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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NEW ZEALAND

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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In May 1993, the Government established an UNCED Implementation Officials Group consisting of the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) (convenor), Ministry of Agriculture (MAF), Ministry of Commerce (MCM), Department of Conservation (DOC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Ministry of Forestry (MOF), Ministry of Research Science and Technology (MORST), Ministry of Transport (MOT), Ministry of Maori Development - Te Puni Kokiri (TPK), Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), and the Public Health Commission (PHC) (now the Ministry of Health (MOH)).

The Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 between Maori tribes and the British Crown, provides the basis from which Maori interests are expressed and can be realised. Existing mechanisms for resolving claims by Maori include the Waitangi Tribunal. The Minister of Maori Affairs is required to report to Parliament on an annual basis on progress made by the Government on implementation of Waitangi Tribunal recommendations. The current government policy is that all major claims under the Treaty of Waitangi made by Maori will be resolved by the turn of the century.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Both central and local government in New Zealand have important and complementary responsibilities in implementing sustainable resource management through their planning and management responsibilities under New Zealand's Resource Management Act 1991. The Resource Management Act is one of the three statutes (along with the Companies Act and tax legislation) which have the biggest impact on investment decisions related to natural and physical resources in New Zealand.

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) contains the concept of sustainability and has as a single overarching purpose: to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. In essence, sustainable management comprises two things. Firstly it is about recognising more fully the environmental costs of activities and policies in order to protect our natural and physical resources (better environmental valuation). Secondly, it is about better consideration of the earths resources, with a view to conserving the potential of resources for future generations (better environmental stock taking). The Act's definition provides that human needs are balanced against the intrinsic value of the environment, and elements within it. It provides for the environment to be both used (including with damaging effect) and protected while establishing a baseline for environmental health. Sustainable management seeks to achieve the environmental component of sustainable development, focusing on the sustainability of the natural and physical environment. An important aspect of this is that sustainable management of the environment not be compromised by social or economic goals.

Since Rio, several other pieces of legislation have been set in place that give effect to many of the Rio Principles and many aspects of Agenda 21 (as well as to the other Rio agreements viz: the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Forests Principles). Such legislation includes:

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Policies and plans are structured in a hierarchy within the RMA, and each must "not be inconsistent" with those above it. Central government policies are on top, regional policies below them, regional plans next, and district plans at the lowest level. Central to the development of the plans is consultation with regional government's constituent stakeholders.

Regional government has a significant and key role in implementing the Resource Management Act. In planning for resource management, regional councils must prepare policy statements specifying policies and objectives for the management of resources in the region and the methods by which these will be achieved. Regional councils may also prepare regional plans which further detail the use of specific resources. Territorial authorities must prepare district plans which include controlling the effects of land use, controlling noise, and protecting rivers and lakes.

Environmental Impact Assessment is integrated into statutory requirements under the Resource Management Act 1991. Local authorities, when preparing policy statements and plans, must state the anticipated environmental results. Every application for a resource consent must provide an assessment of environmental effects (AEE) as part of the application. The public is able to comment on the adequacy of the AEE through a submission process.

Along with this legislation, the Government has developed a number of strategies and policies that contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. These include:

These laws, regulations, strategies, and policies collectively give effect to sustainable development. However, as was recently pointed out in the OECDs Environmental Performance Review of New Zealand, "until there is sufficient information across the range of important issues, it will ... be difficult to prioritise issues adequately. Once quality information and analysis are available, it will be possible to set detailed targets". The collection of central and consistent environmental statistics is one end towards which the SER and indicators programmes are directed, and which will, together with the other measures outlined, contribute to the sustainable management of New Zealand's environment.

Quality decision making practice obliges Government to consult widely when making decisions affecting the environment and, more particularly, the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi require that iwi (Maori tribes) are consulted. The Resource Management Act provides for public participation in establishing national policy statements, regional policy statements, and regional and district plans.

The Resource Management Act focuses on enabling people and communities to provide for the social, economic, and cultural well being and their health and safety while sustaining the potential of natural and physical resources and avoiding, remedying, or mitigating any adverse effects of their activities on the environment. This is a major change from some of the previous laws which prescribed what activities could go where, for example, agriculture or forestry, residential or commercial development. The Act requires a clear definition of environmental outcomes, including sustainable development limits, but provides freedom of economic and social choice within those limits.

