Conference Examines Behavioral and Social Aspects of NextGen Compliance

Conference Examines Behavioral and Social Aspects of NextGen Compliance

An INECE international conference held 21-22 April at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam examined behavioral and social aspects of next generation compliance.

The conference examined behavioural and social aspects of ‘next generation compliance’, and was organized around the theme of Innovating environmental compliance assurance: Novel insights and approaches from social sciences.

The conference and workshops saw over 60 participants introduced to a large number of subjects related to tools, theory and practice of improving environmental performance. Participants had backgrounds in regulation/enforcement, academia, consultancy and business. The conference consisted of plenary sessions, a keynote panel session, and 5 moderated workshop breakouts.

The conference was sponsored by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate in The Netherlands, and the Rotterdam School of Management of the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and was co-organised by the George Washington University Law School, Environment and Energy Law Program in Washington DC. USA, the US Environmental Protection Agency, INECE and VIDE* in The Netherlands.

Speakers at Next Gen Conference

Martin De Bree, Henk Ruessink, and Grant Pink during a conference panel

Specific Areas of Discussion and Exploration

The conference contained a number of panels and workshops that combined involved more than 26 presentations.  These presentations and corresponding papers explored:

  • Regulation as a learning system.
  • Compliance and enforcement across borders.
  • Ethical behaviour.
  • Interventions.
  • Self-regulation and self-policing.
  • Smart Instruments for Public Law Enforcers.

Key Issues and Themes

The conference highlighted the significant progress that has been made in the field of next generation compliance.  Equally it suggested that numerous opportunities remained for future work to be conducted in this area, which could lead to even greater efficiency and effectiveness of those compliance and enforcement efforts directed to environmental protection.

A clear thread contained within and across a number of the panels, workshops and discussions was that development of staff, international cooperation, and undertaking and harnessing effective research were critically important.  More specifically:

  • Staff Development – while next generation compliance has benefited from advances in technological and social science aspects the human aspect and importance of staff development within environmental regulatory agencies should not be overlooked.
  • International Cooperation – given the local, national, regional, and international dimensions of environmental compliance and enforcement work it was felt that international cooperation and environmental enforcement networks were vital to achieving environmental protection.
  • Undertaking and harnessing effective research – the complexity of issues facing regulators and the fact that they involve economic, social, environmental and political aspects means that robust and reliable research is required to inform regulatory responses.

Additional Information

In total 26 papers/presentations were delivered across a number of subjects related to tools, theory and practice of improving environmental performance. A detailed synopsis of the presentations is available [pdf].



VIDE is the Dutch professional association for staff involved in the field of supervision, inspection, enforcement and evaluation.


This contribution is presented as part of the INECE correspondents program, by Jo Gerardu, Consultant to the INECE Secretariat; Grant Pink, of the Australian Government Department of the Environment; Henk Ruessink, of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate in The Netherlands; and Martin de Bree of the Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University on May 06, 2015.

Leave a Comment