Institutional Change for Sustainable Development

Institutional Change for Sustainable Development

Robin Connor and Stephen Dovers

Institutional Change for Sustainable Development presents a flexible, accessible, yet robust conceptual framework for comprehending institutional dimensions of sustainability, emphasising the complexity of institutional systems, and highlighting the interdependence between policy learning and institutional change. This framework is applied and developed through the analysis of five significant arenas of institutional and policy change: environmental policy in the EU; New Zealand’s landmark Resource Management Act; strategic environmental assessment; emerging National Councils for Sustainable Development; and transformative property rights instruments. From these explorations, key principles for institutional change are identified, including the institutional accommodation of a sustainability discourse, the interdependence of normative and institutional change; reiteration and learning; integration in policy and practice; subsidiarity; and legal change.

Introduction

Robin Connor and Stephen Dovers

Subjects: economics and finance, institutional economics, environment, ecological economics

Extract

18/11/03 9:12 AM Page 1 Introduction This book explores international experiences of institutional reform for sustainable development through a series of case studies, seeking to identify positive principles from existing practice to inform further institutional change. Underlying this investigation is the proposition that countries should be making purposeful efforts to reform environmental and resource management policies and practice, and those in other sectors, consistent with the notion of sustainable development and with commitments made under international agreements at, and subsequent to, the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The institutionalization of the sustainability idea, and its eventual integration as a fundamental and mainstream principle of governance, is a long-term project only recently begun. Arguably sustainability has an inexorable logic, on a plane with other deep social logics such as democracy, justice and human rights. Inevitably, it seems, these central animating ideas of modern societies are all intertwining and inseparable; the identification of these strands may be viewed as part of the definition of a moral rationality for global civilization. However, sustainability has yet to attain the recognition and status of its natural partners at national or global levels. This will require both broad normative change and purposive institutional change, and these are key themes of this book. Now is certainly an important historical point for humanity with respect to institutional development, and one that demands that we attend closely to the task of better understanding the substance and the ways of our institutions. Sustainability, as a...