Preparing national environmental synopses

Developing country environmental profiles
Reporting on regional environmental status
Providing country environmental synopses

The "Environmental Synopses", prepared by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) for the UK's Overseas Development Administration (ODA) and by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) for the EEC/EC and the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau (AIDAB), are 25-page desk-studies drawing on published sources of information and reviewed by in-country specialists. They are intended to bridge the gap between shorter environmental briefing documents and much longer detailed environmental studies. Topics include: 1. Key environmental issues that are having, or might have, a major impact on the country; 2. The institutional context (environmental institutions and organizations, environmental policies and legislation, training institutes and capacities etc.) in which environmental issues are handled; 3. The state of the environment (inventory of the natural resources and discussion of the issues in industry, energy, demography and urbanization); 4. Analysis of the pollution and degradation processes affecting the environment (considering water, land and air pollution; water shortages; soil erosion and degradation; deforestation; biodiversity; marine environment and coastal zones; urban environment; energy issues and industry). IIED and IUCN have compiled over 45 such synopses (at 1993).

The Netherland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also supports environmental profiles as frameworks for assessing the need for development projects and for revealing the possible negative effects that projects may have on the environment. Each profile has five parts: 1. Description of the physical environment; 2. Description of the major threats to the environment and long-term land use; 3. Description of current policies that affect the environment, including institutional arrangements; 4. Description of the activities that are being performed already to conserve the environment and to improve the effectiveness of environmental management; and 5. Policy recommendations designed to prevent environmental degradation. The preparation of profiles involves local research organizations and includes workshops and seminars that can lead to policy recommendations and proposals for assistance. Completed profiles (at 1993) are for Botswana, Burkina Faso, Mali-Sud, Senegal, Sudan (Kassala), Zambia (Western province), Indonesia (West Java), Pakistan (Baluchistan) and Yemen (Al Bayda, Tihama and Dhamar); in preparation are Egypt (Fayoum and Helwan) and Pakistan (Northwest Frontier Province).

Similar work is also supported by Denmark's Department of International Development Cooperation (DANIDA) in order strengthen environmental considerations in the development assistance that these countries furnish. The profiles include an analysis and description of the most important environmental issues and an overview of the monitoring, research and administrative capacity of the country to address environmental problems. Studies on Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Bangladesh and India were published in 1989.

The Japanese Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF) has also begun to support the preparation of environmental profiles for selected Asian countries.

National reports were compiled by UN member countries in 1991 and 1992 for the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in mid-1992. Most are available from national commission in the country or from offices of the local Resident Representative of UNDP.

Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 15: Life on Land