Research: Sustainability Policy for EU Islands

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EU Island-Friendly Policymaking – Malta’s case

  • Charlon Joseph Abela

 

For us small island developing States, the question of sustainability is not an abstruse, arcane concern. It is rather a matter that affects the very nature of our existence.

H.E. Mr L.Erskine Sandiford

Prime Minister of Barbados[1]

Table of Contents

 

  1. Abstract

European Union policy is not considered to be one which well reflects the sustainability challenges which islands continuously face. The EU policy approach as regards sustainability issues has been regarded as an incremental and a fragmented one.

This paper seeks to identify the main sustainability challenges faces by EU islands and strives for the achievement of their awareness. The current definition of islands is also noted. Here, the problem lies on the fact that the definition of islands is rather restrictive and consequently excludes island states. Additionally, one should also not the fact that both insularity as well as peripherality fall within any of the categories of the Union’s Impact Assessment guidelines.

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One of the main problems which put European islands at a disadvantage is that since they are found in different administrative strata of the EU, a lack of harmonisation vis-à-vis statistical data and other elements exists. This hinders the efficient monitoring of sustainable development. Malta’s role in stressing these problems as suffered by European islands will be considered in the light of the European Union’s policy-making.

Keywords: European Union, Sustainability Challenges, Definition, Impact Assessment guidelines, Harmonisation, Policy-Making.

  1. Research Question

Starting off from the theories of the main proponents on the subject of Sustainable Development the author of this paper seeks to discover how European Union (EU) policy making is addressing sustainability challenges in island states and how this is seen from the perspective of the concerned stakeholders. In this context, a case study would be the best general method to observe the impact of these policies. Malta’s Mistra case will be analysed.

  1. Literature Review

One may ask why the issue of sustainable development is found in political science and not within ecosystem theory or human ecology. The reason for this is that most academic debate is led and dominated by economic theories which reflect the preference for economic capital and monetary valuation. Cost-benefit analysis and normative policy theory also fall within these theories. (e.g. Vatn and Bromley, 1994; Victor, 1991; Gutés, 1996; Munda, 1996; Gowdy, 2003).

The 1992, action plan of the United Nations about sustainable development, more famously known as Agenda 21, called for the countries’ development of National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDSs). This plan recognized the need that key decisions had to be taken at a national level together with stakeholders. Before delving deeply into the challenges of Sustainable Development one has to look at various scholars (and organisations) who discussed this subject and observe their definitions and believes.

The roots of sustainable development challenges come from the concepts of economical and social sound developments that in sum demands a drastic change in one’s methods of production, innovation, decision-making, scientific understanding and problem-oriented research (Ashford, 2002; Rammel, 2003; Funtovicz and Ravetz, 1994).

According to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) sustainable development results from the “concern over the social and environmental impacts of economic development” and “aims to achieve progress through ‘win-win-win’ solutions based on the integration of environment, economic and social policy objectives”.[2]

Discussing sustainable development one has to look at the Conventional forms of development and at the Sustainable development model. Approaches of a conventional nature say that in line with globalisation modernization will take place. According to David Pepper (1996) modernization and progress of society depends on two variables that are, how much structurally specialised it is and how differentiated it is. This theory closely relates to an ego-centric growth and one’s personal advance. However, one of the impacts of modernization is the devastating effect on nature. This includes wilderness transformation to natural parks, deforestation and river harnessing for energy generation. According to Thomas C. Bell from the U.S Water News, in the context of hydropower dams these have been the cause of negative impacts on the rivers’ ecosystems.[3]

According to Walt Whitman Rostow (1960), within the Conventional model, the society is seen to pass from various stages of economic growth which he splits up into five categories, that are, 1)Traditional Society; 2) Preconditions for take-off; 3) Take-off; 4) Drive to maturity; and 5) Age of high mass consumption. With ‘Take-off’ there is the emergence of new industries and new entrepreneurial classes while during the ‘maturity’ stage economic growth exceeds population growth. At the final state, the society’s mass consumption allows the introduction of social welfare (Pepper 1996).[4] Such a model proposes a linear development which presents the necessity for Third World societies to reach development of a Western style. However, in opposition to this idea of linear development John Barry (1999) believes that there is no such development which may be guaranteed for modern society and such development is not to be necessarily harmonious between countries.

