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Development Account Projects

Development of a collaborative framework for integrated environmental assessments and reporting for Western Africa

Background:

The Environmental Information, Assessment and Early Warning Programme of UNEP has evolved to support national and regional efforts to better understand and analyse interactions between socio-economic variables on one hand, and the environment on the other, and to report on the status of the environment. An important component of this programme is the Environment and Natural Resources Information Networking (ENRIN) sub-programme, which is responsible for organizational networking and capacity building activities related to the management of data and information for environmental assessment and reporting.

Objective:

To strengthen national and regional capacities in environmental data and information management, including analysis and interpretation, enhanced harmonization and comparability

Expected accomplishments:

  • Enhanced environmental assessment and reporting backed by modern information technologies
  • Stronger support for environment analyses, modelling, forecasting and functional analysis
  • An indicator-based, analogue and electronic report on the state of the environment report to feed into the Global Environment Outlook series of UNEP

Effects and Impact:

This project provided training, technical support and computer equipment to 14 countries in West Africa. A data tool was developed, which is being used as the basic building block for an Africa region-wide data tool to support the Africa Environment Outlook (AEO) reporting process. National State of Environment (SoE) inputs for 14 countries of West Africa and for the Sahel zone in West Africa were prepared and formed the basis of the first SOE Report for West Africa (in English and French). Burkina Faso further developed their national contribution into a national state of the environment report, which has been published. An operational environment information network was put in place with 14 national focal points and 2 sub-regional organizations.

The project has also strengthened the capacities of the relevant national institutions in 14 countries in West Africa to carry out integrated environmental assessment and reporting and to manage environmental information. Due to the increased awareness and understanding of the integrated environmental assessment and reporting methodology in institutions in West Africa several countries have taken steps towards the preparation of reports beyond their national SoE inputs prepared under the project, using their own resources. The project has been able to stimulate action at policy level by influencing the establishment of a network of parliamentary session chairpersons on environment from 12 countries within the ECOWAS parliament. The media coverage of the project activities has generated interest from other institutions to be involved in project activities and from other sub-regions to benefit from a similar project, namely Central Africa and the Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD). The lessons learnt from the establishment of the information network have influenced the design and implementation of the Africa Environment Information Network (AEIN), which is one of the major initiatives of the African Ministers’ Conference on the Environment (AMCEN).