Implementing Sustainable Development The Role of Local Authorities

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     Comhar SDC Conference
       11th November, 2008

                      Joe MacGrath
                      Galway City Manager
   Implementing Sustainable Development –
        The Role of Local Authorities
Presentation Content

1. Tracing the evolving role of local authorities
   in sustainable development
2. Key challenges
3. A renewed approach to sustainable
4. Local implementation measures
5. Future path
  1. The Evolving Role of Local Authorities in
          Sustainable Development

…. “as the level of governance closest to the people
 (local authorities) play a vital role in educating
 and mobilising the public around sustainable
                                        Agenda 21
  ……..The Evolving Role of Local Authorities

1994: Programme for Government ; A Government of
      Renewal – commitment to preparing a national
      sustainable development strategy
1995: Local Authorities and Sustainable Development –
      Guidelines on Local Agenda 21 (DOE)
1997: Sustainable Development: A Strategy for Ireland
1998: Interdepartmental Steering Group on sustainable
      development indicators
1999: Establishment of Comhar SDC
……..The Evolving Role of Local Authorities

2000: Planning and Development Act
2001: Local Government Act
2002: Making Ireland’s Development Sustainable
2006: Towards 2016
2007: National Development Plan 2007 - 2013
                 2.    Key Challenges

   In the 1995 Local Agenda 21 Guidelines, the following
          tasks were identified for local authorities
• Adopting an                 • Budgeting
  environmental charter or    • Land use/development
  mission statement             policies
• Adopting a voluntary        • Urban development
  environmental               • Provision of services
  management system
                              • Transport policy and
• Pursuing green                traffic management
  housekeeping measures
                              • Housing
• Staff training and
 ………………. Key Challenges
 ..but initial progress was inconsistent due to :
• Vertical and horizontal integration of policy
• Lack of understanding of sustainable development
• Absence of co-ordinating mechanisms to ensure
  efficient delivery of measures
• Relatively limited role of local authorities in certain policy
• Core skills and competencies
• Mobilising communities at a local level
• Local political support for sustainable development
• Budgets
  3.    A Renewed Approach to Sustainable

• Restructuring of local government under the Better
  Local Government Programme (1996)
• Establishment of County and City Development
  Boards (2000)
• Planning and Development Act, 2000
• Local Government Act, 2001
• Mainstreaming of sustainable development principles
  through National Development Plan, National
  Agreements and the corporate planning process
     …. A Renewed Approach To Sustainable
              County/City Development Boards

• Established in 2000 as a Government response to
  the challenge of increased integration of public and
  local services and given a statutory basis under the
  Local Government Act, 2001
• Operates under the local authority umbrella
• Parallel establishment of community fora in each
• Initially tasked with the objective of developing
  integrated strategies for “economic, social and
  cultural development”
      ... A Renewed Approach to Sustainable
• CDB`s provide a mechanism at local level to address some of
  the barriers to effective implementation of sustainable
  development principles
• Actions progressed by CDB`s between 2002 and 2005

            Action Type              % of Overall Actions
    Social Inclusion                         18.5

    Community Development                    10.9

    Economic Development                     10.2
    Environment                               9.6
  ……A Renewed Approach to Sustainable

• Review of County/City Development Board
  Strategies Mid 2009 to 2012

• To identify a limited number of key priorities and
  actions on which the CDB will concentrate over
  the next 3 years

• “ account should be taken of Ireland`s
  commitments to sustainable development and
  environmental policy at national, regional and
  local level.” (Guidelines, October 2008)
    4. Local Implementation Measures

• Corporate Planning Process

  • Embedding of sustainable development across all
  • Efficient use of resources and minimisation of
  • Local needs met locally
  • All sections of community are empowered to
    participate in decision making
  • Sustainable procurement
      ….. Local Implementation Measures

• Planning and Land Use Policies

  • Concept of Sustainable Development recognised
    in Planning and Development Act, 2000
  • Environmental Impact Statements/Strategic
    Environmental Assessment
  • National Planning Guidelines
  • Land Use and Transportation Policy
  • Strategic Development Zones (SDZ)
  • Local Area Plans
        …. Local Implementation Measures

• Environment, Recreation and Amenity

  •   Waste Management Planning
  •   Provision of Green Infrastructure
  •   Conservation through Heritage Policy
  •   Sustainable Tourism Initiatives
  •   Environmental Awareness Programmes
  •   Energy Conservation Measures
  •   Water Conservation
  •   Green Schools/Blue Flags
       …. Local Implementation Measures

• Transportation and Infrastructure

   • Integrated traffic and transport planning

   • Promoting modal shifts in transport usage

   • Development of green routes

   • Pricing policy
      …Local implementation measures

• Housing

•   Integrated public housing provision
•   Emphasis in housing policy on existing provision
    vis a vis new build
•   Development and use of best practice in housing
                  5. Future Path
• Address barriers to effective implementation of
  practical sustainable development measures at a
  local level.

     “ The key challenge that the OECD has identified
     for Ireland going forward is that in reviewing its
     reform and change agenda, appropriate
     mechanisms, systems and structures are
     established so that different elements and
     sectors that comprise the broad Irish public
     service can work cohesively together to meet
     existing and emerging challenges.”(OECD
     Assessment of Irish Public Service, 2008)
                   …. Future Path

• The pursuit at national, regional and local level of a limited
  number of priority measures

• Now, more than ever, we need to focus our resources
  across all policy areas on `what really matters`

  “Climate change is recognised as the greatest threat to the
  planet and the greatest challenge facing humanity. The
  challenges for Ireland are similar to elsewhere. The first
  challenge is to achieve significant reductions in emissions
  of greenhouse gases in the period up to 2020 and beyond.
  The second is to minimise the impacts of climate change in
  Ireland” ( EPA Irelands Environment Report 2008)

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