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Environmental Mainstreaming
Integrating environment into development institutions and decisions

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Environmental Mainstreaming in Development Initiative
About the Environmental Mainstreaming in Development Initiative (2009-1012):

This initiative is concerned with harnessing practical experience and ideas on how institutions and decision-making processes can integrate environment and poverty objectives, work to build resilience to climate change, and effectively achieve the MDGs

Coordinated by IIED, the Environmental Mainstreaming in Development Initiative is a three-year process of participatory enquiry and preparation of supporting materials including an online resource "Environment Inside".

This initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with UNDP (Environment and Energy Group), the UNDP/UNEP Poverty Environment Initiative (PEI), and AusAID.

The sourcebook would be partly modelled on the 2002 UNDP/OECD/IIED sourcebook for national sustainable development strategies, which was very well received and is in constant use today. The Sourcebook on Environment Inside provides in-depth guidance on, and real examples of:

  • policy frameworks for mainstreaming environment and climate change opportunities and threats;
  • entry points in development decision-making and investment;
  • communication requirements and approaches;
  • approaches to capacity-building;
  • monitoring and indicators;
  • sources of information and support; and
  • a wide range of tools and tactics from IIED, UN, OECD, donor agencies, developing country governments and many other sources.

The development of the sourcebook and other materials will be supported and complemented by targeted work internationally, and through dialogues and investigation in selected countries.

Environment Inside forms a key part of IIED’s growing Environmental Mainstreaming in Development Initiative. This has already established country learning groups on environmental mainstreaming in several countries, conducted peer reviews of national sustainable development strategies, and run country surveys of environmental mainstreaming perspectives and perspectives on useful mainstreaming approaches and tools. These have provided a baseline for an Issues Paper, reviewing environmental mainstreaming challenges.

Environment Inside will also bring in considerable experience from the UNDP/UNEP Poverty Environment Initiative, which has been working with African, Asian and Latin American country teams on mainstreaming within government planning and budget processes, and has also been developing a handbook for poverty-environment mainstreaming.

It will also build on UNDP’s working on mainstreaming both within the UN system and outside. UNDP’s Environment and Energy Group is leading on environmental mainstreaming within the UN system, and within UN support to low-income countries, and has many years of guidance material that can be updated and synthesised.

It will draw on the work of the Secretariat to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), notably recent assessments of the development implications and links of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans with development plans.

Finally, Environment Inside will draw upon the work of the OECD DAC on integrating climate change adaptation into development co-operation and development policies at national, sectoral and project levels and in urban and rural contexts, as well as on SEA and NSDSs.

IIED, UNDP-EEG and UNDP/UNEP PEI, and AusAID agree that there is much to be gained from pooling our learning – in both the breadth of case studies and mainstreaming methodologies covered and in economies of scale in jointly preparing an online resource. Therefore we have jointly agreed to develop and publish Environment Inside as a collaborative effort, with IIED coordinating the work.

An initiative in three phases

Subject to funding the work will be undertaken in three phases (although there may be some overlap between phases 1 and 2 if resources allow).

Phase 1 (April 2009 – March 2010): Developing a synthesis of existing information and draft online resource, Environment Inside

This phase will be largely a desk-based, stock-take exercise to identify, marshal and synthesise information and materials on EM (from partners and others). See Environment Inside for the first version of this online resource - still being developed.

In parallel, we aim progressively (during Phase 1 and Phase 2) to profile a range of approaches, tools and tactics for EM, in ways that help people in different situations to select the right approach and use it appropriately. This work will present a range of practical existing approaches, rather than (as is normally the case) proposing an ideal, brand new approach – although it will also point to new and upcoming initiatives. It will summarise each approach from a user perspective, and provide references and links, but it will not itself comprise a ‘toolkit’. See: Tool profiles

Environment Inside will include a significant focus on climate mainstreaming, highlighting the environmental causes and consequences of climate change – as well as the environmental solutions, thereby integrating environmental dimensions more effectively than to date. The sourcebook will also cover mainstreaming of other significant environmental themes such as biodiversity.

It will help users to make more informed choices, whether they are working on internationally recognised initiatives such as MDG-based national strategies, or national budgetary processes, or local level plans. It will be of interest and value to a wide range of people, including:

  • Policy-makers, and senior decision-takers (in government, the private sector and civil society) who need to understand why environmental mainstreaming is important and how it can help them achieve their development goals and manage their organisations;

  • Planners, senior technical officials, business and NGO managers who need to understand how to approach mainstreaming environment in their strategic, investment and operational plans as well as regular monitoring and evaluation;

  • Development practitioners (economists, social scientists, environmentalists, engineers, analysts, etc.) who need to know about mainstreaming tools, approaches and tactics and when and how to use these for different tasks.

  • Development cooperation agency officials who need to mainstream environment in order to meet agreed international development goals and commitments


Phase 2 (2010 - 2011): In-country dialogues and enquiry

At the outset, the draft version of Environment Inside will be distributed widely for reflection, comment and feedback, notably through this website, with interactive facilities and wide promotion. Environment Inside will then serve also as a baseline framework for further enquiry and dialogues internationally and in selected countries/regions.

This country-level work will dig deeper on key issues and key challenges/opportunities and aim to surface information on particular issues and themes, and identify what is going on (upstream and downstream of national government policy), etc. In effect, this work would be national-level, stock-taking of experience/lessons, etc (mirroring the Phase 1 work) – involving either a ‘whole-country’ or particular ‘theme’ focus. In some countries, where opportunities arise and support can be mobilised, it might be possible to facilitate EM in on-going live processes (eg a policy process, testing an EM approach). There will be the possibility to mobilise IIED’s country EM Learning Groups (Malawi, Philippines, Tanzania, Zambia, Vietnam and others planned) to undertake some of this in-depth work – perhaps with a particular sectoral focus, and to link with in-country processes/initiatives of partners and other organisations.

These and other in-country dialogues will provide stand-alone products of use to the countries themselves. But they will also critically provide additional information and lessons that will be added to Environment Inside.

The country-level work will be complemented by networking amongst professional communities/networks to deepen our understanding of when and how particular approaches/tools can best be used and how associated challenges can best be overcome.


Phase 3 (2011 - 2012): Building towards the 2010 UN World Summit (Rio+20)

As we progress through Phase 2, we will plan how to structure this phase. At this stage, we have in mind to mobilise an inter-country learning process (perhaps bringing country dialogue teams and key actors and others together in a series of regional workshops, and feeding into a major event at the Rio+20 Summit (e.g. to support the mooted global 2012 SD assessment process)

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