Sustainable Development


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Sustainable Development

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  • Ecosystem resilience is a complex concept. And while there is no agreement internationally on how it might be measured, we now have a range of environmental indicators to report whether ecosystems and environments are coping with pressures or degrading over time.   The indicators presented in “Monitoring Progress Towards a Sustinable New Zealand” are a direct result of the work lead by the Ministry for the Environment to develop and implement a core set of environmental indicators and suite of environmental classification systems for national environmental reporting. Some are being reported for the first time. While New Zealand can hold its head high in considering what we have achieved since the Rio Earth Summit, there is no room for complacency about the state of New Zealand’s environment. We have to keep working towards sustainable development – and quantitatively measuring our performance in achieving it. For example, the indicators in this chapter show: Air quality is deteriorating in some areas (transport/ home heating fires are the major contributors) Loss of biodiversity remains a critical issue Freshwater quality is variable from upper catchment to lowland areas depending on land use Pests, weeds and diseases continue to threaten natural and economic values indicating we must remain vigilant in our safeguard of New Zealand’s natural capital. 35 percent of modelled fish stocks are below their target level. And there is still a lack of data and indicators to serve management and policy needs from local to central government – we can’t manage what we don’t know. The critical issue, however, is understanding what we need to report (compared to what we want to report) so we don’t just collect data for the sake of monitoring. This raises the question of whether indicators and indicator reporting programmes should be science led or management driven – I will come back to that. The indicators presented in the report represent environmental information that is available now, they are internationally comparable (per se) as far as reporting on specific outcomes like air and water quality, protected areas and threatened species, fish stocks or changes in land cover. But they are not true sustainability measures. We must be fully conscious of the work that will be needed to produce and report actual sustainability inidcators (could refer to “Headline indicators for tracking progress to sustainability in New Zealand”). For example, the Ministry has just published a personal ecological footprint calculator on the Internet and will shortly publish a full report on the ecological footprints of New Zealand and its regions. The ecological footprint (refernced in the report’s appendix) is a headline and sustainability indicator in two senses – First, it measures the total ecological cost (in land area) of supplying all goods and services to a human population. Second (and more controversial), it evokes the idea of carrying capacity – i.e. the maximum population a given land area can support indefinitely. Back to the final bullet point – “Science or management?”. In the beginning, indicator programmes had a tendancy to be science led – focusing on the myriad of things that could be measured from local to regional and national scales. Yet – what are we wanting to use the information for? To inform management and policy decisions or performance. Time for a reality check and a focus on information needs for management and policy as something distinct from the ongoing role of science and research? Management and science are not mutually exclusive when it comes to indicators and the need for scientifically credible information but I think its time we got serious about measuring what’s needed for management as something distinct from everything that may be wanted in science. Measuring Progress Towards a Sustainable New Zealand is a first step to creating some focus. Something for discussion today or to be thinking about as we move forward in developing indicators and their associated reporting programmes.
  • Social cohesion exists where the different communities in a society work well both within each community and with each other. New Zealand is in the early stages of developing indicators of social cohesion as a measure of sustainable development. Many of the social inidcators reported in Monitoring Progress Towards a Sustainable New Zealand were sourced from the Social Report 2001 published by the Ministry of Social Development. Four key aspects of social cohesion are explored in the report. These are: Social connectedness Human rights Culture and identity Safety and security. Factors that influence social cohesion include: population and immigration patterns; economic factors like levels of unemployment or changes in labour market patterns; a sense of place in the natural environment including access for leisure, recreation or cultural activities; development of children including education, e.g. in Maori and Pacific mediums and support for effective parenting; information and technology, e.g. access to telecommunications like the telephone or Internet. Some of these factors are covered by indicators in other chapters of the report - related to the capital model (e.g human or human made capital) and sustainable development. [Can cut this next bit back to short summary if not enough time – use bolded text] The actual indicators used to report on social cohesion show that for: Social connectedness, differences in frequency of interaction with family/ whanau and friends can indicate which groups may be more or less socially connected in New Zealand. Indicators included measures of things like: frequency of interaction with family/whanau and friends Participation in unpaid work outside home Household access to telecommunications For Human rights, representation in parliament today much more closely reflects the diversity of the New Zewaland population than in the past except for women and Asian people. Non voters are more likely to be younger, on lower incomes, and members of Maori or Pacific peoples ethnic groups. Complaints to the Human Rights Commisision and Race Relations Office have risen slightly. Indicators included measures of: Precentage of enrolled electors voting at general elections Women in parliament Complaints to the Human Rights Commisision and Race Relations Office For culture and identity, indicators included: Fluency in te reo Maori – e.g. Maori over the age of 55 have the highest levels of proficiency in te reo while those aged 25-34 have the lowest Percentage Maori and Pacific children receiving Maori medium and Pacific medium education has increased Under safety and security, indicators included criminal offence, apprehension and child abuse rates. Young people have the highest rate of apprehension for crimninal offending. [And finish with this bit] While we have made a good start in Measuring Progress Towards Sustainable Development with a set of social indicators for sustainabuility reporting, gaps exist in current data sets and for a headline sustainability indicator (or indicators). For example, for social cohesion, we do not have indicators that relate to people’s sense of belonging and sense of place, trust of others and in public institutions, tolerance of divesrity, freedom of cultural expression, social support networks, social exclusion/ isolation and integration of new migrants into New Zealand life. Neither has New Zealand reported any single headline indicator, e.g. Human Development Index – an index that measures the social and economic dimensions of sustainable development (incorporates longevity, knowledge, standard of living – UN 1990). A popular alternative to GDP and relatively straigtforward providing data is availble on a yearly basis. Or the NZ Deprivation Index (Crampton et al., 2000) – already available for 1991 and 1996, prepared from NZ Census data applied down to the mesh block level.
  • Sustainable Development

