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Guidelines for conducting Integrated Environmental Assessments

“Welcome to the Integrated Environmental Assessment (IEA) on-line interactive training resource platform. Here you can find numerous IEA tools, methods, case studies and available reports. You can share your experience in applying IEA methodologies in your region as well as to learn about experience of diverse practitioner network in other parts of the world. Through this platform you can communicate with your colleagues, invite them to join your IEA trainings and also participate in development and testing of new IEA resources.”

This platform is designed for:

  • Governments, practitioners and other stakeholders that are conducting or involved with integrated environmental assessments;
  • Students and educators that are learning about environmental assessment.

The "IEA-General" link contains an eight-volume basic training course on integrated environmental assessment (including PDF, PowerPoint).
You can access additional training modules on specific themes by clicking the tabs above.

IEA Training Manual - Table of Contents

  1. Training Module 1: The GEO approach to integrated environmental assessment
  2. Training Module 2: National IEA process design and organization
  3. Training Module 3: Developing an impact strategy for your IEA
  4. Training Module 4: Monitoring, data and indicators
  5. Training Module 5: Integrated analysis of environmental trends and policies
  6. Training Module 6: Scenario development and analysis
  7. Training Module 7: Creating communication outputs from the assessment
  8. Training Module 8: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning - for improvement and increased impact of the IEA process

IEA Brochure

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Training Module: Achieving National and Sectoral Development Priorities--The use of IEA tools for improved MEA implementation. [ English ]

UN Environment is pleased to provide new Guidelines for Conducting Integrated Environmental Assessments. With the leadership of the Assessment Methodologies, Data and Information Group under the Global Environment Outlook, the participation of several of its members in the drafting and review process as well as a core group of authors, these Guidelines are now available for application by Integrated Environmental Assessment Practitioners and for consultation by the Integrated Environmental Assessment user community.

This document is the result of UN Environment Member State requests in both Governing Council and the UN Environment Assembly and is meant to provide guidance for a wide range of different types of Integrated Environmental Assessments. These can range from global to regional to rapid response assessments and emerging issues assessments. The Guidelines should be considered a ‘living document’ since they will be used and improved throughout the sixth Global Environment Outlook process as well as other on‐going assessment processes.

We hope that Practitioners and Users alike will find the Guidelines informative and user friendly. We look forward to your thoughts and suggestions for improving them.


Vulnerability and Climate Change Impact Assessments for Adaptation

The module on Climate Change Vulnerability and Impact Assessment (VIA), as well as the version for cities, outline key approaches to help in assessing vulnerability to climate change in the context of other non-climatic issues and stresses such as environmental change and consumption levels, and their integration with other drivers and pressures. In this way, they make use of the general DPSIR framework. The DPSIR framework also helps in mainstreaming responses to climate change with other development measures.


“The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) was established to provide the decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change. The IPCC does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters. Its role is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation”.

The IPCC website is a key resource for Climate Change assessment.

Vulnerability Assessment of Freshwater Resources to Environmental Change

This document aims to provide a general framework to partners under UNEP’s project on “Vulnerability Assessment of Freshwater Resources to Environmental Change”.

The framework is developed on the basis of available knowledge of the field, with full consideration of data availability and other constraints, and is intended to be a common platform for partners to adopt their studies, and produce comparable results for regional and inter-basin synthesis at later stage of this joint effort.

GEO Health: Methodology for Integrated Environment and Health Assessment

A focus on Latin America and the Caribbean

Growing evidence is demonstrating the links between environment and health. Water and sanitiation-related diseases are one of the leading causes of under-five mortality. Damage to women's health from indoor air pollution or from carrying heavy loads of water and fuelwood can make women less fit for childbirth and at greater risk of complications during pregnancy. Malaria, an annual killer of an estimated 1 million children under age five, may be exacerbated as a result of deforestation, loss of biodiversity and poor water management. Up to a quarter of the burden of disease worldwide is linked to environmental factors--primarily polluted air and water, lack of sanitation and vector-borne diseases, and measures to prevent damage to health from environmental causes are often more cost-effective than treatment of the resulting illnesses (UNEP-UNDP Poverty and Environment Initiative Handbook, adapted from DFID et all. 2002 and WHO 2008).

This section contains methodology to study the links between health and environment, otherwise called "GEO Health". It is aimed at users that wish to study health-environment links in more detail during the course of an environmental assessment, or those that wish to conduct a dedicated "integrated health and environmental assessment"

GEO Health Executive Summary

GEO Health in City of São Paulo is a methodological approach based on the understanding of the complex interrelation of environmental variables, hazards to health and loss in the quality of life. The complex interrelation between the quality of the environment and human health is the central theme of this report.

  • Download the Executive Summary: PDF

Application of the Ecosystem Approach in Integrated Environmental Assessments

This module provides a set of basic guidelines for applying an "ecosystem approach" as part of an integrated environmental assessment. Among other things, it can help users to systematically consider the services that ecosystems are providing in a particular area--including provisioning (e.g., food, timber and agriculture), regulating (e.g., climate regulation and water quality), support (e.g., pollination or nutrient cycling) and cultural services, as defined in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

Download the Module: English | Spanish

GEO Cities Methodology

This Methodology aims to help stakeholders analyze the interactions between urban development and the environment. It applies the pressures-state-impacts-responses (PSIR) matrix used to prepare the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) series. Municipalities can use this tool to prepare an integrated environmental assessment of their city, and to support informed policy-making on issues affecting the urban environment. 

Climate Change Vulnerability and Impact Assessment in Cities

The module on Climate Change Vulnerability and Impact Assessment (VIA) in cities outlines key approaches to help in assessing vulnerability to climate change in the context of other non-climatic issues and stresses such as environmental change and consumption levels, and their integration with other drivers and pressures. In this way, they make use of the general DPSIR framework. The DPSIR framework also helps in mainstreaming responses to climate change with other development measures.

GEO Cities Manual -- Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia Region

Planning and management for sustainable development require an understanding of the linkages between environmental conditions and human activities and encourage participation by all sectors of society in decision-making. The GEO cities manual is a useful tool that will help strengthen institutional capacity to prepare environmental assessments and comprehensive reports on cities in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

GEO Cities Methodology: English | Spanish | Working Manual for Arab region | Spanish Errata