EPRs are increasingly recognized as an instrument for peer learning, in addition to being a peer review mechanism. Whereas peer review takes place closer to the end of the EPR preparation process, namely during the discussion of the draft EPR report by the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy, peer learning takes place during several stages in the EPR preparation process.
Review mission: During the review mission, the review team visits the country under the review. The review team is composed of experts provided by various countries and international organizations. The review team holds numerous meetings with governmental officials and other actors in the country under review. During these meetings, exchange of knowledge, experience and best practice takes place. While the core purpose of the review mission is to evaluate the performance of the country under review, experts from the review team also learn and gather experience and knowledge that are useful and often applicable to their countries. This peer-to-peer exchange inspires further contacts and collaboration.
Expert Review: During the review of the draft EPR report by the Expert Group on EPRs, expert representatives of countries from various parts of the UNECE region discuss the EPR report together with the delegation of the country under review. Emphasis is made on providing the country under review with useful recommendations, tailored to its needs and capacities. During the meeting, experts share what works and does not work in their countries in order to come up with solutions for improving the situation in the country under review. The learning goes both ways and opportunities for further cooperation, projects and networking are identified.
Peer Review: During the session of the Committee on Environmental Policy, delegations from all UNECE Member States discuss the draft EPR report together with a high-level representative of the country under review. The high-level representative has the opportunity to point out the priorities of the country and ask for various types of assistance (knowledge, technology or technical assistance), which is necessary for implementation of EPR recommendations. Other governments comment on the issues described in the report and share their experience on solutions found in their countries. In addition, roundtable or other discussions are regularly organized during the Committee’s sessions to promote further exchange of experience and peer learning on the basis of EPRs.
Publication and launch: EPR publications are widely disseminated and available online, so that everybody could benefit from the information therein. When the country under review organizes a launch of its EPR report, embassies and cooperation partners are invited to the launch event in order to stimulate collaboration and follow-up to the recommendations of the EPR report.