Chapter 4: Mainstreaming into National Planning Processes

Table of Contents

Introduction Multimedia
Key concepts Tools
Topics Results
Key messages Activity
Takeaways Further reading



This chapter discusses national planning processes that support a country’s economic development and presents guidance on how to bring poverty-environment objectives into these processes. It also identifies measures and opportunities to implement the mainstreamed objectives on the ground within sectors and local level.


Key concepts

  • National Development Plans are aspirational and may take the form of a party political manifesto or government action plan.

  • Institutional and context analysis (see chapter 3) can help in identifying and understanding planning processes, timelines, institutions and actors involved.

  • National Development Plans tend to focus on economic growth and job creation; the challenge is to get them to integrate environmental sustainability criteria.

  • National Development Plans are strategic: they can influence government partners, intergovernmental organizations, UN organizations, donors , the private sector and civil society.

  • National development planning is done through a cyclical process, with performance review, elaboration of 5-year plans, monitoring of implementation and progress reporting. Every step in the cycle provides opportunities to integrate poverty-environment objectives.

  • National Development Plans may aggregate sector strategies, such as climate and biodiversity action plans.

  • Briefing notes summarizing evidence of the costs and benefits of integrating poverty-environment are an effective way of influencing decision-makers.

  • Concerted coordination across sectors works to break down silos and advance poverty-environment objectives.

  • Aim to formulate objectives, priority themes, indicators and targets early in the planning process.


Topics covered in this chapter

  • National Development Plan

  • Integrating Poverty-Environment Objectives

  • Green economy strategy

  • National Adaptation Plan (NAP)

  • National biodiversity strategy and action plan (NBSAP)

  • National climate change action plans

  • Implementing Mainstreamed National Planning processes

  • Medium-term expenditure frameworks

  • Performance reviews

  • Institutional stakeholders

  • Public investment programmes

  • Sector strategy

  • Targeting policy and planning processes

  • Mainstreaming, tools and information sources

  • Mainstreaming Reference Group (Bhutan)

  • Institutionalizing mainstreaming within planning processes

  • Communication

  • Trust

  • Silos, breaking down

  • Development, objectives, targets and indicators

  •  South-South Cooperation

Key messages

  • Learn the political aspirations of the National Development Plans
    The political and institutional context can provide insight into how to influence development planning.

  • Know the national development planning process and aim to become a respected resource to government ministries and agencies by engaging throughout the planning cycle
    Lead ministries normally establish sector-based working groups. Participate in such strategic bodies which often draft major parts of the development plan.

  • National climate change strategies and national biodiversity strategies and action plans can give you a head start
    Such strategies can provide valuable information and guidance to argue for the strengthening of environmental resilience and sustainability parameters.

  • South-South Cooperation can play a major role in promoting experience in Poverty-Environment integration
    South-South Cooperation has played a major role in promoting the exchange of experience in employing poverty-environment integration tools, including public environmental expenditure reviews shared between Africa and Asia Pacific regions - Lao PDR and Rwanda - to influence planning and budgeting processes



Did you know?

  • Bangladesh Vision 2021, adopted by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in 2012, assures gender equality and the rights of ethnic groups and all other disadvantaged groups and persons with disabilities

  • Bangladesh is slated to exit least developed country status by 2018, becoming a middle income country

  • Thailand learned from Rwanda on how to successfully secure the engagement of high-ranking government officials in its poverty-environment project







Bangladesh Vision 2021. Box 4.1

Mainstreaming Gender, Climate Change and Pro-Poor Environmental Sustainability into Planning Processes in Mozambique. Box 4.2.

The Use of the NAP [National Action Planning] Process in Mainstreaming. Box 4.3.

Strengthening Poverty-Environment Mainstreaming Capacity in Africa and Asia through South-South Cooperation. Box 4.4.


Activity:  Mainstreaming into National Planning Processes

Discuss in a small group:

  1. Is the national development plan connected to the budget process and likely to drive policy change in the country?

  2. Has the national development planning process been mapped out and analysed with a view to identifying mainstreaming opportunities?

  3. Have the linkages with national budgeting and monitoring processes been identified and analysed?

  4. Have the institutions and actors been identified, and their relationships and mandates determined?

  5. Have existing policies and plans been assessed to determine linkages to development policy and planning processes?

  6. Has a particular policy and/or plan been selected? Is the timeline realistic for influencing this policy and/or plan?

  7. Have mainstreaming tools and information sources been considered and selected?

  8. Have the institutional drivers been analysed with the aim of identifying the country institution to lead the mainstreaming agenda?

  9. Have modes of communication been considered in light of the messages and target audience?

  10. Has a strategy for establishing and building relations and trust been defined?

  11. Has a cross-sectoral coordination mechanism been identified and put in place?

  12. Have options for mainstreaming objectives, targets and indicators been formulated?

  13. Have institutional capacity and legislative requirements for enabling implementation been identified?

  14. Have funding sources been identified?

  • Public finance sources
  • Loans/grants from development partners or global funds
  • Private-public sector partnerships
  1. Have subnational implementation arrangements been identified?




Further reading

Guidance Note on Integrating Environment linked Poverty Concerns into Planning, Budgeting, and Monitoring Processes (2015). UNDP‒UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative.

Guidance Note on Mainstreaming Environment into National Development Planning (n.d.). UNDP‒UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative.

Making the economic case: A primer on the economic arguments for mainstreaming poverty-environment linkages into national development planning (2009). UNDP‒UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative.


Published Date: 
Wednesday, November 1, 2017