Processes for public participation are designed to be user-friendly and efficient. For example, when policy that affects Maori interests is being considered, approaches appropriate to Maori are used for consultation. During the preparation of the draft New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, a series of public meetings and Marae-based hui (meetings) were held throughout the country. These meetings addressed the issues the public and Maori iwi considered important for the integration and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources (except fish). A team selected by Maori iwi also drafted relevant components for inclusion in a policy statement.

Integrated and coordinated approaches to Government decision-making are reflected in policies such as the directive for all government departments to take into account "the collective interest of the Crown" (including specifically its environmental goals) in policy making.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

There is no government policy on assistance to major groups but major groups participate in follow-up through their own specific networks, and those that they have with relevant government agencies. Several of the major groups have their own coordination networks. Major groups participate in the design of national policies through the open consultative process of policy formulation. This includes the use of discussion papers, open to public submissions, in the development of policies (e.g. Environment 2010 Strategy). It also includes the opportunity to make submissions to local government on the formulation of their statutory planning documents (e.g. District Plans), and to government during the development of legislation. New Zealand's preparation for CSD meetings is an open process. Delegations to CSD meetings have been small. Both industry and environmental NGO representatives were included in the New Zealand delegation to the 1995 session of CSD.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status 

National Decision-Making Structure

1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: YES
2. National Sustainable Development Policy: YES
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD:  
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21: YES
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law: YES
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: YES

National Instruments and Programmes

1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula: YES
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program: YES
3. Ecolabel Regulations: VOLUNTARY
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs: YES
5. Green Accounting Program:  
6. Access to Internet: YES
7. Access to World Wide Web: YES
8. A national World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Dev. or State of the Environment: YES
http://www.mfe.govt.nz

Policies, Programmes, and Legislation

Does your country have either a policy, programme, and/or legislation consistent with Agenda 21 in:  
1. Combatting poverty: NOT APPLICABLE
2. Changing consumption and production patterns: IN PROCESS
3. Atmosphere: YES
4. Land Use Planning: YES
5. Forest and Deforestation: YES
6. Desertification and Drought: YES
7. Sustainable Mountain Development:  
8. Sustainable Agriculture: IN PROCESS
9. Biological Diversity: YES
10. Biotechnology: YES
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas: YES
12. Freshwater Management: YES
13. Toxic Chemicals:  
14. Hazardous Wastes: YES
15. Solid Wastes:  
16. Radioactive Wastes: YES
17. Energy: IN PROCESS
18. Transport: IN PROCESS
19. Sustainable Tourism: IN PROCESS

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

 

* * *

 

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th, 6th and 7th Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: December 1998.

Click here for the Web Site of His Excellency, Mr. Simon Upton, Minister for the Environment and Chair of the Seventh Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
For a direct link to the Web Site of the New Zealand Ministry of the Environment, click here:
For New Zealand's Environment 2010 Strategy, click here:
For information on environmental quality, guidelines and standards as well as State of the Environment Reporting, click here:
For additional information on issues related to integrated decision-making, click here: || and here: || and here: || and here:
For information on Environmental Law around the World, click here:

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

The percentage of women in parliament has increased from 14% in 1989, to 16.5% in 1990 and 29% in 1996. At the local government level there was 35% representation in City Councils and 21% in District Councils in 1989.

Overseas, New Zealand continues to give priority to ensuring that ODA activities foster the role of women in development. The ODA program recognises that the roles that women play, their economic contribution, and the constraints on their time and activity, are essential factors in sustainable development. The long-term goal of the Women in Development Policy (WID), adopted in 1992, continues to be the "WID-integration" of all NZODA funded projects. A WID Action Plan was developed in 1994 to implement this policy. A review of the WID Action Plan, carried out in October 1995, concluded that significant progress had been made both in terms of increasing support for WID specific activities and in integrating gender considerations into all projects and programs.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed on 17 July 1980 and ratified on 10 January 1985.

 

* * *

 

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For information on Women Watch in different countries, click here:
For information on national plans of action in the follow-up to the Beijing Conference, click here:

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CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

 No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

A joint project between the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Youth Affairs, and UNICEF was initiated in May 1993, to develop a Youth response to Agenda 21. Thirty thousand copies of a brochure on UNCED were circulated to youth groups and secondary schools around the country. This brochure provided youth with an opportunity to identify areas of Agenda 21 that they considered to be important and to suggest ways in which their community and country can respond to these. A "Youth Response to Agenda 21" is being prepared using the feedback from these responses.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

 

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Resource Management Act, the Conservation Act, the Environment Act and the Crown Minerals Act provide for explicit Maori involvement in a range of resource management functions. The Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, emphasises retention of Maori land by the Maori owners.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Maori have been involved in the preparation of policy statements and plans, as well as relevant resource consent applications for development proposals. They are accorded a high level of consultation by local government, and Maori representative communities are attached to local government.

