IEA Training Manual - Module 2

3.3 General Structure of the IEA Process

Establishing an IEA process requires careful advance planning. The various stages of the process creates a structure around which activities and participation can be organized, capacities built, resources and time allocated, and release of outputs scheduled.
Details of the process may change place by place, and they may need to be modified as the IEA proceeds in order to adapt to how events unfold. However, based on the practical experience of previous GEO-style reports and other assessments, we can outline elements of a generic process with key elements that one way or another need to be considered in such an assessment.

Based on this body of experience we can identify seven stages of a generic national IEA process, as well as a set of generic activities and outcomes related to them (Figure 2). Each stage is explained in this module, while details of how to manage specific components of the assessment (e.g., analysis of environmental trends and conditions, policy analysis, data and indicators, and scenario analysis) are explained in other modules in this resource book. The national IEA process followed in the Asia Pacific region (Box 6) provides an example.

Figure 2: Stages of the National
IEA Process

As shown on Figure 2, IEA is an ongoing process. It aims to improve decision making, enhance national capacities, and provides systematically collected, analyzed and presented information. Activities and outputs can be identified for every stage, and these, along with expected outcomes, provide a basis for evaluation, learning and improvement. Besides internal learning, the fact that many countries use the IEA approach presents an opportunity for sharing lessons learned across a wide range of initiatives. It is necessary to define expected results at different stages (Figure 2). Technical and political partners will identify lessons learned from the process and thus can improve it. As such, the process is enriched by continuous feedback at the national level, and information is often exchanged with other countries using a GEO approach. 

Box 6: National IEA process in Asia Pacific

One of the key features of the IEA process following the GEO approach is its flexibility. The following description illustrates the process followed in national IEA initiatives supported by UNEP in the Asia Pacific region.

Besides UNEP and national governments several of these initiatives included GEO Collaborating Centres (CCs). GEO CCs are reputable organizations based on a country or region where the IEA is taking place who have IEA experience through involvement in the global and/or regional GEO processes. CCs are selected by UNEP either because of the organization’s overall expertise in a region or because of its specialized knowledge in a given thematic area relevant for IEA such as oceans, polar regions, geospatial analysis or capacity building. Through their familiarity with the process and concepts of GEO they are in a good position to assist governments in establishing their national scale assessments. CCs may play different roles ranging from general conceptual and methodological guidance to coordinating the process or playing a substantive role in preparing some of the products. They may also help communicate the results of national assessments internationally.

  1. Hold initial discussions with the government after receiving the letter of interest.
  2. Identify a National Collaborating Centre (NCC) through consultation with the government. If the NCC has inadequate capacity, look for a GEO collaborating centre (CC) in neighbouring countries or within the sub-region. For instance, while preparing the Bhutan and Laos SoE reports, two collaborating organizations, the Tata Energy Research Institute in India and the Thailand Environment Institute in Thailand, both GEO CCs, provided assistance.
  3. Hold training workshop(s) typically for about 30 participants each. Participants may include interested representatives of government line agencies dealing with environmental matters, NGOs, the scientific community, business and civil society. During the training participants develop and agree upon the conceptual framework of the report and the issues to be covered by the assessment. A focal point for data provision from each government department is identified that is to help the NCC collect the required information.
  4. The NCC starts collecting the information required (based on the conceptual framework developed during the training workshop) by contacting the focal points in national agencies. The NCC will then proceed to analyze the information collected and start to prepare the first draft report based on an outline developed and accepted during the training workshop or thereafter.
  5. Consult with stakeholders including relevant line agencies, academia, journalists, major groups and international donor agencies, to discuss and peer review first draft of the report. Consultation serves not only to help orient and improve the draft document, but also to build awareness about the process in the wider national community.
  6. Prepare second draft, taking into account comments from consultation workshop; circulate second draft to relevant line agencies and experts for review and comments. Comments are collected by the NCC to be addressed in the final version of the report.
  7. Design the layout of the report. This is usually done by the NCC under supervision of a relevant national government agency and UNEP, following UNEP publication guidelines. The report usually displays logos of both the relevant government agencies and the NCC.
  8. Proofread final draft, and submit it, along with the graphic design, to the government for final review and clearance for publication.
  9. A national launch event for the report is organized, inviting distinguished individuals who have significant political, social and/or scientific profiles. Special attention is given to inviting local, national and as applicable, international press, and to coordinating a simultaneous press release issued jointly with UNEP.

Source: UNEP-Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific.

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