Publics are rightly concerned about the environment. It underpins our existence. Yet work by IIED in a range of countries has found that, despite speeches and policy statements peppered with environmental good intentions, environment is still not ‘mainstreamed’ into the key decisions and institutions that shape economies and people’s daily lives. So it is not surprising that international studies show that most, if not all, key environmental indicators are continuing to track negatively – things are getting worse.
Perhaps the most well-known tool in use is environmental impact assessment (EIA). Most countries have laws requiring EIA and institutions to manage and regulate its use, and an increasing number are introducing strategic environmental assessment (SEA) to be carried out upstream of projects at policy, planning and programme levels. But IIED’s work shows that, in a majority of countries, these tools don’t work as effectively as they could or should. Assessments are often still undertaken long after key decisions have been taken – almost as a form of window dressing, or their findings and recommendations are mainly disregarded. Any many are carried out as technical studies without engaging properly with stakeholders. And they are ignored by politicians.
However, IIED’s work with partners in a range of countries has uncovered a wide array of other approaches that are commonly being used to mainstream environment in development decisions and institutions in planning, budgets, training, etc – approaches that could be recognised and built on. IIED has highlighted the drivers and challenges to mainstreaming – synthesised in a recent issue paper.
Building on this work , IIED has now launched this first draft of Environment Inside as an online guide. It unpacks the purpose and approaches to environmental mainstreaming, examines the capacities and resources required, discusses key steps, and provides case studies, key documents, and links to sources of information and other sites and resources.
Environment Inside is a product of IIED’s Environmental Mainstreaming Initiative launched in 2008 with the User Guide project. This involved IIED commissioning partner organisations to undertake 10 country surveys to gather experience and stakeholder perspectives of environmental mainstreaming. Based on their reports and evidence from various country learning groups, and a review of international mainstreaming experience, in late 2009 IIED published an Issues Paper on the Challenges of Environmental Mainstreaming.
The survey work with our partners identified a wide range of approaches and tools for mainstreaming that stakeholders use, are aware of or believe to be helpful. We have developed tool profiles for some of these and plan to add more.
Aims of Environment Inside
The web resource expands on the Issues Paper, exploring further aspects such as the main issues that mainstreaming should address, presenting case studies of mainstreaming in practice, unpacking capacity and resource requirements and the steps required to make mainstreaming operational, and providing a gateway to the work and experience of organisations involved in mainstreaming as well as key resources and sources of further information.
We hope that Environment Inside will be of interest to all those who are striving to address environmental issues in development policy-making and decision-taking.
The contents are presented as a series of Resources in four parts (see Environment Inside contents), but they should be viewed as work-in-progress. Some Resources and sections are in the early stages of development and some are yet to be written.
A shared resource – help us develop Environment Inside
Environment Inside is being developed as an open-access, shared resource. This first version has been developed by IIED to provide an initial framework, but we expect our key partners to offer materials from their own work and experience in the near future to be added to particular Resources.
We now need and welcome inputs from all interested organisations and individuals to enrich Environment Inside and make it more comprehensive and useful. In this way, we envisage Environment Inside to roll out as a co-produced resource.
If you have materials that can be added to particular Resources (see: Environment Inside Contents), please contact us at EnvironmentInside@iied.org. All contributors will be fully acknowledged.
You can help in a variety of ways:
- Suggest/provide key literature that should be cited and linked to;
- Suggest links to other useful websites which have information and materials on environmental mainstreaming;
- Offer case materials (eg on a particular mainstreaming theme or describing mainstreaming efforts in a particular country).
- Offer new text to add to particular Resources, or a box to emplify a point made in the text;
- Offer to take the lead on developing a first version of particular Resources that have yet to be developed;
- Offer to write profiles of particular mainstreaming tools;
All materials intended as text to add to particular Resources should be provided in a ready to use format (as Word files) and emailed to us at EnvironmentInside@iied.org.
IIED will continue to manage Environment Inside and be responsible for uploading materials. But we will not change the content of offered materials without your approval, but may summarise it.
Our policy is to upload Resources onto the website as they are written - to show the structure and emerging content of Environment Inside, to make the materials immediately available and encourage feedback and input. All Resources will be revised on a rolling basis.
As Environment Inside is developed we intend to make it more interactive and increase the inter-linkages and searchability of the site.
All contributors will be acknowledged.