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Development Account Projects

Integrating environmental sustainability in the UNDAFs and UN common country programming processes


Since 2007, UNEP has been increasingly engaged in the UN common country programming processes specifically to play a more visible and effective role in addressing the lack of UNCT capacities to properly integrate environment into their work. In particular, UNEP's engagement has piloted a number of interventions aimed at strengthening the systematic integration of environmental sustainability in country analysis and UNDAFs including support to the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) to develop guidance notes on environmental sustainability and climate change, development of national environment summaries to enhance the environmental components of the country analyses, participating in inter-agency thematic working groups and supporting the integration of environmental considerations in the UNDAF outcome priorities and results matrices; provision of technical assistance in the delivery of UNDAFs and joint programmes and delivering training courses on environmental sustainability to UNCTs. The activities and outputs of this project will build on and consolidate the lessons and experience of these pilot efforts.

The value addition that UNEP brings to the UNDAF is its network of staff experienced in environmental mainstreaming particularly through the Poverty Environment Initiative that focuses on environmental mainstreaming at the country level as well as its core role in developing the UNDG Guidelines for mainstreaming environmental sustainability and climate change in UNDAFs. In addition, UNEP has a large and long standing country level network of environmental experts within governments and civil society that can provide critical inputs into the UNDAF development process.

In terms of activities, this project will support the integrating of environmental sustainability in the UNDAFs and UN common country programming processes and the building of national capacity for environmental mainstreaming. UN Country Teams will be supported through training and the provision of National Environmental Summaries that can guide and inform the UNDAF development process, as well as environmental mainstreaming assessments to identity potential entry points into the development planning process.

The project will ensure that environmental sustainability and more specifically UNEP's interventions and activities will be aligned to the identified environment and development priorities and that they are fully integrated in the UN-wide common programming frameworks and processes to be developed collectively by the UNCTs. As part of this process, the project will provide relevant national authorities with training, tools and technical backstopping support to enhance their participation in country programming processes and thus enable them to systematically position environment within these processes.

The project will build on and collaborate with the successful joint UNEP/UNDP Poverty Environment Initiative (PEI), with the environmental mainstreaming assessments, making a strong case for the importance of poverty-environment mainstreaming. The assessments aim to raise awareness, build partnerships, and assess the institutional and capacity needs. The findings of the assessment will then be used by the Government to identify new interventions within the national planning processes and potentially to guide donor support for capacity building. The assessments will also be used by the UN system to identify potential joint activities for inclusion in the UNDAFs.

The lessons learned from the project activities will serve to refine and further enhance the quality and process of UNEP interventions and in particular the training courses and modules, national environment summary tools as well as technical backstopping support at several stages of the formulation of the UNDAF including the development of the country analysis, the mainstreaming of environmental sustainability into the UNDAF results matrix. These results will also serve to enhance UNEP's internal capacities and coordination mechanisms for improved delivery in follow-up processes in other countries both in the short and medium term


The objective of the project is to strengthen the capacities of UNCTs and national institutions for enhanced integration of environmental sustainability in UNDAFs and UN common country programming processes as well as in national and sectoral plans.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improved integration of environmental priority issues in UN Country Analysis and UNDAF Results Matrix and Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
  • Increased capacities of UNCTs and national authorities to mainstream environmental sustainability and climate change considerations into UN country programming and national development processes.

Implementation status: