Identify potential issue(s)

Identification of the key Issue(s) initiates and ends this first Systems Approach Framework (SAF) step. It is led by the core SAF team and conducted collaboratively with managers and stakeholders.

Key questions

Key questions to consider at the outset are:

  • What is the primary problem/conflict? 
  • Is there one or several interrelated problem/s or conflict/s?
  • How did the Issue arise and evolve? 
  • Did the Issue emerge over time due to human activities? 
  • Was it because of technological, social, economic or demographic changes, legal judgements, media attention, or international or intergovernmental agreements?


The actions of this step will inform the decision of whether we need to conduct a full SAF application or if the issue is relatively simple and not contentious.

Learn more

You may use the Public Participation tool to help guide your decision. Find the tool in the Learn more box on this page.

In the Public Participation tool, you will find a questionnaire. Complete this to find out which level of public participation is best suited for the issue:  INFORM, CONSULT, INVOLVE or PARTNER.

Once you have found out the level of public participation best suited for the issue, use the figure below to confirm whether or not a SAF application is required.

Public participation level figure



Learn more


  • Public Participation Tool (pdf)

    You may use the Public Participation tool to help guide the Issue identification process and decide whether or not you should initiate a SAF application.
24 JANUARY 2022