A number of models of environmental development have been created in order to replace the previous development paradigms. According to Mark Roseland (2000) these new models consider social change, the advancement of social equity, the expansion of organisational effectiveness and the building to human and technical capabilities aiming at sustainability.

Within these new models, sustainability, asks for the protection of the base of natural resources upon which further development lies. This environmental development model is not solely directed towards the protection of nature but also at the creation of an ecological society that lives harmonized with nature. Such a society, demands that economic activity and human progress by no means necessitate the ruin of nature. According to Susan Baker (2006) “Sustainable development is part of new efforts, albeit tentative to integrate environmental, economic and (more recently) social considerations into a new development paradigm.”[5]

  1. Aims

The following are the main aims of the study:

  • What are the interpretations and ways of implementation of the policy in the national context?
  • What are the main sustainability issues, policy design, implementation ideas and resultant changes to land use?
  • How sustainable are the criteria?
  • What is the impact on the 9 Land Use Functions (LUF)?
  • What are the sustainability framework indicators?
  1. Methodology

The methodology used in this study is based on the general principles of the SENSOR protocol. This protocol was established to carry out surveys in 4 SENSOR[6] sensitive areas, mainly:

  • Coastal regions
  • Post-industrial regions
  • Mountainous regions
  • Island regions

Because of the lack of direction and missing documented examples of participatory approaches to the Impact Assessment, a methodological framework for the involvement of stakeholders in the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) is analyzed in the background of the policies developed as part of the SENSOR project, especially as regards the use of European land. [7]

The Framework Programme for Participatory Impact Assessment (FoPIA) design enables the assessment of policy effects that are considered to be sensitive to national, regional and local sustainability concerns by gathering and connecting the expertise of the national, regional and local stakeholders who do play a vital role in the analysis process.

Situations within the SENSOR project allude to potential variation in European policy as a result of perceived sustainable development challenges. Scenarios which possibly may involve a blend of policy instruments including legislation, subsidies and taxes, are thoroughly comparatively studied in a counterfactual or baseline setting for the exhibition of situations in which the policy is not implemented. These settings are then made subject to the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) which involves the selection and investigation of the sustainability criteria and indicators that reflect main concerns related to the sustainability of land use. Impact assessments and sustainability limits are acknowledged by the stakeholders’ knowledge of the present socio-economic and environmental status of the region.

Now that a basic understanding of the FoPIA has been delivered, one can delve into its various stages. These stages will be the main methodology through which information will be gathered for this study.

The FoPIA is founded on 5 blocks within the European Environment Agency, that are, the Driver; Pressure; State; Impact; and Response.

Driver, refers to sustainability issues that drive / generate interest in a particular policy. Pressure, refers to variations in the use of land as a result of changes in policy. State and Impact, refer to the resultant changes in the spheres of society, economics and environment. Finally, Response, refers to the policy makers’ final decisions according to their knowledge from information gathered from the assessment’s technical output. Normally, this final category is seen to be outside of the Sustainability Impact Assessment Tool (SIAT).

For effective data gathering, the FoPIA is based on a Stakeholder-approach. This method is divided into two phases. The first phase consults stakeholders in semi-structured interviews while in the second phase the stakeholders are gathered and participate in a Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) workshop.

The FoPIA approach presents ue with a methodological journey from problem definition to the stakeholders’ feedback.

Figure 1 illustrates the logical structure of the FoPIA.

Figure 1

The following sections show how this method can be applied in detail.

