Integrated Policymaking for Sustainable Development

Integrated Policymaking for Sustainable Development
INTEGRATED
POLICYMAKING
FOR SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT
United Nations Environment Programme
A REFERENCE MANUAL
Copyright © United Nations Environment Programme 2009
Photo credit (Front cover): UN Photo
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ISBN: 978-92-807-2923-8
Integrated Policymaking for
Sustainable Development
A reference manual
August 2009
Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Acknowledgements
This manual was prepared by Scott Fritzen, Michael Howlett, M. Ramesh, and Wu Xun of the Lee Kuan Yew School
of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and Fulai Sheng of the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) under the supervision of Hussein Abaza, Chief of UNEP’s Economics and Trade Branch. Apart from authoring
the introductory and closing chapters, Sheng Fulai also provided substantive editing to the entire manual and
managed the production of the manual from inception to publication. Rory Canwell of McGill University provided
illustrative examples of climate change to accompany the chapters that describe the various stages of integrated
policymaking. He also provided editorial support.
This manual has benefited from guidance generously provided by Nicholas Bonvoisin of the United Nations
Economic Commission for Europe, Jiri Dusik of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe,
Jan Joost Kessler of AIDEnvironment, Maria Partidário (IST – Instituto Superior Tecnico), Rob Verheem of the
Netherlands’ Commission for Environmental Impact Assessment.
Valuable inputs were also provided by Kulsum Ahmed and Fernando Loayza of the World Bank, Dieudonné
Bitondo of the University of Dschang in Cameroon, Claire Brown of the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring
Centre, Peter Croal of the Canadian International Development Agency, Mark Curtis and Rory Canwell of McGill
University, Barry Dalal-Clayton of International Institute for Environment and Development, Clive Gorge of the
University of Manchester, Linda Ghanime of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the
Secretariat of the Convention for Biological Diversity (SCBD), John Hobbery of UNEP-UNDP Poverty Environment
Initiative, Jean Hugé of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Remy Paris and Candice Stevens of the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD), Bobbi Schijf of the Netherlands’ Commission for Environmental Impact
Assessment, John D. Shilling of the Millennium Institute, and independent experts Barry Sadler, Salah El Serafy, and
Matthew Stilwell.
Thanks also to the participants at number of consultative meetings held between 2005 and 2007 which helped
shape this manual. These meetings and related communication processes were supported by UNEP staff members
including Desiree Leon, Rahila Mughal, and Karim Ouahidi as well as UNEP consultants and interns including Louise
Gallagher, Cristina Gueco, Chloe Hill, Nazlee Khalis, Ngan Tim Lam, Veronique Marx, Katharina Peschen, Andrea
Smith, Miroslava Tsolova, and Bin You.
Several UNEP staff members also provided substantive inputs. They include: Benjamin Simmons, Anja von Moltke,
Asad Naqvi, Fatma Ben Fadhl, Maria Cecilia Pineda, Cornelia Iliescu and Vera Weick.
UNEP August 2009
A reference manual
United Nations
Environment Programme
he United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
is the overall coordinating environmental
organization of the United Nations system. Its mission
is to provide leadership and encourage partnerships in
caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and
enabling nations and people to improve their quality
of life without compromising that of future
generations. In accordance with its mandate, UNEP
works to observe, monitor and assess the state of the
global environment, improve the scientific
understanding of how environmental change occurs,
and in turn, how such change can be managed by
action-oriented national policies and international
agreements. UNEP’s capacity building work thus
centers on helping countries strengthen
environmental management in diverse areas that
include freshwater and land resource management,
the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity,
marine and coastal ecosystem management, and
cleaner industrial production and eco-efficiency,
among many others.
T
UNEP, which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya,
marked its first 35 years of service in 2007. During
this time, in partnership with a global array of
collaborating organizations, UNEP has achieved major
advances in the development of international
environmental policy and law, environmental
monitoring and assessment, and the understanding of
the science of global change. This work also supports
the successful development and implementation of
the world’s major environmental conventions. In
parallel, UNEP administers several multilateral
environmental agreements (MEAs) including the
Vienna Convention’s Montreal Protocol on Substances
that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Convention on
UNEP August 2009
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Basel Convention on the
Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous
Wastes and their Disposal (SBC), the Convention on
Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain
Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International
Trade (Rotterdam Convention, PIC) and the Cartagena
Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological
Diversity as well as the Stockholm Convention on
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
Division of Technology,
Industry and Economics
The mission of the Division of Technology, Industry
and Economics (DTIE) is to encourage decision makers
in government, local authorities and industry to
develop and adopt policies, strategies and practices
that are cleaner and safer, make efficient use of
natural resources, ensure environmentally sound
management of chemicals, and reduce pollution and
risks for humans and the environment. In addition, it
seeks to enable implementation of conventions and
international agreements and encourage the
internalization of environmental costs. UNEP DTIE’s
strategy in carrying out these objectives is to
influence decision-making through partnerships with
other international organizations, governmental
authorities, business and industry, and nongovernmental organizations; facilitate knowledge
management through networks; support
implementation of conventions; and work closely with
UNEP regional offices. The Division, with its Director
and Division Office in Paris, consists of one centre and
five branches located in Paris, Geneva and Osaka.
i)
Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Economics and Trade Branch
The Economics and Trade Branch (ETB) is one of the
five branches of DTIE. ETB seeks to support a
transition to a green economy by enhancing the
capacity of governments, businesses and civil society
to integrate environmental considerations in
economic, trade, and financial policies and practices.
In so doing, ETB focuses its activities on:
1. Stimulating investment in green economic sectors;
2. Promoting integrated policy assessment and design;
3. Strengthening environmental management through
subsidy reform;
4. Promoting mutually supportive trade and
environment policies; and
n For more information on the general programme of
the Economics and Trade Branch, please contact:
Hussein Abaza
Chief, Economics and Trade Branch (ETB)
Division of Technology,
Industry and Economics (DTIE)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
11-13 Chemin des Anemones
1219 Chatelaine/Geneva
Tel : +41-22-917 81 79
Fax :+41-22-917 80 76
http://www.unep.ch/etb
5. Enhancing the role of the financial sector in
sustainable development.
Over the last decade, ETB has been a leader in the
area of economic and trade policy assessment through
its projects and activities focused on building national
capacities to undertake integrated assessments – a
process for analyzing the economic, environmental
and social effects of current and future policies,
examining the linkages between these effects, and
formulating policy response packages and measures
aimed at promoting sustainable development. This
work has provided countries with the necessary
information and analysis to limit and mitigate
negative consequences from economic and trade
policies and to enhance positive effects. The
assessment techniques and tools developed over the
years are now being applied to assist countries in
transitioning towards a green economy.
ii)
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A reference manual
Contents
Foreword
3
Executive Summary
5
Chapter 1 Introduction
10
1.1 Definition
10
1.2 Audience
10
1.3 Rationale
10
1.4 User guidance
11
Chapter 2 Conceptual Framework
14
2.1 Integrating Economic, Social, and Environmental (ESE) Dimensions
2.2 Integrating ESE Criteria into Policymaking
14
15
2.3 Integrating Policy Environment into Policymaking
18
Chapter 3 Agenda Setting
21
3.1 Framing Issues in Sustainable Development (SD) Terms
21
3.2 Harmonizing the Interests of Different Stakeholders
22
3.3 Managing the Entry of an Issue onto the Agenda
24
3.4 Seeking Policy Windows
25
Chapter 4 Policy Formulation
28
4.1 Setting up Participatory, Inter-agency Mechanisms
29
4.2 Analysing the causes of a Policy Issue
31
4.3 Setting Policy Objectives
32
4.4 Developing Policy Options
32
Chapter 5 Decision-making
36
5.1 Choosing Decision Criteria
37
5.2 Establishing a Baseline
38
5.3 Assessing ESE Implications of Policy Options
38
5.4 Making an Informed Decision
41
Chapter 6 Policy Implementation
43
6.1 Considering Implementation Challenges throughout the Policy Cycle
44
6.2 Getting Organized and Operational Fast
46
6.3 Mobilizing resources proactively
49
6.4 Managing stakeholder dynamics
49
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Chapter 7 Evaluation
51
7.1 Specifying the type, scope, and criteria of evaluation
52
7.2 Collecting data and Isolating Policy Effects
53
7.3 Conducting Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PME)
55
7.4 Ensuring Policy Learning
56
Chapter 8 Conclusion
59
8.1 Reviewing the Status of SD Discussions
60
8.2 Improving National SD Frameworks and Institutional Arrangements
60
8.3 Investing in SD-related Statistical Capacity
61
8.4 Providing Training on IP
61
Boxes
Box 1.1 Organizations Working on Policy Integration
11
Box 1.2 The Development of the IP Manual
12
Box 3.3 Public consultation
23
Box 4.2 Setting SMART objectives
32
Box 4.3 Three levels of objectives
33
Box 5.1 Comparative Assessment of Development Options in Papua, Indonesia
40
Box 5.2 Rules on making trade-offs
41
Box 6.1 Forward and Backward Mapping
46
Box 6.2 Results Based Management (RBM)
49
Box 7.1 Types of Policy Evaluation
52
Box 7.2 Data Collection Methods in Policy Evaluation
54
Box 7.3 Challenges in Policy Evaluation
56
Box 7.4 Four types of Policy Learning
57
Tables
Table 2.1 Challenges to Integrating ESE Dimensions into a Policy Cycle
17
Table 5.1 Decision Matrix
39
Table 6.1 Typical Implementation Barriers
45
Table 6.2 Implementation: a Continuum of Strategic and Operational Tasks
47
Table 7.1 Evaluation Design for Isolating Net Outcomes from Gross Outcomes
55
Table 7.2 Conventional and Participatory Modes of Evaluation
56
Figures
Figure 2.1 Integrating ESE Dimensions of SD
6, 15
Figure 2.2 Policy Cycle
6, 16
Figure 2.3 An Integration Filter for a Policy Cycle
16
Figure 2.4 Strategic Triangle of a Policy Environment
18
Figure 2.5 Integrating Policy Objectives, Policy Environment, and Policy Process
7, 19
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Foreword
ost of the problems facing the world today –
from financial crisis to climate change –
result directly from human activities.
M
Questionable lending and borrowing activities in the
housing market, reinforced by significant shortcomings
of sophisticated financing tools in large part, sewed the
seeds years ago for the prevailing financial and then
economic crisis. Excessive burning of fossil fuels to
power the global economy allied to unsustainable land
use is triggering and accelerating climate change.
These activities do not take place in a vacuum; they
are conditioned not only by norms and habits, but also
to a significant extent by public policies – rules,
regulations, interest rates, taxes, subsidies, to name
but a few. For example the more than US$200 billion
annual subsidy for the production and consumption of
fossil fuels plays its part in perpetuating their
inefficient use and our dependency on carbon.
efficient, low carbon, decent job-generating and
poverty-cutting Green Economy for the 21st century.
This manual draws on the decades-long experience
of UNEP and other organizations in the field of
sustainability-motivated policy assessment as well as
recent advances in public policy science.
The approach described in the manual places
sustainability considerations and policy assessment
within the overall policymaking cycle, thereby making
sustainability an integral part — rather than an ”addon” — to any such process.
The manual suggests using sustainable development
as a major filter for prioritizing competing issues and
for formulating and deciding on policy choices while
emphasizing a culture of learning, monitoring and
evaluation alongside involving stakeholders and
managing their dynamics at every stage.
Indeed, the failure to consider system-wide
implications of policies – including the lack of policies
or lack of effective policy enforcement – is a major
driver behind many of the problems facing
governments today.
I hope that this manual will prove useful and indeed
inspiring to policymakers and analysts, not only in the
environmental community, but also in economic and
social spheres and that it can play a role in realizing a
more intelligent management of human, financial and
natural capital.
An integrated approach to policymaking, the theme
of this manual, will assist policymakers to avoid
solving one problem while creating another. It will
also contribute to a society’s multiple objectives –
including social, economic and environmental ones.
I see this manual as a bridge that can potentially
connect our various policy communities in our
common pursuit of sustainable development and for
delivering tomorrow’s economy, today.
This is one of the key messages and central aims of
UNEP’s Global Green New Deal. The ”deal” takes its
departure from the notion that the US$3 trillionworth of stimulus packages engaged to combat the
global economic meltdown can deal with current and
future crises — from climate change and
unemployment to natural resource scarcity — if wisely
and creatively targeted.
Achim Steiner
UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director,
United Nations Environment Programme
Indeed the policy choices and market signals made
now and over the coming months and years will
determine whether the stage can be set for a resource
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
4
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A reference manual
Executive summary
his reference manual provides guidance on Integrated
Policymaking (IP) with a view to promoting
Sustainable Development (SD) in its environmental,
social, and economic (ESE) dimensions. IP:
T
The IP process proposed in this manual builds on the
assessment efforts thus far and provides another
response to the need for a proactive approach to
integrating SD into policymaking. IP:
• is proposed as a normative policymaking approach
that considers critical ESE implications and
interactions associated with policy issues and their
potential solutions;
• locks SD considerations into a policy process from
the beginning, before a policy issue is even brought
onto the government agenda and certainly before
any policy proposal is put on the table;
• places solutions within a policy cycle in order to
ensure that policy issues are appropriately defined,
potential solutions compared, the solution that
increases synergies and reduces trade-offs adopted,
and the adopted solution implemented, monitored,
and evaluated;
• internalizes sustainability-oriented assessment
without identifying it separately so as to make such
assessment a natural and integral component of the
policy process.
• aligns policy development with the political,
institutional, and analytical realities of the policy
environment.
This summary is prepared to enable senior policy and
decision makers to appreciate IP’s added value. The full
report is available for practitioners who are convinced
of the need for SD and seeking guidance on how to
make public policies contribute to it.
The need for an integrated approach to policymaking
has been expressed in major international processes
such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD), and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
(MA). In addition, a number of Multilateral
Environmental Agreements (MEAs) such as the
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) have included clauses that require
policy integration.
A number of institutions including the Organization of
Economic Co-operation and Development’s
Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC), the
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
(UNECE), the World Bank, the European Commission
(EC), and UNEP have responded to these calls for policy
integration by promoting various sustainability-oriented
assessments of public policies, programmes and plans.
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IP – in its most intuitive sense of considering diverse
factors when making policies – is important for at
least three reasons:
1. A policy that addresses one issue can affect other
issues, which may not be less important. For
example, inappropriate biofuel subsidies to
reduce reliance on fossil fuels can contribute to
food shortage and deforestation.
2. Synergies among different issues exist and a
policy intervention can be designed to achieve
multiple benefits. For example, investing in basic
health care not only contributes to poverty
reduction, but also raises labour productivity.
3. Successful implementation of a policy relies on
the support from a range of stakeholders who
may have diverse values and interests that need
to be harmonized. For example, imposing antidumping duties on low-price imports may help
protect domestic producers but is also likely to
hurt importers, retailers, and low-income
consumers at home.
This summary is expected to motivate its audience to
adopt an integrated approach to policymaking and use
this manual. The rest of the summary will highlight key
elements of such an approach, starting from a
conceptual framework of sustainable development and
moving on to reflecting such a framework at major
stages of a policy cycle.
5
Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
It should be noted that policymaking is not typically
a linear process. Different policy participants may also
enter into a policy process at its different stages
deploying different “building blocks” of analytical and
process-related tools.
The "building blocks" concept connects the IPSD
manual with the Integrated Assessment:
Mainstreaming Sustainability into Policymaking. The
Guidance details the use of building blocks in the IA
process and highlights the connections with a sixsteps policy cycle that considers policy analysis a
separate stage in the process, an approach more
suitable for IA purposes. In the IPSD context, the
policy cycle has five steps as the focus there is on the
making and not the assessment of a policy per se, and
as such policy analysis is regarded as a continuum
throughout the whole policy process.
Conceptual Framework
IP focuses on three levels of integration:
Figure 2.2: Policy Cycle
Decision
making
2. The second is to factor ESE considerations into the
continuous policy cycle, especially at early stages.
Policymaking, whether segmented or integrated, can
be disaggregated into stages and sub-stages, which
make up a “policy cycle” (see Figure 2.2) with the
understanding that policymaking in practice is not
linear or even sequential and is typically made up of
multiple policy cycles without a clear starting point.
This reference manual uses a simple model, which
begins with the consideration of a problem or issue
that may arise from a previous policy (or the lack of
a policy) and that requires government attention
(agenda setting).* It then moves to the consideration
of options to address the problem (policy
formulation). In the third stage decision-makers
prescribe a particular course of action (decisionmaking). In the fourth stage the prescribed course
of action is translated into action (policy
implementation). The results of the policy are then
monitored and evaluated against its original aims,
and adjustments to the policy, if needed, are made
accordingly (policy evaluation, which includes
monitoring). An “integration filter” is applied at
every stage of the continuous policy cycle.
Figure 2.1: Integrating ESE Dimensions of SD
Social
Policy
formulation
Implementation
1. The first is to consider significant ESE implications
and interactions (vis-à-vis related criteria and
indicators) associated with a policy problem and its
potential solutions. The focus is on enhancing
complementarities and reducing trade-offs among
the ESE dimensions. The ESE inter-relations are
stylized in Figure 2.1. Readers should note that
although the ESE components are portrayed as
equal spheres with inter-linkages for ease of
presentation, the functioning of both economy and
society ultimately depends on the environment.
Economic
Agenda
setting
Evaluation
3. The third level of integration is to address policy
constraints in terms of political support,
administrative capacity, and analytical capacity
within the policy process:
Environmental
*
A problem or an issue does not have to have negative
connotations; an opportunity that is likely to miss without
policy intervention can also be considered as a problem or an
issue.
6
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A reference manual
Political support is critical as integrated policies
may represent major changes from the status quo,
altering the existing balance of power and
interests. Therefore, proactive political
management with carefully crafted strategies is
essential to generate and sustain the political
support needed for such policies.
Administrative capacity refers to a government’s
capacity to formulate and carry out policies.
Although this capacity is mostly associated with
the implementation stage of a policy cycle, it is
also relevant to the other stages such as the
capacity to organize stakeholder consultations
during agenda-setting.
Figure 2.5: Integrating Policy Objectives, Policy
Environment, and Policy Process
Agenda setting
In the context of public policy, an agenda is a list of
issues or problems (including potential opportunities,
which may be missed without policy interventions) to
which government officials, and people outside of the
government closely associated with those officials, are
paying some serious attention at any given time. The
agenda for a country might include, for example, rising
food price, air pollution, and illegal immigration.
Of all the conceivable issues to which officials
could be paying attention, they do seriously attend
only to some rather than others. Thus, agenda-setting
is a process in which policy initiators recognize that
certain issues are public and are thus worthy of the
government’s attention, but the list of all possible
issues for government action is narrowed to the set
that actually becomes the focus of attention.
To factor ESE considerations into this initial stage
of the policy cycle, four suggestions are highlighted:
Political
support
• Frame the issue in sustainability terms;
• Harmonize the interests of different stakeholders;
• Manage the entry of an issue onto the agenda; and
Agenda
setting
Evaluation
Policy Formulation
Economic
Implementation
Analytical
capacity
Social
Environmental
Decision
making
Policy
formulation
Administrative
capacity
Analytical Capacity is critical for IP because multidimensional integrated policies tend to face more
complexities and uncertainties than singledimensional policies. Lack of such capacity may
create a bias towards policies for which the effects
can be analysed with greater certainty.
These components form a stylized strategic triangle
in a policy environment, each playing an
indispensable role in determining the extent of IP’s
success or failure. This strategic triangle (see Figure
2.5) needs to be considered in different stages of IP to
determine: 1) constraints on IP; 2) areas where
capacity building is needed; and 3) strategies
complementing a particular policy in order to
overcome deficiencies in the policy environment.
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• Seek policy windows.
Policy formulation is a process of generating policy
options in response to a problem established on the
agenda. This stage does not come automatically after
an issue has gone onto the agenda. Nor is this stage
the same as the decision-making stage where a
course of action is to be chosen from the available
options.* In this process, policy formulators – both
inside and outside of the government – identify,
refine, and formalize policy options to prepare the
ground for the decision-making stage.
At this stage, some policy initiators may also take
on the tasks of assessing and comparing the ESE
implications and interactions of the potential options.
However, such assessment and comparison typically
requires investing a large amount of resources.
* The term “decision-making” used in this manual has a literal
meaning as compared to the general use of the term, which
tends to be equated with “policymaking”.
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Therefore it is generally agreed that such activities
should take place after policy initiators have had a
chance to conduct an initial screening of the potential
options assessing their political, financial and
administrative feasibility.
To factor SD considerations into this stage of the
policy cycle, four suggestions are highlighted:
• Set up participatory, inter-agency mechanisms;
• Conduct root-cause analysis;
• Set policy objectives; and
• Formulate policy options.
Decision-making
Decision-making is not synonymous with policymaking.
In public policy sciences, decision-making is described
as a stage where a government decision-maker or an
official decision-making body selects a course of action
or non-action among a small set of policy options
identified at the policy formulation stage with a view
towards policy implementation.
Decision-making is highly political as the chosen
course of action has the potential to create winners
and losers, even in the case where it was decided to
take no action, thus retaining the status quo. It can
also be highly technical due to the complexity of the
factors involved in assessing and comparing policy
options based on their projected ESE consequences,
which is supposed to be the basis for any integrated
decision-making.
will become visible at this stage. Yet implementation
is often neglected in practice. Policy managers,
initiators, formulators, decision-makers, and others
involved in the policy process often fail to
systematically prepare the ground for implementation,
resulting in policies that perform far below
expectation or even policy disasters.
The high degree of diversity among stakeholders
involved in IP increases the complexity and
vulnerability of implementation. Implementation
creates winners and losers. It is the stage where the
stakes of winning or losing begin to manifest
themselves clearly to participants who have been
left out of the earlier stages in the process. Most
organizations may resist coordination due to a
perceived threat to autonomy or disagreements over
the nature of the tasks being pursued. Agencies and
even divisions within agencies may compete for
resources and control. Clashes may also occur
among the public, private, non-profit, and
community sectors.
To ensure that policies that have been subject to
the rigorous SD “filtering” so far can receive a real
chance to be implemented, i.e. achieve integration on
the ground, four suggestions are highlighted:
• Consider implementation challenges throughout
the policy cycle;
• Get organized and operational fast;
• Mobilize resources proactively; and
• Manage stakeholder dynamics.
To advance the SD considerations, which have been
carried through agenda-setting and policy
formulation stages, into the decision-making stage,
four suggestions are highlighted:
• Choose criteria for decision-making;
• Establish a baseline;
• Assess and compare policy options; and
• Make an informed decision.
Implementation
Implementation is the stage where a selected policy
option must be translated into action. It is probably
the most difficult, demanding, and critical stage in a
policy process. Any deficiency in policy design or any
vulnerability with respect to the policy environment
8
Evaluation
Integrated evaluation refers to the effort to monitor
and determine how a policy has fared during
implementation from an SD perspective. It examines
the means employed, the objectives served, and the
effects caused in practice. The results and
recommendations from evaluation are fed back into
further rounds of policymaking. In many cases, some
aspects of evaluation such as data collection are also
conducted during earlier stages of policymaking and
the results can feed into the refinement of policy
design, decision and implementation.
Evaluation is expected to contribute to IP by:
• synthesizing what is known about a problem, its
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A reference manual
proposed remedy, and the ESE effects from
implementing that remedy, in order to facilitate
policy learning;
• demystifying conventional wisdom or popular
myths related to a problem, its solutions, and the
effects of the solutions;
• developing new information about policy
effectiveness, such as the extent to which expected
policy results have been achieved and the range
and magnitude of unintended effects, in order to
give early warning; and
• explaining to all policy participants the
implications of new information derived through
evaluation, which may call for re-planning at the
operational level.
To determine the actual effects of an implemented
policy, not only on the objectives established for that
policy, but also on the ESE dimensions of SD, four
suggestions are highlighted:
• Specify the type, scope, and criteria of evaluation;
• Collect data and isolate policy effects;
development and the opportunities from seeking
synergies among ESE dimensions of SD in order to
create genuine appreciation of the need for an
integrated approach to policymaking;
2. Organize or reinvigorate an SD “policy community”
to review national policy frameworks and
institutional arrangements and propose
improvements focusing on SD criteria and
indicators as well as the effectiveness of related
institutions;
3. Invest in sustainability-related statistical capacities
in developing countries focusing on having an
adequate number of qualified statisticians,
acquiring and maintaining related data systems,
and sustaining the regular data collection and
reporting operations; and
4. Provide long-term as well as short-term training to
create a critical mass of qualified policy analysts
who can potentially assume the roles of policy
managers, initiators, formulators, decision-makers,
implementers, monitoring agents, and evaluators in
support of IP.
• Conduct Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation
(PME); and
• Ensure policy learning.
Conclusion
To gear public policies towards SD requires a genuine
conviction of the need for SD on the part of
governments and citizens. This, in turn, needs to come
from a true appreciation of the risks from pursing
particular societal objectives at the expense of other
objectives and the opportunities from seeking
synergies that exist among a society’s ESE
imperatives. Analysts can demonstrate these risks and
opportunities through case studies. Advocacy groups
and media can play an important role in
communicating these risks and opportunities.
But even when individuals in the government and
society are convinced of the need for SD and willing
to apply IP, they face tremendous institutional and
capacity constraints. To enhance such capacities and
ease the transition towards IP, four suggestions are
proposed and summarized below:
1. Demonstrate the risks of unsustainable
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
1. Introduction
1.1 Definition
This manual provides guidance on IP with a view to
promoting sustainable development (SD) in its
environmental, social, and economic (ESE) dimensions.
IP is proposed as a generic, normative public
policymaking approach that considers significant ESE
implications and interactions associated with public
policy issues and their potential solutions. It also
places solutions within a policy cycle that typically
includes agenda-setting, policy formulation, decisionmaking, implementation, and evaluation, in order
ensure that policy issues are appropriately defined,
potential solutions compared, the solution that
increases synergies and reduces trade-offs adopted,
and the adopted solution implemented, monitored,
and evaluated. Moreover, IP aligns policy development
with the political, institutional, and analytical realities
of the policy environment.
agents, evaluators, researchers, analysts, and other
policy participants, often with overlapping functions,
from both public and non-public institutions including
at the international level. Additionally, members of
academia are encouraged to utilize this manual.
1.3 Rationale
1.2 Audience
The need for an integrated approach to policymaking
has been expressed in major international processes.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for
example, called for the “integration of the principles
of sustainable development into country policies and
programmes”.1 The World Summit on Sustainable
Development (WSSD) emphasized the importance of
taking a “holistic and inter-sector approach” to
implement sustainable development.2 The Millennium
Ecosystem Assessment (MA) recommended the
“integration of ecosystem management goals within
other sectors and within broader development
planning frameworks”.3
This manual has two levels of audience. The first is
senior policy and decision makers in the public sector
who wish to know IP’s added value relative to their
current policymaking approaches. The manual’s
executive summary and promotional materials will
focus on this level of audience. The second, more
pertinent audience for the purpose of this manual
consists of the broadly defined policy practitioners
who are already convinced of the merit of SD and
seeking guidance on how to make public policies
contribute to it. This level of audience includes not
only policy managers, coordinators, and contact
persons who sit in government offices, but also policy
initiators, formulators, implementers, monitoring
In addition, a number of Multilateral Environmental
Agreements (MEAs) have included clauses that
require policy integration. Article Six of the
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), for
example, requires Parties to the Convention to
“integrate, as far as possible and as appropriate, the
conservation and sustainable use of biological
diversity into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral
plans, programmes and policies”.4 Article Three of the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) also stipulates that “policies and
measures to protect the climate system against
human-induced change should… be integrated with
national development programmes…”5
Introduction – Key points
n
n
n
10
Consider Integrated Policymaking (IP) as a response to the call for proactive integration of sustainability
considerations into public policymaking.
Identify your particular entry point in a continuous policy cycle and go directly to the relevant parts of
the manual for guidance.
Adapt the materials in this manual and consult other related manuals to suit your circumstances, including
time and financial constraints.
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A reference manual
Box 1.1: Organizations working on
Policy Integration
Many international organizations have
implemented various initiatives, such as Strategic
Environment Assessment (SEA), to promote policy
integration. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development
Assistance Committee (OECD DAC), for example,
provided guidance for applying SEA in the context
of development co-operation in 2006.6
The United Nations Economic Commission for
Europe (UNECE) launched an SEA protocol in
2003.7 The European Commission (EC) initiated
Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) of trade
liberalization in 1999 and published a reference
manual on trade-related SIA in 2006. In addition,
in 2002 the EC required impact assessment of all
major policy proposals in their ESE dimensions
and in 2004, the EC SEA Directive took effect.8
Since 1997, the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) has been responding to the
requests from over 30 developing countries and
countries with economies in transition to conduct
Integrated Assessment (IA) of public policies with
a particular focus on trade-related policies and
the agriculture sector.9
A number of institutions have responded to these
calls for policy integration by promoting various
sustainability-oriented assessments of public policies,
programmes, and plans (see Box 1.1). UNEP has also
worked for more than a decade in the field of
integrated assessment, which has led to the
launching of the IP initiative (see Box 1.2) and the
publication of a dedicated IA manual, the Integrated
Assessment: Mainstreaming Sustainability into
Policymaking. The IP proposed in this manual builds
on these assessment efforts and reinforces the
response to the need for a proactive approach to
integrating SD into policymaking. IP locks SD
considerations into a policy process from the very
beginning, before a policy issue is even brought onto
the government agenda and certainly before any
policy proposal is put on the table. In addition, IP
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internalizes sustainability-oriented assessment
without identifying it separately so as to make such
assessment a natural and integral component of the
policy process. This approach is expected to reduce
the need for lagged, reactive analysis and improve
the efficiency for decision-making in terms of cost
and time as SD concerns are anticipated and
addressed early on within the policy process.
IP – in its most intuitive sense of considering diverse
factors when making policies – is important for at least
three reasons. First, a policy that addresses one
particular issue can affect other issues, which may not
be less important. For example, perverse biofuel
subsidies to reduce reliance on fossil fuels can
contribute to food shortage and deforestation. Second,
synergies among different issues exist and a policy
intervention can be designed to achieve multiple
benefits. Investing in basic health care, for example, not
only contributes to poverty reduction, but also raises
labour productivity. Third, successful implementation of
a policy typically relies on the support from a range of
stakeholders who may have diverse values and interests
that need to be harmonized. For example, imposing
anti-dumping duties on cheap imports may help
protect domestic producers but may also hurt
importers, retailers, and consumers at home.
1.4 User guidance
This document does not propose specific policies to
address critical SD issues such as poverty, diseases,
climate change, and conflicts. Rather, it provides
generic guidance that can be applied to developing
these and other policies in a way that contributes to
SD. The readers should not expect to get specific
policy prescriptions from this manual. Instead, they
may want to utilize the stages and techniques
described in this document in their respective policy
situations to advance the course of SD.
This reference manual, complemented by the
Integrated Assessment: Guidance for Mainstreaming
Sustainability into Policymaking, is expected to
promote an integrated approach to policymaking. Its
follow-up activities are expected to include using the
manual in support of various policy initiatives
worldwide. UNEP, for example, will use the manual for
the Green Economy Initiative, which encourages
governments to invest in environmental sectors and
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Box 1.2: The Development of the IP Manual
The work on IP embodied in this manual builds on four rounds of UNEP-sponsored IA country projects since
1997. In particular, it benefited from the results of the Integrated Assessment and Planning (IAP) projects
completed in 2007.10 In September 2005 when the preliminary results from the IAP projects started flowing
in from nine participating countries, UNEP organized a consultative meeting to propose the development of
a voluntary international framework for IA with an emphasis on integrated planning and policymaking. The
proposal’s objective was to produce a set of voluntary principles as well as reference materials to assist
countries to implement such assessments. The overall goal was to ensure the integration of ESE
considerations in planning and policymaking. The meeting welcomed such an initiative. Country
representatives confirmed their need for a framework that would provide clear guidance for integrating SD
into policies, highlighted key challenges in developing the framework, and emphasized the importance to
implement such a framework 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
policymakers as well as practitioners and it should reach beyond the environmental community; b) it should
be user-friendly; c) it should emphasize policy integration and what has worked and what has not based on
practical experiences in different countries; d) case studies should be used to demonstrate how integrated
assessment 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.
In the ensuing months, more complete results from the IAP projects became available, providing
additional insights to the preparation of the framework document. It was found that the IAP process showed
signs of success in a number of areas such as engaging stakeholders and identifying win-win opportunities,
but as far as influencing the participating countries’ internal policymaking is concerned, there was large
room for improvement. In most cases, due to local political and institutional factors, the IAP exercises
remained external to the official policy processes.
Reflecting on the IAP experience, building on the conclusions from the two consultative meetings, and in
response to countries’ needs, UNEP decided to focus the document on three areas where improvements
could be made. First and foremost, there is a need to tap into the science (or art) of public policy in order to
understand how policies are typically made in practice. On the basis of this understanding, it would be better
able to identify a wider range of opportunities to factor SD considerations into the entire policy process
rather than its particular stages. Second, there is a need to be more astute in managing stakeholder
participation, especially in dealing with conflicts among different groups. Third, there is a need to improve
the quality of policy analysis.
Based on these considerations, UNEP decided to switch from developing an IA framework document to
preparing a reference manual in order to provide guidance on IP. A research team from the Lee Kuan Yew
School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore started developing the manual in September
2006. The team prepared the first draft in May 2007 when UNEP organized a review meeting involving
representatives from governments, inter-governmental organizations, and non-governmental sector.
Benefiting from the extensive comments from various partners, the team and UNEP staff revized the manual
in July 2007. Subsequently, UNEP and its partners made substantive revisions until its publication.
12
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A reference manual
green job creation in their responses to the financial
and economic crisis. Additionally, UNEP will seek to
work with economic development institutions to
introduce the manual, promote its use on a voluntary
basis, and get feedback at the country level. Given the
diversity in country and policy circumstances,
however, this manual does not envisage any
institutionalization of IP at this time.
The rest of the manual is organized as follows.
Chapter 2 presents the IP conceptual framework.
Chapters 3 through 7 provide advice on how to
manage the five core stages in the continuous policy
cycle as they relate to IP. At the end of each Chapter
from 3 to 7, there is an example using climate change
as a broad illustration for the theme of the respective
chapters. Chapter 8 concludes the manual.
It should be noted that policymaking is not typically
a linear process. Different policy participants may also
enter into a policy process at its different stages
deploying appropriate “building blocks” of analytical
and process-related tools. They may choose to use the
index in the back of this manual and go directly to
those parts of the manual that are of interest to their
particular policy situations and entry points. To ensure
an effective “plug-in”, however, it is advisable to
situate a particular entry point within the overall
policy cycle presented in Figure 2.2 of Chapter 2. It is
also advisable to link the types of processes and
analyses suggested in this manual to the related legal
requirements of each country, such as the SEA, in
order to avoid repetitive processes. Moreover, users
are encouraged to adapt the materials in this manual,
take into account other related manuals, and develop
guidance that is more relevant to their circumstances,
priorities, and constraints.
4. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 2006.
Article 6. General Measures for Conservation and
Sustainable Development. Retrieved March 2009
from www.cbd.int/convention/articles.
5. The United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) 1994. The Full Text of the
Convention. Retrieved March 2009 from
http://unfccc.int/essential_background/
convention/background/items/1349.php
6. OECD, Applying Strategic Environmental
Assessment – Good Practice Guidelines for
Development Co-operation, DAC Guidelines and
Reference Series, Paris, 2006.
7. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
(UNECE). (2003). Protocol on Strategic
Environmental Assessment. Retrieved March 2009
from www.unece. org/env/eia/sea_protocol.htm
8. European Commission 2009 . Impact Assessment:
Political Context. Retrieved March 2009 from
ec.europa.eu/governance/impact/ index_en.htm
9. UNEP, Sustainable Trade and Poverty Reduction –
New Approaches to Integrated Policy Making at the
National Level, 2006.
10. UNEP IAP synthesis report.
References
1. United Nations, Millennium Development Goals
(MDG), MDG7, Target 9.
2 “A journey of hope”, Statement by the Chairman of
the Preparatory Committee for WSSD, Mr. Emil
Salim on the Final Day of the Second Session of the
Committee, New York, 8 February 2002.
3. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005.
Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis.
Island Press, Washington, DC. P.20.
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
2. Conceptual framework
This chapter presents the IP conceptual framework,
which consists of integration at three levels. First, IP
advocates the consideration of significant ESE
implications and interactions associated with a policy
problem and its potential solutions. Second, it seeks to
factor ESE considerations into the continuous policy
cycle. Third, it addresses constraints in terms of
political support, administrative capacity, and
analytical capacity within the policy process.
At the first level of integration, the relationships
among the ESE dimensions of SD are often considered
in trade-off terms, whereas their synergies are underexploited. Reforming perverse energy subsidies, for
example, is usually seen as undermining
competitiveness, but the potential for encouraging
investments in efficient technologies, thus enhancing
competitiveness, is not considered. IP emphasizes the
complementarities among the ESE dimensions of SD
and seeks to reduce trade-offs.
At the second level, SD considerations, if attempted,
are typically factored into policy formulation and
decision-making stages when a particular course of
action is about to be, or has been, chosen. The
opportunities to frame a policy issue in SD terms and
screen policy options against SD criteria at earlier
stages of policymaking are thus under-exploited. IP
advocates a process in which ESE considerations are
injected into the entire, ongoing policy process. This is
not to treat policymaking as a linear process, but to
seek every possible opportunity available in the policy
cycle to integrate ESE considerations.
At the third level, even when a sound decision is
made in SD terms, its implementation and evaluation
can be problematic. The political, administrative, and
analytical constrains on implementation and
evaluation are often not considered explicitly and
systematically when formulating policy
recommendations. IP helps identify these constraints
and proposes ways to enhance the necessary capacity
as part of the policy process.
2.1 Integrating ESE dimensions
Most people continue using the Brundtland
Commission’s definition of SD – development that
“meets the needs of the present without compromizing
the ability of future generations to meet their own
needs.”11 This concept’s essence is to place
socioeconomic development within the constraint of
the environment. It is in this light that most people
now consider SD and policies conducive to such
development to include three dimensions: a)
environmental integrity; b) social equity and justice;
and c) economic prosperity. But these three dimensions
Conceptual framework – Key points
n In the context of this manual, interpret the concept of “SD” or “Sustainability” in terms of significant ESE
implications and interactions associated with a policy issue and its solution
n Consider significant ESE implications and interactions in an integrated, comprehensive manner, bearing in
mind that economies and societies fundamentally depend on the environment.
n Consider significant ESE dimensions over a long time horizon when developing a policy and collect and
report related data and information on a regular basis
n Consider IP as a participatory and iterative process and apply an ESE “integration filter” at each stage of the
continuous policy cycle in a practical, non-dogmatic manner.
n Generate and sustain political support for integrated polices, ensure analytical and administrative capacity
for IP, and devise strategies to overcome constraints in these areas.
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A reference manual
are not of equal importance; fundamentally,
economies and societies depend on the environment. If
socioeconomic policies fail to take the environment
into account, there will be consequences feeding back
into socioeconomic systems.
Rather than trying to repeat what is known about
the concept of SD and the relationships among its ESE
dimensions, or come up with yet another way of
interpreting these, for the purpose of this manual we
observe that: a) many policy issues have ESE
implications; b) policy solutions also have ESE
implications and they should be checked against ESE
criteria; c) ESE factors interact with each other to
produce combined impacts. The ESE inter-relations are
stylized in Figure 2.1. Readers should note that
although the ESE components are portrayed as equal
spheres with inter-linkages for ease of presentation,
the functioning of both economy and society
ultimately depends on the environment.
IP seeks to integrate the consideration of ESE
factors to achieve the following objectives:
• Ensure policy decisions are acceptable with regard
to each of the three dimensions;
• Identify innovative policies that will draw on the
synergies among the three dimensions;
• Identify any trade-offs and propose remedial
measures; and
• Increase the transparency and accountability of
different stakeholders’ attitudes towards different
dimensions of SD.
Figure 2.1: Integrating ESE Dimensions of SD
In practice, however the integration of the three
dimensions may be stymied by several hurdles.
First, it is confronted by the prevailing, segmented
policymaking found in many countries. Agencies
responsible for specific sectors such as agriculture and
forestry typically operate in isolation and
uncoordinated with each other. The agricultural
sector, for example, may pursue land conversion to
expand farm production, which may contradict the
forestry sector’s policy to conserve wildlife habitats.
Second, environmental consequences often take a
long time to materialize while policymakers typically
have short-term horizons. It is, therefore, likely that
long-term environmental dimensions of policy
problems and deliberations are ignored while shortterm socioeconomic outcomes are highlighted.
Third, tools for projecting socioeconomic changes as
a result of a policy intervention are well established
and relevant information is routinely collected, but the
same cannot be said for environmental consequences.
As a result, environmental consequences and
implications, unlike their socioeconomic counterparts,
are often poorly understood, poorly documented and,
hence, likely to be ignored.
IP proposes several strategies to address these
challenges. First, it encourages joint consideration of
significant ESE dimensions associated with a policy
issue. Second, it advocates the application of a longterm horizon to allow adequate consideration of
significant ESE implications. Finally, IP requires
continuous gathering and reporting of information on
all three ESE dimensions. This manual will show to a
certain extent how these strategies can be translated
into actions in different stages of the policy process.
2.2 Integrating ESE criteria into policymaking
Economic
Social
Environmental
IP focuses on the entire, continuous policy process.
This emphasis is based on two premises: 1) the
opportunities for sustainability-oriented interventions
may be found at every stage in policymaking; and 2)
coordination among different policymaking stages is
key to ensuring that an integrated approach is
followed through.
Policymaking, whether segmented or integrated, can
be disaggregated into stages and sub-stages, which
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
make up a “policy cycle” (see Figure 2.2)12. There are
various presentations of a policy cycle, but they are
quite similar in essence, all reflecting how policies are
made empirically. Thus the policy cycle presented in
this manual is not a prescribed process or procedure
of how things should happen, but a general sequence
of how policies are made in practice.
For this manual, a simple model has been chosen,
which begins with the consideration of a problem or
issue that may arise from a previous policy (or the lack
of a policy) that requires government attention
(agenda setting).* It then moves to the consideration of
options to address the problem (policy formulation). In
the third stage, decision-makers prescribe a particular
course of action (decision-making). In the fourth stage
the prescribed course of action is translated into
action (policy implementation). The results of the
policy are then monitored and evaluated against the
original aims and adjustments to the policy, if needed,
are made accordingly (policy evaluation, which
includes monitoring).
Figure 2.2 Policy Cycle
Agenda
setting
Evaluation
Policy
formulation
Implementation
Decision
making
dynamics of policymaking but such feedback loops
are typically ignored in policymaking. All these
elements need to be taken into account when
applying IP, which should be considered as a problemsolving process with a lot of iterative refinement to
manage public problems. In addition, it should be
emphasized that this manual does not focus on the
policy cycle per se, which is well established in public
policy sciences, but on how to bring SD considerations
into the different stages of the cycle.
In IP, an “integration filter” is applied at every stage
of the continuous policy cycle. This broadens the
venue for shaping policies in an integrated fashion.
This approach, in particular, addresses the gaps
between sustainability-oriented decision-making and
implementation, as critical deficiencies in
implementing capacity are identified at the outset. In
addition, by focusing on the entire, continuous policy
cycle, IP addresses the policy breach between
decision-making and evaluation. Finally, through its
emphasis on participatory policymaking and interministerial coordination, IP not only connects the
various stages of the policy process within a
particular sector, but also brings together policy
processes across sectors, thereby making integration
a shared objective among sectoral policymakers.
Figure 2.3 illustrates the overlay of the ESE
dimensions onto a policy cycle.
Superimposing the ESE considerations over the
making of a particular policy, however, faces a number
of challenges, which are highlighted in Table 2.1. Later
chapters will provide guidance on how to address
these challenges.
Figure 2.3 An Integration Filter for a Policy Cycle
Policymaking in practice is not linear or even
sequential and is typically made up of multiple policy
cycles without a clear starting point. In many
countries, policymaking may also be fragmented with
lags in-between stages. Moreover, each stage has
feedback loops with other stages reflecting the
* A problem or an issue does not have to have
negative connotations; an opportunity that is likely to
miss without policy intervention can also be
considered as a problem or an issue.
16
Agenda
setting
Evaluation
Economic
Implementation
Social
Environmental
Policy
formulation
Decision
making
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Table 2.1: Challenges to Integrating ESE Dimensions into a Policy Cycle
Stage in Policy
Cycle
Agenda-Setting
Policy
Formulation
IP’s Roles
To bring problems of
public concern onto
agenda by defining
the problems in
relation to SD
priorities, risks, and
opportunities
To develop feasible
options that will
address the ESE root
causes of the
problems
Main Challenges
• SD considerations are typically long-term, difficult to compete
with short-term issues for policymakers’ attention.
• Defining policy issues in SD terms may affect vested interests,
which can block the entry of these issues onto agenda.
• Even if SD considerations are factored into problem definition,
they may be subject to deliberate misinterpretation.
• Applying an ESE filter to policy formulation requires additional
cost and cross-sectoral analytical capacity, which may not be
readily available.
• Expanding the scope of potential solutions requires the
participation of a larger number of stakeholders, which can be
costly and time-consuming.
• Budget constraint limits the number of options to consider
Decision-Making
To adopt options that
meet SD criteria and
are acceptable to
stakeholders
• Data gaps, weak analytical capacity, and uncertainty (often associated
with SD) tend to weaken the basis for sound decision-making.
