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The Government’s governance of agencies in the climate area – an analysis of obstacles and proposals for solutions

Statskontoret (the Swedish Agency for Public Management) has been commissioned by the Government to analyse the roles, responsibilities and circumstances of agencies in climate policy. This commission has included presenting proposals, where required, for more appropriate governance, including the organisation and direction of these agencies’ climate work.

Our analysis shows that these agencies view their roles and responsibilities in the climate area as mainly being clear and that they generally have sufficient analytical capacity for the tasks currently assigned to them. But Statskontoret finds that the Government’s governance is too short-term and unclear to enable full use to be made of the agencies’ capacity to contribute to the climate targets. There is also a lack of an overview of completed, ongoing and adopted measures in the area.

Our assessment is that no major reorganisation is needed of the agencies in the climate area. However, Statskontoret presents several other proposals to rectify the deficiencies we have seen in the Government’s governance. To strengthen its long-term governance in the climate area, Statskontoret proposes that the Government specifies, in the ordinances containing instructions for the relevant agencies, what tasks the agencies have in order to contribute to reaching the climate targets. The agencies should be involved in investigating and proposing the drafting of this amendment to their instructions.

Statskontoret proposes that the Government commission the Climate Policy Council to produce an overview of all completed, ongoing and adopted initiatives in the climate area and that Vinnova, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, be commissioned to draw up a list containing current information about what grants are available in the area. Statskontoret also proposes that the Government should make clearer demands concerning the agencies’ collaboration and impact analyses and concerning following up and evaluating policy instruments. Moreover, Statskontoret proposes that the Government establish a climate analysis function in the Government Offices to improve the Government’s ability to order and deal with input from these agencies. If the Government wants the climate issue to have an impact on its overall policy, the Government should also ensure that there is an active coordinating function at ministerial or state secretary level in the Government Offices that is engaged in integrating climate policy in all the relevant policy areas.

Finally, Statskontoret notes that appropriate agency governance is important but not sufficient to achieve the climate targets. To achieve the targets the Government also needs to work for decisions to be made on further measures and policy instruments that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both the short and the long term.