Moving Beyond the Impasse
Edited by James Meadowcroft, Oluf Langhelle and Audun Ruud
Chapter 8: Governance and participation for sustainable development in Ireland: ‘Not so different after all?’
The differentness of sustainable development from other modes of national development, for example market liberalism, social-democratic liberalism and ecological modernization requires ‘political initiatives to ameliorate the negative impacts on life-support systems of over-and under-development within an ethical context of global and intergenerational equity’ (Lafferty 2004, p. 17). Lafferty identifies five main characteristics of sustainable development: it is an exogenous outside-in programme; it is a trans-border, supra-national programme; it is a transformative programme; it is a holistic, interdependent and contingent programme; and, it is a normative long-term programme (Lafferty 2004, pp. 17–22). Accepting these key characteristics as the basis of any further discussion regarding governance for sustainable development, my specific point of departure is a question posed by Lafferty in the conclusion to Governance for Sustainable Development: A number of recent evaluations of sustainable development in Ireland (OECD 2010; NESC 2010), while acknowledging some progress, have remarked on the loss of momentum in the implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development; the lack of integration of environmental considerations into sectoral policies and practices (for example land-use planning, agriculture and transport); and, the need to enhance implementation capacity at the local level (OECD 2010, p. 15).
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