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Environmental Mainstreaming
Integrating environment into development institutions and decisions

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Issue Paper

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Do you think we need to do more to ensure environmental considerations are integrated in development decisions?

Do you have problems in finding the right approaches (tools, methods and tactics) to help you?

Do you have experience of using such approaches, or of the challenges to or opportunities for environmental mainstreaming?

Then this website is for you.




Environment Inside

This resource captures the lessons from the country learning groups and surveys which are synthesised in our Issues Paper on Environmental Mainstreaming.

Environment Inside will be updated and expanded as new material becomes available. It aims to help those concerned with getting environment considered in key development decisions. If you wish to submit material for consideration, write to Environmentinside@iied.org






New review of SEA and green economy: Turning Green the Strategy Way

A new report from IIED explores the links between SEA and green economy, and the role of SEA in supporting decision-making for green growth in relation to a range of entry points.

Click here for more details


New review of use of land resources information in planning and decision-making

A new study by IIED assesses the current status of land resources information, what information is used in land use policy, planning and management, and what information is actually needed.

Click here for more details


Hydropower study in Nepal

In mid 2012, IIED commissioned the Asian Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (AEMS) in Nepal to undertake a review of the role of hydropower (macro and micro) in promoting a transition to green economy in Nepal. The study is examining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and will scope out options for how hydropower can drive a transition to a green economy in Nepal and the Himalayan region. A report on the study has just been publish. (Just edit the next bit and attach link to file) {file = Greenhydro-Nepal-Final (5 April 2013)]

Click here to download.


Workshop on SEA and Green Economy

The OECD DAC Task Team on strategic environmental assessment (SEA) recently organised a very successful workshop on SEA and Green Economy in Zambia.

Click here for details


IIED launches study on the use of knowledge and information in decision-making for sustainable agriculture

The focus of this research is on the kinds of knowledge used in planning (eg concerning land resources) and to inform/support key decisions on agricultural initiatives – what knowledge is available, how it is accessed, if, when and how it is used, at what stages in decision-making and for what purposes, etc.

Click here for details

Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation: What constitutes good evidence?

IIED has published a discussion paper on this theme.

Click here for details

Mainstreaming climate change adaptation in drylands development planning in Tanzania

IIED has produced a Brief summarising the highlights of a one-year project recently completed in northern Tanzania to build the local capacity to design a long term action-research programme that will test approaches and mechanisms to mainstream  climate change adaptation into their development planning.

Click here for details


Mainstreaming in cities: successful workshop in Kampala, next stop Accra

IIED and UNEP hosted another successful Learning Group workshop on environmental mainstreaming in Kampala, Uganda, on 24-25 July, 2012. Participants include representatives from several Ugandan cities - Jinja, Kabali, Mbali, Mbarara and Arua, as well as from national agencies and civil society.

A report on the workshop is available here

.A further workshop will be organised in Accra, Ghana, on 25-26 September 2012.


Rio+20 reaffirms commitments to mainstreaming and integration

“The Future We Want” - The final negotiated document at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) - makes a number of commitments to integrate environment, social and economic considerations in sustainable development decision-making.

Click here to access the document. Relevant text is highlighted in yellow


The MDGs and proposed SDGs are not enough – environmental mainstreaming is needed to plug the gap in sustainable development

The latest edition of UNICEF’s Research Watch carries a commentary by IIED’s Barry Dalal-Clayton arguing that discussions at Rio+20 about new sustainable development goals and green economy must push for urgent and proactive steps to ensure environmental mainstreaming.

See: unicef-irc.org


Bhutan sets out its approach to sustainable development via Gross National Happiness.

Bhutan pursues Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product as its measure of progress. Its approach is set out in a video released at Rio+20.

Click here to access video


IIED report and special environment song launched in Kathmandu

On 13 May, the Vice President of Nepal hosted an event to launch a report by IIED and AEMS entitle “Safeguarding the future, securing Shangri-La”. At this event, well known Nepali folk singer, Komal Oli, premiered a new, environmental melodrama song, commissioned by IIED, to raise environmental awareness in Nepal.

Click here for details and to download song


Successful Asian regional workshop on environmental mainstreaming and green economy,

On May 3-5, IIED and AEMS co-hosted a regional workshop near Kathmandu, Nepal on environmental mainstreaming and green economy. Participating countries included Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.

Click here for details


Learning Group process turns to cities

In February, IIED teamed up with UNEP to initiate a series of learning and leadership group processes in cities. A very successful pilot process was organised in Manila on 15-16 February 2012.

Click here for details


Archive of 'What's New' news items




The challenge to mainstream/integrate environment into development has never been more urgent. In response, in 2007, IIED launched the User Guide Project , with support from Irish Aid and DFID, focusing on approaches (tools, methods and tactics) for integrating/mainstreaming environment in development decision-making. The focus was placed on those approaches (both formal and informal) which directly help to shape policies, plans and decisions.

The User Guide Project involved a series of country surveys, led by partner organizations, to gather perspectives from decision-makers, planners and development practitioners on environmental mainstreaming or integration and the tools they use and value. Drawing from the reports of these surveys, in July 2009, IIED published an Issues Paper (The Challenges of Environmental Mainstreaming) examining the contextual, institutional and other challenges of environmental mainstreaming. The paper also incorporates lessons from EM learning groups organized by IIED in Tanzania, Zambia and Vietnam, and a review of international experience and work undertaken by a number of bilateral development cooperation agencies and UN organizations.

As a follow-up, in 2010, with support from UNDP and AusAID, IIED launched an on-line resource (Environment Inside).

We are continuing to facilitate country Learning and Leadership Groups for EM in various countries.

Key Terms

What is mainstreaming?

The informed inclusion of relevant environmental concerns into the decisions and institutions that drive national, sectoral, and local development policy, rules, plans, investment and action (IIED 2009)


IIED is grateful to UNEP's Built Environment Unit for its support during 2012-13 to incorporate material on environmental mainstreaming in cities.


The challenges of mainstreaming

IIED Issues Paper on Environmental Mainstreaming

Published in August 2009, this paper by Barry Dalal-Clayton and Steve Bass presents the case for environmental mainstreaming, reviews the political and institutional challenges, discusses what effective mainstreaming takes, and how to select operational methods and tools for environmental mainstreaming.


His Excellency the Vice President of Nepal, Parmanand Jha and IIED's Dr Barry Dalal-Clayton at the launch of the report Safeguarding the Future, Securing Shangri-La, Kathmandu, 13 May 2012.

Copyright 2007 IIED