International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

TDA/SAP Methodology

The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis/Strategic Action Programme (TDA/SAP) approach is a highly collaborative process that has proven to be a major component of GEF International Waters projects over the last 26 years.

There is no ‘standard’ approach to the TDA/SAP process: each water system and each IW Project is unique and the resultant TDA and SAP will also be unique. However, this manual provides a 'non-prescriptive', simple and stepwise approach for the TDA/SAP process that many projects have followed over the last 26 years. It includes references and links to best practices and experiences from a wealth of completed and on-going projects.

TDA/SAP Methodology

  1. Welcome to the TDA/SAP Manual
  2. Introduction to the TDA/SAP Process
    1. Summary
    2. GEF International Waters
    3. TDA/SAP - A planning tool for IW
    4. Examples of the TDA/SAP process in action
    5. Key Principles of the TDA/SAP Approach
      1. Key Principles of the TDA/SAP Process
      2. Adaptive management
      3. ecosystem approach
      4. Sustainable Development
      5. Poverty Reduction
      6. Gender Mainstreaming
      7. Climate variability and change
      8. Collaboration and Integration with Other Approaches
      9. Stakeholder Consultation and Participation
      10. Stepwise Consensus Building
      11. Transparency
      12. Accountability
      13. Inter-sectoral policy building
      14. Donor partnerships
      15. Government commitment
  3. How to Develop a TDA
    1. Summary
    2. Introduction
    3. Development of the TDA
    4. Ecosystem Specific Guidance for TDAs and SAPs
      1. Ecosystem Specific Guidance for TDAs and SAPs
      2. River Basins: Key Points to Consider
      3. Lakes: Key Points to Consider
      4. Aquifers: Key Points to Consider
      5. Large Marine Ecosystems: Key Points to Consider
    5. System Boundaries
      1. Defining system boundaries
      2. Examples of system boundaries
    6. Data and Information
      1. Collection and analysis of data/information
      2. What is data and information?
      3. Issues around data and information for the TDA
      4. The data and information stock taking exercise
      5. Sources of data and information
    7. Transboundary Problems
      1. Identification & prioritisation of the transboundary problems
      2. What is a transboundary problem?
      3. What are shared environmental problems?
      4. Transboundary and shared environmental problems
      5. Climate change - Is it an International Waters transboundary problem?
      6. Identifying and prioritising transboundary problems
      7. Eutrophication in the Dnipro River Basin
      8. Loss of coastal habitats in the Mediterranean
    8. Environmental and Socio-economic Impacts
      1. Determination of the environmental and socio-economic impacts
      2. What are environmental and socio-economic impacts?
      3. Process for determining environmental and socio-economic impacts
    9. Causal Chain Analysis
      1. Analysis of the immediate, underlying, and root causes
      2. What is causal chain analysis?
      3. Cause and effect
      4. Components
      5. Climate change - Is it a root cause?
      6. Approaches to causal chain development
      7. Advantages and disadvantages of flow diagrams and matrices
      8. Examples of Causal Chains
      9. Process for developing a causal chain
    10. Thematic Reports
      1. Development of thematic reports
      2. What are thematic or synthesis reports?
      3. Examples of projects that developed thematic reports
      4. Process for developing thematic or synthesis reports
      5. Key Thematic Reports
      6. Thematic Report: Governance Analysis
      7. Thematic Report: Stakeholder Analysis
      8. Thematic Report: Socio-Economic Analysis
      9. Thematic Report: Economic Valuation of Goods and Services
    11. TDA to SAP Linkage
    12. Leverage Points
      1. Identification of leverage points
      2. What is a leverage point?
      3. Process for Identifying Leverage Points
    13. Drafting
      1. Drafting the TDA
      2. Integration of the component parts of the TDA
      3. What should a TDA look like?
      4. Next Steps in the TDA process
  4. How to Develop a SAP
    1. Summary
    2. Development of the SAP
    3. Strategic Thinking