• Decisions are often the results of compromises (including compromises
among ESE interests), although these may not be always satisfactory
to all stakeholders.
• Decisions may be rushed due to external forces or sudden events
that require immediate responses, such as in a post-conflict or
post-disaster situation.
Implementation
To adopt options that
meet SD criteria and
are acceptable to
stakeholders
• The decisions made are not always followed up with designated
implementation agencies and earmarked budget, making the
decisions stay on paper.
• The required level of implementation may exceed the capacity and
budget of the implementing agency.
• Implementation may proceed initially within the capacity and
budget of the implementing agency, but it may soon wear out the
capacity and depletes the budget without replenishment.
• Unexpected problems may pop up affecting implementation (e.g.
failure in inter-agency cooperation), but there is often no
mechanism to redress them and allow implementation to continue.
Evaluation
To review
implementation of
the adopted policies
against pre-selected
objectives as well as
criteria reflecting SD
considerations
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• Sustainability impacts often take long time to be felt.
• The effects of a particular policy are often interwoven with other
policies and events, making it difficult to isolate the impacts.
• There may be resistance to substantive evaluation as the result
could be unfavourable to those who design, decide, and
implement the policy.
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
2.3 Integrating Policy Environment into Policymaking
To address the challenges outlined in Table 2.1, policy
managers need to pay attention to three factors that
typically constitute a policy environment: political
support, administrative capacity, and analytical capacity.
Political support is critical because policymakers
must continually attract both legitimacy and
resources from their authorizing institutions and
constituencies. Integrated policies may represent
major changes from the status quo. Conflicts both
inside and outside the government over the nature of
these changes can be expected, as different
stakeholders have different viewpoints, needs,
interests, information, and sources of power. Proactive
political management with carefully crafted strategies
are, therefore, essential for generating and sustaining
the political support needed for such policies.
Administrative capacity refers to a government’s
capacity to formulate and carry out policies. Typical
aspects of this capacity include the quality of civil
service, the use of information technology, the
inter-agency relations, and the style of interactions
between the government and society. Although
administrative capacity is mostly associated with
the implementation stage of a policy cycle, it is
also relevant to the other stages such as the
capacity to organize stakeholder consultations at
the agenda-setting stage.
Figure 2.4 Strategic Triangle of a Policy Environment
Analytical Capacity is critical for IP because multidimensional integrated policies tend to face more
complexities and uncertainties than singledimensional policies. The information overload
together with the lack of specific and useful
information places further constraints on analytical
capacity. Lack of such capacity may create a bias
towards policies for which the effects can be analysed
with greater certainty.
These components form a stylized strategic triangle
in a policy environment, each playing an indispensable
role in determining the extent of IP’s success or
failure (see Figure 2.4).
The strategic triangle presented in Figure 2.5 is to
be considered in different stages of IP to serve the
following purposes:
•
•
•
To identify constraints on IP. Analytical capacity
determines the potential usefulness of IP in
improving the quality of policy decisions. Political
support and administrative capacity constrain the
types of polices that can be realistically made.
To identify areas where capacity building is needed.
Unlike traditional policy analysis in which capacity
constraints are regarded as given, IP through
considering the policy environment can include
capacity-building activities as part of policymaking.
To determine strategies required to complement a
particular policy in order to overcome deficiencies
in the policy environment. The consideration of
timing and sequencing of policy actions, for
example, can also be incorporated as part of such
strategies.
References
11. The World Commission on Environment and
Development (The Brundtland Commission), Our
Common Future, p.43, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
UK, 1987.
Political
support
12. Howlett, M, and M. Ramesh. (2003) Studying
Public Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems,
Oxford University Press.
Analytical
capacity
18
Administrative
capacity
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Figure 2.5 Integrating Policy Objectives, Policy Environment, and Policy Process
Political
support
Agenda
setting
Evaluation
Economic
Implementation
Analytical
capacity
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Social
Environmental
Decision
making
Policy
formulation
Administrative
capacity
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Agenda setting – Key points
Framing the issue in sustainability terms
n Define your issue in relation to the society’s SD context, including priorities, risks and opportunities.
n Link your issue to other sectors’ or groups’ concerns as well as other related policy issues and processes that
may affect your issue and the potential solutions to your issue.
n Create multi-stakeholder forums to facilitate integrated and harmonized framing of your issue.
n Keep the definition of your issue specific and guard against “hijacking” of the issue definition by particular
interest groups.
n Establish facts, evidences, and arguments for your issue and communicate them effectively to the public as
well as government policy managers with a focus on the potential for win-win opportunities from addressing
your issue.
Harmonizing the interests of different stakeholders
n Avoid sectoral and institutional biases when participating in issue definition.
n Facilitate convergence of views and issues among diverse stakeholders and use “relevance to SD” as a prerequisite for the entry of an issue to the agenda.
n Provide relevant information and help societal policy initiators navigate the route to government agenda.
n Conduct, facilitate, and institutionalize public consultations for government-led initiatives.
Managing the entry of an issue onto the agenda
n Control which issues to take on board based on their strategic and critical relevance to SD priorities,
government’s issue-preparedness, and stakeholder support – all requiring strategizing by policy managers.
n Establish horizontal and vertical linkages within the government and with social actors to ensure successful
entry of an issue to the agenda.
n Engage analysts to conduct high-quality issue analysis, drawing on related, previous studies.
n Support development of administrative and analytical capacity.
Seeking policy windows
n Need to compete to get your issue onto the agenda.
n Link your issue to the successive iterations of a previous policy cycle or major events and, where possible:
n Utilize institutionalized policy windows such as regular planning and budgeting cycles
n Be prepared well in advance for various policy windows with high-quality issue analysis and good
government contacts
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A reference manual
3. Agenda setting
In the context of public policy, an agenda is a list of
issues or problems (including potential opportunities
which may be missed without policy interventions) to
which government officials, and people outside of the
government closely associated with those officials, are
paying some serious attention at any given time.13 The
agenda for a country might include, for example,
rising food price, air pollution, illegal immigration, and
energy security.
Of all the conceivable issues to which officials could
be paying attention, they do seriously attend only to
some rather than others. Thus, agenda-setting is a
process in which policy initiators recognize that
certain issues are public and are thus worthy of the
government’s attention, but the list of all possible
issues for government action is narrowed to the set
that actually becomes the focus of attention. 14
This chapter provides guidance on how ESE
considerations can be factored into this initial stage
of the policy cycle. It covers four major aspects of
integrated agenda-setting: 1) framing the issue in
SD terms; 2) harmonizing the interests of different
stakeholders; 3) managing the entry of an issue onto
the agenda; and 4) seeking policy windows. These
are not clear-cut, sequential steps in agenda-setting;
anyone who is involved in policy development may
have to handle these activities simultaneously. It
should also be noted that major “building blocks” of
analytical and process-related tools such as
baseline analysis, trend analysis, communication,
stakeholder participation, etc. permeate all these
steps and are often relevant to other stages of the
policy process. They are often described in other
related manuals and are, therefore, not fully covered
in this manual.15 An illustrative example is provided
at the end of the chapter.
3.1 Framing issues in SD terms
Integrated agenda-setting requires policy initiators to
frame their issues in relation to a society’s SD
context, including related priorities, risks, and
opportunities. This also implies the consideration of
other sectors’ and groups’ concerns, as well as other
UNEP August 2009
related policy issues and processes that may affect
the issues at hand and their potential solutions. If the
problem of low enrolment rate for girls were defined
merely as an education problem, for example, the
issue might not receive adequate attention from the
government and the parents. But if it were framed as
an SD problem affecting the health of future
generations, population pressure on natural
resources, labour productivity, and economic growth,
it may receive a rather different reaction.
Many environmental groups are already adopting
this approach and start articulating environmental
issues in connection with poverty reduction, economic
growth, trade, and business profits, thereby expanding
the constituency to address environmental issues.
Similarly, when some consumer groups articulate the
issue of food safety, they not only discuss health
concerns, but also the implications of unsafe food for
the competitiveness of food exports, thereby
motivating stakeholders in the export sector to
support moving the issue of food safety onto the
agenda. Government policy managers can create
multi-stakeholder commissions and task forces or
other forms of inquiries to facilitate such integrated
interpretations of the issues with a focus on
proactively identifying inter-sectoral linkages and
potential win-win opportunities for different
stakeholders upfront. This will enable them to
sequence and bundle related policy issues as well as
their solutions.
Framing a policy problem in an integrated manner
does not mean, however, that the problem should be
defined in general and vague terms. To the contrary,
policy initiators should define a problem as clearly
and concretely as possible, covering its size or extent.
For example, if excessive urban air pollution is a
problem, the policy initiator should describe the
extent of the problem by showing the types and
volumes of the pollutants emitted, the number of
people affected, the economic losses suffered, and the
trends in the coming years. Established ESE standards
and commitments, national or international, should be
used as critical factors to illustrate the magnitude of
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
the problem. In defining a problem, it is also
important that policy initiators should not define the
potential solution into the problem. For example, one
may define the lack of parking space in a city as a
problem, but this definition has a built in bias towards
the solution of building more parking space. A proper
definition may be: there are too many cars relative to
the parking space available.16
In this regard, policy initiators should also be aware
of the competing efforts to define an issue. Each may
generate its own conclusions about the right
solutions. Take climate change, as an example, some
groups frame the problem of carbon emissions in
aggregate terms, i.e. the total amount currently
emitted by each country, whereas others frame the
issue in per capita terms, each with different
implications for potential solutions. Similarly, some
groups define the issue of energy subsidy as perverse
incentives that encourage excessive carbon emissions
whereas other groups are more concerned that these
subsidies do not reach the poor as the intended
beneficiaries. Policy initiators and government policy
managers need to conduct “contextual scans”,
harmonize different perspectives, but also ensure that
one definition does not exclude others in a way that
derails the effort to solve the issue.
This points to the importance of gathering facts,
evidences, and arguments to substantiate the critical
nature of the issue and, based on these
“ammunitions”, communicating the issue effectively.
Doing such “homework” well will enhance the chance
of getting the issue onto the agenda. Climate change,
for example, is now established as a top international
agenda, but this is inseparable from decades of factgathering efforts. The Al Gore movie of “An
Inconvenient Truth” and the Stern report on the
economics of climate change are influential vehicles
to communicate the facts and help anchor the issue
to the agenda.
3.2 Harmonizing the interests of different stakeholders
In essence, linking a policy issue to SD priorities and
to the concerns of others requires harmonizing the
interests of different stakeholders who represent
different SD dimensions. Policy initiators from the
industrial and business sectors, therefore, are advised
to reach out to other groups when seeking
22
government actions on the issues of their concern. At
the same time, policy initiators from NGOs and civil
society groups need to exercise caution against onesided or limited, short-term visions of policy problems
and solutions.
An example is some groups’ strong opposition to
expanding the development of nuclear energy as a
substitute for fossil fuels. These groups have until
recently succeeded in preventing the issue from
moving onto the official agenda in Europe, but other
groups may consider such a position to be biased,
ignoring the potential gains in reducing carbon
emissions and the safety-related technological
advances that have been achieved in this sector in
recent years. This manual does not take a position on
the issue per se; what it does argue for is openness to
different perspectives and effort to resolve the
differences through an iterative process.
This cooperation among different policy initiators is
critical if an issue is to successfully proceed through
to the governmental agenda and beyond. If this
cooperation were not forthcoming, or the goals
between the government and the societal groups were
too diffuse, the government might have to neutralize
or co-opt certain groups in order to move forward
what it believes to be an important agenda. This,
however, can slowdown the policymaking process and
render its outcomes uncertain. It can, for example,
allow certain groups to counter-mobilize and
advocate alternative conceptions of policy problems
and solutions, or demand the withdrawal of an item
from the government agenda. Government policy
managers are, therefore, advised to “get out in front”
of an issue and facilitate the convergence of views
among different social groups.
Integrated agenda-setting encourages the
involvement of diverse stakeholders in raising and
defining policy issues. In such a process, someone or
some group can initiate an issue by articulating a
grievance and demanding its resolution by the
government. The same policy initiator can then
attempt to expand support for its demand, a process
that may involve submerging specific complaints
within more general ones in a process of “issue
aggregation” (this is where, for example, the linkage
to a society’s SD priorities can be established) and
alliance-building across groups. Finally, the policy
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A reference manual
initiator can lobby, contest, and join with others in
getting the issue onto the government agenda. The
modern environmental movement, which has brought
about numerous environmental laws and regulations
all over the world, for example, is often traced to
Rachel Carson’s 1962 publication of “Silent Spring”.18
None of the outside policy initiators’ activities are,
however, without difficulties and official agenda
access is by no means guaranteed or automatic. To
succeed, these initiators must have the requisite
political resources and skills to outmanoeuvre their
opponents or advocates of other issues and actions.
Sympathetic government policy managers can
facilitate these initiators’ articulation of issues and
concerns, for example, by providing information on
substantive issues or governmental processes, which
can help outside policy initiators navigate the route to
the government agenda.19 These policy managers can
also require outside policy initiators to frame their
issues in relation to a society’s SD priorities as a prerequisite for entering onto the government agenda.
There are many cases where policy issues are raised
within the government. In such cases, government
policy managers need to ensure that senior officials
Box 3.1: Public consultation
Checklist
n Objective (“what you want to get out of it”): “finding new ideas (brainstorming); collecting factual data;
n
n
n
n
validating a hypothesis; etc.”
What to consult on (different elements of a policy problem): “nature of the problem, objectives and policy
options, impacts, comparison of policy options” or “whole draft proposal”.
Whom to consult: “general public, restricted to a specific category of stakeholders (any member in the
selected category can participate) or limited to a set of designated individuals/organizations (only those
listed by their name can participate)…”always include all target groups and sectors which will be
significantly affected by or involved in policy implementation…”.
When to consult: “should start as early as possible in order to maximize its impacts on policy development”,
“should be seen as a recurring need in the policy development process rather than ‘one-off’ event”, “useful to
arrange a series of consultations as the proposal develops” along the various stages of the policy cycle.
How to consult: “consultative committees, expert groups, open hearings, ad hoc meetings, consultation via
internet, questionnaires, focus groups, seminar/workshops, etc.”
Minimum standards
n Provide consultation documents that are clear, concise and include all necessary information.
n Consult all relevant target groups.
n Ensure sufficient publicity and choose tools adapted to the target group(s)…
n Leave sufficient time for participation…
n Publish the results of public consultation…
n Provide acknowledgement of responses…
n Provide feedback: report on the consultation process, its main results and how the opinions expressed have
been taken into account…
Pitfalls
n Not to be unduly influenced by the views of one particular group, no matter how professionally these have
been presented.
n Consultation can never be a substitute for analysis of an issue.
n Don’t repeat consultations unless you are seeking additional opinions/information, or unless there is new
information to present to them.
Source: The EC, IA Guidelines.
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
hold meetings and engage in public consultations.
Such processes can range from public hearings and
opinion polling requiring only a response to a survey
to the attendance of representatives of political
parties, interest groups, or other individuals in formal
hearing venues such as presidential or parliamentary
commissions. They could also grant greater autonomy
to the media, ease public access to the relevant
information, create space for civil society to operate
and make their views known, authorize different
government departments – not just the lead
department – to comment on issues, and provide
resources for research institutes and think tanks to
conduct issue analysis.
Policy managers can also institutionalize
stakeholder consultations. Advisory committees,
commissions, task forces, and roundtables are all
forms of government-appointed bodies for developing
problem definitions that are acceptable to both social
and state actors, who will then have a better chance
to successfully negotiate the remaining stages of the
policy process. The appointment of members of the
public to these and other institutional bodies is a
means of increasing the representation of nonorganized public interests, both at the agenda-setting
stage and throughout the entire policy process.
Consultation is a recurrent theme throughout a policy
cycle. To ensure effectiveness and efficiency, policy
managers should carefully plan consultations. The EC
provided practical guidance in this regard, which is
reproduced in Box 3.1.20 This guidance is an example of
“building blocks”, which can be applied during different
stages of the policy cycle.
3.3 Managing the entry of an issue onto the agenda
Policy managers promoting integrated agenda-setting
should facilitate the entrance of strategic and critical
issues that are highly relevant to a society’s SD
priorities and issues that they are prepared to deal
with on the basis of a good understanding of the
possible causes and solutions as well as the support of
stakeholders. At the same time, they should consider
hindering or delaying the entrance of those issues
that are not highly relevant to established SD
priorities, whose potential solutions and stakeholder
support are unclear, and to which they can only
respond in an unprepared and ad hoc manner.
24
To exert effective control described above,
government policy managers need to monitor their
societies and understand the ways in which various
critical factors – conditions, actors, institutions, and
interests – affect agenda-setting and the likely
direction of the move of any issues from the public to
official agendas. They need to:
•
•
•
•
Understand the government’s political orientation
(e.g. pro-market or pro-government),
administrative and analytical capacity, the
preferences and capacity of the societal actors, and
the inter-relationships among different actors;
Be strategic in creating and interacting with
“policy communities” – networks of government
and societal stakeholders who are interested in a
common issue and who conduct discourse on the
issue on an ongoing basis;
Ensure that the participation in policy communities
is representative and open, yet not so
heterogeneous as to make the emergence of shared
understanding of a problem impossible;
Establish lead coordinating agencies within the
government to identify areas of convergence and
divergence among the issues arising from
agenda-setting.
In addition, policy managers also need to have the
links to other parts and levels of the government
and to relevant political and social actors.
Futhermore, they need trained analysts capable of
teasing out the implications of multiple problem
definitions and the inter-relationships of problems
and potential solutions, drawing on previous
studies. This would help avoid perverse or suboptimal outcomes due to partial or incomplete
analysis. It would also help ensure that key actors
are not mobilized to oppose policy solutions
congruent with the integrated approach.
However, whether or not they will be able to
conduct contextual scans, diagnose the issues, project
trends, and develop strategies for such agenda
management, depends to a large extent on their
administrative and analytical capacities – the kind of
information, personnel, and funding they have at their
disposal to conduct issue analysis. Senior government
officials and external agencies supporting integrated
approach to policymaking can provide targeted
support to enhance these capacities systematically.
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A reference manual
3.4 Seeking policy windows
The prioritization implicit in agenda-setting means
that policy initiators, in or outside of the government,
have to compete with each other for their respective
issues to be placed on the agenda. Policy managers in
government agencies often have control over this
competition. After the breakout of the Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Asia in 2004, for
example, different groups sought to advance their
respective issues onto the policy agenda: transparency
and accountability of the government, intellectual
property rights to viruses and vaccines, consumption
of wildlife, the plight of rural farmers, and
mechanisms of rapid response to outbreaks of
diseases. Eventually, however, government policy
managers only took some of these issues on board.
Policy initiators need to understand that if their
issues out-compete other issues and get on to the
agenda, early solutions will be generated. One
technique to get your issue onto the agenda ahead of
others is to closely link the issue to the successive
iterations of a previous policy cycle. In re-negotiating
the Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU, for
example, the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP)
States have brought issues of their concern to the
table, such as opening up their markets to the EU and
phasing-out EU’s preferential prices for the export of
sugar from these countries. Another technique is to
seize windows of opportunities amid major events,
such as change of government, conflicts, economic
recession, natural disasters, and major sports events
such as the Olympic Games, to place their issues on
the agenda. The unfortunate reality, however, is that
these techniques are not reserved exclusively for use
by sustainability-minded policy initiators; anyone can
make use of these techniques to advance the issues of
their concern. This reality once more underscores the
importance to compete for policy attention.
In most cases, institutionalized opportunities such
as periodic elections or budgetary cycles exist in
which policy initiators can promote policies and policy
processes. Most policy windows open quite
predictably. Legislation comes up for renewal on
schedule, for instance, creating opportunities to
change, expand or abolish certain policies and
programmes. This is true for routine, institutionalized
planning exercises as well such as multi-year national
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development planning, the review of poverty
reduction strategies in low income countries, and
operational programming under the EC’s Structural
Funds. These processes are conducted to evaluate or
assess on-going policy initiatives and consider new
ones, typically covering a large number of
socioeconomic sectors. Policy initiators need to make
themselves aware of these recurrent cycles and their
internal deadlines. They need to plan ahead to make
full use of these opportunities so that their issues and
concerns will be identified and addressed.
There may also be cases where individual senior
officials have the power to bring issues onto the
agenda at discretion. If policy managers and initiators
had anticipated such windows and prepared relevant
issue definition, analysis, and potential solutions, they
could shape the solutions in a comprehensive manner.
But such policy windows may not be common in
practice. Rather than relying on discretionary
windows, therefore, policy initiators are advised to
focus on institutionalized windows or crisis windows.
Predictable or not, open windows are scarce and
often temporary. Policy initiators must, therefore, have
the capacity to identify the types of windows
available for their issues to enter onto the
government agenda and be prepared to promote
solutions to problems when an opportunity arises. The
agenda-setting strategy that a policy initiator devises,
then, should consider the existence of different kinds
of policy windows.
Understanding, identifying, and preparing for policy
windows and even shaping such windows requires the
recruitment, training, and retention of specialized
policy analysts charged with carrying out these duties
and the careful cultivation of contacts within and
outside the government. Major environmental groups
in the US, for example, all have staff members
performing these functions in the name of
“Congressional Relations”. Journalists tracking specific
lines of issues are also excellent in keeping an eye on
potential policy windows.
Policy managers have a unique role to play in
seeking policy windows. They should watch emerging
critical issues so that they can take advantage of
policy windows when they open. They should use their
knowledge of the emerging problems to inform the
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
society by releasing relevant information and running
public campaigns if necessary. They could also provide
privileged access to the groups that they can work
with and that do have an integrated perspective.
Illustration: Establishing climate change on the
international agenda
Climate change as a public policy issue is now
established in policy agenda at the international level
as well as in many countries. The issue was first
brought up by scientists in 1972 at the United
Nations Scientific Conference in Stockholm. It was
framed in terms of pollutants of global significance.
The Conference called for monitoring efforts to be
coordinated by the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO).
In 1979 the first “World Climate Conference”
organized by the WMO expressed concern that
“continued expansion of man’s activities on earth may
cause significant extended regional and even global
changes of climate”. It called for “global cooperation
to explore the possible future course of global climate
and to take this new understanding into account in
planning for the future development of human
society.” The Conference appealed to nations of the
world “to foresee and to prevent potential man-made
changes in climate that might be adverse to the wellbeing of humanity”. In 1985 a joint UNEP/WMO/ICSU
Conference on the “Assessment of the Role of Carbon
Dioxide and of Other Greenhouse Gases in Climate
Variations and Associated Impacts” concluded, that
“as a result of the increasing greenhouse gases it is
now believed that in the first half of the next century
(21st century) a rise of global mean temperature could
occur which is greater than in any man’s history.”*
In 1987, as evidence of climate change was
emerging, the UN General Assembly adopted the
“Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and
Beyond”. This document introduced the concept of
sustainable development for the first time and
subsumed climate change under the issue of energy. It
became increasingly recognized that policymakers
need an objective source of information about the
* Extracts from the IPCC 10th Year Anniversary
Brochure http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/10thanniversary/anniversary-brochure.pdf
26
causes of climate change, its potential environmental
and socio-economic consequences and the adaptation
and mitigation options to respond to it. To that end,
WMO and UNEP established the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 which
provides the decision-makers and others interested in
climate change with an objective source of
information. 1989 may be considered a year when
climate change was formally established on the
international agenda. The General Assembly in
resolution 44/207 “endorsed the UNEP Governing
Council’s request to begin preparations with WMO
for negotiations on a framework convention on
climate change”.
The IPCC First Assessment Report in 1990 concluded
that human activities were indeed responsible for
climate change and served as the basis for the set up
of a United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiating
Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate
Change (INC/FCCC) to coordinate the efforts between
governments in addressing the problems associated
with climate change. The INC organized 5 meetings
between 1991 and 1992, which gathered more than
150 nations. The discussions included topics such as
the need for an international commitment, the setting
of measurable objectives and timeline for greenhouse
gas reduction, the establishing of financial
mechanisms, facilitating technology transfer, and
defining different levels of responsibilities to meet the
climate change challenge. In order to meet its
objectives, the INC required a binding agreement
between all involved parties.
The United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) was therefore established
in May 1992 and formally entered into force on 21
March 1994 with the backing of over 50 nations.
In 1995 at the first conference of the parties (COP)
of the UNFCCC, held in Berlin, the parties (UNFCCC
member countries) started negotiations on what was
to become the Kyoto Protocol. The Berlin Mandate
established a two-year analysis and assessment phase
of action to reduce greenhouse gases. In 1997, the
Kyoto Protocol was adopted after intense negotiations
and became the first international agreement linked
to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change, which sets binding targets for
industrialized countries for reducing greenhouse gas
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A reference manual
(GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of five
per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period
2008-2012.
As of December 2008, the UNFCCC has held 14
conferences of the parties (COPs) which have helped
bring climate change on the top of countries agenda.
The 15th COP to be held in Copenhagen in December
2009 is expected to lead to a post-Kyoto protocol.
Further Reading
Kingdon, J. W. (1984). Agendas, Alternatives, and
Public Policies. Boston, Little Brown and Company.
16. E. Bardach, p7. EC IA Guidelines p17.
17. The Economist. (2006). The Nuclear Power Debate.
Retrieved March 2009 from http://www.economist.
com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7959969
18. Carson, R. (1962). Silent Spring. Publisher
Houghton Mifflin
19. Milward, H. B. and G. L. Walmsley (1984). Policy
Subsystems, Networks and the Tools of Public
Management. Public Policy Formation. R. Eyestone.
Greenwich, JAI Press: 3-25.
20. The EC IA Guidelines, p10-12.
Rochefort, D. A. and R. W. Cobb (1994). The Politics of
Problem Definition: Shaping the Policy Agenda.
Lawrence, University of Kansas Press.
Baumgartner, F. R. and B. D. Jones (1991). “Agenda
Dynamics and Policy Subsystems.” Journal of Politics
53(4): 1044-1074.
Birkland, T. A. (1998). “Focusing Events, Mobilization,
and Agenda Setting.” Journal of Public Policy 18(1):
53-74.
Cobb, R. W., M. H. Ross, et al. (1997). Cultural
Strategies of Agenda Denial; Avoidance, Attack and
Redefinition. Lawrence, University Press of Kansas.
Hammond, T. H. (1986). “Agenda Control,
Organizational Structure, and Bureaucratic Politics.”
American Journal of Political Science 30(2): 379-420.
Stone, D. A. (1989). “Causal Stories and the Formation
of Policy Agendas.” Political Science Quarterly 104(2):
281-300.
References
13. Kingdon, J. W. (1984). Agendas, Alternatives, and
Public Policies. Boston, Little Brown and Company.
14. Spector, M. and J. I. Kitsuse (1987). Constructing
Social Problems. New York, Aldine de Gruyter.
15. Maria do Rosario Patidario, Strategic
Environmental Assessment Good Practices Guide
Methodological Guidance, Portuguese Environment
Agency, 2007.
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Policy formulation – Key points
Setting up participatory, inter-agency mechanisms
n Organize inter-agency committees or taskforces to formulate policy collectively or independently as
appropriate, involve senior officials and opinion leaders as well as potential policy implementers,
monitors, and evaluators.
n Adopt rules for resolving conflicts.
n Make use of inputs from independent policy communities, support the participation of non-state actors
including marginal groups and women in such communities, encourage open exchanges, ensure the
quality of public participation, and support anticipatory analysis and knowledge creation.
n Note that setting up these mechanisms is one of the “building blocks”, which may take place in any
stage of the policy cycle.
Conducting root-cause analysis
n Analyse the causes of the issue in question, including the baseline and trends of these causes and how
events and policies may affect these causes overtime.
n Use a combination of analytical models to get a comprehensive picture, covering the market model
(focusing on the role of market forces), production model (focusing on the role of the government), and
evolutionary model (focusing on attitudinal factors).
n Choose analytical tools under each model based on the consideration of data requirements, cost of
application, capability to deal with uncertainties, and the level of transparency in the analytical process.
n Note that causality analysis is a “building block”, which may be used at any stage of the policy cycle
such as the agenda-setting stage to analyse the implications, risks, threats, opportunities, cumulative
effects, and feedback loops associated with an issue in question if left unaddressed, thus strengthen the
case for the entrance of the issue into agenda.
Setting policy objectives
n Establish a limited number of objectives for the potential policy solution, targeting the problem of
n
n
n
n
concern and its causes.
Differentiate between different levels of the policy objectives as appropriate, typically at general,
specific and operational levels.
Make objectives SMART: Specific, Measurable, Accepted, Realistic, and Time-bound.
Assess the consistency between contemplated objectives and the society’s established SD objectives.
Confirm and publicize agreed policy objectives for the potential policy solutions.
Formulate policy options
n Anticipate difficulties when proposing comprehensive policy options that seek fundamental changes
n
n
n
n
n
n
28
from the status quo.
Consider appropriate extent, sequence, and pace of changes implied by policy options.
Borrow comparable experience from elsewhere in seeking effective policy solutions.
Look for policy solutions from the government’s toolbox.
Bundle related policy issues and use a combination of policy solutions to achieve multiple effects.
Mobilize the private sector in solving public policy issues.
Weed out clearly unfeasible policy options on political, financial, or administrative grounds, but do not
consider these constraints to be insurmountable – some constraints may be overcome.
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A reference manual
4. Policy formulation
Policy formulation is a process of generating policy
options in response to a problem established on the
agenda. This stage does not come automatically after
an issue has gone onto the agenda. Mainstreaming
gender issues, for example, was established as a
global agenda item at the 1995 United Nations Fourth
World Conference on Women, but it has rarely been
translated into action at the national level. Nor is this
stage the same as the decision-making stage where a
course of action among options is to be chosen.21 In
this process, policy formulators identify, refine and
formalize policy options to prepare the ground for the
decision-making stage.
At this stage, policy initiators may also take on the
tasks of assessing and comparing the ESE implications
and interactions of the potential options. However,
such assessment and comparison typically requires
investing a large amount of resources. Therefore it is
generally agreed that such activities should take place
after policy initiators have had a chance to conduct
an initial screening of the potential options assessing
their political, financial and administrative feasibility.
Since such assessment and comparisons are
sequentially closer to the moment of decision-making
and for presentational reasons (to balance the length
of different chapters), these activities are covered in
Chapter 5: Decision-making.
Policy formulators can come from both inside and
outside of the government.22 Within the government,
career bureaucrats draft policy documents, senior
officials lead government agencies and direct
commissions and task forces, and legislators develop
new legislation and conduct legislative reviews.
Outside of the government, the non-official sector
including businesses, professional associations, civil
society groups, and media assess proposed policy
options – typically prompted by perceived impacts
that may arise from initially proposed policies – and
feed them into the governmental process.
International organizations also offer policy options
on issues of global dimension such as climate change,
epidemics, conflicts, and financial crisis, but they are
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encouraged to rely on, or at least involve local experts
in formulating policy options.
This chapter describes how SD considerations can
be factored into this stage in the policy cycle. It
focuses on four steps of integrated policy formulation:
a) establishing participatory, inter-agency
mechanisms to be responsible for developing policy
options; b) conducting an ESE-integrated causal
analysis of the established issue; c) setting the
objectives for potential policy solutions; d) prioritizing
a limited number of policy options. Although these
steps appear to have some sequential logic, they are
not to be followed rigidly. Often times, for example,
inter-agency mechanisms, like other “building blocks”,
are set up at the agenda-setting stage already, and
policy objectives may be set well before causal
relationships are addressed. An illustrative example is
provided at the end of each chapter, continuing from
the example given in the previous one.
4.1 Setting up participatory, inter-agency mechanisms
Government policy managers, depending on the crosscutting extent of a policy issue, may organize
inter-agency committees or taskforces (which could
already have been established during the agendasetting stage) to accomplish policy formulation tasks
collectively or independently, as the case may be. This
is especially needed when an issue is first initiated in
one sector but whose solutions require multi-sector
efforts or exert impacts on other sectors. In many
countries that are party to MEAs, for example, an
inter-ministerial task force is typically established and
charged with the responsibility for formulating
options to implement the national commitments to
these MEAs.
To secure political commitment to integrated policy
formulation, policy managers may also want to secure
the patronage of senior officials or opinion leaders in
these inter-agency, multi-stakeholder mechanisms. In
addition, policy managers should involve agencies
responsible for policy implementation, monitoring and
evaluation at this stage so as to hear their views on
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
the operational practicality of the options to be
explored. Formal procedures are, however, necessary
to resolve conflicts that might arise from the
operation of these mechanisms. In this regard, the
level of independence of such mechanisms should also
be established. Policy managers should keep such
mechanisms in place throughout the policy process.
Ad hoc policy formulation mechanisms may be
supported by long-standing and independent policy
communities – networks of actors, governmental or
non-governmental, with interest and expertise in a
common policy area.23 Members of a policy
community adhere to certain core shared values even
though they may disagree over details. Getting
involved in these communities is critical for having
particular views considered in policy formulation,
because policy ideas are proposed, examined, debated,
and reconfigured through interactions among their
members. Policy ideas alive in policy communities but
not examined thoroughly need not be on the
government’s agenda right away, thus policy
managers may face less pressure and risks to act on
those ideas immediately.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for
example, is a policy community at an intergovernmental level that relies on national expertise and
conducts research and discussions in anticipation of
climate change. “The role of the IPCC is to assess on a
comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis
the scientific, technical and socio-economic information
relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of
human-induced climate change, its potential impacts
and alternatives for adaptation and mitigation.”24 “Every
summary for policymakers issued by the IPCC is
approved, word by word, by representatives of each of
more than 100 governments.”25
At the national level, the National Reconciliation
Commissions (NRCs) which have been established in a
number of post-conflict countries such as South
Africa, Ghana, and Thailand are also policy
communities. These NRCs are typically led by former
senior officials such as a Supreme Court Judge or
former Prime Minister. They are usually charged with
the responsibility to gather evidence and propose
solutions to achieve reconciliation.
Many policy communities, however, tend to be
30
closed to certain groups or ranks of individuals. But
integrated policy formulation requires innovative
ideas, which in turn require an operational modality
that allows new actors and new ideas to enter into
policy deliberations. Policy managers and formulators,
are therefore advised to engage key stakeholders in
such communities, especially those who are most
vulnerable and directly affected by the problem at
hand. Where constraints exist on membership,
flexible arrangements may be devised such as
extending the observer status to new actors or
setting up an issue specific hotline for the public.
Where government policy managers find it difficult
to open up the policy formulation process, other
members of the policy communities should take the
initiative instead, with tacit support from the policy
managers. In the meantime, policy managers and
formulators must pay attention to the quality and
substance of the participatory approach, including
substantive and institutionalized participation of the
most relevant and strategic stakeholders early on in a
policy process (see Box 3.1 in the previous chapter).
They also need to adequately budget for involving
these stakeholders.
To reap the full benefits of policy communities,
policy managers should facilitate open and
continuous interactions among members of these
communities. They could utilize workshops,
conferences, surveys, and consultation sessions to
enable policy community members to share
information and policy ideas with each other. In
addition, policy managers should involve nongovernmental and government-supported think tanks
that have specialized knowledge and skills with
regard to a particular policy issue and its solutions.
Their involvement may help bypass the institutional
constraints that government experts sometimes face
when trying to come up with innovative, integrated
policy options.
Finally, policy managers should develop strategies to
support knowledge creation through policy research.
They should anticipate and coordinate research on
emerging policy issues that are potentially critical but
are not yet on the policy agenda. This will enable
substantiated articulation of the issues and policy
options when these issues have got onto the
government agenda. It will reduce the incidents where
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A reference manual
policymakers have to rush to adopt an under-studied
policy solution due to the time pressure associated
with the sudden emergence of an issue.
4.2 Analysing the causes of a policy issue
A causality analysis – one of the analytical “building
blocks” – is useful in many cases for making policy
formulation in a targeted fashion. For example, a
policy formulator can analyse deforestation by looking
at several plausible causes of the problem. If the main
contributing factor is insufficient law enforcement, the
development of policy options can focus on
enforcement mechanisms. But if the main root cause is
land-use conflicts, the search for policy options may
need to consider reforming land tenures. In such
analyses, the policy initiator should identify the agents
responsible for the root causes whenever possible.
The United Nations Common Country Assessment
(CCA) and the United Nations Development
Assistance Framework (UNDAF) require analysis that
“identifies the manifestation of the problem – or its
effect on people, and its underlying and root
causes”, “disaggregated as much as possible by sex,
age, geographic area, and ethnicity, among
others”.26 The guidelines for conducting such
analysis, say that: a) immediate causes determine
the current status of the problem; b) underlying
causes are the consequence of policies, laws, and
availability of resources; and c) root causes concern
attitudes and behaviours at different levels,
including the family, communities, and
governments. In addition, some root causes for
different problems may be common to several
issues. Identifying these common causes – typically
covering ESE dimensions – of multiple problems will
increase the chance for integrated policy responses
to generate multiple impacts.27
In analysing the causes of a problem, policy
formulators and other analysts are advised to use
models and collect empirical evidences. This will help
enhance the logic and rigor of the analysis. The most
well established model is the market model, which
considers public problems as results of imbalances in
supply of and demand for public goods and services. For
example, the problem of overflowing waste can be
analysed in terms of excessive demand for the
environment as a sink, relative to the environment’s
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capacity to supply the sink functions. Approximately,
this model may help determine the “immediate causes”.
The production model focuses on the role of the
government. The same problem of waste, for example,
can be analysed in terms of the government’s failure
to regulate waste disposal, provide waste treatment
facilities, or promote reduced waste generation.
Approximately, this model may help determine the
“underlying causes”.
An evolutionary model can be used to analyse a
problem by focusing on the process or trends in which
an issue becomes an established problem. Thus, the
problem of too much waste can be analysed in terms
of the lack of awareness and wasteful consumption
habits. Approximately, this model may help determine
the “root causes”.
A combined use of these models in problem analysis
is likely to provide a comprehensive picture of the
causes of a problem and thus generate a
comprehensive mix of policy options. Generally, the
market model suggests the use of price mechanism as
a major solution, the production model the use of
regulatory measures, and the evolutionary model the
use of persuasive measures, all may be needed in IP to
address a problem.
In analysing root causes, it is also important to
address the dynamics of the causes in order to ensure
that policy options will keep pace with the evolving
conditions. This requires the analysis of not only the
baseline of the root causes, but also the trends of
these causes, and the events and policies that are
likely to affect the trends. In responding to climate
change, for example, it will not be useful to consider
only the existing level of fossil fuel consumption and
its impacts on carbon emissions; the projected
increase in energy demand, the continued reliance on
fossil fuels, and the difficult to remove perverse fossil
fuel subsidies, etc. must also be taken into account.
There are specific analytical tools under each of
these models. In the market model, for example, a
typical tool is the cost-benefit analysis to understand
the financial motivations that are associated with a
problem. At a macro-level, there is the Computable
General Equilibrium (CGE) model that can trace the
causal relations throughout an economy based on
“input-output” techniques. There are also tools that
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
help analyse environmental and social issues such as
spatial modeling and surveys. A rather exhaustive
collection of analytical tools can be found in an ECsponsored web-book “Sustainability A-Test”.28
Many analytical tools are also relevant to assessing
and comparing policy options focusing on ESE
implications during the decision-making stage (note
that in the policy formulation stage the focus is on
causality analysis of the issue and assessment of policy
options based on political, financial, and administrative
considerations). This will be covered in the next chapter.
Basically, when choosing analytical tools, policy
formulators are encouraged to consider: a) data
requirements; b) the costs and time involved; c) ability
to deal with uncertainties; and d) transparency of the
analytical process and the outputs.29
Note that the agenda-setting stage may also
benefit from using these models and tools (i.e.
“building blocks”) to make the case for the issue in
question. In that situation, the analysis will focus on
how the issue – if left unaddressed – would affect the
ESE dimensions of SD, covering risks, threats,
opportunities, cumulative effects, and feedback loops.
For example, a causality analysis may help describe
the implications of increased water shortage – which
is the issue of concern – for economic growth, human
health, and biodiversity.
4.3 Setting policy objectives*
On the basis of the root-cause analysis, the policy
formulator should determine objectives for a potential
policy solution. These objectives should respond
specifically to the problem and the root causes. For
the problem of climate change, as an illustration, a
general objective can be “to reduce global warming”
with average temperature as the indicator. At a
specific level, the objective can be “to cut global CO2
emissions by 20 per cent from the 1990 level by
2030”, which uses the amount of emissions as an
indicator. At an operational level, the objectives can
be “to remove all subsidies for fossil fuels by 2020”
and “to levy a tax of US$10 per tonne of CO2
emitted”. These objectives should guide the search for
policy options. Box 4.2 describes the requirements for
setting objectives and Box 4.3 describes three levels of
objectives, both taken from the EC’s Impact
* This section draws heavily on the EC’s IA Guidelines.
32
Assessment Guidelines. Policy formulators can start
developing objectives in either a bottom-up or topdown manner, but typically this involves a number of
iterations until the different levels of objectives are
consistent and respond to the policy problem to be
addressed. They are also reminded that the three
levels of objectives are not necessarily required for all
IP situations and that objectives should be limited in
number to avoid confusion. Finally, in developing
objectives especially at the general level, policy
formulators should check whether the contemplated
objectives are consistent with other broad SD
objectives of the society. Then policy managers and
the prospective decision-makers should confirm and
publicize the proposed policy objectives.
4.4 Developing policy options
Developing alternative solutions to a defined issue
creates space for maximizing the synergies and
Box 4.2: Setting SMART objectives
Objectives should be:
Specific: Objectives should be precise and
concrete enough not to be open to varying
interpretations.
Measurable: Objectives should define a desired
future state in measurable terms, so that it is
possible to verify whether the objective has been
achieved or not. Such objectives are either
quantified or based on a combination of
description and scoring scales.
Accepted: If objectives and target levels are to
influence behaviour, they must be accepted,
understood and interpreted similarly by all of
those who are expected to take responsibility for
achieving them.
Realistic: Objectives and target levels should be
ambitious – setting an objective that only reflects
the current level of achievement is not useful –
but they should also be realistic so that those
responsible see them as meaningful.
Time-dependent: Objectives and target levels
remain vague if they are not related to a fixed
date or time period.
Source: The EC IA Guidelines, p20
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minimizing trade-offs among a society’s multiple
values.30 In practice, however, the scope of feasible
options may be limited. In the public sector, there is
often a preference for incremental alternatives, which
seek changes that are only marginally different from
the status quo. This is so mainly because:
a) information on the consequences of comprehensive
policies is more difficult to obtain and thus such
alternatives are often labelled as “unproven”; and b)
comprehensive policies involve higher risks for many
policymakers. Policy formulators should, therefore,
anticipate and prepare for difficulties when
suggesting comprehensive policy options that seek
fundamental changes from the status quo.
The anti-corruption agenda promoted by the World
Bank, for example, seeks to achieve fundamental
improvement in governance in its borrowing
countries. Stringent criteria are attached to its
development assistance to these countries. But this
effort might have gone a little ahead of what many
countries may be prepared to deal with, turning some
of the borrowers away from the Bank to other sources
of funds that have no requirements on good
governance. This is not to say that the Bank’s agenda
on corruption is wrong; the issue is one of appropriate
extent, sequence, and pace. In some cases, drastic
policies may be indeed what are most needed, as in
the case of climate change.
Policy formulators can consider three approaches to
developing alternative policy solutions:
1. Policy transfer – policy formulators can develop
options by learning from the effects of other
policies – especially successful ones – that have
been applied in other places or sectors at a similar
administrative level dealing with similar type of
issues. These transferable policies can usually be
found in “best practices” manuals published by
various governmental and non-governmental
institutions. Adaptation is usually needed to suit
the particular problem at hand. The sulphur
emission trading mechanism, for example, was first
introduced in the U.S. in the 1990s, and it has since
been adopted in the EU for carbon.
2. Government’s toolbox – policy formulators can
consider the usual means that the government has
to address public problems. These include taxes,
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Box 4.3: Three levels of objectives
General objectives
These are the overall goals of a policy and are
expressed in terms of its outcome or ultimate
impact. If successful, the intervention should at
least induce change in the direction of the
general objective (knowing that reaching highlevel objectives will usually depend on other
factors). Progress towards general objectives will
often be measured by global indicators.
Example
General objective = Promote economic
development of rural areas.
Indicator = Rate of economic growth in rural
areas
Specific objectives
These are the immediate objectives of the policy –
the targets that first need to be reached in order
for the General Objectives to be achieved. They
are expressed in terms of the direct and shortterm effects of the policy.
Example
Specific objective = Encourage economic activity
in rural areas
Indicator = Number of new enterprises setting up
in rural areas
Operational objectives
The Operational Objectives are normally expressed
in terms of outputs – goods or services that the
intervention should produce. The achievement of
these objectives (or deliverables) is usually under
the direct control of those managing the
intervention and thus can be directly verified.
Example
Operational objective = Provide financial
assistance to projects promoting new enterprises
in rural areas
Indicator = Number of projects receiving financial
assistance
Source: The EC IA Guidelines, p.21.
33
Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
regulation, subsidies, grants, government service
provision, budget for government agencies,
information released from official sources, property
rights, macroeconomic management, education and
consultation, financing and contracting, and
institutional reforms.31 For example, the inability of
the market to price the provision of clean air is
often identified as a major cause of air pollution and
taxes are often used to correct such a failure. This is
the case with UK’s first pollution tax introduced in
August 2007, which charges luxury cars and 4x4s
£25 a day for driving into city centres.32
3. Policy innovation – policy formulators can also
identify options that have the potential to achieve
multiple impacts. This is where the potential for
policy integration is strongest. Imposing fossil fuel
taxes coupled with removing employment related
taxes, for example, could address both problems of
carbon emissions and unemployment without
having to change the overall fiscal situation. Apart
from this bundling of policies and issues, they
should also search for options that may lie outside
of the government. Seeking private sector
engagement in international payments for
conserving globally significant ecosystems such as
the habitats for endangered species, for example,
can overcome the limited resources a government
has to provide incentives for conservation.
Given the time and resource constraints, policy
formulators are only able to analyse a limited number
of alternatives thoroughly. They should, therefore,
weed out policy options that are clearly infeasible.33 A
fundamental criterion for screening is political
acceptability. A policy option, no matter how good in
theory, may be infeasible because it cannot be
expected to gain the approval necessary to legitimize
and implement it. One of the options for addressing
the issue of illegal immigrants, for example, is to
grant full and immediate citizenship, but this is
politically infeasible in many countries.
Policy formulators, however, should not consider
political support as a statistic, given factor. They
should seek to conduct good evidence-based analysis
to generate the political support needed for pursuing
particular policy options. The option to include
Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Degradation
(REDD) in climate discussions, for example, was
excluded in previous Conference of Parties (COPs) to
34
the UNFCCC. With good analysis of the evidence
showing how REDD could contribute to reduced CO2
emission and generate co-benefits for biodiversity, this
option managed to get serious attention at the
UNFCCC Bali conference in December 2007.
Other criteria for screening the options at this stage
are administrative feasibility and cost-effectiveness.
One of the policy options to address the issue of overfishing, for example, is to allocate fishing permits and
allow trading of the permits. This system, however,
requires a strong institution to monitor the landing of
fishing boats in multiple locations, which can be
administratively quite demanding for many developing
countries. A related consideration is the cost involved
in achieving a given policy target. Other things being
equal, an alternative that has the least financial cost
(or achieving more with the same cost) should be
favoured. To meet carbon reduction obligations, for
example, businesses are able to either change their
production processes directly or pay countries to plant
trees to absorb carbon. The carbon market exists
because for many businesses, paying others to offset
their obligations is less costly.
Illustration: Formulating policy options
for dealing with climate change
The IPCC, established in 1988, has served as a
participatory and inter-governmental forum for
developing and improving policy options. The IPCC
was mandated to consider the need for:
•
•
•
•
Identification of uncertainties and gaps in our
present knowledge with regard to climate changes
and its potential impacts, and preparation of a plan
of action over the short-term in filling these gaps;
Identification of information needed to evaluate
policy implications of climate change and response
strategies;
Review of current or planned national/international
policies related to greenhouse gas issues;
Scientific and environmental assessments of all
aspects of the greenhouse gas issue and the transfer
of these assessments and other relevant information
to governments and intergovernmental organizations
to be taken into account in their policies on social
and economic development and environmental
programmes.
Over the past 20 years, the IPCC has conducted and
collected voluminous analyses on the causes, trends,
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A reference manual
and potential impacts of climate change. It has also
provided an analytical basis for setting a realistic
policy objective for a global climate policy –
“stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the
atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous
anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.34
Various policy options have been floated by the IPCC
ranging from border tax adjustment for tradable
products whose climate related negative external costs
are not internalized, to Clean Development Mechanism
(CDM) or Joint Implementation (JI) which support
emission-reduction (or emission removal) projects in
developing countries and transition economies. CDM
and JIs allow countries or businesses to earn emission
reduction units (ERUs) also called certified emission
reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to the
reduction of one tonne of CO2. The scope of CDM and
JI projects includes energy, agriculture, waste handling,
reduction of fugitive emission from fuels, etc. These
mechanisms stimulate emission reductions, while
giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how
they meet their emission reduction targets.
Further reading
22. Lester, Jame P. and Joseph Stewart (2000), Public
policy: an evolutionary approach, Belmont, Calif.:
Wadsworth, 2000
23. Baumgartner, F. R. and B. D. Jones (1991). “Agenda
Dynamics and Policy Subsystems.” Journal of Politics
53(4): 1044-1074.
24. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC). (1988). About IPCC. Retrieved March 2009
from http://www.ipcc.ch/about/index.htm
25. Field, C. (2007). States have right to challenge
IPCC climate reports. Retrieved March 2009 from
http://search.ft.com/ftArticle?queryText
=IPCC&aje=false&id=070807000772&ct=0
26. United Nations. (2007). Common Country
Assessment and United Nations Development
Assistance Framework. Retrieved March 2009 from
http://www.undg.org/docs/6860/
2007%20CCA%20and%20UNDAF%20
Guidelines%20FINAL.doc
27. http://www.undp.org/policy/docs/
UNDG_UNCT_PRSP.pdf
Bardach, Eugene. A practical guide for policy analysis :
the eightfold path to more effective problem solving.
New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2000
28. IVM. (2006). Advanced Tools for Sustainability
Assessment: The Sustainability A-Test. Retrieved
March 2009 from http://ivm5.ivm.vu.nl/sat/
Howlett, M., and M. Ramesh. (2003) Studying Public
Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems, OUP.
29. UNEP, Integrated Assessment and Planning for
Sustainable Development: Key features, steps, and
tools, Version 1, April 2005. p8.
Lester, Jame P. and Joseph Stewart (2000), Public policy:
an evolutionary approach, Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth.
MacRae, D. and D. Whittington. (1997) Expert Advice
for Policy Choice: Analysis and Discourse. Washington
DC: Georgetown University Press, 1997.
Putt, A. and J. Springer (1989).Policy Research:
Concepts, Methods, and Applications, Prentice Hall.
Weimer, D. and A. Vining (1992), Policy Analysis:
Concepts and Practice, Prentice Hall.
References
21. Howlett, M, and M. Ramesh. (2003) Studying
Public Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems,
Oxford University Press.
* Extracts from the IPCC 10th Year Anniversary
Brochure http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/10thanniversary/anniversary-brochure.pdf
UNEP August 2009
30. MacRae, D. and D. Whittington. (1997) Expert
Advice for Policy Choice: Analysis and Discourse.
Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 1997.
31. E. Bardach.
32. The Daily Mail (2007). Luxury cars to be charged
£25 tax under Britain's first pollution tax. Retrieved
June 2009 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/
article-473330/Luxury-cars-charged-25-tax-Britainspollution-tax.html
33. Bardach, Eugene. A practical guide for policy
analysis : the eightfold path to more effective problem
solving. New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2000.
34. UNFCCC. (1994). Article 2: Objectives. Retrieved
February 2009 from
http://unfccc.int/essential_background/
convention/background/items/1353.php
35
Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
5. Decision-making
Decision-making is not synonymous with
policymaking. In public policy sciences, decisionmaking is described as a stage where a government
decision-maker or an official decision-making body
selects a course of action or non-action among a
small set of policy options identified at the policy
formulation stage with a view towards policy
implementation. It is highly political because
decisions often create winners and losers even if the
decision is to do nothing and to retain the status quo.
It can also be highly technical because of the
complexities involved in assessing and comparing
policy options based on their projected ESE
consequences, the basis on which an integrated
decision is supposed to be made.
The list of actors with the authority to make
decisions varies across countries and sectors, but it
typically includes heads of government agencies
directly responsible for the problem area, legislators if
legislative approval for the decision is required, and
the judiciary if the constitutionality of the decision is
to be verified. Various interest groups are also
involved in decision-making through lobbying
activities directed at influencing decision-makers. In
some instances, the public is able to have their say on
a decision through their participation in referenda.
Decision-making – Key points
Choose criteria for decision-making
n Choose criteria in alignment with significant ESE dimensions: economic efficiency, social equity, and
environmental friendliness in addition to participatory process.
n Select one or more critical indicators for each criterion based on national or local circumstances,
including a time span, and ensuring that the indicators are highly communicative, creditable, and for
which data are available or could be collected at a reasonable cost.
Establish a baseline
n Include a “business as usual” scenario, which implies a policy option of “no action”.
n Collect information on current conditions, current and expected trends, and effects of other related
policies, all of which are compared to established indicators.
Assess and compare policy options
n Use various “building blocks” of analytical tools to project the sustainable development implications of
each option in relation to established indicators.
n Avoid biases towards quantitative indicators, positive impacts, or a single dimension of SD.
n Focus progressively on the most significant ESE impacts.
n Organize and compare the results of assessment in a decision-matrix in a highly communicative and
transparent form.
n Highlight win-win opportunities as well as inevitable trade-offs and propose additional measures to
strengthen synergies or minimize trade-offs.
Making an informed decision
n Decide on a policy option that maximizes synergies and minimizes trade-offs in an ideal situation.
n Make it hard to reject a win-win option or to adopt a worst option through sound assessment, public
communication, as well as transparency and accountability requirements for decision-makers.
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Analysts and issue-specific experts can play a vital,
albeit indirect, role in decision-making by providing
information and analysis to decision-makers. They can
be affiliated with key decision-makers, external
agencies, and social actors as their staff or
consultants, or they may work independently. To
enhance analytical quality and encourage policy
innovation, government policy managers and decisionmakers can promote competing assessments of policy
options, especially by independent analysts or research
institutions to avoid sectoral biases. This will help
reduce the risks of having assessments hijacked by
narrowly defined organizational and personal interests.
External agencies can also sponsor assessment efforts
that are integral parts of a policy process.
This chapter describes how SD considerations, which
have been carried through agenda-setting and policy
formulation stages, can advance into the decisionmaking stage. It focuses on four steps: a) choosing
decision criteria; b) establishing a baseline; c)
assessing and comparing the ESE implications of
policy options identified at the policy formulation
stage; and d) making an informed decision.
It should be noted that a participatory process is
encouraged to run throughout the entire policy
process. Since this “building block” is already
described under “agenda-setting” and
“implementation” stages, this chapter will not cover
this important aspect specifically, even though it is
also fundamental to the decision-making stage.
5.1 Choosing decision criteria
Government decision-makers make decisions to
advance objectives that are of value to society. They
need to set criteria to judge whether or not the
consequences of a decision are indeed valuable to
society.35 In addition, they need to use the same criteria
for comparing different policy options to ensure
consistency. There could be many criteria, but from an
SD perspective, the most essential categories for
assessing the consequences of policy options may
include: economic efficiency, social equity,
environmental friendliness, and participatory process,
as detailed below. Specific values or standards for these
criteria, of course, may differ from society to society.
Economic efficiency: achieving a given policy
objective (solving a policy problem or realizing a
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public benefit) at the minimal cost or maximizing the
value of the objective at a given cost.
Social equity: achieving a given objective in a way
that conforms to a society’s shared sense of fairness
and human rights, especially with regard to the poor
and marginalized segments of society, including
women, children, and future generations.
Environmental friendliness: achieving a given
objective in a way that conforms to domestic and
international environmental laws and standards.
Participatory process: achieving a given objective in a
consultative, transparent, and accountable manner.
Adopting these criteria implies assessing the ESE
implications of policy options, a subject well studied
under the various sustainability-oriented assessment
activities. It will enable decision-makers to explore
synergistic opportunities among different dimensions
of SD, identify trade-offs if any, demand mitigation
measures to minimize trade-offs, and ensure
consistency across public policies of different sectors
and agencies.
Establishing these criteria is another “building
block”, which can be applied much earlier in a policy
process or independently from any particular policy
process. To encourage system-wide application of an
integrated approach to public policy, for example, a
top level government agency may want to formally
require the adoption of the above-mentioned criteria
for decision-making in the public sector across the
board. This should be followed by capacity building
efforts to enable sectoral agencies to consider impacts
that are typically beyond their areas of concern. This
“building block” is covered in this particular chapter
because of the logical proximity between criteriasetting and decision-making.
Moreover, criteria provide a broad scope within
which policy options may be considered and compared.
Each criterion still requires an indicator or a number of
indicators that are specific to the policy situation and
can be measured to show whether that particular
criterion is satisfied or not. Under the economic
efficiency criterion, for example, an indicator could be
the total monetary cost of implementing a policy
option (e.g. phasing out particular Persistent Organic
Substances as required by the Stockholm Convention)
37
Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
International organizations have invested a lot in the
work on SD indicators over the last two decades. They
are in a good position to share the related knowledge
and experiences.
Policy formulators should select indicators that can
be communicated effectively and credibly to decisionmakers and the public and for which the data are
expected to be available or can be collected at a
reasonable cost. Merely reporting pollution levels, for
example, may not capture the decision-makers’ and
the public’s attention to the pollution’s severity unless
these levels are related to how they affect society and
human life, such as productivity and human health
and how a particular decision can reduce such harms.
5.2 Establishing a baseline
A “baseline”, also referred to as a “business as usual”
scenario, describes what would happen to established
indicators if there were no change in government
decisions and if existing trends were to continue.36
Note that this baseline is different from the status
quo because there can be changes from the status
quo due to naturally occurring events and effects of
other policies. The time span for a baseline
assessment should be the same as used to assess
other policy options.
Because a baseline is different from the status quo,
collecting the information necessary for establishing
the baseline is technically challenging and timeconsuming. The following information compared with
established indicators is required to obtain a baseline
for assessment: a) current conditions (or status quo);
b) current and expected trends; c) effects of policies
being implemented; and d) effects of other
foreseeable policies.
The baseline provides an essential reference point
against which various other policy options can be
compared. Without the baseline, the option of “let
present trends continue” is automatically dropped
out of consideration, leaving the door open for policy
interventions that might aggravate policy problems.
Sometimes poorly designed policies can be worse
than no policy.
The flip side of this is of course the bias towards no
action. While there are risks from policy changes and
38
the results may be uncertain, the same is true of
maintaining the status quo, whose future is also
uncertain and may also have risks. Lack of this
recognition is one of the causes of resistance to
change. There is the assumption that the future will
be like the past, despite a whole history of disproof.
5.3 Assessing ESE implications of policy options
Assessment during the decision-making stage of IP
aims at revealing the direction, magnitude, duration,
and reversibility of changes that may result from each
policy option under consideration. The most challenging
aspect of assessment is projecting the future, which is
inherently uncertain, despite the availability of various
“building blocks” tools and techniques.
Many tools and techniques are available for
assessing the implications of policy options against
SD criteria and indicators. Cost-effective analysis,
cost-benefit analysis, and CGE models, for example,
have been used to measure the economic efficiency
of policy options, surveys to gauge the potential
equity implications, and ecological and spatial
modelling to depict environmental changes. These
“building blocks” or tools can be applied for a
variety of purposes, not only for causal analysis of
the issue in question and financial feasibility
analysis at the policy formulation stage, but also for
projecting the ESE implications of policy options at
the decision-making stage. A comprehensive
collection of analytical tools can be found in the
EC-sponsored web-book “Sustainability A-Test”.37
What is typically missing, however, is the
application of system tools and techniques that
consider the interactions across the ESE domains
over a long-period of time, beyond 5-10 years, a
major characteristic of SD concerns.
When applying assessment tools, policy formulators
and decision-makers should be cautious against the
following biases:
•
•
A bias towards indicators for which quantitative
measures are available. Some impacts may not be
quantifiable because of data gaps despite their
vital importance. Qualitative measures of these
impacts can be developed based on judgement
informed by experience and knowledge.
A bias towards positive impacts or potential
opportunities. Both positive impacts (opportunities)
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and negative impacts (risks) are critical in assessing
policy options, and overlooking negative impacts
may lead to wrong decisions.
•
A bias towards impacts of a particular dimension
closely associated with the identity of the
organization conducting the assessment.
Establishing a benchmark and assessing projected
impacts can generate an immense amount of
information and, therefore, there is a need to
systematize its collection and display. A convenient way
to organize information in a systematic way is to display
it in the form of a decision matrix (see Table 5.1).
A typical decision matrix arrays policy options down
the rows and decision criteria/indicators across the
columns. Any cell in the decision matrix contains the
projected outcome of the policy option as assessed by
reference to the column for criterion/indicators. For
example, Cell A1 contains information on the
outcome of Option A as assessed by reference to
Criterion 1/Indicator 1.
The EC proposed three progressive steps to assess
the intended and unintended ESE impacts of a policy
option against multiple criteria:
1. Make a broad judgement on the range of ESE
impacts including general causalities, the extent of
the impacts, which groups will be affected, over
what time period, and how the existing inequalities
will be affected;
2. On the basis of the first step, identify the most
critical impacts based on causal models, qualitative
assessment of the likelihoods, magnitudes, and
importance of the impacts, or an impact matrix
connecting specific policy components (usually
expressed as “measures“) with critical impacts on
key areas of concern; and
In IP, the general criteria in the decision matrix can
be aligned along the ESE dimensions. Each of these
criteria can be reflected through one or a number of
indicators, which can be qualitative, quantitative, or
in monetary terms. The EC’s IA Guidelines provided
more elaborated examples of different ways to
compare policy options and display the results in a
transparent and accessible manner.39
3. Building on the previous steps, conduct an in-depth
analysis of selected critical impacts in either
qualitative or quantitative terms or both.38
To aid decision-making, each option in the matrix
should be linked to each criterion and its indicators
systematically. This can be accomplished by
Table 5.1: Decision Matrix
Criteria
Criterion 1
Indicator 1
Indicator 2
Indicator…
Criterion 2
Indicator 1
Indicator 2
Indicator…
Criterion 3
Indicator 1
Indicator 2
Indicator…
Criteria …
Indicator 1
Indicator 2
Indicator…
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Option A
Option B
Option C
Option.....
A1
B1
C1
...
A2
B2
C2
...
A3
B3
C3
...
A…
B…
C…
...
39
Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
potential conflicts among different criteria. Tradeoffs may be inevitable in some cases. Box 5.2
summarizes the basic rules in dealing with
trade-offs.40
considering all cells, which can counter the biases of
the analyst. Box 5.1 shows an example of decision
matrices in practice.
As shown in Box 5.1, development need not come at
the expense of the environment. Although total GDP
for Papua in 2020 under Alternative D would be less
than under Alternative B (the highest among the 4
scenarios), locally retained GDP, however, would be
higher under D. In addition, D would create the
highest number of jobs, retain the largest tract of
forestland, and incur less government debt.
Assessing and comparing policy options provides
opportunities for seeking win-win situations and
minimizing trade-offs. Components in different
alternatives can be reconfigured into a new
alternative that may lead to win-win outcomes.
Mitigation strategies can be developed to reduce any
negative impacts or risks of options that are
preferable according to most criteria. In this regard,
the OECD DAC SEA Guidance provided a simple rule of
thumb to deal with negative impacts: “first avoid;
second reduce; and third off-set adverse impacts –
using appropriate measures.”41
The comparison of policy options is relatively
straightforward when one policy option is ranked the
best according to all criteria, as in the example
below. However, this should be considered as an
exception rather than the norm because of the
Box 5.1: Comparative Assessment of Development Options in Papua, Indonesia
Papua is Indonesia’s largest province endowed with dense tropical rainforest and many other natural resources,
but its small population is among the poorest of all Indonesian provinces. At the beginning of the new
millennium, the provincial government and local stakeholders identified a number of development alternatives:
a) develop a mega-dam project (B); b) invest in a province-wide highway (C); and c) focus the development in
existing urban centers (D). In 2002, local and international policy analysts, with the assistance of a system
dynamics modeling tool, compared the outcomes (projected till 2020) of these alternatives plus the alternative
of “business as usual”, as illustrated in the following decision matrix:
Criteria/Indicators
2000 Value
Business-as-Usual (A)
Dam (B)
Highway (C)
Urban (D)
Economic
Papua GDP (in 1993 Rp
billion)
8,478
19,076
23,068
19,621
394,048
Locally Retained
GDP (in 1993 Rp billion
3
7,020
7,120
7,084
7,799
23
16
13
8
17
1.07
1.67
2.01
1.73
1.75
913
1,065
1,212
1,099
1,310
Environment
Forestland (million
hectares)
Pollution index
Social
Total employment
(persons, thousands)
Source: Sheng, Fulai, CCG Report – Comparative Assessment of Development Options, Center for Conservation and
Government at Conservation International (2004), pg 19 – 21.
40
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5.4 Making an informed decision
Ideally, decision-makers should adopt a policy option
that solves the problem in a way that maximizes
synergies and minimizes trade-offs among different
societal imperatives. But this assumes that the
consequences of each policy option can be known in
advance. In reality, however, the consequences of various
policy options are rarely known with certainty, the time
to make policy comparisons is often lacking, and
decisions are rarely made by a single decision-maker.
To overcome these limitations, policy initiators,
policy formulators, and decision-makers – with the
support from external agencies if needed and
appropriate – are advised to invest in raising analytical
capacity, gathering good data and information, and
using new information technologies and analytical
tools, to support “good enough” decisions.
But even if an assessment is as comprehensive and
integrated as it can be, it is but one input – albeit a
quite significant one – for decision-making. A final
decision can be made against a policy option that is
ranked best in all dimensions. Political imperatives,
narrowly defined agency interests, and decision-makers’
self interests can overrule what appears to be the most
“sustainable” or “integrated” decision. The final decision
is often the outcome of strategic interaction,
bargaining, and compromise among multiple decisionmakers as it is rare to have only a sole, unitary
decision-maker responsible for arriving at a decision.
The highly political nature of making decisions,
however, does not imply that the value of sound
assessment should be discounted. The assessment can
effectively set a boundary within which trade-offs can
be made between political imperatives and technical
merits. For example, it is much easier to reject the
worst policy option when its negative impacts or risk
are conclusively indicated by the assessment. By the
same token, it creates a tremendous hurdle for
decision-makers to ignore a win-win solution. In this
regard, effective public communication of the results
from comparing policy options may play a significant
role in mobilizing public opinions and tilting decisions
towards synergistic policy options.
Placing accountability and transparency
requirements on decision-makers will also
reinforce the power of sound assessment in
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Box 5.2: Rules on making trade-offs
n Any trade-off must deliver maximum net gains
n The burden of argument for trade-off should be
on the trade-off proponent
n Significant adverse effects must be avoided
n The future should be given at least the same
weight as the present
n All trade-offs must be accompanied by explicit
justification
n Decisions on trade-offs must be made through an
open process
Source: Based on R.B. Gibson et al (2005)
support of IP. The United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) broadly defines accountability
to mean “holding individuals and organizations
responsible for performance measured as
objectively as possible” and transparency to mean
“all means of facilitating the citizen’s access to
information and also his/her understanding of
decision-making mechanisms”. UNDP states that
“accountability and transparency are indispensable
pillars of good governance that compel the state,
private sector and civil society to focus on results,
seek clear objectives, develop effective strategies,
and monitor and report on performance. Through
public accountability and transparency,
governments (together with civil society and the
private sector) can achieve congruence between
public policy, its implementation and the efficient
allocation of resources.” 42
Things will get more complicated for decisionmaking when trade-offs among different interests are
inevitable. Sound assessment, however, is still of great
value to enhance the quality of a decision. It forces
decision-makers to openly share their values with
other stakeholders or the general public when
decisions are made, employing transparency and
accountability that might elude the public otherwise.
More important, better information about various
policy options enables stakeholders and the public to
substantively participate in the policy process.
41
Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Illustration: Deciding on climate policy options
At the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
was open for signature. In 1994, the UNFCCC entered
into force. In December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol to
the UNFCCC was adopted and it came into force in
2005 after seven years of negotiations involving over
160 countries. In this long process leading to the
decision on the Kyoto Protocol, which is an
operational document under the UNFCCC, the
baseline for global temperature and for GHG emission
reduction by developed countries was established in
1990. A fundamental criterion for deciding on policy
options is the principle of “common but
differentiated responsibilities” among different
groups of countries. 43
Assessing and comparing the various policy options
against this criterion and other criteria such as the
principles of international law, the States’ sovereign
right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their
own environmental and developmental policies, and
cost-effectiveness, the Parties to the UNFCCC agreed
on the following three market-based policy options:
•
•
•
Emissions trading – countries that have a surplus in
their allowed emission units can sell the excess to
countries that have a deficit.44
Clean Development Mechanism – a developed
country obligated to reduce emissions can
implement an emission-reduction project in
developing countries, which can count towards
their obligations.45
Joint implementation – a developed country or a
transition economy earns emission reduction units
(ERUs) from an emission-reduction or emission
removal project in another country of the same
category, each ERU being equivalent to one tonne
of CO2, which can count towards its Kyoto
obligation.46
Further Reading
Bardach, Eugene. A practical guide for policy analysis :
the eightfold path to more effective problem solving.
New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2000
Howlett, M, and M. Ramesh. (2003) Studying Public
Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems, Oxford
University Press.
Lester, Jame P. and Joseph Stewart (2000), Public
42
policy: an evolutionary approach, Belmont, Calif.:
Wadsworth, 2000
MacRae, D. and D. Whittington. (1997) Expert Advice
for Policy Choice: Analysis and Discourse. Washington
DC: Georgetown University Press, 1997
Patton, C and Sawicki, D (1996), Basic Methods of
Policy Analysis and Planning, Essex: Prentice
Hall/Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Putt, A. and J. Springer (1989). Policy Research:
Concepts, Methods, and Applications, Prentice Hall.
Quade, E.S. (1989), Analysis for Public Decisions,
Elsevier Science, New York, NY
Weimer, D. and A. Vining (1992), Policy Analysis:
Concepts and Practice, Prentice Hall
References
35. The EC IA Guidelines, p20.
36. Bardach, Eugene. A practical guide for policy
analysis : the eightfold path to more effective problem
solving. New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2000.
37. IVM. (2006). Advanced Tools for Sustainability
Assessment: The Sustainability A-Test. Retrieved
March 2009 from http://ivm5.ivm.vu.nl/sat/
38. The EC IA Guidelines, p27-36.
39. The EC IA Guidelines 39-43.
40. R.B. Gibson, et al, Sustainability Assessment:
Criteria and Processes, Earthscan, 2005. pp.139-140.
41. OECD DAC SEA Guidance, p58.
42. UNDP, “Accountability Transparency Integrity”.
43. UNFCCC. (1998). The Kyoto Protocol to the
UNFCCC. Retrieved February 2009 from
http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.pdf
44. UNFCCC. (n.d.). Emissions Trading. Retrieved
February 2009 from
http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/mechanisms/
emissions_trading/items/2731.php
45. UNFCCC. (n.d.). Clean Development Mechanism.
Retrieved February 2009 from http://unfccc.int/
kyoto_protocol/mechanisms/clean_development_
mechanism/items/2718.php
46. UNFCCC. (n.d.). Joint Implementation. Retrieved
February 2009 from http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/
mechanisms/joint_implementation/items/1674.php
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A reference manual
6. Implementation
Implementation is the stage where a selected policy
option must be translated into action. It is probably
the most difficult, demanding, and critical stage in a
policy process. Any deficiency in policy design or any
vulnerability with respect to the policy environment
will become visible at this stage. Yet implementation is
often neglected in practice. Policy managers, initiators,
formulators, decision-makers, and others involved in
the policy process often fail to systematically prepare
the ground for implementation, resulting in policies
that perform far below expectation or even policy
disasters. Despite over 500 MEAs, for example, there
has been little sign of environmental improvement and
some problems such as climate change have escalated
to the level of crisis.47
One reason for this neglect is the sheer complexity,
both analytical and practical, that implementation
poses. Another reason is the political sensitivity
Implementation – Key points
Considering implementation challenges throughout the policy cycle
n Sequence policy measures strategically when formulating policy options by starting small to allow quick
results, alliance building, and policy learning.
n Review the logical construction systematically prior to implementation to ensure that policy “inputs”
have a reasonable chance to produce policy “outputs”.
n Carry out tasks strategic to implementation early on: a) build a constituency supportive of policy
change; b) set overall objectives for policy; and c) secure sufficient formal authorization and resource
for the policy process.
Getting organized and operational fast
n Designate an inter-sectoral, inter-agency mechanism to be responsible for implementation, which can
n
n
n
n
build on mechanisms established earlier in the policy process.
Clarify roles and mandates of all the participants involved in the implementation mechanism.
Identify individuals and units within organizations, including the non-governmental sector, to
implement adopted policy measures.
Translate broad policy objectives into operational targets and tasks linked to individuals and units and
tied to budgets.
Use Results-Based Management to guide operational planning and ensure that the capacity, incentives,
and positive inter-personal relationships are in place for successful implementation.
Mobilizing resources proactively
n Consider resource mobilization a constant challenge rather than a one-off task.
n Seek short-term seed funds as appropriate to demonstrate initial success while securing stable sources
of funding for the long term.
Managing stakeholder dynamics
n Conduct a stakeholder analysis, which should and could be done in an earlier stage, covering those who are
potentially concerned by, interested in, important to, or having any power over the policy being initiated.
n Consider different stakeholders’ interests, level of organization, resources and capacities, and options for
action.
n Support the participation of vulnerable groups and guard against powerful groups capturing the
policy process.
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
associated with implementation. In policy
formulation and even decision-making, critical
differences between stakeholders may be papered
over by using vague language or even postponing
decisions on mission-critical but politically or
bureaucratically “sensitive” aspects of policies
outright. This has the advantage of keeping a policy
process moving forward and “buying time” for more
supportive coalitions to be built. But the
consequences of such avoidance become unavoidable
during the implementation stage, in which those
tasked with implementation will struggle to generate,
allocate, and control resources and interpret policy
intentions as the intended outputs and results of a
policy fail to materialize or as negative side-effects
of policies become evident.
The high degree of diversity among stakeholders
involved in IP increases the complexity and
vulnerability of implementation. Implementation
creates winners and losers. It is the stage where the
stakes of winning or losing begin to manifest
themselves clearly to participants who have been left
out of the earlier stages in the process. Most
organizations may resist coordination due to a
perceived threat to autonomy or disagreements over
the nature of the tasks being pursued. Agencies and
even divisions within agencies may compete for
resources and control. Clashes may also occur among
the public, private, non-profit, and community sectors.
Thus, the stakes in “getting implementation right” –
in designing interventions that make successful
implementation more likely and in anticipating and
building in mechanisms to overcome implementation
difficulties – are particularly high. Policy managers,
initiators, formulators, decision-makers, implementers,
and other policy participants interested in IP must,
therefore, bring implementation problems into their
consideration from the onset.
This chapter describes how policies, after having
been subject to the rigorous SD “filtering” so far, can
receive a chance to be implemented and achieve
integration on the ground. It focuses on four aspects:
1) considering implementation when formulating
policies and making decisions; 2) getting specific and
operational fast; 3) mobilizing resources proactively
for implementation; and 4) managing stakeholder
dynamics.
44
6.1 Considering implementation challenges throughout
a policy process
Policy change is a dynamic, non-linear process. It
rarely involves a straightforward mobilization of the
resources necessary to achieve well defined policy
objectives that already have broad support. Instead,
the implementation task can and often does involve
elements of all the preceding policymaking stages. For
example, it may involve re-interpretation and renegotiation of policy objectives and may find
implementers re-making decisions among significantly
different options that may affect the type of policy
outcomes actually produced. Table 6.1 summarizes the
major implementation challenges, many of which are
also applicable to other stages of IP.
Implementation considerations should, therefore, be
incorporated directly into the design stage of any
policy. One way to do this is to sequence policy
measures strategically. Starting small while building
constituencies for ambitious interventions is often
warranted where policies are contested or facing
uncertain prospects due to incomplete information.
There are a range of unknowns at the onset of any
policy process, not least regarding the incentives faced
by, and inclinations of, different actors who must work
together during implementation. Thus, conceiving
small-scale initiatives as “policy experiments”48 can
help facilitate adaptive implementation – the ability to
learn what works, and how to fix what isn’t working –
in the very process of implementation. The design of
policy experiments requires, however, the existence of
strong information and monitoring systems, a point
reinforced in the following chapter.
Another key to the proper design of a policy from an
implementation perspective is to systematically
review its logical construction prior to the
implementation stage. Policy managers, formulators,
and implementers should test the degree to which a
policy is logically constructed so that invested inputs
stand a realistic chance of being processed into
project-level outputs, which in turn contribute reliably
to policy outcomes of interest. “Forward” and
“Backward Mapping” are tools that may help ensure
that policies are logically and soundly designed to
achieve their stated objectives and that all the
elements required for implementation are “assembled”
and in place (see Box 6.1).
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Table 6.1 Typical implementation barriers
Problem
Description in IP context
Support and authorization barriers
Slow authorization
Operational plans and resource mobilization proceed slowly due to multiple veto
points, making progress difficult.
Weak political support
Operational plans may proceed and even attain moderate success in the initial
phase while flying under the “radar” of key politicians with opposing interests,
until the plans begin to “scale up”
Bureaucratic opposition
Key players in the inter-agency network slow or sabotage implementation due to
low priority of IP approach, lacking incentives, and/or competing interests.
Poor incentives for
implementer
Local implementers (local government coordinating executives or front-line staff
of agencies) who were not consulted during the earlier stages of IP have
inadequate “buy-in” or incentives to comply with directives from the top.
Analytical competence barriers
Vague or multiple missions
Inter-sectoral nature of policies and implementation leads to papering over
conflicting goals or not clearly specifying trade-offs in operational terms during
the earlier stages
Changing priorities
Decisions may need to be reconsidered in light of changing conditions.
Poor design
Integrated policies are complex and prone to poor design. If any of the
complexities are left unaddressed, failure is pre-determined.
Uneven feasibility
Different components of the integrated policy may be operationally linked –
one can only advance if another is present – subjecting operations to the
“weakest link”.
Operational capacity barriers
Funding limitations
Funds necessary to implement approved operational plans are slow to materialize,
blocking progress while key elements of situation change “facts on the ground”
and/or initial supporters of the effort lose heart and abandon effort.
Weak management
structure or network
coordination capacity
Poor precedents for, or lacking history of, coordination between major agencies –
exacerbated in case of inter-sectoral partnerships – makes routine operational
decisions slow and implementation dysfunctional.
Lack of clarity in
operational plans
Approved and funded operational plans are mismanaged due to poor specification
of roles, responsibilities, and accountability. Often made worse by poor oversight
and information systems with which to hold implementers accountable and make
course corrections.
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Implementation tasks are, however, not confined to
the policy formulation stage. These tasks are
understood as “a continuum of strategic and
operational tasks”49 (see table 6.2). Strategic tasks
relate to the highest levels of policy formulation and
overall responsibility for implementation. They overlap
considerably across policymaking stages and include: 1)
build constituencies supportive of policy change among
a range of stakeholders, who bring different resources
and interests to the table; 2) set overall objectives and
design critical parameters for policies; and 3) at some
point, secure sufficient formal authorization and
resources necessary to drive the process forward.
The implementation of programmes, plans, and
projects – i.e. the sub-components of a particular policy
– has a more restricted focus and is more concrete, i.e.
“operational”. At this level, the tasks include: 1) identify
individuals and units within organizations including in
the non-governmental sector that will carry forward
specific plans and collaborations; 2) operationalize
policy objectives into specific, measurable targets that
are in turn broken down into supporting tasks to be
implemented by identifiable groups of people on a
schedule; and 3) ensure necessary operational capacity,
including attention not just to equipment and human
resources but also to the incentives for grassroots
implementers to act as required for successful
execution of the policy intention.
All these tasks can be mapped onto the overarching
IP framework presented in Chapter 2 (see Figure 6.1).
Tasks related to implementation are integrated
throughout the diagram, beginning from high-level
“strategic” design considerations to operational-level
design and capacity building tasks in later stages of
the policy process. Although there are sequential
aspects to the framework (describing a logical
progression from agenda-setting to evaluation), a key
message is that to be effective, implementation
considerations must be reflected throughout the
policy process. Failing this, large gaps are likely to
loom between policy intentions and actual execution.
6.2 Get organized and operational fast
An essential part of the implementation stage is the
designation of an institution to be charged with the
overall responsibility for implementation. Typically,
however, no single agency can be fully responsible for
implementation of an integrated policy. Thus, an
inter-sectoral, inter-agency mechanism – building on
existing mechanism as much as possible – is often
Box 6.1: Forward and Backward Mapping
In forward mapping, the policy manager or formulator writes out (for her- or himself) how implementation is
implicitly supposed to take place (if it is to be successful), including all the relevant actors, their roles, and the
sequence and orchestration of their actions. S/he then uses this narrative as the basis for two fundamental
critiques: is each of the actors actually likely to be sufficiently incentivized and capable of acting in the manner
prescribed (critique 1)?; and might any other actor affected by the policy get involved to potentially interfere or
deflect policy intentions during implementation, and (if so), can they actually be stopped from doing so (critique
2)? Based on the answers to these questions, s/he then rewrites the scenario to make it more realistic, including
preventive and other measures to enhance the likelihood of success given this form of stakeholder analysis.
Backward mapping involves first specifying the actual behaviours that need to take place in order for policy
outcomes to be achieved. For instance, in order to achieve the policy goal of cleaning up city canals, one might
specify the behavioural change that “city inhabitants no longer throw their garbage into the canal”. Having laid
out such specific behaviours to be changed, the policy manager or formulator then designs policies from among
different logical options that can help achieve this objective, paying special attention to how the intervention
can practically motivate the required changes in behaviour.
These analytical tools are in some ways quite common-sensical and straightforward. But they may prove
surprisingly useful in anticipating policy implementation problems, and in brainstorming alternative policy
options to increase the likelihood of implementation success.
Source: Weimar and Vining, p. 402-406
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Table 6.2: Implementation: a continuum of strategic and operational tasks
Policy implementation
(emphasis on strategic tasks)
Programme/plan implementation
Project implementation
(emphasis on operational tasks)
n Constituency building
n Programme design
n Clear objectives
n Overall policy objective-setting
n Capacity building for
n Defined roles and responsibilities
and design
n Designing the implementation
framework – overall
responsibilities and resource
allocations to different actors
n Legitimization
implementers
n Plans/schedules
n Collaboration with multiple
groups and organizations
n Expanding resources and support
n Rewards and sanctions
n Feedback/adaptation
mechanisms
n Active leadership
n Resource mobilization
Source: adapted from Table 2.1 in Brinkerhoff and Crosby (2002), p. 25.
needed to implement policies collectively. An
important criterion for such a mechanism is the
extent to which a network of actors interacts
constructively to produce agreed policy outcomes.
Mechanisms established in earlier stages of the policy
cycle may well evolve to assume the implementation
mandate. In this context, four types of intersectoral,
interagency groupings may be identified:
• Overall coordinating committees officially
designated with policy formulation and decisionmaking responsibilities in a particular issue area;
• Formal teams who guide implementation and
operations – the direct “managers” or “operational
coordinators” of an implementation process;
• Ad hoc working groups convened to solve specific
management problems; and
• Stakeholder workshops convened to review and
solicit feedback from stakeholders, in multiple
communities or jurisdictions, affected by a policy.50
These groupings may have largely overlapping
institutional membership but vary in the management
level of the individuals staffing it. Regardless of the
specific membership, however, policy managers should
clarify, to the extent practical, the roles and mandates
of these various steering and implementation teams,
their relationship to more permanent authorities
(political and bureaucratic), and the resources – legal,
financial and bureaucratic – that they may draw on in
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executing their respective responsibilities. At the same
time, policy managers should expect that any
authority may be contested in practice, prior to or
during implementation. Policy managers are advised
to use the steering committees as forums for resolving
inevitable interagency and even intersectoral
conflicts, rather than trying to avoid them altogether.
Apart from designating an overall institution
responsible for implementation, there is also a need
for operational planning – a process of developing
initial and intermediate outputs and implementation
targets for the interrelated programmes and projects
that may contribute to policy objectives in a
particular setting. Tasks need to be linked with
specific institutions,including non-governmental
entities, and if possible individuals, as well as financial
resources. Implementation guidelines necessary for
interpreting policies are also typically required.
Results-Based Management is a popular tool that can
assist in operational planning (see Box 6.2). In general,
the more quickly implementers can move into
operational planning, the higher the likelihood of
successful execution. Quick results are often
necessary to sustain coalition-building momentum as
a policy initiative shifts gear from initial, smaller
interventions and projects to larger, more integrated,
inter-sectoral plans, programmes, and policies.
Policy managers can allocate implementation
tasks to a special task force, an existing agency to
47
Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Figure 6.1: Implementation tasks, resources and analytical aids
Implementation tasks
Implementation tasks
•
•
Modifying organizational structures
•
Identifying network capacities necessary for
implementation
•
Developing concrete plans, performance
expectations and accountability, creating and
carrying out of do-able activities
•
•
•
•
Creation of participatory stakeholder/joint
problem-solving workshops prior to and during
implementation processes
•
Creation of ad hoc task forces and crossministerial commissions with specific
implementation tasks
Building constituencies
Create new forums for policy discussion, such as
policy dialogue workshop, public-private forums;
and task forces
Identify, lobby and mobilize potential reform
champions and stakeholders
Analytical aids
• Conduct stakeholder analysis
• Clarify leadership/coordination function
Analytical aids
•
•
Develop convening authority: a forum in which
decision-making may proceed
Resource/Mechanisms
Resource mechanisms
•
Building legitimacy by raising awareness of need
for reform
Management Information Systems
needed (reducing confusion, conflict)
Developing a change mechanism plan that
recognizes importance of early wins and
stability in guiding coalition
Political
support
Task: Legitimation and
Task: Capacity Building
consensus building
and Operations
Agenda
setting
Evaluation
Economic
Implementation
Analytical
capacity
Social
Environmental
Decision
making
Policy
formulation
Administrative
capacity
Task: Policy design and operational planning
Implementation tasks
•
•
•
Designing coherent, integrated interventions
Identification and mobilization of resources
from various sources
Detailing operational plans
Resources/Mechanisms
•
48
•
Negotiation with finance and budget authorities
for resources
Analytical aids
•
•
Logical framework analysis, result-based planning
Feasability assessment via scenario planning and
forward/backward planning
Identify and obtain seed and bridge financing
from internal/external sources
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take on a slightly different set of tasks, or a nongovernmental or private company via delegation or
contracting. Policy managers should develop and
use accountability and management systems when
allocating tasks. These systems need to be
underpinned by an agreement on performance
indicators, effective information systems that
reliably update stakeholders and managers on the
state of targeted outputs, and the mobilization of
sufficient incentives and disincentives at the
disposal of policy managers or higher authorities to
motivate an acceptably high level of
implementation effort.
Yet accountability can only partly rely on such formal
measures; it is well known that many developing
countries are often weak in such areas. Instead, the
capacity to implement integrated policies will also rely
on the density of relationships – the “social capital” –
among local actors such as NGOs, communities, local
government coordinators, and line agencies.51
6.3 Mobilize resources proactively
Ultimately public policies and their component
programmes and plans must be integrated into normal
budget cycles and operations. Before this can happen,
managers of such initiatives will have to be creative
and entrepreneurial in identifying sources of the
resources necessary to get initial efforts off the ground.
Resources necessary and sufficient for effective
implementation rarely “report for duty” simply
because agreement has been reached on some policy
objectives. More often, they must be mobilized from a
variety of sources in a process that can determine to a
large extent how effective and timely implementation
proceeds. Policy managers and implementers are
advised to view resource mobilization as a constant
challenge rather than a one-off task.
This process is likely to be iterative. An initial
challenge is the identification of seed or “bridge”
financing and allocations of personnel that can enable
integrated policies to get off the ground and initial
activities to begin. To secure such initial financing
often requires a hefty degree of negotiation with a
range of actors, including government budget
authorities and potential external partners. In the
longer term, securing stable sources of fiscal and
other necessary resources often comes from initial
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Box 6.2: Results Based Management
(RBM)
RBM is an approach to systematically planning for
implementation. It has been increasingly promoted
among multi-lateral development agencies and
some developing country administrations. The
Asian Development Bank, one of the foremost
proponents of RBM, defines it as “the way an
organization is motivated and applies processes
and resources to achieve targeted results”. Four
components are noted: a) specified results that are
measurable, monitorable and relevant; b) resources
that are adequate for achieving the targeted
results; c) organizational arrangements that ensure
authority and responsibilities are aligned with
results and resources; d) processes for planning,
monitoring, communicating and resource release
that enable the organization to convert resources
into the desired results.
Regardless of whether the technical approaches
outlined under different RBM manuals are
followed, policy managers will need to plan for the
four dimensions quoted above, since they will often
be under great pressure to demonstrate early
results to half-hearted, skeptical stakeholders.
Source: Asian Development Bank (2007) “Results
Based Management Explained”.
http://www.adb.org/projects/rbm/about.asp
demonstrations of success coupled with more official,
legally grounded framework for IP.
6.4 Managing stakeholder dynamics
Perhaps the most fundamental advice that can be
offered regarding implementation is as follows: be
aware of, and prepared for, the stakeholder dynamics.
Implementation of integrated policies is fundamentally
a challenge of coordination. And while coordination
has a number of requirements – among them the
capacity elements discussed below – the prerequisite
for dealing effectively with any of them is a thorough
understanding of the stakeholder environment.
Stakeholder analysis – one of the “building blocks” –
serves as an analytical aid in this context and it could
or should be conducted much earlier in the policy cycle.
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
It is discussed in this chapter because stakeholder
dynamics is the most decisive factor affecting the
success and failure of policy implementation.
There are a wide variety of formats and variations
on stakeholder analysis, but they share some features:
the delineation of all actors potentially concerned by,
interested in, important to, or having any power over
the policy being initiated. This is followed by
consideration of their interests, level of organization,
resources and capacities, and options for action. This
information can be visually arrayed in a number of
formats, in ways that help identify entry points for
learning from, winning the support or overcoming the
opposition of different stakeholders.
Mapping the level of power of participants leads to
another consideration. Many policies will in some way
affect stakeholders and communities that are
relatively powerless and marginalized. Such
stakeholders often have little means to make their
concerns and priorities known to powerful actors. In
the interest of equity and ultimately implementation
effectiveness, policy managers should strengthen
vulnerable stakeholders’ ability to voice their interests
and inform the direction of policymaking and
implementation; civil society groups could play a
pivotal role in this regard. The information gathering
and communication to the public should be organized
early in the process. Such strengthening of the
“demand side” of IP needs to go together with an
appreciation of the ways powerful actors can
“capture” policymaking for their own benefit. This is
particularly important where procedural safeguards,
transparency levels, and grassroots democracy are
weak in a particular society.
Illustration: Implementing the Kyoto Protocol
in the European Union
In March of 2005 the Kyoto Protocol came into force.
Governments are responsible for implementing
protocols they have signed up to. Of all signatory
countries, those in the EU are known as the most
active in implementation. Even before the Protocol
took effect, in January 2005, the EU had already
started operationalizing the European Union Green
House Gas Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The EU
considered implementation challenges early on. In
2003, for example, it already started designing the
ETS scheme including the establishment of a Central
Administrator and a registries’ system to keep track of
50
transactions in emission trading. Stakeholder
dynamics was also managed carefully by, for example,
issuing emission units to industries at no charge
rather than through auction; this has helped reduce
the opposition from affected groups to the
implementation of the ETS. In early 2009, the
European Union announced that its goal was to link
up the EU Emissions Trading System with the capand-trade systems being developed in other
industrialized countries to form an OECD-wide
international carbon market by 2015.
Further Reading
Brinkerhoff, D.W. and Crosby, B.L. (2002) Managing
Policy Reform: Concepts and tools for Decision-Makers
in Developing and Transition Countries. Bloomfield, CT:
Kumarian Press.
Crosby, B.L. (1996) Policy implementation: The
organizational challenge. World Development
24(9):1403-1415.
OECD (2001) “Policies to Enhance Sustainable
Development”, Meeting of the OECD Council at
Ministerial Level, 2001, Paris: OECD.
Rondinelli, D.A. (1993) Development Projects as Policy
Experiments: An Adaptive Approach to Development
Administration. London: Routledge.
Uphoff, N., Esman, M.J., and Krishna, A. (1998)
Reasons for Success: Learning from Instructive
Experiences in Rural Development. Bloomfield, CT:
Kumarian Press.
World Bank (2002) World Development Report 2002:
Building Institutions for Markets. New York: Oxford
University Press.
References
47. Teall, C. (2004). Multilateral Environmental
Agreements and the Compliance Continuum. Retrieved
March 2009 from the Georgetown International
Environmental Law Review:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3970/
is_200404/ai_n9406137
48. Rondinelli, 1993
49. Brinkerhoff and Crosby, 2002, p. 25
50.Several of these are mentioned in various forms in
Brinkerhoff and Crosby, 2002.
51.Brown and Ashman, 1996
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7. Evaluation
Integrated evaluation refers to the effort to monitor
and determine how a policy has fared during
implementation from an SD perspective. It examines
the means employed, the objectives served, and the
effects caused in practice. The results and
recommendations from evaluation are fed back into
further rounds of policymaking, as in the case of the
regular review of the Poverty Reduction Strategy
Papers (PRSPs) in low-income countries. In many cases,
some aspects of evaluation such as data collection are
also conducted during earlier stages of policymaking
and the results can feed into the refinement of policy
design, decision, and implementation.
Evaluation is expected to contribute to IP by: 1)
synthesizing what is known about a problem, its
proposed remedy, and the ESE effects from
implementing the remedy, in order to facilitate policy
learning; 2) demystifying conventional wisdom or
popular myths related to the problem, its solutions,
Evaluation – Key points
Specifying the type, scope, and criteria of evaluation
n Ensure that ESE criteria and indicators are included – apart from the policy objectives – for guiding
monitoring and evaluation.
n Define the scope for evaluation based on the amount of information available, the budget, and what is to be
done with the findings from evaluation.
n Use the same ESE criteria and indicators as well as the policy objectives established in earlier stages of
policymaking to be consistent.
Collecting data and isolating policy effects
n Take the scope of evaluation as the starting point for monitoring efforts and collect related data using
methods, data systems, and analytical units appropriate for evaluative analysis.
n Engage statistical and analytical agencies from the start of a policy process.
n Avoid bias in data collection and isolate the effects of the policy from the effects of other forces to the
extent possible.
Conducting Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PME)
n Engage stakeholders in monitoring or evaluation so that they share control over the content, the process,
and the results of the PME activity.
n Engage stakeholders in identifying or taking corrective actions.
Ensuring policy learning
n Develop political will and maturity to use evaluation results and stimulate public demand for policy learning.
n Encourage a flexible and adaptive approach to policymaking, adjust policy implementation to reflect
changing circumstances and lessons revealed from evaluation.
n Clarify, specify, and publicize government intentions for the policy, the evaluation criteria and indicators, and
their justification.
n Establish and maintain links between the evaluation agency and other policy participants to ensure that
lessons from evaluation will indeed feed into further policy processes.
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
and the effects of the solutions; 3) developing new
information about policy effectiveness, such as the
extent to which expected policy results have been
achieved and the range and magnitude of unintended
effects, in order to give early warning; and 4)
explaining to all policy participants the implications
of new information derived through evaluation, which
may call for re-planning at the operational level.
This chapter describes how to determine the actual
effects of an implemented policy, not only on the
objectives established for the respective policy, but also
the ESE dimensions of SD. It focuses on four steps:
1) specifying the type, scope, and criteria of evaluation;
2) collecting data and isolating policy effects:
3) conducting PME; and 4) ensuring policy learning.
7.1 Specifying the type, scope, and criteria of evaluation
There exist different, potentially related types of
evaluation. Government policy managers and other
participants involved in evaluation need to be certain
which type is of primary interest. Some are initiated
by governments, others by non-governmental actors.
Both may conduct evaluations themselves or contract
professional evaluators to perform evaluation tasks.
Different types of evaluation may differ significantly
in their level of formality and technical sophistication,
the depth of data collection and analysis, and the
conclusions that can be drawn. Further complicating
evaluation is the fact that in most societies different
actors can undertake different forms of evaluation
simultaneously for the same policy and the results of
these multiple efforts can complement or contradict
each other, affecting the lessons that may be drawn.
Box 7.1 describes some commons types of evaluation.
Of these various types of evaluation currently
characterized by policy scientists, what is called
“adequacy of performance evaluation” is perhaps the
most pertinent to IP. In addition to evaluating a policy
Box 7.1: Types of Policy Evaluation
n Effort (input) evaluation is an attempt to measure the quantity of inputs – personnel, office space,
communication, transportation, and so on—all of which are calculated in terms of the monetary costs they
involve. The purpose of this type of evaluation is to establish a baseline of data that can be used for further
evaluations of the efficiency or quality of public service delivery.
n Performance (output) evaluation examines outputs - such as the number of hospital beds, the number of
schools, and the number of patients seen or children taught - rather than inputs. The aim of performance
evaluation is to determine what the policy is producing, sometimes regardless of the stated objectives. This
type of evaluation produces benchmark or performance data that are used as inputs into the more
comprehensive and intensive evaluations mentioned below.
n Process evaluation examines the organizational methods including rules and operating procedures that are
used to deliver policy components. The objective is usually to see if a process can be streamlined and made
more efficient.
n Efficiency evaluation attempts to assess the costs of a programme and judge if the same amount and quality
of outputs could be achieved at a lower cost. Input and output evaluations are the building blocks of this
form of evaluation.
n Evaluation of the policy assessment may be conducted to learn lessons on the various aspects of assessment
such as the stakeholders involved, analyses conducted, the communication of the assessment results, the
influence on decision-making, etc.
n Adequacy of performance evaluation (also known as effectiveness evaluation) compares the performance of
a given policy to its intended objectives to determine whether the policy is meeting its objectives and
whether the objectives need to be adjusted in the light of the policy’s accomplishments. For integrated policy
evaluation, however, ESE criteria agreed at the decision-making stage should also be included as the basis for
evaluation.
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against its objectives, however, additional ESE criteria
need be included for integrated policy evaluation,
which is the focus of this chapter.
Policy managers, together with those who will
perform evaluation tasks, also need to determine the
scope of integrated evaluation. At a general level the
scope should be guided by what is required of
integrated evaluation, i.e. comparing policy
performance to the agreed policy objectives and ESE
criteria. At the operational level, the scope of
evaluation needs to be defined based on the amount
of information available for evaluative analysis and
what is to be done with the findings from evaluation.
Possible conclusions of evaluation range from
maintaining all aspects of an existing policy to
changing the policy substance and process, and rarely,
terminating the policy. Accordingly, evaluation can
involve merely reviewing – through timely monitoring
– how established policy components are doing and
whether the assumptions underlining the policy and
its components appear to be correct. Or it can aid in
deciding whether or how the policy initiative should
be modified, defending the proponent’s ideas, and
recording achievements for succeeding policy debates,
deliberations, and arguments. For example, one of the
things that may be made clear is whether the policy
objectives established at the policy formulation stage
are “operationalizable” on the ground and whether
those objectives should be reformulated.
Evaluation criteria provide standards by which
policy outcomes can be evaluated.52 They enable
evaluation activities to focus on the aspects of policy
outcomes that are valued most by the society. Policy
outcomes are often multi-faceted, and different
judgments can be made depending on which aspects
of policy outcomes are emphasized. For example, the
success of a policy designed to reduce school dropout rates may be evaluated by the changes in school
drop-out rates before and after the implementation of
the policy, as well as related indicators such as
changes in household income levels (due to changes
in family labour supply as children stop helping in the
filed or factories).
To be consistent, evaluators should use the same
criteria and indicators established for comparing
policy options during the decision-making stage.
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These criteria and indicators should cover the ESE
concerns as well as the primary objectives to be
achieved by the policy. This assumes, however, that
the ESE concerns have indeed been integrated in the
earlier stages of the policy process. This may not be
the case in practice. There are many cases, however,
where the integration has not taken place earlier in
the policy process or where ESE concerns have only
been partially addressed. In such cases, achieving
integrated policy evaluation requires ESE criteria and
indicators to be established and applied anew. This
retroactive, or ex-post approach is most valuable for
generating general lessons for future policy
development, but has limited influence on the
orientation of the policy being implemented. This is
exactly why IP is promoted as an effort to internalize
ESE considerations within a policy process from the
very beginning.
7.2 Collecting data and isolating policy effects
Integrated policy evaluation has a particularly strong
demand for data on the various effects that have been
generated from policy implementation. Only by using
such data can the evaluator conduct an analysis to
determine whether the observed effects are in line
with the policy objectives and the ESE criteria and
indicators. Monitoring of policy performance, which
collects data and information, therefore, is an
indispensable component of the policy evaluation
stage. The monitoring agency – whether the
evaluating agency itself or another designated agency
– takes the scope of evaluation as a starting point,
collects the required data, and feeds the results into
evaluative analysis.
There are two major types of data collection methods
with different cost and time implications: primary and
secondary. Primary data are collected directly by the
organization responsible for evaluation, which tends to
take more time and cost more. Secondary data are
already collected by other organizations for purposes
other than the evaluation concerned, which is less
expensive. Examples of secondary data include national
census, financial market data, or demographic health
survey data. Box 7.3 describes a sub-category of data
collection methods.
Before setting out to collect data, however,
monitoring and evaluating agencies should establish
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
or adopt data systems and analytical units. For
example, for agriculture policy’s effects on
biodiversity, there are World Conservation Union
(IUCN) red-list of endangered species, UNEP-World
Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) protected
areas database, and a lot of Geographic Information
System datasets owned by space agencies. As far as
analytical units are concerned, the biodiversity effects
of agriculture policy can be analysed in terms of the
area of habitats altered or population of selected
species threatened. These questions are preferably
dealt with when defining the criteria and indicators at
the decision-making stage.
Thus, working with statistical and analytical
agencies in government at the outset of a policy
process is much more time and resource effective, for
example, than trying to ”retro-fit” existing data
sources after-the-fact. And, in many cases, the only
way to effectively assess the impacts of a policy
intervention is to have baseline data before the policy
change, which can be compared to the same data
collected after the policy and its component
programmes and plans have been put into effect. That
is, in many cases retroactively attempting to
reconstruct a policy baseline may be impossible.
In designing data-gathering activities, policy
managers, monitoring agents, and evaluators should
anticipate the kind of results that can occur from
both official and unofficial policy evaluation. Policy
evaluation should be designed in a way to ensure
policy “judges” are provided with enough good
information to allow for reasonably intelligent,
defensible, and replicable assessments of ongoing
policy processes and outcomes. Policy managers, in
particular, must ensure that accurate and unbiased
information is available to concerned individuals,
Box 7.2: Data Collection Methods in Policy Evaluation
n Sample surveys: Sample surveys provide comprehensive and vital information about the target population.
Done properly, sample surveys lead to conclusions about the entire population based on trends and patterns
of change within the representative sample.
n Case studies: As a good complement to methods involving larger samples such as surveys, case studies
document the life story or sequence of events over time related to a person, location, household, or
organization to obtain insight into the impacts of a policy.
n Key informant interviews: One-on-one talk about a specific topic or issue with an individual recognized or
designated as a community or institutional leader. The aim is to learn the key person’s views and perceptions
of the policy, its process, the related political setting.
n Focus group discussions: Focus groups elicit a multiplicity of views within a group context in a way that
individual interviews cannot (for example, in statistical surveys), or to gather local terminology or beliefs for
research purposes. Focus group discussions can be used as an individual monitoring activity or as a
complement to other methods, especially for triangulation and validity checking.
n Community group interviews: Series of set questions and facilitated discussion in an interview meeting open
to all community members used to gather views and feedback of beneficiaries and other stakeholders to be
used by decision-makers and to disseminate information to the community.
n Direct observation: Detailed observation of what is seen or heard on the ground where a policy is expected
to take effect. Very useful as a means to report on behaviours, actions, and processes, for example, a change
in behaviour of extension workers toward ethnic minorities as a result of a project training activity.
Adapted from: World Bank: Social and Environmental Sustainability of
Agriculture and Rural Development Investments: A Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit
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Table 7.1: Evaluation Design for Isolating Net Outcomes from Gross Outcomes
Type
Description
Design 1: Randomized controlled trials
A randomized controlled trial establishes the net impact of a policy by
exposing a group of people to the policy intervention in question (the
experimental group) whilst withholding the policy to a comparison
group (the control group). The allocation of people or units to the
experimental and control group is undertaken on a randomized basis.
Design 2: Before/after comparison
It takes a single sample of the population and exposes it to a policy or
programme initiative, and the net effect size is measured in terms of
the difference in the outcome of interest before and after the
intervention is introduced.
Design 3: Matched comparison
In this design, an experimental group is exposed to a policy whilst a
closely matched control group does not receive the policy in question.
groups, and organizations. With this goal in mind,
they should ensure that policymaking is transparent
and accountable in order to discourage
misperceptions about the role and intentions of
government in implementing policies.
In this regard, it is important for evaluators to
distinguish between gross outcomes and net
outcomes of a policy to the extent possible.53, 54 Gross
outcomes consist of all observed changes in an
outcome measure for the policy, and net outcomes are
those effects that can be reasonably attributed to the
policy. The effects of other policies and events also
include cumulative effects, which may be difficult to
attribute to any causes. The relationship between gross
outcomes and net outcomes can be expressed as:
Gross outcome={net outcome}+{effects of other
policies}+{effects of other events }.
Table 7.1 lists three commonly used evaluation
designs in isolating the net outcome from gross
outcome. While some designs are more likely to
produce more credible estimates of policy outcomes
than others, in practice it is difficult or impossible to
adopt the “best” evaluation design due to time and
resource constraints. The evaluators should instead
choose the best possible design by taking into
consideration the importance of the policy, the
practicality of evaluation designs, and the probability
of producing useful and credible results.
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7.3 Conducting Participatory Monitoring
and Evaluation (PME)
PME is a process through which stakeholders at
various levels engage in monitoring or evaluating a
particular project, programme, or policy, share control
over the content, the process, and the results of the
PME activity, and engage in identifying or taking
corrective actions. It focuses on the active
engagement (with capacity building elements) of
primary stakeholders to evaluate government efforts
and outputs. Table 7.2 compares the conventional and
participatory approaches to evaluation.
Using formal consultations with members of
affected public or other stakeholders is becoming a
common practice. There are many mechanisms for
such consultations, which policy managers should
embrace. These include setting up forums for public
hearings and establishing special consultative
committees, task forces, and inquiries for evaluative
purposes. These can range from small meetings of
less than a dozen participants lasting several
minutes to multi-million dollar inquiries that hear
thousands of individual briefs and can take years to
complete. In many societies, political evaluation of
government action is built into the system, in the
form, for example, of congressional or parliamentary
oversight committees or mandated administrative
review processes. While in some countries these
tend to occur on a regular basis, in others the
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Table 7.2: Conventional and Participatory Modes of Evaluation
Conventional
Participatory
Policy managers, outside experts
Affected groups, policy
implementers, as well as policy
managers
Role of primary stakeholders
Provide information only
Collect and analyse data and
information, share findings, and
take actions
How success is measured?
Externally defined, mainly
quantitative indicators
Internally defined indicators, more
qualitative indicator
Approach
Pre-determined, standardized
Adaptive
Who plans and manages the
process?
process may be less routine, and operate on a more
ad hoc basis.
7.4 Ensuring policy learning
The designation of a policy as a success or failure is
often a semantic tool used in public debates and
policy contestations to seek political advantage. Policy
evaluation involves attributing blame and credit for
government activities, which can have electoral and
other political consequences for policy actors, making
it an unavoidably political process. These political
challenges and other challenges in policy evaluation
are described in Box 7.3.
To overcome purely subjective or politicallymotivated evaluations, policy managers and
evaluators promote evaluation as an approach to
policy learning. 55 They can develop political will and
maturity to use evaluation results and stimulate
Box 7.3: Challenges in Policy Evaluation
n Political time and evaluation time. It takes time to evaluate policy adequantely, but the political world
moves at faster pace. As a result, policy-makers and other key stakeholders are often impatient and demand
quick evaluation.
n Political motives for evaluation. Evaluation is often employed in a biased and self-interested manner for
political reason. For example, evaluation may be conducted to disguise or conceal a situation feared to show
the government in a poor light, and sometimes the evaluation is designed to gain partisan political advantage
or reinforce pre-set ideological postulates instead of to improve policymaking.
n Lack of absorptive capacity. A high level of absorptive capacity is required if the lessons of evaluations are to
be properly assimilated, but the extent to which such capacity exists in government varies greatly from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and from sector to sector or issue to issue.
n Lack of information. Evaluation requires the collection of precise information on policy performance and
impacts, and its compilation in a standardized fashion in order to allow comparisons of costs and outcomes
over time and across policy sectors. Information gathering and management systems in themselves are quite
technical and increasingly sophisticated.
n Lack of expertise. The evaluation of integrated policies, in view of the inherent complexities, often requries
technical expertise that is often not readily available in many countries.
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public demand for policy learning. They can also
encourage building in a flexible and adaptive
approach to policy design. Box 7.4 describes major
types of policy learning.56
In addition, policy managers, monitoring agencies,
and evaluators can request that government
intentions be clarified, made consistent, and
publicized in various fora such as agency or legislative
websites and annual reports as well as media releases
and educational materials. They can, at the same time,
request that criteria for determining success and
failure are clearly specified and their rationales
justified and adhered to by government
spokespersons. And they can continually monitor
changing circumstances and alter some aspects of
policies as these circumstances unfold. That is, they
should not insist or pretend that governments are
infallible or omniscient but rather promote as much as
possible the notion that governments are learning
organizations and ensure that lessons are indeed
learned and fed back into further policy processes.
Finally, policy managers should establish links
between the evaluating organization and its
environment, and within a governmental organization,
between an evaluating agency and new and existing
stores of information.57 Enhancing the organizational
capacity of the state agencies involved in IP is critical
to ensure that learning, of any kind, results from
evaluation. Policy managers involved in IP, therefore,
must concern themselves with establishing and
maintaining these links.
Illustration: Evaluating the implementation
of the Kyoto Protocol
Each year the 192 countries that are party to the
UNFCCC hold a Conference of Parties (COP). The COP
forms the governing body of the UNFCCC and
oversees the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. In
2005, the annual COP was supplemented with a
meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP or
COP/MOP), and this has remained the case since. From
1995 to 2008, a total of 14 annual COPs were held,
the latest in Poznan, Poland, in December 2008. COP’s
responsibilities include monitoring, enforcing
compliance, and evaluation of Annex I countries’
implementation of their commitments. The evaluation
focuses on two major factors: 1) whether Parties
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Box 7.4: Four types of policy learning
Social learning is the most general and
significant type of learning which policy
managers can promote and to which they must
react. It involves fundamental shifts in public
attitudes and perceptions of social problems and
policy issues and involves different types of
actors, both inside and outside of governments
and existing policy subsystems.
Lesson-drawing is a more limited, meansoriented, type of learning. It involves a variety of
actors drawing lessons from their own experiences
and the experiences of others in implementing
existing policies.
Policy-oriented learning is a more restricted type
of learning that involves the clarification of
existing goals and policy beliefs based on
experiences gained from evaluations of existing
policies. It is the most common type of learning to
emerge from typical policy evaluation activities.
Government learning is the most restricted type of
learning. It involves reviews of policy and
programme behaviour by existing actors and tends
to be means-oriented at best. Its impact and
consequences are generally limited to improvement
of the means by which policies are implemented
and administered.
follow the Protocol’s rulebook and comply with their
commitments; and 2) whether the emissions data
used to assess compliance is reliable.
To enable effective evaluation, the Kyoto Protocol
included a set of monitoring and compliance
procedures to enforce the Protocol’s rules, address any
compliance problems, and avoid any error in
calculating emissions data and accounting for
transactions under the three Kyoto mechanisms –
emissions trading, clean development mechanism and
joint implementation. Article 5 of the Kyoto Protocol,
for example, commits Annex I Parties to having in
place, no later than 2007, national systems for the
estimation of greenhouse gas emissions by sources
and removals by sinks. Article 7 requires Annex I
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Parties to submit annual greenhouse gas inventories,
as well as national communications, at regular
intervals, both including supplementary information
to demonstrate compliance with the Protocol.
Article 8 states that expert review teams will review
the inventories as well as the national communications
submitted by Annex I Parties. In addition, the Kyoto
Protocol states that guidelines for national systems,
adjustments, the preparation of inventories and
national communications, as well as for the conduct
of expert reviews should be regularly reviewed thereby
providing the basis for policy learning.
The parties to the UNFCCC agreed at COP13 in Bali
in December 2007 that negotiations on a future
agreement have to be concluded at COP15 in
Copenhagen. This decision was made based on the
recommendation of the UN Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change on the need for swift action to
urgently fight climate change. And also the
recognition that 2009 will be one of the last chances
for an agreement if it is to be approved and ratified
prior to the expiry of the commitments set in the
Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
References
52. Swiss, J. E. (1991). Public Management Systems:
Monitoring and Managing Government Performance.
Upper Saddle River, N.J., Prentice Hall.
53. Rossi and Freeman, 1993
54. McLaughlin, M. W. (1985). Implementation
Realities and Evaluation Design. Social Science and
Social Policy. R. L. Shotland and M. M. Mark, Beverly
Hills: Sage: 96-120.
55. Sanderson, I. (2002). “Evaluation, Policy Learning
and Evidence-Based Policy Making.” Public
Administration 80(1): 1-22.
56. Davidson, E. J. (2005). Evaluation Methodology
Basics. Sage, Thousand Oaks.
57. Mitchell, R. and S. Nicholas (2006). “Knowledge
Creation Through Boundary-Spanning.” Knowledge
Management Research and Practice 4: 310-318.
Further Reading
Chelimsky, E. (1995). New Dimensions in Evaluation.
Evaluation and Development: Proceedings of the
World bank Conference on Evaluation and
Development. W. Bank, International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development: 3-14.
Davidson, E. J. (2005). Evaluation Methodology Basics.
Sage, Thousand Oaks.
Hellstern, G.-M. (1986). Assessing Evaluation
Research. Guidance, Control, and Evaluation in the
Public Sector. F.-X. Kaufman, G. Majone and V.
Ostrom. Berlin, Walter de Gruyter: 279-312.
Langbein, L. and C. L. Felbinger (2006). Public
Programme Evaluation: A Statistical Guide. Armonk,
M.E. Sharpe.
Rossi, P. H., M. W. Lipsey, et al. (2004). Evaluation: A
Systematic Approach. Thousand Oaks, Sage.
Stufflebeam, D. L. (2001). “Evaluation Models.” New
Directions for Evaluation 89: 7-98.
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8. Conclusion
This manual has introduced an integrated approach to
public policymaking. It has argued that the demand for
such an approach has come from a number of
international processes, including the MDGs, WSSD,
MA, and MEAs. It has acknowledged that many
organizations have responded to the call for integrated
policymaking by developing various sustainabilityoriented policy assessment initiatives. It has explained
that IP is another response to the need for proactive
integration of SD considerations into policymaking.
The manual has offered a framework for applying
the IP approach. Integration is interpreted at three
levels. First, the ESE dimensions of SD must be
integrated and considered jointly in relation to a
policy issue and its solutions. Second, the ESE
considerations must be factored into each stage of
the policy process. Third, IP must bring political,
administrative, and financial constraints into account.
Specifically, at the agenda-setting stage, a problem
of public concern should be defined in relation to a
society’s SD context, including priorities, risks and
opportunities, as well as to the concerns of other
sectors and groups that may affect the problem and
its resolution. During policy formulation, the rootcause analysis of the problem should find out the
critical ESE factors and their inter-linkages in causing
the problem and when screening policy options, the
political, administrative, and financial feasibility
should be considered. In the decision-making stage,
projected implications of policy options related to ESE
criteria and indicators should serve as the basis for
deciding which policy option should be selected. In
implementation, the challenge is to ensure that policy
interventions, which have supposedly integrated ESE
consideration, do actually take place on the ground.
When it comes to evaluation, policy performance is
examined against both the established policy
objectives and the ESE criteria/indicators.
In all of these activities, individual policy
participants, including policy managers, initiators,
formulators, decision-makers, implementers,
monitoring agents, evaluators, and many other actors
involved in the policy process – are expected to
perform their roles according to the requirements of IP.
Conclusion – Key points
n Recognize that this manual, on its own, is inadequate to persuade policymakers and other participants to
adopt IP
n Need to demonstrate the risks of unsustainable development and opportunities from seeking synergies
among ESE dimensions of SD in order to create a genuine appreciation of the need for an integrated
approach to policymaking
n Organize or reinvigorate an SD “policy community” to review related national frameworks and institutional
arrangements and propose improvements focusing on SD criteria and indicators as well as the effectiveness
of related institutions
n Invest in sustainability-related statistical capacities in developing countries with a focus on having an
adequate number of qualified statisticians, acquiring and maintaining related data systems, and sustaining
the regular data collection and reporting operations
n Provide long-term as well as short-term training to create a critical mass of qualified policy analysts who
can potentially assume the roles of policy managers, initiators, formulators, decision-makers, implementers,
monitoring agents, and evaluators in support of IP
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This assumes, however, that all these actors are already
convinced of the value of IP and are already motivated
to apply this approach. Clearly, this is a generous
assumption. This manual may guide efforts in pursuing
IP, but on its own it is not enough to persuade policy
participants to adopt such an approach.
To gear public policies towards SD requires much
more than a manual or hundreds of manuals. It
requires a genuine conviction of the need for SD on
the part of governments and citizens. This, in turn,
needs to come from a true appreciation of the risks
from pursuing particular societal objectives at the
expense of other objectives and the opportunities
from seeking synergies that exist among a society’s
ESE imperatives. Analysts can demonstrate these risks
and opportunities through case studies. Advocacy
groups and media can play an important role in
communicating these risks and opportunities.
But even when individuals in the government and
society are convinced of the need for SD and willing
to apply IP, they face tremendous institutional and
capacity constraints, some of which have been
identified in the preceding chapters. The rest of this
chapter focuses on how to strengthen institutions and
capacities to ease the transition towards IP. It focuses
on four aspects: 1) reviewing the current status of the
SD discussion at the national level; 2) improving the
national SD frameworks and related institutional
arrangements based on the results of the review;
3) systematically investing in statistical capacity to
support sustainability-related analytical work;
and 4) provide training in IP to cultivate a critical
mass of policy analysts at the national level that
could potentially assume the roles of policy managers,
initiators, formulators, evaluators, etc. as described in
this manual.
8.1 Reviewing the status of SD discussions
Most governments have made commitments to SD in
one form or another. Many of them have also
developed related policies, programmes, plans,
procedures, criteria, and indicators, mostly at a
general level. A few countries have established
institutions to be in charge of SD issues, typically
dominated by environmental issues. These general
expressions of commitments to SD, however, are often
not matched by the way in which national budgets
60
are allocated.58 This has invited questions on the
seriousness of the commitments.
It will, therefore, be useful to review the SD
discussions at the country level. The purpose is to
ascertain how the concept of SD is understood by the
government and different segments of society,
whether the various policy, programmes, plans,
procedures, criteria, and indicators under the SD
banner reflect a common understanding domestically
and internationally, as well as the functions and
effectiveness of related institutional arrangements.
This type of review is important for IP, which requires
the framing of policy issues in relation to a society’s
SD context, the use of ESE criteria and indicators to
guide decisions and evaluation, and the coordination
among sectors and agencies.
Various actors can initiate and sponsor such
reviews. Governments and domestic groups, for
example, may want to take stock of national
understanding and practice related to SD. External
organizations promoting SD may also sponsor such
reviews. The OECD, for example, has conducted such
reviews in its member states and in some partner
countries. This effort could be expanded to cover
other countries, but national ownership of such
reviews is the key to ensuring their usefulness.
8.2 Improving national SD frameworks
and institutional arrangements
Based on the review mentioned above, government
officials in charge of SD together with other actors
may want to consider whether existing SD
frameworks and institutional arrangements may
require adjustment. For example, if the concept of SD
as practiced reflects an excessive emphasis on
sustaining economic growth to the disadvantage of
social equity and environmental integrity, a more
balanced approach may need to be introduced and
related criteria and indicators developed. If an agency
in charge of SD does not have the convening power to
bring line agencies together, it may also call for
alternative arrangements.
As far as having supportive institutions for IP is
concerned, major efforts are often needed to establish
SD criteria and indicators. A number of intergovernmental bodies have spent many years to develop
such criteria and indicators, but translating them into
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A reference manual
the national level remains a challenge. These criteria
and indicators are sometimes not explicitly publicized.
Where they are, they tend to stay at a general level,
defying any effort to measure them. In a few cases
where specific national level SD criteria and indicators
do exist, they may not be translated into the sector
level. In this regard, it may also be noted that in most
countries the allocation of public budgets is typically
not tied to any SD criteria and indicators.
Making improvements along these lines, however, is
likely to encounter the very same constraints that IP
does, i.e. the political, administrative, and analytical
factors that may pose as barriers. Thus, anyone who
would like to initiate the SD review and propose
improvements may want to proceed with a modest
pace. Organizing or reinvigorating a SD “policy
community” that consists of government officials,
technical experts, journalists, and civil society
representatives may be the first step needed to
initiate the review and discuss improvements. Indeed,
it is a policy process in its own right.
8.3 Investing in SD-related statistical capacity
A chronic constraint experienced by most countries in
operationalizing SD (including the uptake of IP) is the
lack of related data and statistics, especially on the
social and environmental dimensions of sustainability.
Although one may want to explore the ESE root
causes of a policy issue and use ESE criteria and
indicators to guide decision and evaluation, if regular
data collection for important indicators is difficult,
then IP is unlikely to go very far. In many
sustainability-oriented assessments, for example, the
choice of indicators tends to be ad hoc and mostly
qualitative, reflecting a serious lack of data to support
integrated analysis.
This problem is especially acute in developing
countries whose statistical agencies are typically
under-budgeted relative to the role they are expected
to play for supporting good policy analysis. IP imposes
additional requirements in terms of the range and
type of data to be collected. For these agencies to
meet the needs of IP, they would require support in
recruiting and retaining an adequate number of
trained statistical personnel, acquiring and
maintaining data systems that are internationally
comparable, and sustaining data collection and
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reporting operations on a regular basis. All of these
require investments by the public sector.
External agencies could help developing countries
strengthen their SD-related statistical capacity
through direct budget support. In addition, intergovernmental statistical organizations should
establish long-term programmes to provide related
training to statistical professionals in these countries.
Various ongoing statistical training activities do exist,
but they tend to be run along sectoral lines. It is
suggested that broad ESE dimensions of SD be
incorporated into existing statistical training
curriculums, especially in the short term when the
same statisticians in developing countries are likely to
be responsible for a wide range of statistical tasks.
8.4 Provide training on IP
IP involves many actors: policy managers, initiators,
formulators, decision-makers, implementers,
monitoring agents, evaluators, and others, who may
have overlapping functions (i.e. the same person may
assume different roles). They are required to perform
their roles according to the requirements of IP. For
example, when framing an issue at the agendasetting stage, they need to define issues in relation to
a society’s SD priorities. For decision-making, they
need to project the implications of policy options
against ESE criteria and indicators. Throughout the
policy process, they need to engage and manage
stakeholders. These responsibilities require skills that
may be lacking in many countries.
As in the case of statistical capacity, there exist
various training activities related to SD around the
world. Training in IP may be tagged to these existing
programmes. But care must be taken not to confuse
the targeted audience. For example, IP has a number
of overlaps with sustainability-related assessments
especially at the decision-making stage as described
in this manual where the ESE implications of policy
options are projected. When tagging training
activities to sustainability-related assessment training
programmes, it is important to explain where things
overlap and where things serve distinctive purposes.
For IP to be adopted as a routine approach to public
policymaking, there is a need for a critical mass of
high-quality policy analysts at the country level who
could potentially play the roles of policy managers,
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
initiators, formulators, decision-makers, implementers,
monitoring agents, and evaluators. This requires
systematic in addition to ad hoc training and
educational programmes in IP. A good starting place is
the public policy or public management programmes
that currently exist in many higher education
institutions. Professors and deans in these programmes
are encouraged to build elements of IP into existing
courses. At the same time, public institutions and
external agencies can sponsor short-term courses on
IP in response to the growing demand for professionals
able to perform the various functions in IP.
58. OECD NSDP review.
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Glossary
Agenda setting: First stage of a policy cycle, in which policy initiators define the list of issues or problems
(including potential opportunities) that will receive the governments’ attention
Baseline: Also referred to as a “business as usual” scenario, describes what would happen to established indicators
if there were no change in government decisions and if existing trends were to continue. The baseline is different
from the ‘status quo’. The baseline provides an essential reference point against which various other policy options
can be compared.
Decision-making: The third stage in the policy cycle, where one selects a course of action or non-action among a
small set of options identified at the policy formulation stage with a view towards implementation
Environmental Impact Assessment: A process, applied mainly at project level, to improve decision making and to
ensure that development options under consideration are environmental and socially sound and sustainable.
A subset of tools has emerged from EIA, including social impact assessment, cumulative effects assessment,
environmental health impact assessment, risk assessment, biodiversity impact assessment and SEA.
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/4/21/37353858.pdf
Integrated Assessment (IA): Generally refers to an assessment that crosses issues; spans scales of space and time;
looks forward and back; and includes stakeholder perspectives. IA is an important precursor for adaptive
management and governance. By connecting assessment with policy, information moves beyond pure science and
becomes both salient and legitimate to decision-making processes. Inclusion of stakeholder perspectives ensures
relevance, another criterion for sound assessment.
http://www.iisd.org/measure/learning/assessment/
Implementation: The stage of the policy cycle where a selected option must be translated into action, probably the
most difficult, demanding and critical stage in a policy process.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA): A series of global comprehensive studies, aiming to assess the
consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. The MA has involved the work of more than 1,360
experts worldwide. Their findings, contained in five technical volumes and six synthesis reports, provide a state-ofthe-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide
(such as clean water, food, forest products, flood control, and natural resources) and the options to restore,
conserve or enhance the sustainable use of ecosystems.
http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/About.aspx
Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs): A category of international agreements, that distinguish
themselves by their focus on environmental issues, their creation of binding international law, and their inclusion of
multiple countries. MEAs can be:
•
•
•
Global or regional
Appendix-driven or Annex-driven conventions
Framework conventions
Each MEA require that countries develop specific implementation mechanisms and fulfill obligations involving
reporting, training, public education, etc.
http://www.unep.org/dec/docs/Guide%20for%20Negotiators%20of%20MEAs.pdf
•
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Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PME): A process that emphasizes participation of the stakeholders in
deciding how project progress should be measured and results acted on. It focuses on the active engagement (with
capacity building elements) of primary stakeholders to evaluate government efforts and outputs. PME is potentially very
empowering, as it puts local people in charge, helps develop their skills, shows that their views count, and provides an
opportunity to share successes and learn from each other. Broadening the involvement of the various stakeholders in
identifying and analysing change can create a clearer picture of what is really happening on the ground.
http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-26686-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
Performance (output) evaluation: Is a type of policy evaluation that determines what the policy is producing (ex.
number of units), sometimes regardless of the stated objectives. This type of evaluation produces benchmark or
performance data that are used as inputs into the more comprehensive and intensive evaluations mentioned below.
Policy Cycle: A concept based on the understanding that, under normal circumstances, policy making is not linear,
but a succession of stages and cycles without a clear starting point. One “standardized” version includes the
following stages:
•
•
•
•
•
Agenda setting (Problem identification)
Policy formulation
Decision making (Adoption)
Implementation
Evaluation
Policy evaluation (Integrated): Policy evaluation refers broadly to all the activities carried out by a range of state
and societal actors at the last stage of the policy process. It involves the assessment of both the means being
employed and the objectives being served, and of how a policy has actually fared in practice. Policy evaluation is a
crucial step in policy development as the results are fed back directly into further rounds of policy-making,
affecting future efforts at agenda-setting, policy formulation, decision-making and policy implementation, as well
as future efforts at policy evaluation itself.
Policy formulation: Generally the second stage of a policy cycle, a process of generating policy options in response
to a problem established during the agenda-setting stage.
Results Based Management (RBM): A life-cycle approach to management that integrates strategy, people,
resources, processes and measurements to improve decision-making, transparency, and accountability, and to drive
change. The approach focuses on achieving outcomes by getting the right design early in a process, implementing
performance measurement, learning and changing, and reporting performance. Practically, RBM is an approach to
systematically plan for implementation.
http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/CIDAWEB/acdicida.nsf/En/NIC-31595014-KEF
Social learning: The most general and significant type of policy learning which policy managers can promote and
to which they must react. It involves fundamental shifts in public attitudes and perceptions of social problems and
policy issues and involves different types of actors, both inside and outside of governments and existing policy
subsystems.
Sustainable Development (SD): The Brundtland Report defines SD as “development that meets the needs of the
present without compromizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”. SD focuses on improving
the quality of life for all of the Earth’s citizens without increasing the use of natural resources beyond the capacity
of the environment to supply them indefinitely. It requires an understanding that inaction has consequences and
that we must find innovative ways to change institutional structures and influence individual behaviour. It is about
taking action, changing policy and practice at all levels, from the individual to the international.
http://www.unep.ch/etb/ publications/capacityBuilding/TrainingModule148.pdf
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Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA): Refers to a range of “analytical and participatory approaches that aim
to integrate environmental considerations into policies, plans and programmes and evaluate the inter-linkages with
economic and social considerations”. SEA can be described as a family of approaches which use a variety of tools,
rather than a single, fixed and prescriptive approach. A good SEA is adapted and tailor-made to the context in
which it is applied. The emphasis is on the full integration of the environmental, social and economic factors into a
holistic sustainability assessment.
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/4/21/37353858.pdf
World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD): The Johannesburg Summit 2002 – the World Summit on
Sustainable Development – brought together tens of thousands of participants, including heads of state and
government, national delegates and leaders from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses and other
major groups to focus the world’s attention and direct action toward meeting difficult challenges, including
improving people’s lives and conserving natural resources in a world that is growing in population, with everincreasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security.
http://www.un.org/jsummit/html/basic_info/basicinfo.html
http://www.un.org/jsummit/html/brochure/brochure12.pdf
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Integrated policymaking for sustainable development
Index
Accountability
41
Administrative Capacity
6, 18
22
Analytical Capacity
7, 18
Assessing Policy Options
38-40
Baseline (establishing)
Capacity Building
38
i, 7, 18, 37, 46, 47, 48, 55
56
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
Climate Change
35,42
3, 22, 26, 31, 34-35,
30, 32, 42, 57-58
Computable General Equilibrium (CGE)
Contextual Scans
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Data Collection
31, 38
22
i,5,10
54
Decision making (see Policy Cycle)
Decision Matrix
39
Deforestation
11
Emissions trading
42
Environmental, Social, and Economic
(ESE) Dimensions
6, 10, 14-17, 31,
32, 36,39, 52, 59, 61
ESE Filter
European Commission
17
5, 11
Evaluation (see Policy Cycle)
Food Shortage
11
Forward and Backward Mapping
46
66
Global Green New Deal
3
28, 33
Green Economy
3
Gross and Net Outcomes
55
Health Care
11
Implementation (barriers)
45
Implementation (see Policy Cycle)
Integrated Policymaking (IP)
Causality Analysis (see Root-cause analysis)
Challenges in Policy Evaluation
3, 11, 22, 31, 32
Government’s Toolbox
Agenda Setting (see Policy Cycle)
Al Gore ”An Inconvenient Truth”
Fossil Fuels
5
Integration Filter
6, 14, 16
International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
26,30,34-35
Joint Implementation
Kyoto Protocol
35, 42
26, 27, 42, 50, 57-58
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
5, 10, 59
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)
5, 10, 59
Multilateral Environmental
Agreements (MEAs)
i, ii, 5, 10, 29, 43, 59
Nuclear Energy
22
Organization of Economic Co-operation and
Development’s Development Assistance
Committee (OECD DAC)
5, 11, 40
Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PME)
55
Participatory, inter-agency mechanisms 7, 28, 29-31
Policy Communities
Policy Cycle
3, 9, 24, 28, 30, 59, 61
6, 10, 14-19
Agenda Setting
7, 17, 20-27
Policy Formulation
7, 17, 28-35
Decision Making
8, 17, 36-42
Implementation
8, 17, 43-50
Evaluation
8, 17, 51-58
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Policy Evaluation
52
Policy Formulation (see Policy Cycle)
Policy Innovation
34
Policy Learning
57
Policy Objectives
United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
5, 10, 26, 34,
35, 42, 57-58
World Bank
5, 33, 54
World Summit on Sustainable
Development (WSSD)
5, 10, 59
8, 28, 32
Policy Options
8, 28, 32-34
Policy Transfer
33
Policy Windows
25-26
Political Support
6,18
Poverty Reduction
11
Public consultation
23, 24
Reduced Emission from Deforestation and
Degradation (REDD)
34
Results Based Management
49
Root-cause analysis
8, 28, 31-32, 59
Stakeholder Analysis
49-50
Stern Report
22
Strategic Triangle of a Policy Environment
Subsidies
Sustainable Development (SD)
7,18
3, 11, 22, 32
14
Integrating SD into Policymaking
5, 11, 12
Integrating ESE Dimensions of SD
6, 14-17
SD Issues
SD Priorities
11
22-24
Trade-offs
41
Transparency
41
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 41
United Nations Economic Commission
for Europe (UNECE)
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5, 11
67
FOR YOUR NOTES
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UNEP August 2009
About the UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics
The UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) helps governments, local authorities and
decision-makers in business and industry to develop and implement policies and practices focusing on
sustainable development.
The Division works to promote:
•
•
•
•
sustainable consumption and production,
the efficient use of renewable energy,
adequate management of chemicals,
the integration of environmental costs in development policies.
The Office of the Director, located in Paris, coordinates activities through:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
The International Environmental Technology Centre – IETC (Osaka, Shiga), which implements
integrated waste, water and disaster management programmes, focusing in particular on Asia.
Sustainable Consumption and Production (Paris), which promotes sustainable consumption and
production patterns as a contribution to human development through global markets.
Chemicals (Geneva), which catalyzes global actions to bring about the sound management of chemicals
and the improvement of chemical safety worldwide.
Energy (Paris), which fosters energy and transport policies for sustainable development and encourages
investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
OzonAction (Paris), which supports the phase-out of ozone depleting substances in developing
countries and countries with economies in transition to ensure implementation of the Montreal Protocol.
Economics and Trade (Geneva), which helps countries to integrate environmental considerations into
economic and trade policies, and works with the finance sector to incorporate sustainable development
policies.
Urban Environment (Nairobi), which supports the integration of the urban dimension, with a focus on
environmental issues that have both a local and an international dimension.
UNEP DTIE activities focus on raising awareness, improving
the transfer of knowledge and information, fostering
technological cooperation and partnerships, and
implementing international conventions and agreements.
For more information
see www.unep.fr
For further information
contact:
UNEP DTIE
Economics and Trade Branch
International Environment House
11-13 Chemin des Anémones
CH-1219 Châtelaine,
Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 8243
Fax: +41 22 917 8076
E-mail: [email protected]
www.unep.ch/etb
This book is designed to enable policy and decision
makers, policy analysts, and other actors involved in
policy making processess to appreciate the full value of
Integrated Policymaking in its environmental, social and
economic dimensions. It draws on decades of experience
acquired by UNEP and other organizations in
sustainablilty-motivated policy assessment and
interprets these in the light of recent advances in public
policy science.
The book makes the case for IP to be considered as a
normative policymaking approach, for solutions to be
placed within a policy cycle, and for policy development
to be aligned with prevailing political, institiûtional and
analytical realities.
DTI/1049/GE
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