    1. 1. 07/11/13 1 Piter Biswas
    2. 2. 07/11/13 2
    3. 3. Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987) 07/11/13 3
    4. 4. Balancing the fulfillment of human needs with the protection of the natural environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in the indefinite future 07/11/13 4
    5. 5. “Meeting the needs of the present” means satisfying: 07/11/13 5
    6. 6. a. Must be able to produce goods and services on a continuing basis a. adequate livelihood or productive assets b. economic security when unemployed, ill, disabled or otherwise unable to secure a livelihood 07/11/13 6
    7. 7. b. gender equity c. political accountability d. participation 07/11/13
    8. 8. Freedom to participate in national and local politics Participation in decisions regarding the management and development of one’s home and neighborhood, with respect for civil and political rights and in the implementation of environmental legislation 07/11/13 8
    9. 9. Must maintain a stable resource base avoiding overexploitation of renewable resource systems and depleting non-renewable resources 07/11/13 9
    10. 10. A mean to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual existence 07/11/13 10
    11. 11. 07/11/13 11
    12. 12. 07/11/13 12
    13. 13. New Zealand’s Changing Population Environment and Ecosystem Resilience Consumption and Resource Use Social Cohesion Economic Growth and Innovation Living Standards and Health 07/11/13 13
    14. 14. 07/11/13 14 New Zealand’s Changing Population New Zealand Population Population growth is slowing Ethnic diversity is increasing The population is ageing Regional growth patterns are very diverse
    15. 15. 07/11/13 15 Environment and Ecosystem Resilience What the indicators show:  Air quality is deteriorating in some areas  Freshwater quality is variable  Pests, weeds and diseases continue to threaten  35 percent of modelled fish stocks are below target level  Loss of biodiversity
    16. 16. 07/11/13 16 Consumption and Resource Use What the indicators show  Household consumption has increased and so to has household waste  Recycling of packaging waste and paper increased  Energy has increased
    17. 17. 07/11/13 17 Social Cohesion What the indicators show  Social connectedness  Human rights  Culture and identity  Safety and security
    18. 18. 07/11/13 18 Economic Growth and Innovation New Zealand’s GDP per capita ranking dropped from 1950s to early 1990s Changing balance of industry contributions Increase in international financial interconnections
    19. 19. 07/11/13 19 Living Standards and Health Income and employment rates reflect economic growth Differences within New Zealand No measurement of the impact living standards have on the environment Limited range of health indicators in the report
    20. 20. Sustainable Development is a relevant concept in the process of socio-economic and political growth in the modern society. Trinitarian approach to developmeTrinitarian approach to development – the key actors are not only coming from the government sector but also the process of socio-economic and political development must be shared by the business and civil society respectively. The idea of SD and the different programs and principles under the Agenda 21 is not an instant magic formula. 07/11/13 20
    21. 21.             Beautiful-Breathtaking-Calm-Coast-Coastline-Colorful-Dusk-Evening-Fluid-Interesting-Landscape-Nature-Nightfall- Outdoors-Picturesque.jpg       07/11/13 21