Environmental Conference of the Regions of Europe

Terms of Reference

1. Definition

ENCORE refers to Environmental Conference of the Regions of Europe. It is a political platform and forum for environment ministers and other relevant political leaders of the regions of Europe relating to environmental and sustainable development issues.s.

2. Objective

ENCORE is dedicated to political co-operation between the regional environment ministers in Europe. ENCORE aims to contribute to the effective implementation of EU environmental policy, to improve environmental governance, to foster sustainable development and to stimulate regional activities and cooperation in the regions of Europe.

3. Dimensions


  • provides politicians with a forum for discussing environmental issues of regional significance,
  • enables regions to establish a common position and exert their collective influence on the formulation of environmental policy within the European Union, and
  • facilitates cooperation, exchange of experiences, innovation and common activities among regions on environmental issues

4. Participation

Participation in ENCORE is open to all regions in states belonging to the European Union, the EFTA or in states which will join the EU in the foreseeable future.

Participation is voluntary, carried out by regional means and resources, with no fee and no legal commitments.

5. Valencia Charter

The Valencia Charter is the founding document of ENCORE and the European regions that have signed it are considered to be ENCORE members.

The Valencia Charter has been adopted and ratified by ENCORE conferences 1995, 2006 and 2014 (revised versions). The charter sets out the commitment of the regions of Europe to improve in the field of environment and to promote sustainable development.

6. Conference

The conference is ENCORE’s driving force and is intended to be a high political level summit taking place every two years. The conference shapes and guides the work of the network.

The conference is addressed to the environment ministers and other relevant political leaders of the regions of Europe dealing with environment and sustainable development issues.

The conference enables the discussion and establishment of common positions towards EU policies and legislation. In addition, it enables the exchange of experiences and good practices as encouraging regional cooperation.

Moreover, the conference takes stock of the progress made between conferences, approves the political strategy during the next two years and decides on the location of the next ENCORE conference, following a voluntary offer from a region.

7. Structure

ENCORE has two working levels:

  • a political level consisting of:
    • the co-presidents,
    • the secretary general (optional)
    • the steering committee (optional)
  • a technical level consisting of:
    • the steering group
    • the secretariat

8. Co-Presidents

ENCORE is presided over by the minister for the environment or the relevant political leader of the region that will host the next conference together with the equivalent that hosted the last conference. The co-presidents lead and promote ENCORE at political level.

9. Secretary General

The secretary general position is assigned to the minister whose region hosts the general secretariat.
The secretary general has representation functions and assists and supports politically the co-presidents.
In times of vacancy the relevant tasks are taken over by the co-presidents.

10. Steering Commitee

The steering committee is an informal and voluntary meeting of the regional ministers whose regions belong to the steering group.

The steering committee aims to reinforce politically ENCORE and to assist the co-presidents in their guidance for instance in the objective to hold meetings with EU commissioners.

11. Steering Group

The steering group consists of a group of regions that are voluntarily involved with the day to day responsibilities of ENCORE. It meets at least twice a year and its members act on behalf of their regions and following their ministers’ mandate.

The steering group aims to have at least one representative region from each participating state according to 4. The region represented in the steering group should inform and report to the rest of the regions within its country about the ENCORE activities and decisions.

The steering group is chaired by the presidency regions.

The steering group´s main aims are to supervise the development and the ongoing strategy between conferences, to support the organization and planning of the conferences and to make decisions on the everyday issues of ENCORE.
Decision-taking within the steering group is by consensus. Members will at all times try to find a common position and consensus of issues

12. ENCORE Secretariat

The ENCORE secretariat is the executive office of ENCORE and responsible for the general coordination of the network under the guidance of the co-presidents.

The ENCORE secretariat is managed voluntarily by an ENCORE member region that carries out this position by its own means and with its own staff.

In times of vacancy the relevant tasks are taken over by the presidency regions.

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