IN Belgium it is essential to work together in order to address environmental issues in a coherent manner. The Consultation Committee, enabling deliberation between the regional governments and the federal government when political decisions have to be taken, therefore established the Interministerial Conference for the Environment (ICE). At this level, environmental decisions can be taken in consultation with the concerned members of the federal and regional governments. When the issues treated involve matters other than the environment, the ministers having those areas in their portfolio are also invited.
The Interministerial Conference for the Environment (ICE) is composed of regional and federal ministers whose portfolios include environment and nature. Its secretariat is provided by the Secretariat of CCIEP of the Directorate General for Environment of the FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment. It is chaired in turn by the 3 Regions and the Federal government.
The Interministerial Conference for the Environment takes decisions in cases that require a joint decision. The special act of 8 August 1980 on Institutional Reform lists specific topics. Thus, the Federal government should involve the Regions in setting up product standards (Article 6, § 4, 1°). Regions, for example, must mutually consult on forests that cross the borders of several regions or on the starting dates of the hunting season.
For decisions on issues that also affect other areas of expertise, the Interministerial Conference for the Environment (ICE) expands to include members of the federal, regional or community governments.
In two cases, the composition of the CIE is defined in a cooperation agreement:
• the Interministerial Conference for the Environment, expanded to include Climate, which includes, among others, the Ministers of Energy, Transport, Taxation, Development Cooperation and Economy (see "Cooperation Agreement on climate" on the establishment, implementation and monitoring of a National Climate Plan, as well as for preparing reports as part of a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Belgian Monitor of 27 June 2003);
• the Interministerial Conference for the Environment, expanded to REACH (see "REACH cooperation agreement" on the registration, assessment and authorisation of chemical substances and the restrictions applicable to these substances (Belgian Monitor of 14 March 2012).