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Regional Knowledge Center

Project identification

You will probably start the process of project development of one of two positions:

  1. You may have a specific environmental problem in mind, and be seeking to develop that will address it, or
  2. You may already have a project in mind, and be seeking to develop it and obtain funding.

Project identification process can be divided into 11 logical steps:

Project identification process step Comments
Step 1 Define the wider project objectives and justify your project What is the wider environmental problem that you which to address? This will provide the justification for your specific project, and allow you to consider alternative solutions.
Step 2 Define the immediate objectives of your project What the project is directly intended to achieve?
Step 3 Define the project outputs What measurable results will be achieved by the project?
Step 4 Define project inputs What resources are needed to generate the outputs?
Step 5 Set out your assumptions Unrealistic assumption may result in a poor, risky project.
Step 6 Complete a log frame Apply Logical framework approach for assessment of project idea.
Step 7 Make a preliminary estimate of project cost Preliminary estimate of project cost you should estimate approximate costs of all inputs defined in Step 4.
Step 8 Identify the key policy documents Reflect key regional, national and international policies and strategies in order to justify your project to potential funders.
Step 9 Prepare a project description See the list of elements to be included in the project description, taking into consideration the requirements of the potential funders
Step 10 Identify sources of funding What type of funding is the best for your project? Are you seeking a grant, a loan, equity, or a combination of these? What is the most likely sources for this funding? Will you require a combination of national and international funding?
Step 11 Contact potential funders In practice you will probably have been in contact with the potential finder from early in the project identification stage, in order to understand their funding objectives, priorities, procedures and areas of activity.


Project description

A project description should be brief and concise. The purpose is to “sell” the project idea and get the key people interested.

The project description will

  1. Be submitted to potential funder
  2. Serve as the bases fir further, more detailed project preparation

 Content of project description

  1. cover page (the title, project objective, timescale, budget and the name of the project proposer;
  2. project name or title;
  3. objectives of the project;
  4. brief description (including location);
  5. justification (why is it needed?);
  6. inputs (resources required to carry it out, including project management);
  7. expected outputs;
  8. assumptions that you have made;
  9. how the project outputs will become (self) sustaining;
  10. risks in the project and how you will manage them;
  11. budget;
  12. project team;
  13. time table for implementation (including provisional start and end dates);
  14. links or coordination with other projects (where appropriate);
  15. map or site plan;
  16. reporting schedule.

Sources of Project Ideas

Project ideas can be drawn from a number of different sources.

You may already have a clear idea for a project. Most people start with a problem or with something that they want to do. A project is a way of implementing a policy or of solving a problem.

The following are possible sources of project ideas:

  • from an analysis of environmental problems and opportunities, a strategy or strategic policy framework has been developed – project ideas may then by invited or generated from a number of agencies, for example, central, regional or municipal government, or non-governmental organisation;
  • there may be a need to implement new legislation e.g. in compliance with international agreements;
  • there may be a national call or invination for project proposals;
  • partly or fully developed ideas may already exist;
  • ideas may have been generated in the course of evaluating and implementing earlier projects.

In other cases, you may have identified the problem, but do not know yet how to address it. Common ways of generating project ideas and alternatives are:

  • by brain-storming with your organisation;
  • by adapting good practice used in other regions or countries to suit local conditions;
  • by inviting proposals to solve an identified problem from companies known to have the required experience.

 Key sources of project ideas include:

 Immediate problems faces

  • Need to comply with license conditions (e.g. for industrial plant)
  • Need to reduce fines being paid to regulator
  • Need to reduce energy costs
  • Need to stop destruction of a conservation area

 Ideas formulated in national and international documents

  • National Environmental Action Plan (NEAPs)
  • Regional Agreements

 Project ideas developed by national agencies but not pursued by them

  • Project management Units of other Ministries
  • Other national funding bodies

 Ideas of technical experts

  • Universities
  • Research Institutes
  • Industry
  • Consultants

 Ideas suggested by national policy documents

  • Government and IFI indicative programmes
  • Government and IFI sector operations policy programmes
  • Regional action programmes of the government or IFIs
  • Multi-annual national government programmes
  • Private sector initiatives
  • Ideas emerging from the evaluation and monitoring of existing projects
  • Economic reform programmes e.g. privatisation, deregulation
  • Legislation

 Ideas suggested in formal governmental project lists

  • Identification missions undertaken by major funders e.g. World Bank

 Ideas suggested by NGOs

 Ideas developed “in house”

This project is funded by the European Union

And implemented by a consortium led by