Information explaining the significance of UNCED for Maori was prepared and distributed to iwi (tribal groups) during a series of interactive workshops on resource management issues held in the winter of 1993. It was intended that feedback from these workshops would be used to prepare a Maori response to Agenda 21.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  \

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available. 

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * * 

 

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

There are NGO UNCED Coordinating Committees in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Other national environment and development NGOs (including umbrella organisations such as ECO and ANGOA) also have active interests in Agenda 21-related issues. However, there is no single national coordinating mechanism for concerted action by NGOs or other major groups on Agenda 21 implementation. A list of environmental groups in New Zealand can be found in the Environmental Directory published by the Ministry for the Environment. On a local level, small community groups such as the Christchurch Otautahi Agenda 21 UNCED-Earth Summit Committee on the Indigenous Ecosystems of Otautahi are involved in promoting the decisions of the Earth Summit, and in particular the biodiversity decisions.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

 * * *

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

In preparing the various strategic planning documents required by the Resource Management Act (and Local Government Act) most local authorities are giving effect to matters set out in Agenda 21. There is space for territorial authorities to go beyond this if they wish, and an increasing number of local authorities are preparing programmes that can be considered local Agenda 21s. Three local authorities have joined the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Local authorities are obliged to consult with local communities in preparing District Plans which play a key role in resource utilisation decisions. Local authorities play a critical role in coastal management through information and awareness raising campaigns at the regional and local level. They also participate in the Health Cities-Health Communities programme of WHO.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

 

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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WORKERS AND UNIONS

There is no information on this topic for New Zealand.

 

* * *

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

There are governmental policies increasing the efficiency of resource use, including reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste per unit of economic output.

A Business and Environment Conference was held in August 1993 for business leaders to promote concepts of eco-efficiency. The conference offered business leaders the opportunity to share success stories about incorporating environmental considerations into business management, and to learn how their competitors and colleagues are responding to the challenges of sustainable development. This conference was part of an on-going initiative to encourage businesses to regard environmental values as critical success factors in their marketing strategies.

Timber importers and building supply retailers have been involved in transforming the country's trade to sustainable sources of imported tropical timbers through the Imported Tropical Timber Group (ITTG). Industry has also assumed a critical role in the handling of chemical and hazardous wastes. The Chemical Industry Council created a Responsible Care programme for the management of hazardous wastes and chemicals. The oil industry has also been involved with the production of a guide to the installation of underground storage tanks.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.


* * *

 

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.
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SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

See under Status.

Programmes and Projects 

See under Status.

Status 

Efforts are being made to improve exchange of knowledge and concerns between the S&T community and the general public. Across all government agencies there is an increasing interest in participatory processes involving the public. The decentralized science system in New Zealand places emphasis on individual science agencies developing their own bilateral and multilateral programmes and linkages. The Government assists such linkages with small seed funding through several programmes of the International Science Linkages Fund, a science promotion fund.

The Public Good Science Fund (PGSF) requires there to be a technology transfer component within all research bids it funds, including those relevant to sustainable development. Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) and Universities now have active strategies for communication with the general public, including producing publications aimed specifically at increasing public awareness. CRIs are required by legislation to transfer knowledge and technology, and therefore must have explicit communication programmes about their science and research. The Royal Society of New Zealand has an active programme of science communication, and the promotion of science ethics and codes of scientific practice, as well as committees in a range of areas related to sustainable development.

The implementation of sustainable development projects at the national level involves, in most cases, consultation between the Government and the relevant experts in the science community. Major Group organisations in the scientific and technological community also participate in the design of national sustainable development projects and policies. Examples include the maintenance of clean water supplies, the National Science Strategy for Sustainable Land Management, and the national environmental indicators project.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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FARMERS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The central government agency responsible for strengthening the role of farmers through sustainable agriculture and rural development programmes is the Ministry of Agriculture (MAF).

