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MODULE 3: Frameworks for Environmental Assessment and Reporting


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Title: MODULE 3: Frameworks for Environmental Assessment and Reporting

MODULE 3 Frameworks for Environmental
Assessment and Reporting
The DPSIR Framework
  • The UNEP Human-Environment Interaction analytical
    approach is built on
  • the Driving Forces-Pressure-State-Impact-
    Response (DPSIR) framework,
  • the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)
    Conceptual Framework, and
  • vulnerability considerations.
  • It is multi-scalable and indicates generic
    cause-and-effect relations.

Components of the GEO-4 Analytical Framework
DRIVERS Sometimes referred to as indirect or
underlying drivers or driving forces and refer to
fundamental processes in society, which drive
activities having a direct impact on the
Sometimes referred to as direct drivers, as in
the MA framework. They include, in this case, the
social and economic sectors of society (also
sometimes considered as Drivers). Human
interventions may be directed towards causing a
desired environmental change and may be subject
to feedbacks in terms of environmental change, or
could be intentional or unintentional by-products
of other human activities (i.e. pollution).
  • increase stress on the environment, e.g. rapidly
    increasing population, high per capita
    consumption of resources, overuse of forest
    resources, (negative) imbalance of trade,
  • Are considered
  • from a policy perspective as the starting point
    for tackling environmental issues, and
  • from an indicator viewpoint, where they are the
    most readily available, since they are derived
    from socioeconomic databases.

  • the condition of the environment resulting from
    the pressures outlined above, e.g. polluted water
    resources, degraded land, deforested areas.
  • Is important in affecting human health and
    well-being, and socioeconomic activities either
    directly or indirectly, e.g. degraded land ?
    reduced food production? increased food
    insecurity ?malnutrition
  • Knowledge about the state and pressures is
    the staring point for planning how the
    environment can be influenced to improve human

STATE (contd)
Also includes trends, that may reveal
environmental change, which could be both natural
and human induced. One form of change, such as
climate change (referred to as a direct driver in
the MA framework), may lead to other forms of
change, such as biodiversity loss (a secondary
effect of climate gas emissions).
  • These are functional changes resulting from
    changes in the characteristics of the
  • E.g. in deforestation the State of the forest
    may change to a forest with reduced canopy cover.
    A rise in the price of fuelwood resulting from
    this change would be an impact.

IMPACTS (contd)
  • May be environmental, social or economic,
    contributing to the vulnerability of both people
    and the environment.
  • For people, the magnitude of impact may depend
    on a societys vulnerability. Vulnerability to
    change varies among social groups depending on
    their geographic, economic and social location,
    exposure to change and capacity to mitigate or
    adapt to change.

  • Societal or individual actions taken to overcome,
    reduce, correct or prevent negative environmental
    impacts correct environmental damage or
    conserve natural resources.
  • May include regulatory action, environmental or
    research expenditures, public opinion and
    consumer preferences, changes in management
    strategies, and the provision of environmental
  • Satisfactory indicators of societal response tend
    to be the most difficult to develop and interpret.

  • May be made as elements among the drivers,
    pressures, or impacts which may be used for
    managing society in order to alter the
    human-environment interactions.
  • May be made at different levels, for example,
    environmental laws and institutions at national
    level, and MEAs and institutions at the regional
    and international levels

Local IEAR Alemaya lakes in the Ethiopian
The Alemaya lakes in the Ethiopian Highlands
originally covered more than 175.14 ha but had
shrunk to 87.91 ha in 1985 and to a mere 58.60 in
2002. It is now believed that the lakes have all
but completely dried up.
Local IEAR Alemaya lakes in the Ethiopian
Highlands (contd)

The loss of the lakes, which were a source of
drinking water and were used for irrigation and
fisheries, has affected the livelihoods and
well-being of more than 550 000 people in the
Ethiopian towns of Alemaya and Harar.
Local IEAR Alemaya lakes in the Ethiopian
Highlands (contd)
  • Some pressures and impacts responsible for the
    reduction of Alemaya Lakes
  • A dramatic increase in both urban and rural
    settlements has put tremendous pressure on
    natural resources in the area, including water
  • Engineering works, including the construction of
    roads and other infrastructure, loosened
    topsoil, leading to soil erosion and siltation of
    the lakes

(No Transcript)
The Opportunities Framework
  • AEO-2 used an analytical model referred to as the
    Opportunities Framework. It
  • Starts by developing an inventory of existing
  • Looks at these as offering opportunities for
    developing policies and strategies for
    sustainable development
  • Evaluates the effort required to improve existing
    opportunities to reach sustainable development


The Opportunities Framework (contd)
  • The opportunities framework methodology tries to
    address the following questions
  • What resources are available at the regional and
    sub-regional levels (resource state-and-trends)?
  • What opportunities exist for using the resources
    to promote poverty reduction and sustainable
    development (value/opportunities and potential)?
  • What are the main challenges that face Africa in
    capitalizing on the opportunities to utilize the
    resources (demands/pressures)?


The Opportunities Framework (contd)
  • What policy and institutional actions should be
    taken in order to capitalize on the
  • What is the impact (including potential) of each
    policy on the assets and the environment? (policy
  • What would be the consequences of Africas
    success/failure to seize the opportunities? What
    would be the consequences of Africas seizing the
    opportunities (outlook)?

AEO-2 Opportunities Framework Model
Other analytical frameworks
  • The Issues Framework
  • Highlights priority issues such as land
    degradation, loss of biodiversity, etc., in its
  • Lacks a systematic and comprehensive basis for
  • However, focus on priority issues may easily
    increase public awareness and receive political
    support for emerging issues

Other analytical frameworks (contd)
  • The Resource Sector framework
  • Uses a human activity classification (e.g.
    agriculture, tourism, forestry) as a basis for
    organizing environmental assessment.
  • Takes advantage of the way national governments
    and statistical systems are organized.
  • Provides information on benefits and products
    derived from the environment and the economic
    consequences of environmental trends.
  • However, it is narrow in focus and may neglect
    broader ecosystems linkages and implications.

Other analytical frameworks (contd)
  • Environmental Media Framework
  • Represents the traditional way of reporting on
    the state of the environment.
  • Reflects the way we commonly divide the
    environment into components and the way
    environmental monitoring is undertaken.
  • Reflects legislative mandates and national goals.
  • Facilitates comprehensive analysis within each
    environmental component.
  • However, it is weak at accommodating ecological
    processes or problems affecting more than one
    environmental medium.