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TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL: FRAMEWORKS, APPROACHES AND TOOLS . ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH MEASUREMENT SUSTAINABILITY DECISION-MAKING AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL March 3, 2010 Barry Sadler. ASPECTS AND ISSUES CONSIDERED .

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slide1

TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL:

FRAMEWORKS, APPROACHES AND TOOLS

ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH MEASUREMENT

SUSTAINABILITY DECISION-MAKING AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL

March 3, 2010

Barry Sadler

slide2

ASPECTS AND ISSUES CONSIDERED

  • Purpose is to step back and look at the big picture of SD decision-making
  • Perspectives on recent progress in Canada at the federal level
  • Take stock of emerging experience with sustainability appraisal (SA)
  • Suggest some ways forward in SA application in public policy and plan-making

Developing better policies and facilitating improved decision-making for sustainable development

slide3

SUSTAINABILITY DYNAMICS AND DILEMMAS OF POLICY MAKING

  • Many policies; fewer actions >> slow progress in implementing the SD agenda
  • Globalizing world; greenhouse world >> new realties, looming threats,
  • Pervasive uncertainties; nearing limits >> urgency and precaution in a full world
  • Endless information; multiple views >> deliberation in an age of instant media
  • Policy silos; interconnected issues >> adaptive choice in a line bureaucracy

A terse guide to the challenge of decision-making for sustainable development

slide4

FEDERAL POLICY PERFORMANCE THROUGH THE LENS OF SUSTAINABILITY

  • A superficial and selective view but reflective of key watchdogs of change
  • The good: ranked high on HDI index; key pieces of sustainability legislation in place; cycle of agency strategies; CESD audits
  • The bad: low rating on OECD index of environmental performance; federal SD strategies are unconnected to ongoing policy processes and to each other
  • The ugly: Canada rated 125th in fisheries management (OECD); SEA unfit for purpose (CESD)?

The good, the bad and the ugly judged against the 3C criteria of commitment, consistency and coherence

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EMERGING INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL

  • Repeated demand for an integrated approach to SD analysis (Rio-WSSD)
  • Increasing reference to SA in literature; promising experimentation
  • Examples include EC, UK and Australia (CRA of forest policy);
  • Limited evidence of real integration of ESE (more examples of partial or parallel links)
  • Key challenge is to sharpen focus & apply tools to sustainability purpose

Any analytical and participative tool that evaluates environmental, social and economic considerations against some sustainability reference point

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ENTRY POINTS FOR SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL

  • Use an established process such as EIA or SEA as the mainframe, and integrating specialized tools for economic and social analysis
  • Coordinate parallel streams of economic, environmental and social assessment, bringing findings brought together at each step of the process
  • Develop a new, unified process and interdisciplinary methodology for integrated assessment, reflecting what many now call sustainability science

Cutting through the fog of SA, three main entry points for this approach can be identified

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FRAMEWORK APPROACH TO SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL

  • Framework of sustainability aims and principles
  • Core principles and requirements that will govern the assessment process
  • Objectives-led (TTL) and effects-based (TBL) sustainability criteria
  • Tools for undertaking sustainability assessment
  • Rules for trade-off and decision-making for sustainability assurance

The real power of applying the ideas of sustainability comes from a capacity to integrate and synthesise rather than split apart in bounded categories” MMSD

slide9

Examples of tools

Purpose

Economic appraisal

Benefit-cost analysis, contingent valuation, NR accounts

Tool Kit for Sustainability Appraisal

SIA, HIA, Preference elicitation

PSIA

Social Appraisal

Environmental appraisal

EIA, SEA, Ecological footprint analysis

Integrative tools

Options appraisal, multi-criteria analysis, ecosystem wellbeing, dashboard of sustainability

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Trade-offs and decision-making

World Commission on Dams

  • Identify rights and interests affected by a proposal and involve stakeholders
  • Assess risks and impacts and ensure participation is commensurate with loss
  • Reconcile competing interests through negotiation process
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ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY:

THE CRITICAL BOTTOM LINE

Environment as the baseline condition for sustainable development

  • Evaluate significance of potential effects against the composition and value of natural capital
  • Apply appropriate version of the precautionary principle within the mitigation hierarchy:
  • >> strict version to avoid impacts on critical resources and ecosystem services (e.g. at high risk)
  • >> weaker version to minimise and offset impacts (ALARP) (e.g. when effects are known and mitigation measures are reliable)
  • >> make good all damages to valued environmental stocks in accordance with the NNL and polluter pays
issues and challenges
Issues andChallenges
  • What constitutes ‘close enough’ SA?
  • Do we need a framework approach (eg principles, basic steps, tool kit)? – what are main building blocks,
  • Is integration achievable methodologically, or is the key in improving planning/decision-making processes?
  • How to define the triple bottom line, thresholds broadly defined?
  • Does the new paradigm demand new skills?
  • How to address multi-disciplinarity?
  • Integrating facts and values

What is SA and how should it be undertaken?

Important to build on lessons of experience