On 22 December, the Italian Parliament opened an important window for sustainable economic development: the Chamber of Representatives definitively approved the final draft of a bill on green economy. Upon its approval by the Senate, the bill will be attached to the Stability Law (the annual national budget).
The bill titled “Environmental provisions for the promotion of green economy and the control of excessive use of natural resources” covers a wide range of policy areas, such as natural capital and environmental accounting, environmental liability, spatial planning, soil protection, energy, marine conservation, environmental impact assessment and waste management. Provisionally numbered as C. 2093, the bill:
- Sets up a Sustainable Development National Strategy which will inter alia implement the UN Agenda 2030 (SDGs) and other international and EU policies and laws [article 3].
- Establishes new marine parks and reserves in the areas of Banchi Graham, Terribile, Pantelleria and Avventura in the Channel of Sicily, also foreseeing the allocation to their proper management and conservation of a budget of 800,000 and 1 million euros for 2015 and 2016 respectively [article 6].
- Establishes a national Natural Capital Committee with ministers of economy, environment and agriculture and the Governor of the Bank of Italy as members. The committee will produce a report on the state of Italy’s natural capital, which will be taken into account in the process of the annual national economic planning in preparation of the national stability laws [article 67].
- Authorises the Government to issue a law for the establishment of a system of payments for ecosystem services (PES) [art. 70].
- Sets up a framework of incentives for material reuse and recycling and disincentives for the unsustainable use of resources.
As this year’s budget eases many of the austerity measures taken by the Italian Government in previous years, the Stability Law is considered by the government as a vital boost to economic recovery. The draft law on green economy sets the legal framework for the greening of most economic sectors and the promotion of circular economy, offering the necessary political and financial stimuli for a shift towards a resource efficient and innovative economic model.