Governmental Policy and National Strategy:
In 1983, the United Nations formed an independent body called the World Commission on Environment and Development. In charge of this organization was the Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland. Its purpose was to examine environmental problems and find ways to solve them so that human progress can be sustained for future generations without destroying natural resources. In1987, in a report titled “Our Common Future”, the commission urged that the natural environment must be considered together with economic arguments. It also stated that governments and citizens must take responsibility for any environmental damage.
In response to the growing possibility of irresponsible use of Australian resources, the Australian government started discussions in 1989 from all interested groups to begin developing a National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (NSESD). Working groups were established in nine key areas which were manufacturing, mining, agriculture, forests, fisheries, energy production, energy use, tourism, and transport. In 1992, the Australian Federal, State, and Local Governments adopted the NSESD, a comprehensive document covering about 30 different areas.
There is no universally accepted meaning of Ecologically Sustainable Development. However, the Australian Government offered this definition, “using, conserving, and enhancing the community's resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased”.
The role of the NSESD is to provide government policies that protect biological diversity and maintain essential ecological processes and life-support systems. The five key principles in Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) are integrating economic and environmental goals in policies and activities, ensuring that environmental assets are properly valued, providing for equity within and between generations, dealing cautiously with risk and irreversibility, and recognizing the global dimension. Any new planning and development laws are following the policies in the NSESD. These policies make sure that issues like waste minimization, natural resource management, and transport planning are handled in an ecologically sustainable way.
The current priorities are the development of cooperation within the government, and the development of coordinated policies for the sustainable management of Australia’s coastal zones, establishing methods to monitor the environment, use of economic measures in environmental policy, and completion of the national rangelands strategy.
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"An Overview of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development." 3 Sep 2007. Australian Government. Accessed 7 Mar 2008. <http://www.environment.gov.au/esd/national/nsesd/overview/index.html>.
"National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development." 3 Sep 2007. Australian Government. Accessed 7 Mar 2008 <http://www.environment.gov.au/esd/national/nsesd/strategy/index.html>.
“Our Common Future”. Buy books onnline from Seekbooks. Seekbooks. Accessed 7 Mar 2008. <http://www.seekbooks.com.au/book/Our-Common-Future/isbn/9780192820808.htm>.
Matt-Stewart. “Parliament House, Canberra, Australia” Flickr.com. 1 June 2007. Accessed 7 Mar 2008. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/ms101/524827297/>