Top Down - National and International initiative

Published: 28 November 2016
Last edited: 05 December 2016
Top-Down is the process to create broader political awareness of the issue. It includes advocacy for national and international support. Commonly a concept paper that explains the problem initiates this process with further research to support and document the issues. It is important to appeal to the news media, as their attention is necessary to heighten the political awareness of the issues and to convey the information to the public, resulting in the creation of a broader public demand for action. Media attention mobilizes national and international engagement and can foster domestic and international resource mobilization. In our experience, public opinion plays a decisive role in dictating the political agenda to local leaders as well as national decision makers.


Education, training and other capacity development activities
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Enforcement and prosecution
Sustainable financing
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Alliance and partnership development
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Inception phase
Documentation and dissemination of results

Enabling factors

Strong community engagement and public initiatives create the demand for political action. It is important to create an environment in which it is politically safe to discuss the solutions, if the solutions are truly in the national self-interests then politicians will more easily embrace the change and even lead it. Good relations to media and the international community can facilitate government involvement.

Lessons learned

In an unsteady political landscape, environmental issues are held hostage, used as pawns in the overarching political conflict and within the framework of the official peace process. In order for the initiatives to produce a real change, a careful balance must be maintained: to achieve the explicit approval of officials without losing momentum to the tedium of politics.