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Sustainable Development Bernadette Connaughton Department of Politics & Public Administration The diligent farmer plants trees, of which he himself will.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable Development Bernadette Connaughton Department of Politics & Public Administration The diligent farmer plants trees, of which he himself will."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable Development Bernadette Connaughton Department of Politics & Public Administration The diligent farmer plants trees, of which he himself will never see the fruit (Cicero) If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either being made (Otto von Bismarck)

2 Sustainable development is….. A concept of sustainable development must remedy social inequities and environmental damage, while maintaining a sound economic base Global/International EU National Local

3 Focus Public Administration investigates how government works and how government decisions are translated into action by the civil & public service Focus is on the public policy process Sustainable development is a ‘wicked’ policy challenge = ‘wicked’ in this context is used, not in the sense of evil, but rather as an issue highly resistant to resolution Examples include global climate change, poverty, crime A problem whose solution requires large groups of individuals to change their mindsets and behaviour is likely to be a wicked problem Sustainable development involves collective action problems

4 ‘ Wicked’ problems No quick fixes or simple solutions, need innovative, flexible approaches Problem may never be solved definitively, changing requirements ‘Wicked’ – symptoms of other problems Stakeholders have different understandings of problems

5 Collective action problems Suggests societies are not able to solve public problems when they involve common pool resources ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ - Hardin (1968) Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit – in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all. Clear benefits in cooperating e.g. air pollution control Difficulties in policy change e.g. developing a fishing policy

6 Public policy challenges Climate change and clean energy Conservation & management of natural resources Education Fiscal stability Global poverty Public health & food safety Social inclusion, demography & migration Transport

7 Public policy is….. Peters (1993) ‘the sum of government activities…[that have] an influence on the lives of citizens’ Public policy decisions determine who gets what, why, when, how Public policies take effect through – strategies, laws, services, finance, taxes

8 Characteristics of public policy Public policy involves government Public policy involves decisions to act (& not to act) Public policy entails the commitment of resources Public policy has a normative dimension Vision of the way things should be Influence of values

9 Core policy process Understanding the problem Testing success and making it stick Developing solutions Putting solutions into effect

10 5 stages of the policy cycle & their relationship to applied problem solving Applied problem solving 1. Understanding problem 2. Developing solutions 3. Choice of solution 4. Putting solutions into effect 5. Monitoring results Stages in Policy Cycle 1. Agenda Setting 2. Formulating policy 3. Decision making 4. Policy implementation 5. Policy evaluation

11 The people The Oireachtas Gov Elections Parties NGO’s Media Participation Issue Agreement Min PA Formulation / Decision making Decisions carried out Out put, Out come Implementation of the Will of the People Freedom of Opinion The Irish Political System B. Connaughton (PA4018-Public Policy Process)

12 Agenda setting Problem recognition & definition Use of mass media Issues reach…. crisis proportions Achieve scientific recognition emotive aspect wide impact likely power & legitimacy fashionable in some way

13 Issue definition & agenda setting Homelessness Issue (people sleeping on the streets) – Problem (homelessness) – Policy (more housing) Or Issue (people sleeping on the streets) – Problem (vagrancy) – Policy (more gardai, prosecution) Urban Regeneration Issue (children burned in arson attack) – Problem (lawlessness out of control) – Policy (coercion, law enforcement) Or Issue (children burned in arson attack) – Problem (represents breakdown in society) – Policy (regeneration, rebuild community)

14 Formulation researching policy issues consulting with interests identifying policy goals identifying possible action assessing costs & benefits of alternatives Finding solutions

15 Decision-making Sifting through the options Action or non-action? Taking a decision Ministers in cabinet Civil servants Examples of policy: Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland The Energy Policy Framework 2007 – 2020 Sustainable Development - A Strategy for Ireland

16 Implementation Concern with outputs and outcomes Drafting/passing legislation Allocating resources Designing programmes Publicising programmes Delivering services ‘Is it easier to put a man on the moon than put a homeless family in decent accommodation?’ (Parsons, 1995) Factors Nature of the problem Extent of behavioural change required

17 Evaluation is policy achieving goals? Is it cost effective? Is it fair/equitable? Can it be improved? Should it be changed?

18 The policy process in context (provided as a handout) Wider public context Political context How does the problem / policy fit with government manifesto / priorities? What policy conflict / priorities need to be resolved? Is a cross-cutting approach needed How can evidence best be presented? Who else within government needs to be involved & how What is the impact of devolution? What is the role of the EU? How should work be organised How should front-line staff be involved? How / when should policy effectiveness & contribution to corporate objectives be reviewed? What needs to happen to ensure policy becomes self- sustaining? What sort of cross- cutting intervention is required (if any)? What is the impact on other existing and developing policies? What are the costs / benefits of different options? What evaluation systems and performance targets are needed? What are the alternatives to legislation & regulation? What training and support for front-line staff is needed? What IS changes are needed? Understanding the problem Putting solutions into effect Testing success and making it stick Developing solutions Policy Process How and when should any political representatives be involved? Are ministers signed up? What is the strategy for presenting policy? Who needs to be told what, when and how? How the stakeholders be kept committed and involved? What are the quick wins? What are the desired policy outcomes Who are the key stakeholders and how should they be involved? What are the needs & views of those the policy seeks to influence / affect? What have the experiences of other countries been? What are the risks to the policy and how can they be managed? What is the impact of possible solutions on equal opportunities, business, women, environment etc.. How can different solutions be tested What evidence is needed and / or available to test the “real world” problem? Organisational context

19 Political context Political will and public pressure Political time frame: life in government is short Pragmatism today or pro-active for tomorrow? International agreements Ideology of government parties ‘Silo’ mentality of government departments Environment is one-tenth science and nine tenths politics (Anonymous British Delegate U.N. Conference on Human Environment)

20 Example 1 – Climate change Copenhagen Summit Policy Commitment & ‘High Politics’ Political agreement & legal treaties Copenhagen Accord (3 pages) EU – leadership or ‘house of cards’? Final accord – USA, China, India, Brazil & S.Africa

21 Example 2 – Mobile Phone Masts Public acceptance & protest Zero risk – a possible standard? Health & safety Mobile phone vs mast Local community protests 1,000 protest Fermoy Consider other examples, e.g. nuclear power

22 Example 3 – Waste Ministers, ideology & domestic politics GREEN PARTY John Gormley Minister DOEHLG Poolbeg incinerator development in own constituency Opposed to incineration Ideological & political battle Roadmap to new waste policy (30 th March 2010) FIANNA FÁIL Noel Dempsey Minister of EHLG Martin Cullen DOEHLG Dick Roche DOEHLG Set Irish policy in waste management (incineration part of) Domestic compliance with EU directives

23 Concluding remarks Solutions depend on how the problem is framed and vice-versa (i.e. the problem definition depends on the solution) Public policy making (‘government in action’) is as complex as the ‘wicked problems’ it attempts to resolve A model of sequential steps in the policy process is “ideal”


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