There are numerous farmer and rural community groups that range from specific sheep breed societies to large industry producer boards. Local rural opportunity groups were formed to take on a diversity of functions and types of activities. Landcare groups, of which there are 90, have operated in New Zealand for many years in order to bring groups in a community together to tackle a common problem such as animal pests, erosion, or any other problem that may affect a rural community.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) is the main sector organisation representing New Zealand farmers. A network of 24 provincial organisations and over 400 local branches provides a locally-based, democratic organisation that gives farmers a collective voice, both within their region and nationally. The New Zealand Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (YFC) is New Zealand's largest youth organisation. The current membership is approximately 3,000 people dispersed throughout 200 clubs in New Zealand. Membership is open to anyone between 15 and 30 years of age. Women's Division Federated Farmers has 410 branches throughout New Zealand which provide opportunities for fellowship, education, community service and action according to local needs. It aims to strengthen rural communities and promote the welfare of rural families.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information

No information is available 

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *   

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update:  April 1997.

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SCIENCE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Science is also provided to Regional Councils who are responsible for resource management at the regional level. Use is made of science advice at a number of levels. At the national level science advice is inputted to departmental policy advice, The Ministry of Research, Science and Technology has a cross-departmental advisory function that also contributes to this.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

At a lower level, the Government is able to enhance scientific understanding and improve long-term scientific assessment, capacity, and capability in specific areas through its priority-setting process for the Public Good Science Fund (PGSF), which funds about 50% of all government-funded research in New Zealand. This process involves dividing the allocated funding among 17 socio-economic output areas. The most recent priority-setting exercise which is a higly consultative process, resulted in significant funding increases for outputs relating to primary production industries, energy research, society and culture, natural resources, land and freshwater ecosystems and marine environments, and climate and atmosphere. Within each of the remaining outputs, there is provision for research concerned with the sustainable utilisation/development of resources of the industry in question.

Several aspects of sustainable development are included within the priorities of the PGSF, the government fund for strategic research, but there is no overarching mechanism for prioritising national research for sustainable development. The PGSFs cross-output themes give priority to research related to sustainable development in the following areas - development of a body of knowledge on society and on addressing social issues; development of a body of knowledge on the natural and modified environment and on addressing environmental issues; global climate change (information and implications); and sustainable land management.

Specific steps taken to enhance scientific understanding which may, directly or indirectly, underpin sustainable development include:

The key national priorities for sustainable land management research, as identified in Science for Sustainable Land Management - Towards a New Agenda, are:

Theme areas where further research is needed include:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

Several Government documents, strategic statements and NSSs have identified research needs and priorities in numerous areas contributing to sustainable development. These include:

There is significant science effort in New Zealand toward understanding the physical aspects of sustainable land management (SLM). This area receives 81% of current funding for SLM research, with 4% dedicated to cultural and social aspects and 15% to understanding economic and financial objectives. Although it is recognised that the impact of human behaviour poses the biggest threat to SLM, there is currently little social science input to the management of the land.

Research and Technologies   

National Science Strategies Committees (NSS) have been established to coordinate and advise on research priorities for sustainable land management and climate change, and the appropriateness of a NSSC for biodiversity is also being investigated. The Committees develop science strategies for each area, as well as identifying priority topic areas, funding levels and information transfer needs. The Committees advise the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, and develop the strategies in consultation with the science providers, funders and users of science.

New Zealand does not collect R&D statistics specifically related to sustainable development. However, the latest R&D statistics, for 1993/94, provide the following break-down of expenditure by key area of activity. In 1993/94 the total R&D undertaken in New Zealand was NZ$824.8 million, up just over 9% from NZ$754.5 in 1992/93. The real growth rate of New Zealands total expenditure on R&D since 1989 has now risen to the same level as that of reference countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Austria, and Ireland), and exceeds the rate of growth in the OECD. Through the RS&T: 2010 strategy statement, the Government has committed itself to increasing expenditure from the current 0.57% of GDP to 0.8% by 2010. As part of achieving this goal, the Government is increasing funding for the PGSF from NZ$256 million to NZ$330 million over the next 5 years. The estimated funding of R&D by the business sector has increased substantially from NZ$245.4 million to NZ$293 million in 1993/94, or from 0.29% of GDP to 0.35% of GDP.

Although no direct attempt has been made to assess New Zealand's national scientific knowledge in the area of sustainable development, the Government has taken a strategic approach to promoting the long-term contribution of research, science, and technology (RS&T) to its social, economic, and environmental objectives, many aspects of which relate to sustainable development. This approach is described in Research Science & Technology: 2010, which sets three high-level goals, namely:

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available


* * *

 

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th and 6th Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997 & 1998. Last update:  April 1998.

