Integrating environment and development in decision-making

Integrating environmental concerns into development policies and programs
Environmental issues need to be integrated into mainstream thinking. Better integration of environmental thinking into decision-making about agriculture, trade, investment, research and development, infrastructure and finance is now the best chance for effective action. Environmental policies that move away from strictly sectoral issues to encompass broad social considerations are the most likely to make a lasting impact. This holds good across the gamut of environmental issues - for example, water, land and other forms of natural resource management, forest conservation, air pollution and coastal area management.
Better integration of environmental thinking into the mainstream of decision-making relating to agriculture, trade, investment, research and development, infrastructure and finance is now the best chance for effective action. This will require innovative policy, social, institutional and economic changes, and considerable perseverance at the political level backed up by convincing and forceful arguments.

Undertaking applied study on the integration of environmental and developmental activities in national development plans. Environmental aspects of development co-operation cannot be viewed separately from the overall development policy framework. Policy coherence between development cooperation and other policies must be fostered through more systematic analysis of environmental issues with particular attention to the links between poverty and environment.

Multilateral environmental agreements and environmental capacity building efforts in partner countries require a strong emphasis on global environmental issues, such as climate change, desertification and bio-diversity, which are of concern both to developing and to developed countries. Enhanced environmental integration and assessment procedures are required for all co-operation activities, from the policy level to the individual projects. In this respect, the basis is laid for a harmonised environment integration approach across all developing countries. regular and systematic evaluation of progress made in integrating environmental concerns and the use of indicators is required along with institutional and organisational arrangements to back up the political commitment to environmental integration and to ensure the high quality of the outputs.

The series of United Nations conferences and summits on key issues of development, notably those concerned with environment and development (UNCED 1992), with small island developing states (SIDS 1994), population (ICPD 1994), human settlements (Habitat II 1996) and food security (WFS 1996), all explicitly addressed the role of natural resource conservation and environmental quality in achieving broadly-based development goals.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) produces country environmental profiles to assess the country's natural resource potential in relation to its economic growth. A typical country profile 1) documents the condition of a country's environment and the human activities and other socioeconomic factors that influence natural resource use and management; 2) describes the existing legal and institutional framework for managing natural resources and the environment; 3) identifies and analyzes government policies, development strategies, programme priorities and investment needs related to natural resource use and environmental management; 4) identifies areas of congruity and conflict between economic development and the sustained use of natural resources; and 5) establishes an analytical framework for resolving conflicts in the existing use and planned allocation of natural resources. Most profiles conclude with recommendations for changes in environmental and development policies and actions to be taken to promote sustainable development. The profiles are developed as a result of dialogue with host-country leaders, development agency personnel and national resource experts. They have been produced for approximately 70 developing countries.

On 20 October 1999, the European Commission adopted a Communication to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on [Integrating Environment and Sustainable Development into Economic and Development Cooperation Policy]. It is a contribution to the ongoing process of integrating environment into key European Union policies as required by the [Amsterdam Treaty]. The Communication presents a comprehensive framework for integrating environmental considerations into EU cooperation with all developing countries. It seeks to support developing countries' own efforts to identify and respond to environmental issues and to integrate environmental considerations into their policies. Increased dialogue with partner countries and their national strategies for sustainable development are particularly important in this regard.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal