In 2018, the DAC Network on Environment and Development Co-operation (ENVIRONET) launched a peer-learning exercise to assess how environment issues are integrated in to members’ strategies and programmes. This involved a survey of ENVIRONET members, the development of an analytical framework, peer visits to three DAC members –Canada, the European Union and Sweden– and workshops. This exercise allowed peers to exchange experiences and views on what is working for environmental integration and why, pinpoint persistent and emerging challenges, and share ideas and opportunities for improving the situation.
This report brings together the findings, offering demonstrated lessons and documented good practices that can be used by ENVIRONET members to enhance their approaches to mainstreaming the environment, and to inform future DAC work, including its peer reviews of members’ development co-operation. The findings should also be of interest to a broader audience of development and environment authorities and professionals.
It explores five key dimensions of development co-operation. First, is the need for strong policy commitment and leadership in development co-operation. Second, the importance of robust systems, processes and tools to ensure that environmental issues and environmental impacts are considered throughout the project/programme cycle. A third requirement is for capacity and continuous skill development of staff and partners. The fourth element focuses on the necessity of sharing knowledge, learning and engaging all stakeholders. Finally, it is essential that country partners are well-supported and that their needs are centre stage. These dimensions form the five building blocks for greening development co-operation.
The peer-learning exercise has shown that environment mainstreaming is common practice among DAC members. This follows growing recognition that climate and environment are core to economic and social development and to achieving the SDGs. Mainstreaming enables environmental considerations to be addressed systematically across policies, plans, budgets and activities –and at all stages of the programming cycle. It facilitates a consistent approach to the environment and climate, avoiding contradictory policy choices, such as investing in both renewable energy and fossil fuels. It also allows the limited time and resources of senior decision makers to be more effectively accessed and influenced.