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Environmental Mainstreaming
Integrating environment into development institutions and decisions

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Quotes and Anecdotes


Effective application

“The problem is not the lack of tools, but in their effective application”.
Report of Czech Republic and Croatia surveys


Commitment and attitude

“The success of tools is mainly due to commitment and attitude”
District Support Officer, NEMA, Uganda


Legislation is a key driver

”The most frequently used tools in the Czech Republic (EIA, SEA and land use planning) are those required by the relevant legislation”
Report of Czech Republic and Croatia surveys


Look at the situation

“Each tool depends on the situation at hand and no single tool can do it all”
Ronald Kaggwa, NEMA, Uganda

“How do I speak in language that influences a senior politician rather than him thinking ‘who’s this little boy trying to tell me the leader what to do?’ “
Anon, Report of Caribbean survey


On the need for the right environment

“You can have great tools. But if you do not have the right environment to use them, they will not work”
Scott Geller, Adviser, Kenya Forest Service


We don’t need more tools

“There is no need for more tools and methods; what we need is culture [for sustaiable development]
Nicolas Lucas, Sustainable Development Secretary for
Tiera de Fuego Province, Argentina


Effective mainstreaming needs political will

“One of the main constraints in Chile [for integrating the environment in development] is the lack of political will … how would the guide counteract this situation?”
Andre Laroze, Agriculture Ministry, Chile

“Even the ‘best plan ever’, perfectly integrating relevant environmental issues doesn’t automatically mean that real changes will follow in the territory or sector, if not supported by the political representatives and leaders”
Report of Central and Eastern Europe survey


Lack of information

“In Chile, we make decisions based on perceptions: we do not have reliable and updated information”



“Let us make sure that the User Guide can be part of the educational solution”
Quote form Chile Country Survey report


It’s the crisis that matters

“Environmental issues only get onto the agenda when there is a crisis or an issue that affects a wide sector of the general public” (CANARI, 2008).


The power of empowerment

 “There is no doubt therefore that if government empowered the general public about their rights, and invested in other potential tools like Public Information Disclosure, the practice of environmental mainstreaming would be more sustained”.
Uganda survey report


Mainstreaming is not just a job for Environment Ministries

“A separate Environmental Ministry was established [in India] with the objective of strengthening the regulatory capacity and supporting specific environmental protection efforts. Although it reinforces environmental protection and conservation as a major priority of the Government, it has led to a faulty perception that addressing environmental issues is the exclusive responsibility of the designated agencies and units” 
India survey report


The influence of international commitments

“Commitments to international conventions, combined with access to funding (“we are beggars”) is driving the national agenda [in Trinidad] …..[and]  because signature of these conventions is driven by the desire for money, they do not necessarily reflect real ‘internalisation’ or commitment at national level”
Cariibbean survey draft report

[There is strong pressure within countries seeking to join the European Union to adopt its environmental norms and processes, particularly in order to access EU funds]: “This is emphasized in case of Croatia, an EU-accession country with an economy still in relatively early phase of transition, where both state and non-state stakeholders are responsive to the demands and conditions set by external agents (EU, international banking and donor institutions, etc …….., All applicants for EU funds are obliged to integrate environmental aspects into all their projects in order to apply for pre-accession funding”.      
Report on Central and Eastern Europe survey


The planning roots of mainstreaming

“The roots of environmental mainstreaming in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe can be found in the 1970s mainly in the field of land-use or spatial planning. This long tradition maintains its influence and land-use/spatial planning is often perceived as the most important planning tool, capable of serving all purposes including environmental integration”
Report of Central and Eastern Europe survey


Economic growth drives development, not environmental concerns

“Money drives decisions – capitalism and the environment are not compatible.
Environment is viewed as an additional add-on and not as the foundation of our
(Sheila Berry, South Africa)

Political leaders, in general, still have a ‘zero sum’ approach to the environment: protecting it is expensive and might be to the detriment of development……To date, Chilean political leaders, irrespective of their orientation, have generally shown very little concern for sustainable development or environmental mainstreaming. What undoubtedly dominates the political agenda is economic growth
Report of Chile survey.

