United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics
Economics and Trade Branch

An Operational Manual on Integrated Policymaking for Sustainable Development (IPSD)

Technical Review Meetings

Geneva, 14 - 15 May 2007 and 8 February 2008

in 2003, UNEP initiated a process to enable nine countries to integrate environmental, social, and economic considerations in a range of public policies. This process, referred as “Integrated Assessment and Planning” (IAP), was completed last year with the publication of a synthesis report "Sustainable Trade and Poverty Reduction: New Approaches to Integrated Policy Making at the National Level".

IAP is a step forward from Integrated Assessment (IA), on which UNEP started working since 1997 with a focus on trade-related policies. In IAP, assessment is no longer confined to trade-related policies. More important, IAP goes beyond assessment and advocates applying the concept of integration into policy planning from the outset.

For both the participating countries and UNEP, IAP was to be a learning experience. When the IAP process started, therefore, it was decided not to develop and provide the partner countries with a formal IAP framework. Instead, we opted to develop such a framework after gaining experience from the countries participating in this process.

In September 2005, as the preliminary results from the IAP process started coming in, UNEP organised a consultative meeting to propose the development of a voluntary international framework for IAP with an emphasis on integrated planning and policymaking. The objective of the proposal was to produce a set of voluntary principles as well as reference materials to assist countries to implement IAP. The overall goal was to ensure the integration of environmental, social, and economic considerations in planning and policymaking processes. The meeting welcomed such an initiative, highlighted key challenges in developing the framework, and emphasised the importance to implement the initiative in a flexible manner.

In February 2006, UNEP convened the second consultative meeting. The purpose was to discuss the preparation of the framework document. The meeting agreed that: a) the document should be prepared for both policymakers and practitioners and it should reach beyond the environmental constituency; b) it should be user-friendly; c) it should emphasize policy integration and what has worked and what has not based on practical experience in different countries; d) case studies should be used to demonstrate how IAP can add value to decisions; and e) UNEP should take the initiative forward in partnership with a range of stakeholders. After this meeting, an effort was made to develop an outline of the document.

Reflecting on the IAP experience and building on the conclusions from the two consultative meetings, UNEP decided to develop “An Operational Manual on Integrated Policymaking for Sustainable Development” to provide guidance on integrated policymaking.

A meeting was convened on 14-15 May 2007 to review the first draft of the manual. The purpose was to provide a platform for experts to exchange views on this manual, improve it and make the manual usable for public policy makers and policy analysts.

UNEP-ETB held an informal technical meeting in Geneva on 8 February 2008 to review a revised version of the reference manual on Integrated Policymaking for Sustainable Development. This manual, based on UNEP's decade long experience with integrated policy assessment, is expected to promote the integration of sustainable development objectives into the entire cycle of a public policy. The initial draft was prepared by a research team at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. It has since been revised by ETB staff. After this review meeting and another round of revision, the draft manual will be circulated more broadly for comments from a larger group of experts. The manual is expected to be published in the second quarter of 2008.

For more information, contact: fulai.sheng@unep.ch