The original concept
Our aim was that a ‘User Guide’ would help people make smart decisions on how to link environment and development. Given increasing dynamics – in water insecurity, climate change, the growth in ecosystem markets, the rapid expansion of biofuels, etc – such decisions cannot afford to be poorly made, or taken too late. The User Guide would therefore be of benefit to a wide range of audiences who have to keep up with such environmental and developmental dynamics and respond appropriately.
Our original concept for the Use Guide was that it would:
- profile and review a core of about 30 approaches (tools, methods and tactics) according to common criteria. These would include approaches beyond those that tend to emphasised by technical experts, e.g. those used for civil society/business action.
- Include a decision-making ‘tree’ (guide to choosing approaches) to help users select the approach right for particular problems or tasks;
Provide an overview of areas for which all approaches tend to be weak or missing will also be prepared, to guide further approach development.
We envisaged to use a standard profile of approaches (tools, tactics, methods) (possible target 30) covering:
- Non-technical summary;
- Technical description (e.g. background/origins, main steps, costs, skills, illustrative case box(es);
- User feedback (pros and cons) with user testimonies on using the approach;
- Decision tree How to decide if the approach is appropriate for task, problem or context, and perhaps information on system development and missing approaches;
- Links to references/resources describing how to use the tool (pointing to tool kits rather than offering a new one).
Change of emphasis
However, during the country survey work, it proved harder than originally envisaged to secure focused user perspectives on particular approaches/tools. In general, respondents were more exercised on issues of context – drivers and constraints to mainstreaming, rather than the ins and outs of individual tools. As a result it was difficult to achieve the original intention of identifying the most favoured approaches/tools. Despite this, the survey work revealed rich information on institutional and contextual challenges which represent a major issue in the struggle to achieve environmental mainstreaming.
So it has been decided not to proceed at this stage to develop a User Guide along the format set out above. Instead, IIED is now developing a Guide to Environmental Mainstreaming in which we will analyse these contextual and institutional issues in some depth and provide a broad perspective on the challenge of environmental mainstreaming
In a second phase to the project, to be initiated in 2009, it is planned to develop a more detailed sourcebook on environmental mainstreaming.