    4. The Vision
      1. Defining the vision and drafting a vision statement
      2. What is a vision?
      3. Examples of vision statements
      4. Process for Defining the Vision and Drafting a Vision Statement
    5. Setting Goals
      1. Setting goals to achieve the vision and reduce the impact of the transboundary problems
      2. What is a goal and what is an objective?
      3. Goals vs. ecosystem quality objectives
      4. A process for defining goals
      5. Examples of goals and objectives
    6. Ideas and Opportunities
      1. Brainstorming innovative ideas and opportunities to meet the goals
      2. What do we mean by Innovation?
      3. What is brainstorming?
      4. A process for brainstorming innovative ideas, opportunities and solutions
      5. Golden rules of brainstorming
    7. Prioritising Alternatives
      1. Strategising the New Ideas, Opportunities and Solutions – Prioritising Alternatives
      2. The importance of alternatives
      3. A process for identifying options or alternatives
      4. Alternatives matrix
    8. Strategic Planning
    9. Consultation
      1. National and regional consultation processes
      2. What is the purpose of the consultation process?
      3. Economic analysis of options and alternatives
      4. Political and social analysis of options and alternatives
      5. Advice from the field
      6. Examples of good practice in International Waters
    10. Implementation Strategies
      1. Setting strategies for implementation
      2. Legal and Institutional Frameworks
      3. Examples of key integration/implementation strategies
    11. Action Planning
      1. Action planning - Setting actions, timescales, priorities and indicators
      2. What is an Action Plan?
      3. What does Action Planning mean in terms of the SAP?
      4. Key Action Planning Steps
      5. Monitoring and Evaluation
      6. Examples of process indicators
      7. Examples of stress reduction indicators
      8. Examples of environmental status indicators
    12. Drafting
      1. Drafting the SAP
      2. Integration of the component parts of the SAP
      3. Advice from the field: What should a SAP look like?
      4. Steps towards SAP implementation
  5. Planning the TDA/SAP Process
    1. Summary
    2. Planning the TDA/SAP process
    3. Create workplan and budget
    4. Form TDA development team and hire consultants
    5. Training workshop on the TDA/SAP process
    6. TDA launch meeting
    7. Causal chain analysis workshop
    8. Thematic report meeting
    9. Final TDA review meeting
    10. Next Steps in the TDA process
    11. TDA Workshop examples
      1. Workshop examples
      2. Collaborative workshop for identifying and prioritising transboundary problems
      3. Collaborative workshop for determining environmental and socio-economic impacts
      4. Collaborative workshop for developing causal chains
      5. Collaborative workshop for identifying leverage points
    12. Develop SAP workplan and budget
    13. Form SAP development team and hire consultants
    14. Training workshop on the SAP process
    15. Strategic Thinking Workshop Examples
      1. Strategic thinking meeting 1: Visions and Goals
      2. Strategic thinking meeting 2: Ideas, Opportunities and Options
    16. National and regional consultation process
    17. SAP Action Planning meeting
    18. Final SAP review meeting
    19. SAP endorsement
Download the manual in pdf format (2020 Edition)

TDA/SAP Online Course- New!

The overall goal of the TDA/SAP online course is to provide a very brief summary of the key steps recommended in the Manual to enable all those involved in the development of the TDA/SAP (project staff, consultants, national experts, civil society, private sector, government representatives, etc.) to have an awareness of the process.

Link to online TDA-SAP course

TDA/SAP Face to Face Training Course

Supporting the TDA/SAP Manual is an instructor-led TDA/SAP training course. It has been designed to be delivered at GEF IW project sites and can be customised according to how advanced a GEF project is on the TDA/SAP process and the water system type (e.g. LME, River basin, Lake, Aquifer).

The course consists of 4 modules that cover the entire TDA/SAP process. These are:

Module 1: Introduction to the TDA/SAP Process
Module 2: Developing the TDA
Module 3: Formulating the SAP
Module 4: Managing the TDA/SAP process