Theme: “MEAs in National and Regional Development”

Kampala, 6-9 June 2012

Presentation Coverage

Defining mainstreaming and its relevance to MEAs implementation

Rationale for Mainstreaming

The role of MEAs in sustainable development

The role of Parliamentarians in MEAs implementation

Approaches to MEAs mainstreaming

Challenges in mainstreaming MEAs

Some examples and initiatives in Africa

Mainstreaming Outcomes


Defining environmental mainstreaming

Environmental mainstreaming has been defined as the informed inclusion of environmental considerations into the decisions of institutions that drive national, local and sectoral development policy, rules, plans, investment and action.

The need for environmental mainstreaming in development policy has been motivated by the realization that:

 The economy and society especially in Africa are intimately dependent upon the health of the environment;

 A large proportion of the wealth of developing countries and poor people consists of environmental assets;

Benefits of environmental mainstreaming

Poor environmental management threatens development and complicates poverty reduction efforts;

Mainstreaming therefore promises to not only minimise risks and problems in the development process; it should also assist in highlighting environmental potentials to enhance sustainable development;

Mainstreaming has the potential to facilitate incorporation of local beliefs, norms and values into national development policy;

Hence it has to be done both at national (such as planning and finance ministries), local (where daily decisions are made) and sectoral levels (government departments, business and other stakeholders organizations).

Benefits of mainstreaming

Integrated policy interventions that avoid development vs environment arguments;

More efficient planning of environmental assets and environmental hazard management;

Support technological innovation that is inspired and informed by nature;

Informed debates on policy formulation on big issues

Improve productivity, resilience and adaptability of social and economic systems

MEAs and the Environment

Multilateral environmental agreements refer to a number of legally binding international instruments which states use to achieve specific environmental goals. MEAs are therefore primarily environmental instruments.

According to UNEP there are over 500 conventions related to environment; over 320 of these are regional and a majority have been adopted after the 1972

Stockholm Conference on Environment and Development;

It is possible to categorize MEAs into three groups: core environmental conventions; global conventions relevant to the environment, including regional ones; and others restricted by scope and geography;

We are here more concerned with core environmental conventions, though regional environmental conventions applicable to Africa are a key part of this discussion.

MEAs and the Environment

 In terms of subject matter MEAs may be divided into the following categories:

 Biodiversity related conventions such as the CBD and its protocols, and the ITPGRFA,

 The atmosphere conventions such as the UNFCCC, the Ozone

Convention and the Protocols thereunder,

 The land conventions such as the UNCCD,

 The chemicals and hazardous wastes conventions such as the Basle,

Bamako, Stockholm conventions; and the POPs

 Regional seas conventions covering the Mediterranean, Kuwait,

West and Central Africa, East Africa

MEAs Objectives and Priorities

The three Rio Conventions (UNFCCC, CBD and the UNCCD) are widely considered core sustainable development MEAs;

The rest generally address sustainable utilization of natural resources and the environment or the protection of the environment to ensure its sustainability

MEAs provide a number of advantages for parties that are important for national development.

These include strengthening capacity of parties to meet their obligations through technical and financial support; strengthening scientific basis for decision making; and strengthening international cooperation.

MEAs Benefits/Advantages

Protecting public health

Improving governance

International comity and respect, and solidarity

Financial and technical assistance

Facilitating long term economic benefits: sustainable development

Facilitating trade

Facilitating changes in domestic environmental law by elevating the importance of an issue

Approaches to MEAs mainstreaming

 Greater participation and interaction between environment and development stakeholders. Agenda 21 has provided significant impetus to public and community mobilization

 Integrated environment-development policy and associated political will/leadership

 Inclusion of environment-development linkages in national and sector plans: the NAPAs, NEAPs, NBSPs and NSSDs have drawn considerably from MEAs processes to inform national actions

Approaches to MEAs mainstreaming

 Inclusion of environment-development linkages in budgets and fiscal instruments,

 Improved domestic and foreign resource mobilization for environmental investments

 Sustained behavioral change by individuals, institutions and society in both private and public domain

 Production, consumption and waste management in sectors and localities are informed by environmental considerations

General principles of environmental mainstreaming

Leadership, focusing on mobilization of political will, engaging with champions

Integration, strengthening the development-environment interface

Focusing on key sectors, especially the economic sectors

Strengthening dialogue and ownership

Subsidiarity – making sure decisions are made at the lowest level where change is expected

Utilize upstream processes, existing analytical/planning processes

Transparency and accountability, information on issues, decisions made and reasons

Environmental sustainability: the process should take into account major environmental processes, potentials, stresses and limits

Steps in mainstreaming

Review the political economy and governance framework affecting development and environment

Convene a multi-stakeholders group to steer the mainstreaming process

Identify links between environment and development

Propose desirable environment and development outcomes

Map institutional roles and responsibilities for each of the links and desirable outcomes

Identify entry points for environmental manistreaming in decision making process

Overcoming sectoral barriers

A key challenge for mainstreaming is how to create incentives for non environment groups/stakeholders to respond positively

This may require use of language that is not too environment specific and aligning positive arguments to those groups own goals and aspirations.

The following may be used to incentivize various stakeholders:

Steps in mainstreaming

Conduct expenditure review and make business case for environmental mainstreaming

Establish or use existing forum for debates and consensus building

Reflect agreed changes in key mainstream policy, plan and budget documentation

Promote key investments in environment-development links

Develop integrated institutional systems and associated capacities

Establish key indicators and criteria and accountability mechanisms to facilitate monitoring and continuous improvement

Challenges to MEAs mainstreaming

The prevailing development paradigm which treats environment as an institutional and economic ‘externality’.

Lack of data, information, skills and institutional capacity to address environment-development linkage

Inadequate precedent in environmental mainstreaming to guide policy development

Limited political will to go the extra mile in the development pathway

Overcoming sector barriers

Developing a green low carbon

Improving country resilience

Securing environmental foundations for development

Improving cross sector environmental benefits and reducing costs

Focusing on a hybrid outcome, not a one way environment into development outcome

Reversing the downward spiral of environment and poverty

Integrating poor people’s environmental needs; and

Policies for better environmental governance

Drivers of environmental mainstreaming

Increasing stakeholders awareness and demands

National policies and legislation

Values of progressive organizations

Donor conditions and initiatives

International commitments

Major environmental events, such as disasters

Some mainstreaming examples in Africa

Promoting effective environmental mainstreaming through national learning groups in Tanzania and Zambia

Effective mainstreaming using strategic environmental assessment: greening poverty reduction strategies in Benin

Effective mainstreaming at municipal level: Open space planning; and integrated metropolitan environmental policy:

Durban, and Cape Town South Africa respectively

Promoting mainstreaming through overarching policy instruments in Malawi: Environment, natural resources and climate change made policy priorities in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy – Malawi’s PRSP equivalent

Environmental mainstreaming outcomes

Government departments, sector departments and aid agencies assume environmental responsibilities and routinely address environmental issues, by factoring them into their decisions

Environmental departments/agencies focus on coordination, advisory and monitoring functions

There are a number of specific outcomes to be promoted; they include:

Mainstreaming outcomes

Participation and democratic process outcomes, expanding space for stakeholder participation and understanding of the importance of environment to the development process: incorporating MEAs such as Principle

10 of Agenda 21 and related

Policy and political outcomes specifying macroeconomic, fiscal, social and development policy, constitutions, and statements of national visions incorporate environmental considerations: incorporating MDGs and

MEAs such as UNFCCC, CBD

Mainstreaming outcomes

Planning outcomes: including environment development linkages in national development and poverty reduction strategies; sector and implementation strategies: taking into account MEAs such as UNFCCC (NAPAs), CBD (NBSAPs);


Budget outcomes: environment and development linkages reflected in national and sector budgets; and fiscal instruments informed by environment-development linkages: incorporating UNFCCC (carbon taxation), Vienna

Convention on the Ozone Layer (phase out ozone depleting substances)

Mainstreaming outcomes

 Institutional and capacity outcomes:

 Skills, mandates and resources available for mainstreaming

 Finance, planning and environment departments have capacity to integrate environment-development linkages in budget decision making

 Systemic links between institutions to facilitate flow of information and ideas

 Environment-development criteria are recognized as cross cutting norms for planning and monitoring purposes

 Agenda 21, UNFCCC,

Investment Outcomes

Investment outcomes including improved domestic and international resource mobilization for environment-development investment; and a coherent set of incentives and disincentives to facilitate behavioural change:

Agenda 21, CBD

Behavioural outcomes: environment is considered a normal, accepted and expected part of doing business on part of individuals, institutions and society both in private and public sectors; processes of production, consumption and waste management are informed by environmental considerations; and the media and public interest bodies regularly address environmental issues;

Agenda 21, Basle, Bamako and Stockholm Conventions; Montreal Protocol on

Ozone Layer etc; and

Overall developmental outcomes: improved productivity and sustainability of use of environmental assets; better management of environmental hazards; better access to environmental and natural resources:

UNFCCC, CBD and its Nagoya and Cartagena protocols