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What is it?

A Country Environmental Profile (CEP) provides an analysis of the country environment and climate change context covering: key environmental and climate related challenges and opportunities; the way these are addressed in national policies and strategies; an overview of how the EU and other donors have been addressing these issues, and the implications for future EU cooperation and policy dialogue.
In the case of a Regional Environmental Profile (REP), the purpose is to inform the preparation of regional programming documents, and the focus is on environmental and climate-related challenges and opportunities that are best addressed at a regional level.

What can it be used for?

The primary objective of a CEP is to inform the programming process from an environmental and climate change perspective. In addition, a CEP is a valuable reference document that provides a broad insight into the environmental and climate-related challenges of the country that can be used to inform the context analysis during identification and formulation of interventions.

When can it be used?

During programming, although the final document can also be useful during identification and formulation.

Who can use it?
  • All EU staff involved in programming
What are its strengths?
  • It provides concrete recommendations on opportunities for programming to address environmental and climate-related challenges and opportunities in the country and, insofar as they are available, in the selected sectors of cooperation.
What are its limitations?
  • Full-fledged CEPs and REPs require time and resources to be prepared, which can be a constraint in some delegations. Lighter versions of these documents can be prepared instead, when resources and/or time are a serious limitation.


Key elements

Preparation of a CEP or a REP implies comprehensive desk-top literature reviews and stakeholder consultations, ideally complemented by field visits to verify in situ key challenges and opportunities, as well as engage with local level stakeholders.


Data/information. Preparation of a CEP or a REP does not entail the generation of primary data. Key sources of information and data include:

  • Relevant policy documents (e.g. national development strategy, Nationally Determined Contributions – NDC, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, environmental policies and strategies, sector strategies);
  • State of the environment reports (including those prepared by donors such as the World Bank Country Environmental Analyses or UN environmental profiles);
  • Other relevant literature (e.g. analyses of the costs of climate change, academic literature);
  • Environmental and climate-related legislation;
  • EU project evaluation reports.

Valuable information will be obtained through consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, including e.g.

  • Environmental and climate change authorities (e.g. Ministry of Environment);
  • Sectoral ministries and authorities (e.g. environmental protection agency, ministry of planning, ministry of finance, sectoral ministries and authorities, meteorological office, local authorities);
  • EU delegation, donors and relevant financial institutions;
  • Civil society (e.g. local, national and international environmental and development NGOs);
  • Professional organisations (e.g. worker unions, chamber of commerce);
  • Representatives of the private sector;
  • Academics;
  • Groups affected or potentially affected by development processes and environmental degradation processes.

Time. The time can vary considerably depending on the size and complexity of the country, as well as on the need to organise field visits and their proximity. We could estimate that an average CEP could take some six weeks to complete.

Skills. A two-person team is normally considered. Knowledge of EU development cooperation procedures and of programming is fundamental for the Team Leader. A second expert would normally complement the skills of the Team Leader with regards to knowledge of relevant sectors and/or of the country/region.

Facilities and materials. N/A

Financial costs and resources. If external expertise is required, an estimated input of 45-55 person days can be foreseen for two experts (e.g. 25-30 for the Team Leader and 20-25 for a second expert). These inputs need to be adapted to the scope of the CEP/REP. Funds may come through EC instruments such as Framework contract or a Technical Cooperation Facility.

Tips and tricks

CEPs and REPs can provide more meaningful insight when the EU delegation has an idea about the sectors for their development cooperation, and thus the analysis can be more focused.


Where to find it

The European Commission (EC), 2010. EuropeAid. Tools and Methods Series. Reference Document N. 6. Integrating the environment and climate change into EU international cooperation and development)  (Annex 2, Terms of reference for a Country Environmental Profile).

Complementary guides, methodologies and tools