Phase 1. This phase commences with the critical study of the policy’s national interpretations and ways of implementation in the context of the main sustainability issues and difficulties. This is achieved through semi-structured interviews with the concerned policy makers who operate both at national level as well as those who represent the national interest at an EU level. Generally, these are representatives coming from the government’s departments. However, members of working groups and members of specifically-set advisory panels are also interviewed.

Another set of interviews is done with regional stakeholders. These interviews focus on the change of land use that will take place when the policy is implemented. These stakeholders are chosen from government departments and those involved in decision making, which are specifically concerned with the policy in question. Interviewed stakeholders may also be chosen from the ‘land’ representatives and interest groups.

The method used for these interviews is that of Snowball Sampling and is to be done through email correspondence or by telephone.

Each interview is based on a topic guide asking questions on sustainability issues, policy design and implementation as well as the resultant changes in land use. All interviews have to pass through three stages:

  1. Recording
  2. Transcription
  3. Analysis

Content analysis involves the highlighting of the key themes mentioned and the results are to be used as the foundation for draft of possible scenarios. This information is to be forwarded to the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) workshop.

Phase 2. This phase involves the SIA workshop, which brings together all the stakeholders in Phase 1. Throughout the workshop, the stakeholders execute analysis of sustainability criteria. Additionally an assessment of the consequent changes resulting from the policy in question, within the social, environmental and economic indicators is done. Any new indicator values are contrasted with the sustainability limits laid down by the stakeholders. Finally, criteria are reassessed in order to highlight the stakeholders’ preferences.

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In the beginning of the SIA workshop the team leading the study presents a précis of the findings discovered from the interviews in the first phase. Stakeholders, then discuss these points and if an agreement is achieved the points may be amended to reflect more precisely any possible recent policy development. Following is a definition and assessment of the main sustainability criteria in the context of the land use.

This stage requires a moderated discussion and a scoring exercise which are followed by another discussion in order to achieve agreement on the criteria scores.

The discussion on sustainability criteria is based in nine Land Use Functions (LUF) which are to be presented by the moderator. These 9 LUFs are categorised as follows:[8]

  1. Social functions:
    1. Cultural
    2. Health and Recreation
    3. Provision of work
  2. Economic functions:
    1. Residential and non land-based industries and services
    2. Land-based production
    3. Infrastructure and mobility
  3. Environmental functions:
    1. Provision of abiotic resources
    2. Provision of habitat
    3. Maintenance of ecosystem processes

Each of these nine functions are passed through a process of scoring ranging from ‘1’ to ‘10’. A score of ‘1’ shows low importance while that of ‘10’ signifies extremely high importance.

After the scoring phase, the stakeholders can defend or reconsider their scores as a result of new information/understanding from other participants. This enables ‘social learning ‘(Henkens et al. 2007). An average of the scores is drawn, however, if any participant changes his/her score the average can only be amended by consensus from all participants.

Following, definition and agreement on sustainability framework indicators are sought. These are then used for an impact assessment of each policy scenario. These Land Use Function Criteria Indicators (LUFCI) are obtained from the previous stage. This stage, seeks to link impacts and sustainability issues brought up by the stakeholders.

Stakeholders agree on a list of LUFCIs in the previous stage. In this stage they agree upon LUFCIs are used for the performance of an impact assessment on each policy scenario. Again, the participants have to provide a score on each LUFCI ranging from -3 to 3. ‘-3’ denotes a strong negative impact, while a ‘+3’ denotes a very positive impact. These predictions are to be made on a time period of 25 years.

As in previous stages, an average score is worked out. Stakeholders discuss together the average of the LUFCIs which enables social learning on a basis of the differences between their opinions.

During this stage, acceptability of the resultant impacts is assessed. Each LUFCI is set a minimum standard (also referred to as a ‘sustainability limit’) which again after individual scoring is followed by discussion. Participants should assess each LUFCI and choose whether their approach is sustainable or unsustainable. Again score vary from -3 to +3.

