Because the IEA process involves a range of complex activities and promotes active engagement of government, the academic community, scientists, NGOs and the private sector, a series of basic conditions need to be in place in order to make sure the process can be properly managed.
One key element is political will and commitment of the national environmental authority or equivalent to support the IEA process. A legal mandate and requirement to produce an IEA helps, as it may oblige government to support a meaningful assessment and create a basis for accountability in the political system. The mandate should be clearly laid out in the context of laws and regulations. Some key issues in such a legal mandate include the following:
legislation may call for collaboration among government agencies that contribute to the IEA;
- a common methodology for data collection may be identified among the national authority, private and public organizations, and scientists or technical experts;
- the legislation may refer to environmental reports to be produced by a range of public and private organizations;
- legislation may promote exchange of data and harmonization of reporting initiatives; and
- the lead agency’s role in preparing the way for consultations and external participation.
The following boxes (3–5) show examples of legal mandates countries have for preparing environmental assessments and reports.
Box 3: The Peruvian mandate case
The National Environmental Council is required to prepare a yearly state of the environment report. It has to deal with the main national environmental problems, and evaluate the policies and measures developed to reduce and avoid them.
Regional and local governments have to prepare similar reports, including action plans to respond to environmental problems. These reports provide input to the national report.
Source: CONAM. Organization and functions. DS.022/2001-PCM.
Box 4: Uganda case
In Uganda, section 86 of the National Environment Act 2000 requires the National Environment Management Authority to produce a national state of environment report every two years, highlighting the environmental performance of the various sectors and programmes and identifying relevant environmental policy options to ensure sustainable development in the country.
Source: Government of Uganda (2002). The National Environment Act 2000.
Box 5: North Korea case
In North Korea, the UNDP office has assisted the Ministry of Land and Environment Protection with the preparation of the National Framework of Environmental Database Management for Environment Assessment and Reporting in DPR Korea. This framework states that every five years the country will prepare a state of the environment report.
Besides legal mandate, another prerequisite for an effective IEA is adequate management and technical/scientific capacity to lead the process and carry out the assessment. Organizations in charge of the IEA overall should be able to mobilize a wider group of participants, including senior researchers and decision-makers. They should also have on staff experienced officials with the necessary connections and conceptual understanding of the IEA’s purpose and process.