The Natural Edge Project The Natural Advantage of Nations Whole System Design Factor 5 Cents and Sustainability Higher Education and Sustainable Development




"It was a pivotal event for all HOK attendees... we were immersed in a sea of information, strategies, science and insight. We left with a strong commitment for a far wider discovery and education of these ideas across the firm."
HOK President Bill Valentine on a workshop with environmental pioneers Janine Benyus and Paul Hawken





The Natural Advantage of Nations (Vol. I): Business Opportunities, Innovation and Governance in the 21st Century

 
 

Section 3: Achieving a Natural Advantage of Nations

Chapter 15: Delivering Sustainability Through Local Action
1 A worldwide movement of local governments (Wayne Wescott, Martin Brennan and Yolande Strengers)
2 Sustainability Street: it's a village out there (Vox Bandicoot and Environs Australia)
3 Leadership in the local government sector: working from inside out (Valerie A. Brown)
3.1 Sustainability leadership in the local government sector
3.2 Profile of sustainability leadership
3.3 'When everything is said and done - more is said than done'
3.4 Sector-wide action
3.5 Sustainability advocacy in the local government sector
4 References List from the Book
Sample of Resources to Support Chapter 13
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There is increasing global recognition on the significant role that local governments play in delivering environmental sustainability through cumulative local action. 'Think global, act local' has earned its place as one of the key concepts of the 21st century, clearly articulating that global agendas can only be achieved through local action. This chapter is based on the work of Valerie A. Brown and her colleagues through the Australian Local Sustainability Project and the ISA Forum Planning Group. In order to provide the general context to this work, we will briefly introduce a sample of the growing networks that have had a considerable influence over both the local and worldwide movement of local governments seeking to achieve tangible improvements in global environmental conditions.

While state, national and global bodies assist in the establishment of broad-reaching sustainability agendas, it is at the local level that these actions are implemented. The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is an organization that is driving the sustainability agenda by building the capacity of local governments. As an introduction to the chapter we asked Wayne Wescott, Chief Executive Officer at the ICLEI Australia/New Zealand, Martin Brennan, Partnerships and Political Support Manager, and his colleague Yolande Strengers to provide some insight into delivering sustainability from the local government level upwards.

Valerie A. Brown, Visiting Fellow, ANU School of Resources,

Environment and Society (SRES) and the Centre for

Resource and Environmental Studies (CRES) (jointly)

The chapter has been developed by Valerie A. Brown through the Australian Local Sustainability Project and the ISA Forum Planning Group. Val is a well recognized and respected leader in local government sustainability and is currently a visiting fellow in the School of Resources, Environment and Society and the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies (jointly) at the Australian National University. She is author of over 200 research papers and 12 books on links between human and environmental issues, and her work can best be summed up as 'thinking globally, acting locally'.

The local government sector is often underestimated as a key contributor to progress towards sustainability. This part is based on a report on a collaborative study with 25 leading sustainability practitioners working in councils around Australia. The study explored their very different demographic profiles, mode of operations, and needs for the future. Surprises included the wide range of positions from which they were working, from junior project officer to CEO; the diverse entry points for introducing sustainability practice, such as organizational development, strategic planning and environmental services; and the variety of tools that they had used to make a difference. There was unanimous agreement that there was the nucleus of an active, vocal advocacy for sustainability right across the local government sector. However, individual sustainability practitioners felt very alone in their councils, even in cases where they had been recognized for their success. The sustainability practitioners came to the conclusion that, for sustainability to be advanced, the necessary strategic and personal support must be generated across the local government sector as a whole. Further, the local government sector should advise on local initiatives from the inside out, that is, from their own local knowledge to other agencies, not from other agencies and scales of government inward.

 

Key Case Studies, Reports and Websites

United Nations

UNCED 1992: The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development - The Earth Summit, Rio di Janero, United Nations Environment Program and Commission for Sustainable Development.

 

UNCED 1993: Local Agenda 21: Chapter 28 of Agenda 21, United Nations onference on Environment and Development, Commission for Sustainable Development, New York.

View Website

International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)

ICLEI 2002: Local Government and the Johannesburg Summit.

View Website

 

Cities for Climate ProtectionT, (2003) CCP 2003 Annual Measures Report, 4th edition, Australia

View Website

 

International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives: Australia/New Zealand 2003.

View Website

 

Environs Australia

Environs exists to promote sustainability at the local level through a network of local governments, professional organisations and individuals who share knowledge, learning and success.

View Website

 

 

References from the Book

1 See the website for the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives –
Australia/New Zealand 2003.

2 CCP (Cities for Climate Protection) Australia (2003) 2003 Measures Evaluation Report, CCP, Australian Government, Australia.

3 Sustainability Street has a dedicated website, from which this text has been summarized. (Information is also available through the Environs Australia website.)

4 Additional team members included Victoria Critchley, Judy Lambert, Garry Smith and Jenny Scott at the School of Resources, Environment and Society, Australian National University.

5 UNCED (1992b) Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, United Nations Conference on Environment and Development – The Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro, United Nations Environment Programme/Commission for Sustainable Development, New York.

6 UNCED (1992) ‘Local Agenda 21’, in UNCED Agenda 21, UNCED/Commission for Sustainable Development, New York, Chapter 28.

7 Whittaker, S. (1995) Case Studies of Local Agenda 21, Local Government Management Training Board, London; Whittaker, S. (1996a) ‘Are Local Councils “Willing and Able” to Implement Local Agenda 21? A Study of Local Government in Australia’, keynote paper, Environs Australia National Conference, Sydney, November; Whittaker, S. (1996b) ‘Local Agenda 21: The UK Experience’, Local Environs, vol 7, no 2 WHO (World Health Organisation) (2000) Fact Sheet No 187: Air Pollution, Fact Sheets, WHO.

8 ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) (2002) Local Government and the Johannesburg Summit, ICLEI.

9 Bambridge, P. (2002) Open Space Educational Technology, Workshop briefing notes, Murray Darling Basin Commission, Canberra.

10 Engineers Australia Sustainable Energy Taskforce (2001) Towards a Sustainable Energy Future: Setting the Directions and Framework for Change, Institution of Engineers of Australia, Canberra, p12.