Now, stakeholders should again analyse the LUFC in the background of the impact assessment in order to extract the stakeholders’ preferences for the policy scenarios. This stage is highlighted by the consideration of trade-offs which might result both from positive and negative impacts. Participants are again asked to provide a score which ranges from 1 to 9, whereby a score of ‘1’ denotes the least importance. As before, an average score is calculated, discussed and amended only if all agree.

This final session involves another discussion of both the process as well as of the final results of the SIA. This allows all participants to reflect on the output and to consider the providing of feedback on the methods used, materials and research inputs adopted.

This session is divided as follows:

  1. A presentation of the summary of the workshop results
  2. The stakeholders discuss results
  3. Participants should highlight any point with which they agreed or disagreed throughout the running of the study including the methodological aspect
    1. This includes the highlighting of parts which required further clarifications
  4. The participants should provide their feedback on whether they believe that this FoPIA based study is efficient in within the set context and whether they believe that there will be any analytical and political achievements.
  5. Finally, participants should point out if they enjoyed the study’s methodological part and if they believe that there were any setbacks. They should also suggest any possible improvements.

References

Blewitt John, Understanding Sustainable Development, TJ International, 2008

Baker Susan, Sustainable Development, Routledge, 2006

Sustainable Development Strategies: A Resource Book, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris and United Nations Development Programme, New York, 2002

Sustainable Development: New Research, Abate Gugsa et al. Maples D. Alexander (Editor), Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 2005

Trade, Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Key Issues for Developing Countries; International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (http://ictsd.net/downloads/2008/08/mauritius-complete-policy-paper.pdf) (accessed on 20th December 2013)

Pierce Roger, Research Methods in Politics: a practical guide, TJ International Ltd, 2008

Morris Jake, Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental, Social and Economic Effect of Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions. Session 3: FOPIA – A new methods engaging regional stakeholders in Impact Assessment. Accessed from http://tran.zalf.de/home_ip-sensor/newsevents/brussels/09_Tabbush_SNESOR_final_policy_day.pdf (accessed on 22nd December 2013)

Morris Jake Berton, Tassone Valentina, De Groot Rudolf, Camilleri Marguerite and Moncada Stefano, A Framework for Participatory Impact Assessment: Involving Stakeholders in European Policy Making, a Case Study of Land Use Change in Malta, Ecology and Society 16(1): 12, Published under the license by the Resilience Alliance

http://www.mepa.org.mt/sustainabledevelopment (accessed on 22nd December 2013)

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20131030/local/ngo-insists-proposed-mistra-deveopment-is-unacceptable.492552#.UsPN0_RDt_Q (accessed on 23rd October 2013)

1


[1] Opening statement to the UN Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. Barbados, 26 April – 6 May 1994.

[2] http://www.mepa.org.mt/sustainabledevelopment (accessed on 21st December 2013)

[3] Bell Thomas C. , U.S. Water News, 1995

[4] Baker Susan, Sustainable Development, Routledge, 2006

[5] Baker Susan, Sustainable Development, Routledge, 2006

[6] SENSOR project: Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental, Social and Economic Effects of Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions. This is an integrated project funded under the European Commission’s sixth Framework Programme, that is, a Framework Programme for Participatory Impact Assessment (FOPIA). The FoPIA is a set of research methods that altogether facilitates the understanding of the involvement of national, regional and local stakeholders as regards the assessments of policy impacts on European land use.

[7] Morris Jake Berton, Tassone Valentina, De Groot Rudolf, Camilleri Marguerite and Moncada Stefano, A Framework for Participatory Impact Assessment: Involving Stakeholders in European Policy Making, a Case Study of Land Use Change in Malta, Ecology and Society 16(1): 12, Published under the license by the Resilience Alliance

[8] Morris Jake, Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental, Social and Economic Effect of Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions. Session 3: FOPIA – A new methods engaging regional stakeholders in Impact Assessment. Accessed from http://tran.zalf.de/home_ip-sensor/newsevents/brussels/09_Tabbush_SNESOR_final_policy_day.pdf (22nd December 2013)

EU Island-Friendly Policymaking – Malta’s case

  • Charlon Joseph Abela

 

For us small island developing States, the question of sustainability is not an abstruse, arcane concern. It is rather a matter that affects the very nature of our existence.