Science Policy Agency Ministry of Research, Science and Technology:
Science Funding Agencies Foundation for Research, Science and Technology:
Health Research Council:
Science Providing Agencies Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research:
New Zealand Pastoral Agriculture Institute Ltd:
Horticulture & Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd:
Industrial Research Ltd:
New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd:
Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Ltd:
National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd:
New Zealand Forest Research Institute:
Science Academy The Royal Society of New Zealand:

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

New Zealand has no single agency responsible for the collection, analysis, management, and dissemination of information and data related to “sustainable development” per se.  However, there are several agencies involved with performing these functions for social. economic, and environmental aspects of sustainable development.  These include the Ministries of:

An E-government strategy is currently being developed by State Services Commission (SSC).  Among other things the strategy and programme will target data discovery, access, links and interoperability.  The vision for e-govt is;

“New Zealanders will be able to gain access to government information and services, and participate in our democracy, using the Internet, telephones and other technologies as they emerge."

Visit www.ssc.govt.nz for more information on e-govt.

Other existing mechanisms include:

Through legislation (such as the Resource Management Act, the Local Government Act, the Official Information Act).  This will also be reviewed as part of the E-govt.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

A variety of instruments address the flow and management of information for decision making in New Zealand.  These include:

·        The Statistics Act;

·        The Resource Management Act – requirement for local government to monitor;

·        The Local Government Act;

·        The National Census; and

·        Numerous private sector surveys on social/economic/ environmental/and political topics.

·        (The RMA and Local Government Acts have been reviewed  or are under review since Rio.)

The Ministry for the Environment’s work programme includes a programme on

Environmental Performance Indicators. (See http://www.environment.govt.nz/)  The framework for this system is shown in Figure 1 below..  

Figure 1:  Framework for a national state of environment reporting system

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The EPI programme has associated with it a “Minimum Monitoring and Reporting Requirement” (MMRR) aimed at achieving standardisation of data (see www.environment.govt.nz).  International initiatives are monitored and sources referenced as appropriate.

In progress, as part of the Environmental Performance Indicators programme and the work underway on headline indicators of sustainable development.  A programme for identifying Environmental Performance Indicator needs has been ongoing since 1997. Reports on work done to date include:

·      Information Plan for the National Environmental Indicators Programme of the Ministry for the Environment of New Zealand.  Report prepared by UNEP/GRID – Christchurch for MfE, September 1997 (EPI Technical Report No. 14)

·      Final stock take of information systems for environmental performance indicators and metadata.  Report prepared by Landcare Research Ltd (Ian Whitehouse, Robert Gibb and Stephen Campbell) for MfE, June 1998 (EPI Technical Report No. 20)

·      The needs analysis: final report.  Report prepared by Paul Mosley and Ruth Beanland for MfE, 4 September 1998 (EPI Technical Report No. 32)

·      A draft Environmental Thesaurus for New Zealand prepared by Diane Lowther and Ian Whitehouse, March 1999 (EPI Technical Report No. 51)

·      Environmental Metadata Working Group Report Series prepared Glen Lauder, May – September 2000.

·      Ministry for the Environment EPI Programme – Spatial Information Management.  Report on needs for spatial information management, analysis and reporting for EPI Programme, June 2000.

The result is an action plan to develop multi agency partnerships, standards, and a linked distributed information network that will provide better access to environmental information.   Other relevant networks include:

·        the National Biodiverity Strategy (NZBS) [http://www.biodiv.govt.nz/];

·        the proposed Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS), which, once developed, will be accessible electronically throught the Department of Conservations web site);

·        the Officials Committee on Geospatial Information (OCGI), www.linz.govt.nz; and

·        [e-government] www.ssc.govt.nz

The Maori indicators strand of the Environmental Performance Indicators Programme – is developing indicators that will; meet the expressed needs of whanau, hapu, iwi to retain their cultural integrity of culture and lifestyle; Kia manaaki te taiao (expressing a wish to care for the environment), educate the rangatahi (younger generations), and retain linkages; Manaaki te whanau – kai, care for the family; and, Sustain the mauri o te Taiao (the life force of Maori, and their relationships to the environment, for younger generations) .

