Environment and Climate Change

Environment is a wide concept which touches many fields related to development; from natural resources to Green Economy, from waste management to the question of sustainable energy production and consumption. The aim of this group in the learn4dev network is to encourage agencies to open their learning events to partner organisations, to share the learning tools developed and stimulate exchanges in our practices and reflections. The expert group on environment and climate change was created in 2012. The Belgium Technical Cooperation (BTC) took over the chair of the group, establishing this joint learning space in cooperation with EuropeAid, the GIZ and LuxDev.


The issue of climate change has contributed to bringing environmental concerns to the fore. For industrialised countries and developing countries alike the challenge to implement policies to adapt to the effects of climate change (the poorest countries being the most vulnerable). The link between fighting poverty and the rational management of natural resources is becoming increasingly clear for many international development actors. Today, developing countries are already confronted at least to three major crises: The energy crisis, the food crisis and the water crisis. Climate changes will exacerbate these crises and make solutions even more complex. Therefore; it is an urgent and complex challenge to design and implement development interventions bearing full knowledge and responsibility of their possible impact on the environment and of their possible contribution to a more sustainable future.

The rationale for mainstreaming climate change of development policies and interventions rests on various arguments:

  • Developing countries face the largest risks and impacts from climate change, while being more vulnerable than more developed countries. Climate change is thus a potentially significant threat to ongoing development and poverty reduction efforts.
  • Climate change impacts are complex due to complex interactions between biophysical and socio-economic effects that tend to have implications at the level of whole sectors and across multiple sectors. Coordination is needed across sectors and levels of government, to ensure effective responses and efficient resource allocation.
  • Delaying the response is likely to be more costly than starting to act now.


  • To improve learn4dev member’s approaches in terms of environmental integration (mainstreaming).
  • To encourage agencies to open their learning events to partner organisations, to share their learning tools, and develop and stimulate exchanges in our practices and reflections.

Learning offer

1. Joint Learning Events: There are no events planned for the moment.

2. Open courses: We carry out courses that are open to other member organisations in addition to our own staff. Examples are the course on sustainable maintenance of infrastructures delivered by BTC or the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the economics of land. MOOCs are courses that enable an unlimited amount of users to freely access academic material online. In addition to form traditional learning material, MOOCs allow for interactive learning and community building in forums, live sessions and online discussions.

More opportunities may come in 2015.

3. Learning material: We upload manuals and guidance on related topics. For example, Sectoral Guidance Notes on how to mainstream environment/climate change/ green economy in development programs and projects are currently under development by DEVO. More information on it coming soon.

“Success story”

Other projects

1. Acquisition procedure for sustainable constructions

LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Agency, has designed an acquisition procedure for sustainable constructions, which it wishes to share with the development learning and practicing community. The aim of this Green Procurement Procedure is to reduce the environmental impact of buildings by way of facilitating the acquisition of infrastructures that consume smaller amounts of energy, material and resources, release less emissions and generate lower operating and maintenance costs than their conventional alternatives. The principle of the procedure is an environmental compliance of design and work tenders, expressed by the award criteria “economically most advantageous compliant tender, combining technical, environmental and financial scores”. The procedure is based on the adaptation of General environmental Recommendations to the specific situation by means of an architectural, technical and environmental programming of the future building before its design stage. Programming is a method for early definition of the project for the benefit of architectural and environmental quality. Clean construction site specifications are part of the constructor’s contract.

You can find the related documents here.

2. Training – Environment and Climate Change in Development Cooperation

Training Objectives

  • Be able to explain why environment and climate change are not stand alone sector issues but affect all areas of development co-operation.
  • Understand the benefits and challenges of integrating environment and climate change in EU development cooperation.
  • Become acquainted through practical examples with the tools (e.g. political economy analysis, EIA and SEA) and approaches (e.g. policy dialogue, awareness raising) to integrate environment and climate change at the various stages of the operations cycle.
  • Have the opportunity to work directly on projects and programmes from their own portfolios, bringing tangible and direct results for their work.

The course will use an appropriate mix of experience sharing, case studies, group work, presentations and films to foster a lively and engaging process.

The course can be organised and customised on demand at the request of EU Delegations or Units in the Commission’s Headquarter. It can be adapted to focus on issues or sectors of interest to the EU Delegation or Unit.

Upcoming events: Expert group objectives and activities planned for 2015

  • Sector guidance notes for environment mainstreaming: The sector guidance notes are now being drafted and will be made available after review and validation.