H.E. Mr L.Erskine Sandiford

Prime Minister of Barbados[1]

Table of Contents

 

  1. Abstract

European Union policy is not considered to be one which well reflects the sustainability challenges which islands continuously face. The EU policy approach as regards sustainability issues has been regarded as an incremental and a fragmented one.

This paper seeks to identify the main sustainability challenges faces by EU islands and strives for the achievement of their awareness. The current definition of islands is also noted. Here, the problem lies on the fact that the definition of islands is rather restrictive and consequently excludes island states. Additionally, one should also not the fact that both insularity as well as peripherality fall within any of the categories of the Union’s Impact Assessment guidelines.

One of the main problems which put European islands at a disadvantage is that since they are found in different administrative strata of the EU, a lack of harmonisation vis-à-vis statistical data and other elements exists. This hinders the efficient monitoring of sustainable development. Malta’s role in stressing these problems as suffered by European islands will be considered in the light of the European Union’s policy-making.

Keywords: European Union, Sustainability Challenges, Definition, Impact Assessment guidelines, Harmonisation, Policy-Making.

  1. Research Question

Starting off from the theories of the main proponents on the subject of Sustainable Development the author of this paper seeks to discover how European Union (EU) policy making is addressing sustainability challenges in island states and how this is seen from the perspective of the concerned stakeholders. In this context, a case study would be the best general method to observe the impact of these policies. Malta’s Mistra case will be analysed.

  1. Literature Review

One may ask why the issue of sustainable development is found in political science and not within ecosystem theory or human ecology. The reason for this is that most academic debate is led and dominated by economic theories which reflect the preference for economic capital and monetary valuation. Cost-benefit analysis and normative policy theory also fall within these theories. (e.g. Vatn and Bromley, 1994; Victor, 1991; Gutés, 1996; Munda, 1996; Gowdy, 2003).

The 1992, action plan of the United Nations about sustainable development, more famously known as Agenda 21, called for the countries’ development of National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDSs). This plan recognized the need that key decisions had to be taken at a national level together with stakeholders. Before delving deeply into the challenges of Sustainable Development one has to look at various scholars (and organisations) who discussed this subject and observe their definitions and believes.

The roots of sustainable development challenges come from the concepts of economical and social sound developments that in sum demands a drastic change in one’s methods of production, innovation, decision-making, scientific understanding and problem-oriented research (Ashford, 2002; Rammel, 2003; Funtovicz and Ravetz, 1994).

According to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) sustainable development results from the “concern over the social and environmental impacts of economic development” and “aims to achieve progress through ‘win-win-win’ solutions based on the integration of environment, economic and social policy objectives”.[2]

Discussing sustainable development one has to look at the Conventional forms of development and at the Sustainable development model. Approaches of a conventional nature say that in line with globalisation modernization will take place. According to David Pepper (1996) modernization and progress of society depends on two variables that are, how much structurally specialised it is and how differentiated it is. This theory closely relates to an ego-centric growth and one’s personal advance. However, one of the impacts of modernization is the devastating effect on nature. This includes wilderness transformation to natural parks, deforestation and river harnessing for energy generation. According to Thomas C. Bell from the U.S Water News, in the context of hydropower dams these have been the cause of negative impacts on the rivers’ ecosystems.[3]

According to Walt Whitman Rostow (1960), within the Conventional model, the society is seen to pass from various stages of economic growth which he splits up into five categories, that are, 1)Traditional Society; 2) Preconditions for take-off; 3) Take-off; 4) Drive to maturity; and 5) Age of high mass consumption. With ‘Take-off’ there is the emergence of new industries and new entrepreneurial classes while during the ‘maturity’ stage economic growth exceeds population growth. At the final state, the society’s mass consumption allows the introduction of social welfare (Pepper 1996).[4] Such a model proposes a linear development which presents the necessity for Third World societies to reach development of a Western style. However, in opposition to this idea of linear development John Barry (1999) believes that there is no such development which may be guaranteed for modern society and such development is not to be necessarily harmonious between countries.

