QUALITY OF TOOLS: STRATEGY PRINCIPLES
The strategy proposed by this subtheme is thus based on the following principles:
- Operating effectively in all phases of the management cycle
- Linking appropriate tools to those management phases, and encouraging the application of diverse tools
- Measuring the effectiveness of the tools in delivering the required outcome
- Determining a desired state, the indicators by which to measure that state, and the baseline from which to measure progress (or lack of)
- Aligning the State of the Environment Reporting
- Addressing shortfalls or changes to regulations and guidelines
- Using additional tools as required to realise the desired outcome
- Including planning and design tools, specifically, spatial planning and strategic tools
- Strengthening monitoring and enforcement
The principles are discussed in more detail below.
1.1.1 Environmental Management Cycle
The Integrated Environmental Management cycle includes 4 phases namely:
- Planning and Design
- Commencement, Implementation, construction
- Monitoring and Auditing
- Enforcement and Feedback
1.1.2 Appropriate tools linked to phases
For each phase in the Integrated Environmental Management Cycle, appropriate tools should be determined by Subtheme 9 or at the least a more appropriate screening process to ensure that the most appropriate mix of tools are used to achieve the outcomes.
Subtheme 9 states:
This IEM cycle is visualized as an iterative process that starts with the collection and processing of data, the use of the new knowledge in decision-making, parallel processes, construction etc., the monitoring of the implementation actions, and finally a phase that takes stock of how implementation took place and implements corrective actions in terms of either the existing application or new iterations of the cycle.
Environmental management actions can be tested against these phases to evaluate their function, relationships and position within the management cycle. Typical actions or steps within the integrated environmental management project cycle are matched to the four IEM phases, and immediately, structure is given to the spectrum of environmental tools available to environmental practitioners.
~Subtheme 9 Report
1.1.3 Measure the quality of the tools
The quality of tools within each phase will be measured against pre-determined and agreed to outcomes.
1.1.4 Indicators, Outcomes and Desired State of the Environment are determined
The desired state of the Environment should be determined and must inform the Outcomes to be used by the framework.
With the desired outcome determined, the outputs and activities can be appropriately formulated (where outputs are the final product/s delivered, for example a SEA or EMF; and activities are the processes or actions that use a range of inputs to produces the outputs, and ultimately the desired outcomes). Outputs, activities and outcomes must be described for (at least) land use management, Biodiversity, Water, Air, Soil, Agriculture, Ground Water, Forestation, Geo-hydrology, Waste and Ecosystem Service Rendering within a cooperative governance paradigm.
Indictors which align with International standards and requirements and which address the country-specific needs can then be used in monitoring and reporting.
1.1.5 Aligning State of the Environment Reporting
The State of the Environment report should reflect the baseline for the determined Outcomes.
State of the Environment reporting represents an integrated and comprehensive approach to many different reporting requirements – international, regional and national - and can help to provide timely information to support decision-making.
1.1.6 Guidelines, regulations and other references
Guideline documents and regulations must continue to ensure the quality of tools.
Considerations include –
- A list of required information
- Departmental guidelines and policies
- Predetermined and clear terms of reference
- Pre-determined performance criteria
- Certification and registration of consultants
- Independent review
- Correctness of information gathering and capturing
- Accepted standards and formats for datasets
- Scale and accuracy of relevant baseline information
- Input from I&AP
1.1.7 Using additional Instruments
Additional instruments should be used where appropriate to support attaining the desired outcome.
Different instruments can play a major role in ensuring an outcome based approach, and include –
Command and control – “Command” facilitates setting the standards which are linked to the desired outcome; “Control” facilitates stringent yet pragmatic monitoring and decisive enforcement.
Market/Fiscal based instruments – taxes, subsidies, tax relief, fees, charges, etc, may be used to stimulate the implementation of measures which improve the environment, closely linked to policies such as the Green Economy and Climate Change.
Agreement-based instruments – such as Biodiversity Management Agreements, and International Agreements.
