Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment

Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment Annual report 2022

It was the position paper celebrating 35 years of the NCEA that inspired Hans Mommaas, the then director of PBL, to apply to the NCEA. When he took up his post as chair on 1 November 2022, he encountered an office working professionally at the hub of a wide network of committed experts, which is important, given the large, complex and far-reaching environmental issues the Netherlands will face in the coming decades: the sustainability of the relationship between food, agriculture and nature; a more circular use of raw materials; the spatial quality of city and country. Therein lie obvious opportunities for environmental assessment as a coordinating instrument to monitor the quality of the environment in context and at the front end of planning processes.

2022 also marked the birth of the Ecologische Autoriteit (Ecological Authority). The Ecological Authority draws on the more than 35 years of experience and knowledge of the NCEA, applying this tried and tested approach which provides security in these turbulent times. The current state of nature in the Netherlands and what needs to be done to get out of the crisis brought on by unacceptably high emissions of nitrogen compounds are major societal problems in the Netherlands in which politics and economic interests play an important role. In the midst of that debate, the Ecological Authority independently and impartially assesses the substance of measures to comply with the European rules to protect nature. Policy makers can use the opinions of the Ecological Authority to make informed choices.

As for our international work, in 2022 we slowly emerged from the Covid pandemic and are growing back to our usual level of activity. A notable achievement is the number of agreements we signed for long-term cooperation: with the Central African Forestry Commission, with the West African Economic and Monetary Union, with IGF, the Volta Basin authority, Senegal and Jordan. 2022 was also the final year of the 2017–2022 collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An independent evaluation reviewed the impact of our work. We are proud of its very positive conclusions, which form a sound basis for the new 10-year programme starting in 2023.

Advice in the Netherlands

202247 mandatory65 non-mandatory
202179 mandatory81 non-mandatory
202052 mandatory82 non-mandatory

International activities

202210 advisory reports22 countries/regions capacity development
202123 advisory reports16 countries/regions capacity development
202032 advisory reports20 countries/regions capacity development

Hans Mommaas, new chair

5-year programme evaluated positively

2022 was the final year of our 5-year agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A team from Wageningen University & Research was commissioned by the Ministry to evaluate the relevance, coherence, effectiveness and impact of our work. Based on interviews with partners at home and abroad, local governments, embassies and visits to two countries, the evaluators came to a very positive assessment. They particularly appreciated that our expertise fits well with the local context. Of course, there were also several suggestions and learning points; we will address them in the coming years because, partly on the basis of this evaluation, the Ministry decided to establish a new funding agreement for the next 10 years!

Hans Mommaas looks back on 2022

Hans Mommaas, who became chair in 2022, looks back on an eventful but very successful year for the NCEA.

Animation series on the 6 steps of the ESIA process completed: so far > 45,000 views

Me(e)r dan ooit Symposium and position paper celebrating NCEA's 35th anniversary

Resettlement for a dam: how do they do that in Guinea?

Tanya van Gool, international chair, visited Guinea with an international working group to assess a resettlement action plan for the Koukoutamba dam.

A SEA for national wind turbine standards

State secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Vivianne Heijnen requested NCEA's advice on new national regulations for wind farms. In June, the Council of State had ruled that an SEA was needed before setting standards (for noise and shadow, for example). The NCEA advised the state secretary to examine a wide range of alternatives, so she could make a considered choice about the new standards. The SEA will be sent to the NCEA in 2023, for its advice.

Ecological Authority starts work

Social aspects of mining require more attention

Together with the Ministry of Mines and Quarries and IGF (a global organisation of governments for responsible mining), we applied the Mining ESIA Tool (MET) in Burkina Faso. In a MET, government, private sector and civil society engage in a dialogue on improving environmental and social impact assessment for mining. Among the things the MET revealed in Burkina Faso was that more attention should be paid to mine closure and rehabilitation and that too little account is being taken of impacts on society. At the request of the Ministry of Mines and Quarries we have since provided a follow-up workshop on the latter issue.

Ruwan Aluvihare on the added value of environmental assessment in the most low-lying part of the Netherlands

Is it a good idea to build 8000 new homes in the part of the Netherlands that lies deepest below sea level? Ruwan gives his views, from the perspective of the environmental assessment.

The added value of environmental assessment for WWF programmes

WWF-NL and the NCEA have been working together for several years to strengthen environmental assessment in various landscapes. Moniek Wulms of WWF, on what this has achieved in Paraguay.