A number of models of environmental development have been created in order to replace the previous development paradigms. According to Mark Roseland (2000) these new models consider social change, the advancement of social equity, the expansion of organisational effectiveness and the building to human and technical capabilities aiming at sustainability.

Within these new models, sustainability, asks for the protection of the base of natural resources upon which further development lies. This environmental development model is not solely directed towards the protection of nature but also at the creation of an ecological society that lives harmonized with nature. Such a society, demands that economic activity and human progress by no means necessitate the ruin of nature. According to Susan Baker (2006) “Sustainable development is part of new efforts, albeit tentative to integrate environmental, economic and (more recently) social considerations into a new development paradigm.”[5]

  1. Aims

The following are the main aims of the study:

  • What are the interpretations and ways of implementation of the policy in the national context?
  • What are the main sustainability issues, policy design, implementation ideas and resultant changes to land use?
  • How sustainable are the criteria?
  • What is the impact on the 9 Land Use Functions (LUF)?
  • What are the sustainability framework indicators?
  1. Methodology

The methodology used in this study is based on the general principles of the SENSOR protocol. This protocol was established to carry out surveys in 4 SENSOR[6] sensitive areas, mainly:

  • Coastal regions
  • Post-industrial regions
  • Mountainous regions
  • Island regions

Because of the lack of direction and missing documented examples of participatory approaches to the Impact Assessment, a methodological framework for the involvement of stakeholders in the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) is analyzed in the background of the policies developed as part of the SENSOR project, especially as regards the use of European land. [7]

The Framework Programme for Participatory Impact Assessment (FoPIA) design enables the assessment of policy effects that are considered to be sensitive to national, regional and local sustainability concerns by gathering and connecting the expertise of the national, regional and local stakeholders who do play a vital role in the analysis process.

Situations within the SENSOR project allude to potential variation in European policy as a result of perceived sustainable development challenges. Scenarios which possibly may involve a blend of policy instruments including legislation, subsidies and taxes, are thoroughly comparatively studied in a counterfactual or baseline setting for the exhibition of situations in which the policy is not implemented. These settings are then made subject to the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) which involves the selection and investigation of the sustainability criteria and indicators that reflect main concerns related to the sustainability of land use. Impact assessments and sustainability limits are acknowledged by the stakeholders’ knowledge of the present socio-economic and environmental status of the region.

Now that a basic understanding of the FoPIA has been delivered, one can delve into its various stages. These stages will be the main methodology through which information will be gathered for this study.

The FoPIA is founded on 5 blocks within the European Environment Agency, that are, the Driver; Pressure; State; Impact; and Response.

Driver, refers to sustainability issues that drive / generate interest in a particular policy. Pressure, refers to variations in the use of land as a result of changes in policy. State and Impact, refer to the resultant changes in the spheres of society, economics and environment. Finally, Response, refers to the policy makers’ final decisions according to their knowledge from information gathered from the assessment’s technical output. Normally, this final category is seen to be outside of the Sustainability Impact Assessment Tool (SIAT).

For effective data gathering, the FoPIA is based on a Stakeholder-approach. This method is divided into two phases. The first phase consults stakeholders in semi-structured interviews while in the second phase the stakeholders are gathered and participate in a Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) workshop.

The FoPIA approach presents ue with a methodological journey from problem definition to the stakeholders’ feedback.

Figure 1 illustrates the logical structure of the FoPIA.

