International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

4.8 - Strategic Planning

What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is a process of defining strategy or direction, and making decisions on allocating resources to pursue this strategy. Drawing distinctions between realities and objectives is at the heart of strategic planning - there will always be various options for bridging the gap between the current situation and the desired objective.

Key Steps in the strategic planning process

SAP s-p process.jpg

This phase of SAP development focuses on 4 key strategic planning steps:

  • Step 1: National and regional consultation processes - This step involves each country reviewing the outputs of the strategic thinking process - in particular the vision, goals and suggested options/alternatives - and conducting a thorough evaluation of the feasibility of the alternatives from a national perspective. In particular, the countries should examine how feasible the options/alternatives are from an economic, political and social perspective.
  • Step 2: Setting strategies for implementation - This step involves direct engagement with the national development planning processes in order to ensure the SAP is fully integrated into national development plans and vice versa.
  • Step 3: Action planning - Setting actions, timescales, priorities and indicators - This step involves action planning around actions, timescales, priorities and indicators. It is important that the SAP addresses not only the high-level initiatives and over-arching goals, but that they get articulated (translated) into short term actions that will be required to achieve the programme.
  • Step 4: Drafting the SAP - The final step is the integration of the various outputs of the TDA/SAP process into a single, concise document with clear goals, quantifiable timescales and unambiguous assignment of responsibilities.