International Development

Example Project: Evaluation of GIS-Based Tools for Project Impact Screening

All projects financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (the Bank) must comply with specific environmental and social safeguard policies. A challenge reported by its Environmental Safeguard Unit (ESG) is the streamlining of its decision support tools and processes to efficiently and appropriately address project safeguards and assessment screening requirements. In particular, the project screening process requires an understanding of natural habitat and critical natural habitat within a proposed project’s area of influence. As new technologies, tools and datasets become available, the Bank wanted to assess the best tools for biodiversity and environment-related project screening.

Hatfield completed a requirements assessment of the Bank’s current and future needs for a location-based decision support tool to address ESG’s project screening needs. Key drivers and opportunities with regard to decision support tools, processes and critical data sets were identified and assessed through a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis. Integration with MapAmericas, the Bank’s online interactive mapping and results platform, was identified as a key driver.

A three-year Action Plan developed by Hatfield in consultation with the Bank put in place several recommendations based on data access, data standards, targeted applications and geographic information systems support to lower the barriers to derive meaningful intelligence from ESG’s location-based data. The Action Plan included the development of a conceptual system architecture and a structured implementation schedule to ensure sustainability and long-term availability of the Bank’s key data sets, tools, and human resources.

The IDB was established in 1959, and is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, with a strong commitment to achieve measurable results, increased integrity, transparency and accountability. The IDB has an evolving reform agenda that seeks to increase development impact in the region while it provides loans, along with grants, technical assistance and research.

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