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Environmental Mainstreaming
Integrating environment into development institutions and decisions

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Environment Inside - 21. Monitoring and evaluating the environmental mainstreaming effort


[Chapter to be developed]

Effective mainstreaming might be postulated in terms of two key dimensions:

  • Process – Progress assessment (which steps have been gone through? – Box 22.1) and process quality assessment (whether the principles in Box 6.1 have been applied in practice?);

  • Outcome – Assessment of how far intended or unintended desirable outcomes have been achieved (e.g. using the upstream-downstream spectrum in Table 12.1)

Criteria and indicators for environmental mainstreaming to assist monitoring and improvement therefore need to be constructed based on the specific process or outcomes in mind to cover process and outcome.

Most mainstreaming initiatives, however, tend to focus on either process or outcome indicators, rather than undertaking both. Table 21.1 cites a series of questions for evaluating the effectiveness of drylands mainstreaming process; this focuses on process criteria (UNDP, 2008). Box 21.1 cites a set of indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of poverty-environment integration; this focuses on outcome criteria (UNEP-UNDP Poverty-Environment Initiative, 2008). So also does the set of ‘impact’ indicators for biodiversity mainstreaming listed by Petersen & Huntley (2005).

The criteria and indicators need to be associated with accountability mechanisms. Initially, this might be housed in the organisation that is central to the mainstreaming process, e.g. the planning authority (as in Tanzania) or the sustainable development commission (as in the UK). Ultimately, however, each mainstream authority needs to include environment-development links in its own indicators and accountability mechanism.


Table 21.1: Tool for evaluating the effectiveness of drylands mainstreaming processes



(1 = lowest;
5 = highest)

Evaluation questions






1. Political leadership

  • How supportive is the political leadership on environmental issues?
  • Do key individuals in government hold environmental responsibilities?

2. Institutional commitment

  • Are there institutions specifically mandated for environmental management?
  • Are they committed to environmental mainstreaming?
  • Are the institutions responsible for planning and finance equally committed to environmental mainstreaming?
  • Are institutions orienting their staff to adopt a mainstreaming culture?
  • Does government increasingly finance mainstreaming processes?

3. Coordination

  • Is there an institution that coordinates environmental mainstreaming?
  • Is it well staffed, with technical backstopping?
  • Are there sub-committees, sector working groups or task forces on environmental mainstreaming?
  • Have they been successful in advocating for environmental issues?

4. Participation

  • Is planning done in a participatory manner?
  • Do the direct beneficiaries participate?
  • Is there a plan to cost-effectively manage the participatory/consultative processes?

5. Communication reporting

  • Are there good and regular communication links among the institutions and groups involved in mainstreaming?
  • Is there sharing of information on mainstreaming practices?
  • Is the media used to disseminate emerging good practices?

6. Guidance training

  • Are staff trained before they undertake mainstreaming?
  • Are they guided by experts knowledgeable in mainstreaming?
  • Are guidelines available to the staff?

7. Awareness raising

  • Are all staff in the organisation(s) that lead mainstreaming initiative(s) made aware of its importance and steps?

  • What about the general public?

  • Are awareness campaigns conducted for the political leadership?

8. Appraisal/Assessment

  • Is the assessment of likely impacts made?
  • Is the assessment of potential developmental opportunities from natural resources also made?
  • Are the environmental, economic and social challenges of exploiting particular resources or development in areas articulated?

9. Mainstreaming tools

  • Are tools for mainstreaming available?
  • Are they being followed?
  • Is training made available for the users?

10. National/local

  • Are there national and local (e.g. district) sustainability strategies or environment plans?

11. Targets/objectives/

  • Have baselines indicators/benchmarks to mainstreaming been created?
  • Have objectives been set very clearly?
  • Are target indicators reflected in the respective planning frameworks?

12. Allocation of spending
and actual funding

  • Are the plans made linked to the budgeting framework or other funding mechanisms?
  • Are approved budgets actually spent?
  • Are public expenditure tracking surveys regularly conducted?

13. Monitoring/auditing

  • Does the monitoring framework include monitoring of mainstreamed issues?
  • Are the mainstreamed issues sufficiently reported upon?
  • Is there a culture to share the TOR for hiring consultants to review mainstreaming well in advance?

Source: adapted from UNDP 2008


Box 21.1: PEI indicators for successful environmental mainstreaming

  1. Inclusion of poverty-environment linkages in national development and poverty reduction strategies.

  2. Strengthened capacity within finance/planning ministries as well as environmental agencies to integrate environment into budget decision-making, sector strategies and implementation programmes.

  3. Inclusion of poverty-environment linkages in sector planning and implementation strategies.

  4. Strengthened capacity in key sector ministries to include environmental sustainability into their strategies.

  5. Widened involvement of stakeholders in making the case for the importance of environment to growth and poverty reduction.

  6. Improved domestic resource mobilization for poverty-environment investments.

  7. Increased donor contributions to country-level environmentally sustainable investment.

  8. Improved livelihoods and access to environmental and natural resources for the poor.

Source: UNEP-UNDP Poverty-Environment Initiative

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