Te Puni Kokori (TPK) www.tpk.govt.nz  is also involved in the e-govt programme for information sharing: both are also involved in the process outlined in iii) above.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

A wide range of entities is involved in this, from individuals through to organisations.  Organisations include Universities, Crown Research Institutes, Local Authorities and Government Departments (including, for example, Te Puni Kokiri (the Ministry of Maori Development), and Maruwhenua, (the Ministry for the Environment’s group for the analysis of indigenous peoples’ issues).  The extent of involvement depends on the information and data under consideration.

Programmes such as the Ministry for the Environments EPI Programme aim to link these information sources and where appropriate to aggregate information for national reporting.

Such programmes are also being developed for sustainable development in partnership with the MfE and Stats NZ (MED and MoSP).

The private sector provides a variety of information that can be used by local and national government.  (For example, community monitoring schemes within sustainable cities/Local Agenda 21 initiatives are an element of the strategic planning of several local authorities.)

Industry groups also participate in the EPI Programme.

Yes.  For example, the EPI programme involved wide consultation with all government departments, local government, NGOs and sector groups, and interested individuals.

Main lessons learned include:  that programmes and indicators need to be developed in consultation with all communities involved in collecting information; and there needs to be a range of reporting formats to meet needs of different audiences.

Programmes and Projects   

E-govt is the main overarching strategy driver (www.ssc.govt.nz).  One objective of e-govt (www.ssc.govt.nz) is to strengthen electronic network capabilities, however the programme does not contain a specific section on sustainable development.

Local Government State of the Environment Reporting processes collect social, economic, and environmental data. The EPI and section 35 of the Resource Management Act address most of the subsections of this question.

The Sustainable Management Fund (SMF) – has a funding section on information management and sharing (www.smf.govt.nz).

There are also general programmes (such as Computers in Schools), which will lead to strengthening electronic networking capabilities

The Ministry of Agriculture has commissioned several research programs for the development of indicators of sustainability of agriculture. MAF has also held seminars with farmers and other government agencies to determine additional indicators. MAF is also currently involved in the OECD development of agri-environmental indicators. MOT is developing an information strategy for transport. The Strategy concentrates on environmental, commercial, safety and social sustainability.

The Ministry for the Environment is currently coordinating the development of a core set of environmental indicators, and a framework for gathering, analysing, and releasing such information. The indicators will show environmental trends and the effectiveness of actions taken to avoid, or solve, environmental problems. The indicators will supply information for regular State of the Environment Reports. They will show the government whether it is meeting its environmental objectives set out in Environment 2010 Strategy, and they will show New Zealand's progress towards sustainable management of the environment. While there is a programme to develop a set of national environmental indicators, the Government has not had a specific program to develop or use indicators of sustainable development at the national, regional, or local level. Departments of the UNCED Implementation Officials Group, and others, have considered the option of developing checklists for incorporating sustainability principles into organisational practices and policy making.

Central and local government agencies are developing their own sets of indicators for their own purpose, to assist planning and resource allocation, service provision or other actions.

Status 

There is no single formalised information network specifically for sustainable development: but there are many relevant internet sites.

There are no consolidated data available to allow an objective assessment of this.

(Again, though there are no governmental sources dealing specifically and exclusively with sustainable development per se, there are many sources of information on economic, social, and environmental aspects of sustainable development.  Most relevant government departments and other entities have web sites, often with extensive links to other relevant sites.)

Development of headline indicators of sustainable development is in progress  (see above).  These will serve planning, assessment/monitoring, and research ends.  Environmental indicators are widely used in New Zealand for planning, decision making, education and research. 

Availability of sustainable development information at the national level.