“India’s development process is on its way to incapacitate the environment. The country’s economic prosperity in terms of its GDP at the cost of environment is only making us tread on the path of nsustainability. To clearly understand this, we can say, ‘Environment is often a casuality of rapid developmental processes…… Rapid economic growth and the resulting changes in consumption patterns are drastically changing the nature and scale of impact on the country’s environment and natural resources, thus testing the carrying capacity of the natural ecosystems, upon which much of the country’s economic growth depends”.
Report of India survey


On environmental information/data

“We make decisions based on perceptions: we do not have reliable and updated information”
Report of Chile survey

“Overall, respondents felt that sufficient data is collected in Kenya, but data and information is  disorganised,  not aggregated, and cannot be easily accessed by policy-makers or other practitioners. Tools are needed to reform the data collection and distribution process”.
Report of Kenya survey

“The available data is not accessible – either as a matter of protocol (eg data collected under a paid consultancy) or, more frequently, as a result of lack of willingness toshare and ‘turfism’ “.
Caribbean survey draft report


On skills and capacity

“Tools are available but they are often too complex or require more capacity or skills than exist. …. Tools that require too much technical know-how or skills from outside will not be useful in Kenya"
Report of Kenya survey

“While most Caribbean islands have an inherent human resource capacity problem as a result of their small populations, it was felt to be particularly acute in relation to environmental mainstreaming where there is insufficient capacity to effectively meet even the statutory requirements let alone the more proactive actions needed.  Consultants often work in islands other than the one they are resident in and foreign companies or individuals are also hired but this can cause problems as a result of inadequate understanding of the culture and context”.
Caribbean survey draft report

“Lack political weight. Various studies show that there are gaps in the institutional capacity for enforcement of environmental policies and insufficient mobilisation of resources (both technical and human). The mere existence of environmental regulators is not enough; better communication, dialogue and coordination of activities between those responsible for implementing the relevant public policies is required”
Report of Chile survey

[There is] ” an absence of consistent inter-sectoral collaboration and planning at the national level and/or the absence or weakness of integrated institutions” [in the Caribbean]
Caribbean survey draft report.


Integration by stapling

Question:         How did you integrate the studies?
Answer:            With a very big stapler


On competence

" A bad workman will never find a good tool" (Anon)

“There is no substitute for professional competence in the fields which tools are used in.  Knowing how to use a tool doesn’t make one competent in the matter the tool is being applied to.  On reflection, one can learn some things about a matter through using a tool on it, but we appear to be in a paradigm where being able to use a tool is mistaken for competence in the arenas where the tool is put to use.  This is a lethal deception”

Nicholas Scarr

Manager Coastal Zone Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs (DEDEA) Eastern Cape, South Africa


Relating tools to context

Integration is very dependent on skills and attitude – not just on tools,  and world views of the users that will underlie how these tools will be applied.

Nirmarla Nair ZERISA, South Africa


ntegrating tools themselves

The emphasis in the questionnaire is on "tools that integrate environment and development". In our experience, the real challenge is "how to integrate the tools?"

Paul Lochner and Michelle Audouin -CSIR


Understand mindsets

For me there are no top 5 tools - there are so many – I do not apply the integrating ones specifically – But I believe its important to seek tools that make people understand one another’s mindsets - People think differently to you. Things that expose you to other people realities and beliefs – their thinking and their feelings – their whole being and existence.

Allison Burger – Consultant, South Africa


Apply sustainability principles

We are all guilty of subscribing to sustainable thinking and not applying the principles – we are used to big solutions and simple one tool approaches but incremental change is probably of greater impact. In the end we have to walk the talk ourselves

Michelle Audouin CSIR, South Africa


Who is the problem?

The people using these tools are more of a problem than the tools themselves.



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Copyright 2007 IIED