A SEA in a programme gives guidance

One of the 6 core instruments of the Environment and Planning Act is “the programme”. In programmes, municipalities, water boards, provinces and the national government formulate measures to achieve the desired quality of the physical environment. A strategic environmental assessment report (SEA) for a programme provides insight into feasibility and helps in making a good decision, thereby making clear how the objective can be achieved, as well as providing good insight into the environmental consequences. Initial experience shows that how to make good use of the SEA is still a puzzle for some. The fact sheet 'Een goed programma met m.e.r.' ('A good programme with SEA') will therefore soon be available on our website.

1st phase IAIA publication: guidance on the use of SEA for renewable energy

The NCEA visits ... informative afternoons in the provinces on environmental assessment and the Environment and Planning Act

Strategic environmental assessment for the oil and gas sector in Senegal

After several years of preparation, strategic environmental assessment for the oil and gas sector started in 2022! It's an important step towards more responsible development of the sector: integration of climate, biodiversity, social impacts and fair distribution of revenues. As well as putting substantive issues on the agenda, environmental assessment helps when organising the process, especially in relation to participation and transparency.

We are coaching the steering committee, which consists of the ministries of Energy and Environment, on shaping this process and the multi-stakeholder cooperation.

SEA, a sound basis for regional energy strategies

In April 2022 it became clear that in almost all cases, a Strategic Environmental Assessment is mandatory for the Dutch regional energy strategies (RES 2.0). Strategic Environmental Assessment is helpful when choosing where and under what conditions solar fields and wind farms may operate. The same decisions have to be made when granting permits. Early research into the effects of renewable energy projects on nature, landscape and the living environment makes their impact clear, more environmentally friendly solutions are revealed and everyone knows whether the plan is feasible.

Online course: introduction to strategic environmental assessment

Strategic environmental assessment is growing in many countries, so the NCEA has developed an online introductory course in response. Anita Ainomugisha from the National Environmental Management Authority in Uganda took the course.

Launch: NCEA cycle routes taking in various NCEA EA projects

Publication: 25 years of SEA; personal reflections on recent progress, current status and future prospects

More facts, figures, advisory reports The Netherlands

112 advisory reports in the Netherlands

Still a challenge to provide sufficient information

In 2022, providing sufficient information again proved to be a challenge.

Recommendations on scoping

In 35 of the 36 submitted scoping reports, the NCEA recommended expanding the research agenda. We found that the research agenda was insufficient to capture all the essential information on aspects such as alternatives, nature, health, climate and energy.


The NCEA concluded that only 6 of the 48 environmental assessment reports it reviewed contained all the information needed to properly consider environmental concerns. Unfortunately, 42 environmental assessments were missing information essential for decision-making. When the NCEA notices information is missing, the competent authority is invited to supplement the environmental assessment report. In 2022, 17 of the 42 environmental assessment reports were subsequently supplemented. After reviewing this supplementary information we concluded that 8 of the 17 reports contained sufficient information for careful decision-making.

These figures are comparable to those in previous years. We'd like to reverse this trend, because more than 35 years of EA practice has shown that a good environmental assessment (one containing the right information) contributes to a smooth process, involved parties, transparent decisionmaking and thus to a sustainable investment.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for environmental strategies

In the run-up to the coming into force of the Environment and Planning Act on 1 January 2024, the NCEA is increasingly advising on environmental assessment for environmental strategies. Since the drafting of environmental strategies is fairly new to provinces and municipalities, the NCEA believes it is important to spend time, in addition to advising, on transferring knowledge about what constitutes a good SEA for an environmental strategy.

Here too, however, it is proving harder than expected to see the results reflected in practice: in all 9 advisory reviews issued by the NCEA in 2022, the NCEA discovered that some relevant information was missing. The missing information mainly concerned ambitions and goals, justification of the plan, alternatives to be studied and information underlying the impact description.

Involve citizens and interested parties, give attention to viewpoints

In a good environmental assessment, the participation of citizens and stakeholders often proves to be crucial, not only to gain their support, but also to obtain as yet unknown information that is relevant for the plan or project in question. The law therefore provides for interested parties to submit their views. The substantive and procedural response to these is the task of the competent authority, which also decides whether to make the views available to the NCEA so that the NCEA can refer to them in its advisory report.

In practice, the competent authority does forward the views, especially during the process of preparing the environmental assessment. In 2022, in almost 80% of the scoping advisory reports the NCEA was asked to take the views into account when drafting its recommendations. It made little difference whether the competent authority was a municipality, the national government or a water board.

The NCEA was asked to include the views in just over half of the environmental assessment reports it was requested to review. Views were made available by the national government in 4 out of the 5 cases, provinces and municipalities did so in just over half of their cases, and a water board asked for the views to be included once.

Appropriate assessment

Natura 2000 is the world's largest coordinated network of protected areas (mainly breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species) across all 27 EU countries. The environmental assessment determines whether a plan or project has significant effects on Natura 2000 areas. If necessary, a so-called appropriate assessment must be made, which looks more closely at the impact on Natura 2000 areas. In 2022, 25 environmental assessment reports were accompanied by appropriate assessments, Despite this, over half of these reports lacked a proper elaboration of the impacts on Natura 2000. In two other environmental assessment reports, an appropriate assessment was missing, even though, according to the NCEA, one should have been made.

More facts, figures, activities International

Some of the work we do abroad is the same as in the Netherlands, namely advising on scoping and reviewing environmental and social assessment reports. But we also devote much time to other activities, such as advising on environmental assessment legislation and regulations, giving coaching on strategic environmental assessment processes, training staff of environmental assessment authorities and NGOs, and screening project proposals to see if they comply with local obligations for environmental assessment.

For a number of years now, we have also been actively involved with Dutch facilities concerned with the aid and trade agenda of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We advise RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) and Invest International on the role of environmental assessment in the project proposals, local environmental assessment obligations, the environmental assessment procedure to follow and the quality of reports.

10 advisory reports / EA coaching trajectoriesn

25 capacity development trajectories / activities


Knowledge & communication

3.055 e-newsletter subscribers

1.028 followers on twitter

599.435 website visits

70 presentations

10 publications

3 videos an 496 subscribers

1 podcast


38 employees =24 women14 men128 experts =

15,7 fte The Netherlands +

11,9 fte International +

2,8 fte Back office =

30,4 fte


30-39 year 7

40-49 year 9

50-59 year 13

60-70 year 9

109 The Netherlands +

19 International

Employees per 31 December 2022

Employees per 31 December 2022



€ 2.858.050 The Netherlands

€ 2.180.370 International - DGIS/Ministry of Foreign Affairs

€ 55.094 International othe

€ 389.160 Ecological Authority

All amounts are in euros

The Netherlands 2022 2021
Staffing costs 1.592.706 1.652.288
Remuneration experts (project costs) 1.032.061 1.423.031
Depreciation 9.654 17.913
Accommodation 100.743 116.064
Administration 16.521 20.285
IT 36.776 47.569
General expenses 69.589 37.414
Unforeseen - -
Total expenses 2.858.050 3.314.564
Income advisory services in the Netherlands 2.619.234 3.785.470
Other income 27.883 21.641
Total income 2.647.117 3.807.111
Balance -210.933 492.547
Number of advisory reports 112 160
International - DGIS / Ministry of Foreign A airs 2022 2021
Staffing costs 1.645.970 1.586.731
Remuneration experts (project costs) 288.621 237.356
Depreciation 10.496 18.074
Accommodation 115.601 124.887
Administration 13.612 14.480
IT 54.328 58.623
General expenses 51.742 41.320
Unforeseen - 22.205
Total expenses 2.180.370 2.103.676
Contribution from government department (DGIS/Ministry of Foreign Aff airs) 2.181.264 2.097.124
Interest and other income - 3.648
Total income 2.181.264 2.100.772
Balance 894 -2.904
International - other 2022 2021
Staffing costs 38.738 13.401
Remuneration experts (project costs) 16.356 2.736
Total expenses 55.094 16.137
Total income international advisory services 49.426 6.815
Balance -5.668 -9.322
Ecological Authority 2022
Staffing costs 201.284
Remuneration experts (project costs) 19.193
Initial costs 53.360
Accommodation 34.050
Administration 4.078
IT 24.394
General expenses 34.575
Knowledge and communication 18.226
Total expenses 389.160
Income advisory services in the Netherlands 389.160
Other income -
Total income 389.160
Balance -

Mission & Vision


The Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) - established by law - is an independent not-forprofit knowledge institute in the field of environmental and social impacts. This knowledge is used to advise and support Dutch and foreign governments with the integration of environmental, social and climate considerations in decision-making. This is done with integrity and in an authoritative and transparent manner.


The NCEA's work ensures that governmental authorities have access to the knowledge of environmental, social and climate issues they need when making decisions. As a result, governmental decisions are of better quality, better substantiated and more widely supported. In this way, the NCEA contributes to the quality of the living environment and to sustainable development in the Netherlands and abroad.