Agenda 21 Chapters

Very good

Good

Some good data but many gaps

Poor

Remarks

2. International cooperation and trade  

X

     
3. Combating poverty  

X

     
4. Changing consumption patterns    

X

   
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability  

X

     
6. Human health    

X

   
7. Human settlements    

X

   
8. Integrating E & D in decision-making    

X

   
9. Protection of the atmosphere    

X

   
10. Integrated planning and management of land resources    

X

   
11. Combating deforestation    

X

   
12. Combating desertification and drought    

X

   
13. Sustainable mountain development    

X

   
14. Sustainable agriculture and rural development    

X

   
15. Conservation of biological diversity    

X

   
16. Biotechnology  

X

     
17. Oceans, seas, coastal areas and their living resources    

X

   
18. Freshwater resources    

X

   
19. Toxic chemicals    

X

   
20. Hazardous wastes    

X

   
21. Solid wastes      

X

 
22. Radioactive wastes    

X

   
24. Women in sustainable development    

X

   
25. Children and youth    

X

   
26. Indigenous people    

X

   
27. Non-governmental organizations    

X

   
28. Local authorities    

X

   
29. Workers and trade unions    

X

   
30. Business and industry    

X

   
31. Scientific and technological community    

X

   
32. Farmers    

X

   
33. Financial resources and mechanisms    

X

   
34. Technology, cooperation and capacity-building    

X

   
35. Science for sustainable development    

X

   
36. Education, public awareness and training    

X

   
37. International cooperation for capacity-building  

X

     
38. International institutional arrangements  

X

     
39. International legal instruments  

X

     
40. Information for decision-making    

X

   

Information plays a critical role in ensuring that objectives of sustainable development policies are met in areas such as health, welfare, housing, and environment. Monitoring and evaluation of information provides a firm basis for decision making, the efficient use of resources, clarifying the social and environmental impacts of policies, and providing a means of measuring progress towards agreed objectives. The Government believes that the coordination of information related to environment and development in the government sector would allow better use of existing information networks both within and outside government.

Major initiatives in this area include:

Challenges  

The integration of social, economic, and environmental data for decision makers.  The storage of and ease of access to/or retrieval of data.  Improving the efficiency of distribution networks and data management.

Institutional:  achieving efficient cross institutional/organisational integration and coordination of information.

Technical:  having agreed metadata standards and compatible distributional networks (computer systems & infrastructure) in operation.  Related to this is achieving interoperability – methods for information collection and standards for data transfer.

Financial:  securing adequate funding (government and private) to enable the above.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The State of the Environment Reporting and the EPI processes mentioned above promote public awareness and usage of information on sustainable development related issues.  The Ministry for the Environment is planning a public outreach programme in connection with preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The EPI programme provides tools that will allow experts and technical staff to improve the collection assessment, monitoring, management and reporting on a range of information related to indicators.

Information   

Web based meta data directories will be implemented through the EPI Programme.

Portals are being developed for communities of interest, for example a national portal for environmental information (www.environment.govt.nz).  It is most likely that a portal will be developed for sustainability reporting that will link relevant information.

Research and Technologies   

Satellite imagery is being used to identify and map environmental data, and is being used in conjunction with new environmental classification systems, for monitoring and reporting land, freshwater, marine, and biodiversity indicators.  (For example, see Land Cover Database link on www.environment.govt.nz).

The use of extended mark-up language (XML) is being used by MfE and e-govt in a distributed framework for information collection and reporting.  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is also being used for web based reporting and analysis, enabling overlaying of information to assist pre-set queries in web reports (see www.mfe.govt.nz for more information).

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

New Zealand’s relationships with the organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC), Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) involve cooperation on bilateral, regional, and international basis in gathering and sharing information on sustainable development.

New Zealand’s Official Development Assistance has as one of its guiding principles “building capacity”, including institutional strengthening which could include the development and management of information systems.

Australia and New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC), is working on common standards for information management, for example metadata.  See www.ea.gov.au

New Zealand has good working relations with Australia on the World Wide Web consortium (W3C) and the Open GIS consortium.

In developing both environmental performance indicators and headline indicators of sustainable development New Zealand has drawn on the relevant and related work of the CSD, the OECD, and on the experiences of close neighbours such a

 

* * *

 

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For direct access to New Zealand's National Statistics Office, click here: || For information on State of the Environment reporting, click here:

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In signing and ratifying international agreements, the Government of New Zealand uses established mechanisms and consultative processes that consider the relationships and overlaps between agreements.

Where new policy is being developed and proposed, all significant proposals require the approval of the Cabinet, usually via the relevant Cabinet Committee. Proposals are required to clearly state the issue under consideration, set out options for change, and evaluate these, reporting on the impact on the public good. Consultation is undertaken in the development of the proposals. Papers are required to be circulated to departments whose interests may be affected so that Ministers are well informed of any impacts on the economy and the environment.

The sponsoring department must attach a signed certificate to each proposal confirming that consultation has occurred and that other departments' views are reflected in the proposal. In addition to this process, where significant reform is being considered, interdepartmental working groups are often established to ensure integrated consideration. Through this process, relationships and overlaps between issues and international agreements are covered and integration and consistency with government is maintained.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

 

This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For information on treaty claims and the environment, click here: || For information on international law in New Zealand, click here:

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