IEA Training Manual - Module 2

3.5.4. Stage 4: Planning

The purpose of the planning stage is to bring together key process elements and content identified in the previous stage into a coherent and concise plan.

There are several outcomes to be achieved from the planning phase:

  1. To share and make sure participants of the process understand the IEA methodology
  2. To have a timetable and well-defined results at each stage
  3. To identify the requirements of human, financial and infrastructure resources and how to overcome any shortfalls in these;
  4. To have adequate coordination mechanisms with the process stakeholders;
  5. To establish adequate mechanisms of coordination with the UNEP DEWA team and GEO collaborating centres, if applicable;
  6. To review and adjust the impact strategy and define measures of impact;
  7. To develop a communication and outreach strategy; and
  8. To establish a monitoring and evaluation system.

During planning, you should consider using documents, survey results and workshops to get a clear understanding of the main environmental problems. This knowledge is essential for the design and planning of future activities in the process. Good planning will demonstrate that the IEA process builds on previous experiences and supports initiatives in progress.

It is also important at this stage to review and adjust the impact strategy, and to develop a monitoring and evaluation system in order to recognize, understand and learn from successes and failures of the process.

Discussion Questions

Please form groups of 3-4 and identify an earlier IEA or environmental assessment (e.g., SoE) process you are familiar with. This may be in your country or from abroad.

  1. What are the characteristics of the planning process for integrated environmental assessment in the selected case? List the characteristics and draw a plan chart.
  2. In your opinion what are the main conditions for an effective IEA in your country?


Costed work plan
The IEA process requires many types of activities that involve human, financial and infrastructure resources. The costs will vary among countries, depending on a number of factors, such as the quality of institutions dealing with environmental issues and stakeholder awareness of the problems. It is important to have a clear, transparent fully costed work plan. In-kind resources can be part of the budget.

Table 6 shows an example of a timetable for the different activities of the IEA process. On average, the IEA process takes about 12 months.

Table 6: GEO-based IEA process timetable

Activities Month 1 M2 M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 M8 M9 M10 M11 M12
Process initiation and first workshop X                      
Report preparation: data gathering, specialized workshops and analysis of information. Output: first draft report   X X X X X            
Review workshop and revision of draft report. Output: second draft report             X X        
Revision of final draft                 X X    
Publication and launch of final report                     X X


A key component of an IEA workplan is the budget. Given different institutional contexts and financial management systems, details naturally vary, but some common elements can be identified. Table 7 provides an example of the main components of the budget and related explanations.

Table 7: Example of a budget structure for IEA process

Component Explanation
Personnel (includes subcontracting) In cases where the IEA is done exclusively by permanent government employees, personnel costs may not be applicable. However, in most cases there is a need to involve external consultants and experts who need to be paid. In some cases, even stakeholders who attend several meetings throughout the process and have a specific role may require compensation.
Equipment In some cases, the purchase of new computers for instance may be necessary. Also,
there may be a need for specialized software (e.g., for undertaking spatial analysis).
Data Data from statistical offices in many countries is freely accessible; in others, it needs to
be bought. Unless special provisions can be secured for the IEA, the budget may need
to include the cost of data.
Meetings The IEA model following the GEO approach is based on an extensive interactive process,
with expert and stakeholder meetings throughout. The cost per meeting of course varies
by the number of participants, length, location, and equipment rental, among other
elements. Main costs may be related to travel expenses, hotel and per diem.
Administrative expenses Again, these may vary and include elements such as photocopying, telecommunication,
administrative staff support, etc.
Publishing This may include provisions both for electronic and print publishing and cover the cost
of a professional editor, graphic designer, proofreading and printing expenses. In terms
of electronic publishing, there is a cost to web design.
Outreach This would cover expenses related to a public launch event, if one is planned. Outreach materials, such as separately printed executive summaries, may also need to be printed.
Process monitoring and evaluation It may be useful to explicitly budget for this phase ahead of time.

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