Figure 1

The following sections show how this method can be applied in detail.

Phase 1. This phase commences with the critical study of the policy’s national interpretations and ways of implementation in the context of the main sustainability issues and difficulties. This is achieved through semi-structured interviews with the concerned policy makers who operate both at national level as well as those who represent the national interest at an EU level. Generally, these are representatives coming from the government’s departments. However, members of working groups and members of specifically-set advisory panels are also interviewed.

Another set of interviews is done with regional stakeholders. These interviews focus on the change of land use that will take place when the policy is implemented. These stakeholders are chosen from government departments and those involved in decision making, which are specifically concerned with the policy in question. Interviewed stakeholders may also be chosen from the ‘land’ representatives and interest groups.

The method used for these interviews is that of Snowball Sampling and is to be done through email correspondence or by telephone.

Each interview is based on a topic guide asking questions on sustainability issues, policy design and implementation as well as the resultant changes in land use. All interviews have to pass through three stages:

  1. Recording
  2. Transcription
  3. Analysis

Content analysis involves the highlighting of the key themes mentioned and the results are to be used as the foundation for draft of possible scenarios. This information is to be forwarded to the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) workshop.

Phase 2. This phase involves the SIA workshop, which brings together all the stakeholders in Phase 1. Throughout the workshop, the stakeholders execute analysis of sustainability criteria. Additionally an assessment of the consequent changes resulting from the policy in question, within the social, environmental and economic indicators is done. Any new indicator values are contrasted with the sustainability limits laid down by the stakeholders. Finally, criteria are reassessed in order to highlight the stakeholders’ preferences.

In the beginning of the SIA workshop the team leading the study presents a précis of the findings discovered from the interviews in the first phase. Stakeholders, then discuss these points and if an agreement is achieved the points may be amended to reflect more precisely any possible recent policy development. Following is a definition and assessment of the main sustainability criteria in the context of the land use.

This stage requires a moderated discussion and a scoring exercise which are followed by another discussion in order to achieve agreement on the criteria scores.

The discussion on sustainability criteria is based in nine Land Use Functions (LUF) which are to be presented by the moderator. These 9 LUFs are categorised as follows:[8]

  1. Social functions:
    1. Cultural
    2. Health and Recreation
    3. Provision of work
  2. Economic functions:
    1. Residential and non land-based industries and services
    2. Land-based production
    3. Infrastructure and mobility
  3. Environmental functions:
    1. Provision of abiotic resources
    2. Provision of habitat
    3. Maintenance of ecosystem processes

Each of these nine functions are passed through a process of scoring ranging from ‘1’ to ‘10’. A score of ‘1’ shows low importance while that of ‘10’ signifies extremely high importance.

After the scoring phase, the stakeholders can defend or reconsider their scores as a result of new information/understanding from other participants. This enables ‘social learning ‘(Henkens et al. 2007). An average of the scores is drawn, however, if any participant changes his/her score the average can only be amended by consensus from all participants.

Following, definition and agreement on sustainability framework indicators are sought. These are then used for an impact assessment of each policy scenario. These Land Use Function Criteria Indicators (LUFCI) are obtained from the previous stage. This stage, seeks to link impacts and sustainability issues brought up by the stakeholders.

Stakeholders agree on a list of LUFCIs in the previous stage. In this stage they agree upon LUFCIs are used for the performance of an impact assessment on each policy scenario. Again, the participants have to provide a score on each LUFCI ranging from -3 to 3. ‘-3’ denotes a strong negative impact, while a ‘+3’ denotes a very positive impact. These predictions are to be made on a time period of 25 years.

As in previous stages, an average score is worked out. Stakeholders discuss together the average of the LUFCIs which enables social learning on a basis of the differences between their opinions.

During this stage, acceptability of the resultant impacts is assessed. Each LUFCI is set a minimum standard (also referred to as a ‘sustainability limit’) which again after individual scoring is followed by discussion. Participants should assess each LUFCI and choose whether their approach is sustainable or unsustainable. Again score vary from -3 to +3.

