The main objectives of this phase are to:
- define the geographic boundaries of the IEA;
- agree on the methodology for the assessment, and clarify any methodological issues;
- establish the structure of the IEA report, considering the priority environmental issues;
- determine the main elements for a communications and outreach strategy;
- determine target audiences; and
- define an impact strategy.
The geographic boundary of the IEA needs to be defined, taking into account that some environmental problems have regional and global impacts. Many IEA’s focus mainly on the national scale, whilst addressing regional issues when it is required for analytic reasons.
UNEP’s integrated environmental assessment is based on the Drivers-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework, which shows relationships between human activity and the state and trends of the environment and human well-being. This analytical framework helps one to understand connections among the components of an IEA.
The IEA process requires the people involved to learn and understand how to apply the IEA methodology, a process that some will find easier than others. It is important that everyone is clear about the methodology and their roles in using it.
The IEA process approach is iterative (learning by doing.) with specific steps, but these are flexible, and can be adapted to different needs. Each local team has to find the best way to interact with stakeholders, and also has to deal with constraints related to data availability, changes in public authorities, etc. Customization and adaptation to local conditions is key: IEA teams need to select tools and methods that local stakeholders and contributors can work with.
Prior to the start of detailed planning, reviewing earlier IEA products and processes may be of help. This is particularly useful regarding indicators already developed and identifying information sources and organizations related to earlier assessments.
Throughout the IEA process, the coordinating team must meet at regular intervals. This should start with a preparatory meeting at the start up stage. If the process includes a training workshop, the coordinating team should meet with the selected trainers and discuss the overall goal and approach of the IEA. The training can both help build capacity and also scope out process and content, as well as help set milestones and time line.
It is necessary to have follow up meetings to keep the report writing progressing. During the IEA process, especially once data has been collected, it can seem that activities slow down. You need to have regular interaction with the technical teams to keep up momentum. Also, technical teams need to serve as reviewers and should bring relevant experiences from other IEAs to the attention of participants.
For developing the impact strategy it is important to review its basic elements and stages presented earlier, in stage 2, and covered in detail in Module 3.
UNEP (2004). Guidelines for National Integrated Environmental Assessment Report Preparation in Africa. Nairobi: UNEP.
European Environment Agency (1999). A checklist for state of the environment reporting. Technical report No 15. Copenhagen: EEA.
Pintér, L., K. Zahedi and D. Cressman (2000). Capacity Building for Integrated Environmental Assessment and Reporting. Training Manual. Second edition. Winnipeg: IISD for UNEP.
UNEP (2004). Methodology for the preparation of GEO Cities reports. Mexico City: UNEP – ROLAC.
- Why do you think is important for your country to be involved in this IEA process?
- What kind of results do you expected to get from the process?
- What constraints do you expect to encounter? Think about how you are going to address them.