evidence 
  • Assessing challenges and options and proposing an appraisal process and methodology that allows DPER to better account for: 
  • the emissions impact of public infrastructure investment; 
  • climate risks and uncertainty in investment appraisal. 
  • Capacity building and awareness raising events on the proposed approach and testing its application in specific sectors. 

Results achieved 

This project aims at strengthening the beneficiary’s capacity to take into consideration environmental and climate-related aspects in the decision-making process on public investments. The increased evidence would enable the authorities to make informed decisions regarding public spending, shifting the focus to green budgeting practices. The project would contribute to aligning public investment appraisals with Ireland’s climate and environmental objectives and supporting the country’s transformation to a climate-neutral and resilient economy. As a result, the support would allow Ireland to advance on reducing the environmental footprint of public spending and promote infrastructure investment that leads to sustainable growth.