Joy Jacqueline Pereira
Chair, IUGS Commission on Geoscience for Environmental Management (IUGS-GEM)
Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Malaysia
The governance of environmental issues at international and regional levels, is conducted via an intricate web of agreements, treaties, conventions and institutions. Crucial environmental issues are addressed through global or regional policy instruments such as Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), which provide for actions and initiatives by countries that are parties to these agreements and share their objectives. Sovereign nations have various governance systems to manage environment and development within their borders. At the national level, many countries have institutionalised environmental policy. A range of policy instruments is employed at various levels and sectors, across spatial and non-spatial scales to improve environmental management. Such instruments may be legislative, regulatory, procedural, economic or voluntary in nature, or a combination, depending on its purpose and the level, sector or scale of operation.
Environmental geoscience provides expertise and tools to map physical resources as well as assess and monitor them for pollution and mismanagement in a systematic and integrated approach. In addition, environmental geoscience can also contribute to assess the vulnerability of society to catastrophic and insidious environmental hazards. The three dimensional spatial and temporal approach of environmental geoscience allows for an appreciation of the "big picture" where the environment is concerned. Thus, environmental geoscience has an important role to play in developing novel knowledge and approaches that can support various policy instruments to promote sustainable development.
To contribute effectively in the policy arena, environmental geoscience information should be communicated in the right form, at the right time to the proper channel for a specific purpose. In this regard, the role of the IUGS Commission on Geoscience for Environmental Management (IUGS-GEM) is to develop approaches and provide guidance to environmental geoscientists on how best to integrate environmental geoscience into policy and to communicate its importance to potential interest groups such as policy makers, politicians, environmental organizations, other science disciplines, and the general public.