VARAM Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia (VARAM) is the central executive institution responsible for implementing policy in three areas - environment protection, regional development and information and communication technologies in Latvia.

At the moment there are seventeen departments at the Ministry - Regional Policy Department, Electronic Government Department, Environmental Protection Department and others. VARAM also incorporates a number of other institutions with the specific functions in the above-mentioned areas, e.g., State Regional Development Agency, State Environmental Service, Administration of Latvian Environmental Protection Fund, Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

In the area of environmental protection the Ministry deals with the establishment of prerequisites and conditions for nature conservation, clean environment and ensures that natural resources are used effectively and in a sustainable manner.

In the area of regional development the Ministry implements and evaluates regional policy at the state level, provides methodological guidelines and supervises the territorial development planning process, as well as ensures the development and supervision of local governments with overall goal to achieve well-balanced and sustainable development of the country.

Implementation and coordination of the eGovernance is another broad policy area of the Ministry. It includes establishment of one-stop principle for provision of state and local government services and implementation of modern and effective information and communication technologies in the public sector.

The ministry has been an active enabler of eGovernment and has been involved in different projects and activities related to the improvement of public services. In 2014, together with its partners the ministry launched the Latvia's e-index partnership initiative aimed at developing a transparent assessment of the use of e-environment opportunities at municipalities and state institutions. It provides an overview of how actively and appropriately for their circumstances state institutions and municipalities use the solutions provided by modern information and communication technology to improve the quality and availability of their services to citizens and businesses.

The ministry also runs national service catalogue of public services provided by state and municipal institutions to citizens and business. Currently catalogue provides extensive information to more than 2000 services.