Lessons from Local Sustainability Monitoring. Outcomes and aftermath of the 'Western Sydney Regional State of the Environment Report 2000'.

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Abstract

Many theories within sustainability and sustainable development discourses have emerged in response to environmental problems facing humanity. However, there is insufficient evidence regarding the effectiveness of the transfer from this theory into practice. For example, while the development of environmental and sustainability indicators is advancing significantly, their application in decision making is not keeping pace. In 1998, legislation was promulgated in New South Wales for annual State of the Environment (SoE) reports to become a means for local governments to implement sustainable development. Recently, some local authorities have
collaborated to produce SoE reports on a broader scale. A study was conducted in 2002 into the processes and outcomes of one such regional SoE report, issued in 2000. That regional report was a collaboration of nine municipalities in the urban fringe of Western Sydney. The research used semi-structured interviews with informants who comprised almost all of the membership of the report’s steering committee. The preparation and aftermath of the report was found to involve considerable complexity, confusion, conflict and concern among all players involved in the report’s development. Matters inhibiting and advancing the implementation of the report were examined in this study and reported here as “primary”, “practical” and “people” issues. The findings of this paper will be useful in evaluating the design, preparation, and implementation of future regional SoE reports
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)54-66
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Health
Volume3
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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