Civil based instruments - such as Eco-labelling, performance reporting, technical assistance
1.1.8 Include Planning and Design
Tools which focus on Planning and Design must be included.
Planning and Design tools will play a major role in determining the goals/outcomes that need to be achieved within IEM.
1.1.9 Monitoring, Enforcement and Feedback Tools
Monitoring, Compliance Assessment Reports, Enforcement and Feedback tools are an essential part of the EIM cycle.
The State of the Environment, the Environmental Management Plan, Compliance Notices and Self-regulation, or the application of industry standards, are tools used for enforcement and feedback.
In this part of the cycle, instruments are scant and application/use inadequate.
To achieve a full-cycle, balanced approach to Integrated Environmental Management, enforcement and monitoring need to be strengthened.
This subtheme therefore proposes a new tool: a Compliance Assessment Report.
Compliance Assessment Reports have been effectively used by Treasury in South Africa as well as in the European Union. While the focus of these successful reports is fiscal compliance, the principle may be extrapolated.
In the Environmental arena the Compliance Assessment Report typically addresses the following –
- Subject e.g. Marine Water Quality
- Action e.g. An activity which is linked to an EMP, an authorisation condition, etc.
- Method/How e.g. Ensuring water quality meets the levels of ecological protection
- Objective e.g. Maintain and improve water quality to within specified limits
- Evidence e.g. Laboratory results
- Requirement of e.g. Authorisation condition, DEA, DWA, etc.
- Advice e.g. Consulting firm, DEA guideline, etc.
- When e.g. the timeframe set to either achieve an objective, or the duration of the monitoring
1.2 QUALITY CONTROL MEASURES PER MANAGEMENT PHASE
The quality of tools will be measured by means of an outcome based approach as well as existing and to be developed additional checklisting and guideline documents for different tools.
The development of outcome-based conditions should be undertaken via the four step process based on the Western Australia guideline model as detailed below.
Step 1: Identify the environmental outcome to be achieved by the proposal in relation to the environmental factor
This step is the most important part of the condition as it is the statement of what is to be achieved – the desired state of the environment. The environmental outcome is the proposal-specific interpretation of the environmental objective, defining the acceptable level of change to the environment as a result of the proposal. The description of the environmental outcome should use statements of realistic and measurable intentions, specific, achievable, clearly stated, time-related.
Step 2: Identify how the outcome is to be demonstrated
The most appropriate method is via monitoring. The reason for undertaking the monitoring and what it needs to demonstrate must be clear.
For example, “The proponent shall monitor xxx within the disturbance footprint to identify any significant change in abundance or condition …”
It is then the responsibility of the proponent to design the monitoring program so that it is able to support an evaluation of the level of change or significance in the environmental factor. A baseline will be required so that the allowable levels of change (impact) can be measured. Appropriate baselines should be established as part of the planning and EIA documentation.
Where the outcome is performance-based, it is possible that the monitoring requirements will need to be outlined in a schedule, as the monitoring frameworks and/or protocol will need to stipulate the desired levels of performance to be achieved; the indicators to be measured (including locations); and the various criteria to be met with reference to guidelines, trigger values and standards. The condition should include the interval of monitoring, including timing (e.g. seasonal) where this is critical, as well as the duration of monitoring. This must be relevant to the life of the proposal and the extent of the responsibility of the proponent. The condition needs to reflect the life of the proposal or impact, as defined by the proposal description contained in the condition statement, and require action accordingly.
Step 3: Identify reporting requirements
The condition must stipulate the reporting requirements regarding the monitoring, with reference to when, how by whom.
Step 4: Identify what is to be done if the outcome is not being met
The condition must include instructions on the actions required if the outcome is not being met. This should include the required action and timing of that action, and would likely be a tiered response, such as to carry out a preliminary management response; carry out a secondary management response; stop operations; criteria for re-starting operations; and action to remediate or mitigate impacts.