Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reframing Sustainable Development: A Critical Analysis, April 2013

'Reframing Sustainably Development' proposes a new sustainability paradigm in order to avert environmental and subsequent social and economic collapse.

CIWEM considers that the current emphasis on an integrated consideration of environmental, social and economic components of sustainability is undermined by poor decision making, weak governance and institutional frameworks which, ultimately, allow too great an emphasis on economic growth to the detriment of environmental and resource conservation.  Furthermore, there remains confusion with currently accepted definitions of sustainable development concerning the precise meaning of terms including 'development' and 'future'.  Thus, as a global community we are a long way from any kind of sustainable development.
In order to rectify this failure, CIWEM considers that sustainable development must be re-framed to focus more explicitly on the fundamental environmental dimension within culturally sympathetic contexts.  The single limiting factor of a so-called sustainable human race is the management and rate of exploitation of a finite planet - its resources and natural environment - of which humankind is a part. If these resources can be managed and conserved appropriately then pressures on people and the environment will be lessened and social and economic benefit will ultimately follow.
This report is endorsed by the Society for the Environment.

Mainstreaming Sustainability - A CIWEM Review of the UK Government's progress, January 2012

Since the election of the Coalition Government in May 2010 there has been a significant shift in the sustainability agenda.  The current Government position on sustainability is that it should not be driven from a non-departmental, independent body but mainstreamed throughout government utilising the same frameworks as for other agendas.
Mainstreaming Sustainability critically examines this new approach to sustainable development and sets out CIWEM's position on whether we consider it to be an appropriate model.  This work takes into account recent commentary by the Sustainable Development Commission (closed down in April 2011), the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee and others including CIWEM's own experts.

CIWEM has also analysed the actions taken on planning and zero-carbon homes from the DCLG, low carbon and green economy policies from the DECC and action on the natural environment from Defra. The Government's own performance across its estate in terms of carbon cutting and procurement is also assessed. CIWEM has judged each area against the principles of SD in Securing the Future.

CIWEM's related activities

The policy team will be developing a new SD workstream in summer 2012 looking into defining SD post Rio+20.
CIWEM has been particularly vocal on the issue of sustainable development within the government's reforms to the planning system and the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework. We were on the front page of the Telegraph following our press release: "A builders' charter". We considered the initial draft of the framework to be completely deficient and have been pleased to see a marked improvement in the definitions of SD in the final draft. Our responses to the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Communities and Local Government Committee can be found in the side tab.
Nick Reeves gave oral evidence to the Communities and Local Government Committee on our concerns over an economic bias to sustainability in the NPPF. The Committee's final report agreed with many of our recommendations.
In Summer 2011 Alastair, Laura and Jo from the policy team met with Jonathon Porritt to discuss the current structures in place for SD and where/how best to influence the government.
Following the publication of 'Mainstreaming Sustainability' in Jan 2012, the policy team met Defra's head of transparency and stakeholder engagement in the Sustainable Development Unit to discuss how they may better encourage and implement SD into policy across government in early May.
Our Sustainability panel have been working on a signposting tool Signposts to Sustainability to help those in the industry put in place the most appropriate measures to increase sustainability at the various stages across the life of a project.

Policy Position Statements