Mainstreaming environment into aid projects

ITC is currently “mainstreaming” environment into its projects and policies. By mainstreaming we mean “the integration of environmental considerations into ITC policies and project activities to ensure sustainability of practices.”


Setting green pathways (Pic Maximillian, Flickr)

As a first step, we have undertaken an audit of the organization from an environmental programming perspective. This will form the basis of a Strategy to mainstream environment in 2014 and beyond.

The audit was discussed today in a meeting (EnvAuditITC) with focal points from different Divisions. I took a few key “takeaways” from this meeting which will help us in the next stage of drafting the Strategy

1. Staff are aware of environmental issues but do not have the tools to make its integration in project design easy. Managers are under pressure to prepare programme proposals and so need tools to draw upon easily.

2. “How to” manuals and indicators are tools that can be developed to help programme managers integrate environment effectively.

3. Long-term resourcing of environmental expertise is needed to maintain levels of support and in-house knowledge.

Stepping outside the organization, it was noted that many developing countries see poverty reduction and economic growth as a greater priority for national planning than environmental preservation. The challenge for public agencies like ITC therefore is to present the case for integrating sustainability into national planning so that economic growth can take place without threatening the long term natural resource base of countries.

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