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AEIN Implementation Strategy and Plan

Activity matrix

Core activities on various aspects of AEIN implementation are outlined in the activity matrix and work plan, with the associated institutional support and related training. The activities focus on the establishment of structures and the development of prototype products and services that can be used to engage decision makers to "test" their response to such outputs, and fine-tune them to suit their needs, or to develop new product concepts, policy-relevant applications, and services

Some pilot activities will be implemented in selected countries to test ideas with respect to networking, product types, information services and adaptation of tools and methodologies developed through global programmes like the Global Environment Outlook.

National implementation plans
AEIN is a country-focused initiative. In this regard it is essential to align it to priority national needs in order to ensure ownership by countries. The effectiveness of the Network will depend very much on the extent to which the concepts and principles are internalised within partner institutions and adapted to their needs, as well as capacities. To this end it will be necessary for individual countries to articulate their priority needs at the very onset of implementation, in order to align the broader AEIN goals and objectives to these needs through multi-stakeholder processes.

Participating countries will be assisted to prepare comprehensive national strategies that aim to strengthen integrated environmental assessment and reporting, focusing on specific national priorities, within the framework of AEIN Programme Strategy. The strategies will also outline mechanisms for integrating environmental information into the mainstream of national sustainable development policy formulation, planning and decision making processes.

Teams of experts will be engaged to undertake thorough assessments of the environmental information system capacities and needs in the respective countries, and to propose actions necessary for strengthening the existing capacities for managing and improving access to environmental information for decision-making. The output of the assessment should provide a comprehensive overview of the environmental information situation in the respective countries, identifying activities in the country that are complementary to AEIN.

A strategy and investment plan for implementing a national AEIN programme, including filling critical gaps in capacity, and details of other appropriate interventions in each country, will be prepared. The strategy will also outline ways in which AEIN will complement and/or supplement existing capacities, and ways to enhance efficiency through closer cooperation among all stakeholders. Information from the assessment will also be used to update existing country environmental profiles or, where profiles have not been prepared previously, prepare new ones.

Phasing of AEIN

It is assumed that some elements of the proposed programme components may already be in place in several countries. Implementation of AEIN will be divided into 3 phases, which are not necessarily sequential, but rather to allow the differences in stages of development of countries to be dealt with in a pragmatic and an efficient manner. Country selection for the various phases will be on the basis of objective and transparent criteria, involving various stakeholders and partners.

Phase 1 will focus on the preparation of comprehensive country-specific implementation strategies, taking cognisance of particular national circumstances within harmonised sub-regional frameworks. At the same time pilot activities will be implemented to in selected countries to test ideas with respect to networking, product types, information services, adaptation of tools and methodologies developed through Global programs like GEO. Efforts will be made to identify and gain access to data resources on African countries that are held elsewhere. A set of prototype products like national and sub-regional Environment Outlook reports which should feed into the AEO report, etc, will also be developed. A comprehensive "roll out" plan will be prepared after this phase.

Phase 2 will address specific priority national needs with respect to information management, products development, and infrastructure development, on the basis of needs identified from the assessments and "best practice" from Phase 1. Development of information products and services will be on the basis of existing data resources. Relevant skills development activities will be implemented.

Emphasis in Phase 3will be placed on filling identified gaps in data resources to strengthen the data foundation in the long-term, on the basis of demands for new data or need to improve the quality of existing data, while continuing with relevant institutional capacity strengthening activities.