Integrated analysis of environmental trends and policies is one of the core elements of integrated environmental assessment (IEA). The integrated analysis described in this module helps answer the following three questions:
- What is happening to the environment and why?
- What are the consequences for the environment and humanity?
- What is being done, and how effective is it?
In order to answer these questions, IEA analyses environment and human well-being trends and dynamics based on the drivers-pressures-state-impacts-responses (DPSIR) framework.
Using this framework, the assessment identifies the drivers of human development and associated pressures that, along with natural processes, affect the state and trends of the environment. Changes in the state of the environment have impacts on ecosystem services and aspects of human well-being. In order to assess how society is responding to these problems and effectiveness of these responses, IEA analyses policies directed at the mitigation and conservation of the environment, as well as adaptation by people to the environmental impacts.
Integrated assessment of the state of the environment identifies priority environmental and sustainability issues, specific indicators, and policy targets for a given issue. Such a process could also be used to identify linkages to human well-being. The current module reviews three types of analyses of impacts on human well-being: a qualitative analysis of impacts, an analysis based on the ecosystem and human well-being framework, and analysis of ecosystem—human well-being connections based on economic valuation.
The analysis of policy responses identifies existing policy measures, both in terms of their effects and their effectiveness. This involves considering both the policy landscape to identify potential gaps, and an in-depth analysis of particular policies or policy mixes to determine their effectiveness in light of targets. Analysing existing policy measures is based on the following steps:
- Understanding the issue to determine what is happening to the environment, why and what the impacts are.
- Preparing a policy report card to understand the array of high-level strategies affecting the environmental issue.
- Conducting a policy instrument scan to identify the mix of policies influencing the environmental issue, and the effectiveness of such a mix.
- Performing a policy gap and coherence analysis to determine if relevant policies are in place and are focused on the most important drivers and pressures.