What are the risk factors affecting the regions’ institutional frameworks?
In order to have a regionally sustainable environment, understanding and using appropriate institutional frameworks is important. Risks arise when all levels of government, businesses, industries and communities reliant on the region’s natural resources do not:
- Comprehend the processes of regional ecosystems and their processes and services.
- Examine impacts of local and national decisions in a regional context, and the effects on natural resources.
- Avoid land uses that deplete natural resources
- Retain large contiguous or connected areas that contain critical habitats.
- Minimise the introduction and spread of non-native species.
- Avoid or compensate for the effects of development on ecological processes.
- Implement land-use and land-management practices that are compatible with the natural potential of the area.
- Adopt appropriate adaptive and risk management systems in local situations.
- Respect and integrate scientific, Aboriginal and local knowledge and skills.
- Plan for long term change and unexpected events.
- Preserve rare landscape elements and associated species.
- Implement the precautionary principle when impacts on natural resources are unknown.
- Manage issues at an ecosystem or landscape scale, rather than at a Council boundary level.
What should we be doing as a region to manage the risk?
It is particularly important to manage conflicts between economic and environmental policies. NRM and environmental goals must be mainstreamed into the activities of economic institutions, while trade and investment regimes need to be embedded in a normative context of ecological social development values.
If investments in sustainable products and services are to be encouraged, discriminating in trade and investment law, for example, between products on the basis of production processes is critical. Such discrimination should be based on NRM best practices such as land condition assessments and environmental management system accreditation.