Mainstreaming the Environment & Sustainable Development in IDPs

2010  - 2011

1 Introduction

The term biodiversity refers to genes, species (plants and animals), ecosystems, and landscapes, and the ecological and evolutionary processes that allow these elements of biodiversity to persist over time. South Africa’s biodiversity provides an important basis for economic growth and development. It provides a basis for our fishing industry, rangelands that support commercial and subsistence farming, horticultural and agricultural industry based on indigenous species, our tourism industry, aspects of our film industry, and commercial and non-commercial medicinal applications of indigenous resources.

Keeping our biodiversity intact is also vital for ensuring ongoing provision of ecosystem services such as production of clean water through good catchment management, prevention of erosion, carbon storage (to counteract global warming), and clean air. Loss of biodiversity puts aspects of our economy and quality of life at risk, and reduces socioeconomic options for future generations.

Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are therefore ‘the true fuel of the Green Economy’. Investment in biodiversity projects at the local level can kick start this economy and serve as a platform from which solutions to service delivery and job creation can be built.

Table Mountain Fund (TMF) is interested in co-funding ‘Green Projects’ that are municipal IDP projects and have thus supported the development of this Roadmap. Their funding priorities include small grants to civil society for conservation projects and capacity building of new entrants to the conservation sector.

2 Purpose and target audience of the roadmap

This Roadmap aims to support efforts towards mainstreaming sustainable development within municipal Integrated Development Plans(IDPs). Specifically, the Roadmap is intended to assist officials in identifying Local Economic Development (LED) opportunities that might be available using natural resources, developing these projects, and incorporating these projects into the IDP.

This Roadmap has been prepared primarily in alignment with TMF criteria for Green Projects, for use by local IDP, LED and environmental municipal officials. However it is anticipated that others might find this document useful in developing and implementing projects that generate LED whilst enhancing the natural environment.

3 Developing the project concept

The first stage for successful delivery of a project is to formulate the project concept. This involves knowing the type of criteria that need to be fulfilled, along with undertaking background research to establish the constraints, opportunities, priorities and needs in an area. While the activities towards design of Green Projects are presented here as a linear ‘Roadmap’, they may occur as an iterative process.

3.1 Defining ‘Green Projects’

‘Green Projects’ are broadly defined as projects promoting a wide range of the components of sustainable development (environment, social, cultural and economic), fundamentally:

1. Promoting LED

•• Building the capacity of small business entrepreneurs

•• Developing skills – both management skills and trades

•• Providing jobs – short-term and permanent

2. Enhancing the biophysical environment

3. Working within the social environment

•• Alignment with relevant policy, provincial strategic objectives, IDP vision and objectives

•• Developing partnerships – with and between government organisations, sectors, Community

Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)

•• Local in spatial scale and human resources

•• Create opportunities and benefits for those most in need (rural residents, women and children, the elderly, disabled people, people who are HIV-positive or who are living with AIDS)

Appendix A includes the type of Green Projects that have been piloted through TMF funding during 2011

3.2 Identifying the environmental opportunities and constraints

The environmental opportunities and constraints within a region are typically assessed within the IDP process, so a record of these may already exist but require updating. If not, an exercise can be undertaken with a small multi-disciplinary group that should include a participant/s with some environmental training and in-depth local knowledge. Local expertise (such as town planners, local scientists and community-based organisations) can be engaged in undertaking this exercise. A brainstorming session with these individuals could focus on identifying the opportunities, needs and constraints of the region, and should consider economic, environmental and social aspects.

The Spatial Development Framework (SDF) developed for the municipality will have identified trends and issues, defined the spatial development pattern, and would be based on data and analysis of the status quo in the region. The SDF would thus be a starting point for identifying project concepts – in certain areas an Environmental Management Framework (EMF) may have been completed and would contain valuable information. The SDF would also have mapped sensitive environments; however it is likely that the latest biodiversity information is documented in the relevant Biodiversity Sector Plan for the region and this should be referred to.

