Key issues for the governance group
Often, the people most vulnerable to the impacts of environmental degradation are the least equipped to shape the necessary solutions. We help redress the balance by sharing ways to use law to protect the environment with people and communities in developing countries.
From 2005, FIELD (the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development) became a subsidiary of IIED. While continuing to operate as FIELD, the organisation has built close links with a range of research activities at IIED, including climate change, trade and investment, and biodiversity.
Our advice and assistance on legal tools to promote sustainable development is sought by governments, inter-governmental organisations and NGOs world-wide.
Gender is still largely considered to be about women rather than about a vital dynamic in society. And often gender issues are seen as a concern of the global north. The interlocking of production and social reproduction, the formal and informal sectors, and the constantly evolving relations between men and women, and between younger and older generations, are at the heart of this dynamic. A strong analysis of gender and generation is crucial to understanding power imbalances and being able to influence them. This activity reflects the perspectives and work of our southern partners and of local organisations in the south and contributes to the emerging debates on poverty reduction and sustainable development.
IIED's work on Strategies, Planning and Assessment (SPA) is concerned with integrated policy-making, planning and decision-taking for sustainable development at national to local levels, the links and relations between them, and the assessment and tools which support and enable these processes
The theme was created in 1998 to carry forward much of the core work of the former Environmental Planning Group. SPA collaborates interactively with other IIED groups and programmes.
Work is undertaken through various mechanisms:
- Policy-relevant research, particularly with regional and in-country collaborating partners;
- Capacity-building with developing country centres of excellence and governments;
- Advice and technical assistance to donors, governments, agencies and NGOs; and
- Information provision through hard and web-based publications, networks and workshops/conferences.
SPA's work on environmental assessment is concerned with promoting the improved use of, and effective integration of key assessment tools in decision-making and planning processes, and in promoting sustainability-orientated approaches in the application of such tools. In its past work, SPA focused on environmental impact assessment (EIA), particularly on promoting improved performance of EIA practice. Studies of EIA effectiveness were undertaken (eg in Tanzania), training manuals produced and widely consulted Directories of the World's EIA guidelines prepared.
Currently the focus is at a more strategic level, on environmental assessment of policies, strategies, plans and programmes, reviewing effective methods and approaches, promoting good practice, and providing support to governments, agencies and organisations. In particular, SPA work is exploring the use and application of two key strategic-level tools:
- Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) - a rapidly evolving tool that is being increasingly used as a key mechanism to achieve Millennium Goal 8 to integrate environmental concerns in decision-making
- Sustainability appraisal (SA) - an tool that aims to integrated environmental, social and economic concerns in an analytical/assessment framework.