Now, stakeholders should again analyse the LUFC in the background of the impact assessment in order to extract the stakeholders’ preferences for the policy scenarios. This stage is highlighted by the consideration of trade-offs which might result both from positive and negative impacts. Participants are again asked to provide a score which ranges from 1 to 9, whereby a score of ‘1’ denotes the least importance. As before, an average score is calculated, discussed and amended only if all agree.

This final session involves another discussion of both the process as well as of the final results of the SIA. This allows all participants to reflect on the output and to consider the providing of feedback on the methods used, materials and research inputs adopted.

This session is divided as follows:

  1. A presentation of the summary of the workshop results
  2. The stakeholders discuss results
  3. Participants should highlight any point with which they agreed or disagreed throughout the running of the study including the methodological aspect
    1. This includes the highlighting of parts which required further clarifications
  4. The participants should provide their feedback on whether they believe that this FoPIA based study is efficient in within the set context and whether they believe that there will be any analytical and political achievements.
  5. Finally, participants should point out if they enjoyed the study’s methodological part and if they believe that there were any setbacks. They should also suggest any possible improvements.

References

Blewitt John, Understanding Sustainable Development, TJ International, 2008

Baker Susan, Sustainable Development, Routledge, 2006

Sustainable Development Strategies: A Resource Book, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris and United Nations Development Programme, New York, 2002

Sustainable Development: New Research, Abate Gugsa et al. Maples D. Alexander (Editor), Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 2005

Trade, Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Key Issues for Developing Countries; International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (http://ictsd.net/downloads/2008/08/mauritius-complete-policy-paper.pdf) (accessed on 20th December 2013)

Pierce Roger, Research Methods in Politics: a practical guide, TJ International Ltd, 2008

Morris Jake, Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental, Social and Economic Effect of Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions. Session 3: FOPIA – A new methods engaging regional stakeholders in Impact Assessment. Accessed from http://tran.zalf.de/home_ip-sensor/newsevents/brussels/09_Tabbush_SNESOR_final_policy_day.pdf (accessed on 22nd December 2013)

Morris Jake Berton, Tassone Valentina, De Groot Rudolf, Camilleri Marguerite and Moncada Stefano, A Framework for Participatory Impact Assessment: Involving Stakeholders in European Policy Making, a Case Study of Land Use Change in Malta, Ecology and Society 16(1): 12, Published under the license by the Resilience Alliance

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1


[1] Opening statement to the UN Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. Barbados, 26 April – 6 May 1994.

[2] http://www.mepa.org.mt/sustainabledevelopment (accessed on 21st December 2013)

[3] Bell Thomas C. , U.S. Water News, 1995

[4] Baker Susan, Sustainable Development, Routledge, 2006

[5] Baker Susan, Sustainable Development, Routledge, 2006

[6] SENSOR project: Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental, Social and Economic Effects of Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions. This is an integrated project funded under the European Commission’s sixth Framework Programme, that is, a Framework Programme for Participatory Impact Assessment (FOPIA). The FoPIA is a set of research methods that altogether facilitates the understanding of the involvement of national, regional and local stakeholders as regards the assessments of policy impacts on European land use.

[7] Morris Jake Berton, Tassone Valentina, De Groot Rudolf, Camilleri Marguerite and Moncada Stefano, A Framework for Participatory Impact Assessment: Involving Stakeholders in European Policy Making, a Case Study of Land Use Change in Malta, Ecology and Society 16(1): 12, Published under the license by the Resilience Alliance

[8] Morris Jake, Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental, Social and Economic Effect of Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions. Session 3: FOPIA – A new methods engaging regional stakeholders in Impact Assessment. Accessed from http://tran.zalf.de/home_ip-sensor/newsevents/brussels/09_Tabbush_SNESOR_final_policy_day.pdf (22nd December 2013)

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