3.3 Assess against the municipal priorities

The priorities within the municipality would be derived from the vision of the municipality, other policies and through IDP consultation. This would already be expressed in the IDP and SDF. All the project concepts should be generated in terms of how they respond to these priorities, the needs of the community, and to the opportunities and constraints of the biophysical environment. The Green Project concepts should also be checked for any overlap or synergies with existing IDP projects. 

3.4 Analyse the projects for sustainable development impacts

A range of tools exist that can be used to analyse the project in terms of its positive or negative contribution to sustainable development. For example, the Environmental Sustainability Filter (refer to Appendix B) is a checklist for considering project concepts against sustainability principles. Using this Filter could help to improve proposed projects as the filter aims to:

  •  Take advantage of resource opportunities
  •  Acknowledge environmental limits and constraints
  •  Enhance quality of life
  •  Avoid damage to the cultural and natural environment

Screening projects through this Filter serves as a preliminary form of environmental assessment. It will also assist with identifying projects that are likely to have significant social and/or environmental impacts, which may thus require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by law.

3.5 Identify partners, participants and champions

Having identified a project concept, the next step is to identify stakeholders, project coordinators or champions and potential partners within the NGO sector and government. Some of these partners can participate in the development of the project activities, project plan and budget. Support for emerging implementers can be obtained from government and private agencies that focus on development of emerging small businesses and entrepreneurs.

See Appendix C for a list of potential support agencies and partners

3.6 Identify funders

Researching and securing potential funding for Green Projects is a key step in the project planning phase. There are two broad approaches to fundraising:


As part of the project planning process, funders should be researched and approached. The following key funder information should be sought when shaping the project proposal:

  •  Relevant contact within the organisation
  •  Objectives, vision, goals and/or mandate of the organisation
  •  Type of activities or organisations they would consider funding e.g. Trusts, NGO’s, Companies, community organisations with a constitution, organisations that comply with particular regulations such as those registered with the SARS

 Types of projects they fund e.g. certain sectors or geographical areas

  •  Project selection criteria
  •  Size of grants, preference for project structure (stand alone versus component of a wider budget or programme)
  •  Potential for partnership through co-funding with other donors
  •  What the reporting requirements of the funder are (frequency, format, degree of formality e.g. does it require audited financial figures) 
The application procedures:

•• Guidelines for proposals or applications (including preferred format)

•• Decision-making process and time frames

Government organisations can be a key source of funding which should be explored. National departments with obvious linkages to biodiversity and LED include Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Economic Development; Environmental Affairs; Rural Development and Land Reform; Social Development; Tourism; and Water Affairs. The respective provincial departments should also have an interest or mandate to support local government in terms of an environmental, social or economic agenda. District and Local Municipalities have a mandate to fund projects that address priorities identified in the IDP. There also exists the potential for co-funding amongst the spheres of government and other funding organisations. Other funding organisations can be identified by scanning the directories of local and international funders to find those appropriate to the type of project being proposed; some of these are listed in Appendix D. Also in Appendix D are a number of potential government and non-governmental funding bodies with current funding programmes with a biodiversity focus identified by the (Environmental Evaluation Unit) EEU, and a more comprehensive broader list has been compiled by Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E)8 and this is also included.

3.7 Formulate the ‘problem statement’

The background research identifying the constraints, opportunities, priorities and issues within the particular community and environment should provide an idea of what ‘problem’ the project should aim to address. When formulating the problem statement, the links and causal relationships between the problems must also be considered. A number of problems may have similar or overlapping causes and not all causes will be within reach of the planned project. It is important to focus on a problem which has a cause that is within range of the project activities and funding available. The problem statement should be precise, unambiguous and free of assumptions. See 4.1 below for an example.

4. Developing the project plan

4.1 Identify project objectives

A problem statement should have a corresponding objective to indicate how the problem could be addressed, see below. Objectives are the desired or needed results to be achieved within a specific time period. They can either be broad, for example a development goal, or more specific and targeted.