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Environmental Mainstreaming
Integrating environment into development institutions and decisions

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Environment Inside - 13.3 Choosing appropriate tools and approaches

Here, we suggest ten questions that will help in selecting an appropriate approach or tool for a particular context:

  1. Is the tool relevant to the environment-development issues and local/sector conditions?

  2. How easy is it to use – what technical capacity, skills, or qualifications does it demand?

  3. What is the demand for data, and is this likely to be available or easy to access?

  4. How much time is required? – is time available realistic for use of the tool?

  5. How much will it cost, is it economically efficient, and are sufficient funds available?

  6. Where will it be done – will it involve a desk exercise or will fieldwork be required?

  7. How robust is the approach – does it deliver quality, reliable, comparable information?

  8. How understandable and acceptable will the outputs be? What is the political, economic and social climate concerning receptivity towards finds from the use of the tool?

  9. How participatory is the approach – and can relevant stakeholders readily be engaged?

  10. Does it require a degree of enforcement and can that be achieved?

Not all of the information needed to answer all of these questions about particular approaches will be readily available, and a decision will need to be made based on advice available. This website can be a first port of call, offering a range (increasing over the coming year) of profiles of key tools that cover many of the dimensions in these 10 questions. Also, experimenting with an approach and testing it, or adapting it to local circumstances, can provide valuable outcomes and lessons. The same website will soon include a facility to share lessons.

Tools are not mutually exclusive, and often a suite of tools may used together as complements for a particular purpose/process. For example, tools such as social impact assessment, cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria analysis might also be used when conducting an EIA.

Some approaches have been designed as a systematic approach combining a number of tools. For example, Integrated Environmental Assessment and reporting (IEA) is the term that has been adopted by UNEP to promote an assessment and reporting system at the sub-global level based partly on the methods of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO). The IEA approach combines many of the process and conceptual elements that are identified in this paper as separate tools, from stakeholder engagement to monitoring and indicators, policy analysis building on SEA methods and the analysis of policy options based on future scenarios. There is a large and growing number of sub-global IEAs at the regional, country, ecosystem and municipal levels.

Resource Menu
  1. Purpose of EM
  2. Policy framework & mandates
  3. Targeting EM
  4. Main EM issues
  5. Challenges
  6. Concepts and principles
  7. Skills and capabilities
  8. Needs assessment
  9. Capacity development
  10. Institutionalising EM
  11. Environment-poverty-development linkages
  12. Outcomes to achieve
  13. Entry points of EM
  14. Country Evidence
  15. Influencing policy processes
  16. Budgeting and financing
  17. Implementing measures
  18. Influencing national monitoring system
  19. Advocating & communicating EM
  20. Stakeholder responsibilities
  21. Monitoring and evaluation
  22. Key steps in EM
  23. Tool Profiles
  24. Key literature
  25. Case materials
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