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Institutional Change for Sustainable Development
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Institutional Change for Sustainable Development

9781843765691 Edward Elgar Publishing
Robin Connor and Stephen Dovers, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Publication Date: 2004 ISBN: 978 1 84376 569 1 Extent: 264 pp
Institutional Change for Sustainable Development presents a flexible, accessible, yet robust conceptual framework for comprehending institutional dimensions of sustainability, emphasising the complexity of institutional systems, and highlighting the interdependence between policy learning and institutional change. This framework is applied and developed through the analysis of five significant arenas of institutional and policy change: environmental policy in the EU; New Zealand’s landmark Resource Management Act; strategic environmental assessment; emerging National Councils for Sustainable Development; and transformative property rights instruments. From these explorations, key principles for institutional change are identified, including the institutional accommodation of a sustainability discourse, the interdependence of normative and institutional change; reiteration and learning; integration in policy and practice; subsidiarity; and legal change.

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It is clear that the transition to ecologically sustainable patterns of development requires significant institutional change, yet we face a paradox. Although institutions are the primary means of driving reform, they are themselves a root cause of unsustainable development and a barrier to positive change. This volume moves beyond the current debate by advancing our understanding of the nature of institutional change, the features of more appropriate institutional settings, and the manner in which change can be enabled.

Institutional Change for Sustainable Development presents a flexible, accessible, yet robust conceptual framework for comprehending institutional dimensions of sustainability, emphasising the complexity of institutional systems, and highlighting the interdependence between policy learning and institutional change. This framework is applied and developed through the analysis of five significant arenas of institutional and policy change: environmental policy in the EU; New Zealand’s landmark Resource Management Act; strategic environmental assessment; emerging National Councils for Sustainable Development; and transformative property rights instruments. From these explorations, key principles for institutional change are identified, including the institutional accommodation of a sustainability discourse, the interdependence of normative and institutional change; reiteration and learning; integration in policy and practice; subsidiarity; and legal change.

Institutional Change for Sustainable Development will be of interest to researchers, policymakers and practitioners concerned with sustainability, resource management and environmental policy.
Critical Acclaim
‘. . . this book makes an interesting and worthwhile contribution to the ever-expanding body of literature on sustainable development and therefore is to be recommended.’
– Karen Scott, Journal of Environmental Law

‘. . . this is an essential text for the study of sustainability and institutional change, an invaluable professional development text for the practitioner, and a text to ponder slowly in all its complexities for an academic study of sustainability.’
– Kate Crowley, Australian Journal of Environmental Management

‘Does the road to sustainable development run through institutional reform or, better yet, institutional learning? In this well-argued book, Robin Connor and Stephen Dovers draw on a range of case studies to demonstrate the critical role that institutions play in determining the course of human–environment relations.’
– Oran R. Young, University of California, Santa Barbara, US

‘Connor and Dovers correctly argue that achieving sustainability is a long-term process. In this context, they analyze broad institutional innovations toward sustainability to date – from Europe to New Zealand, from sustainability councils to property rights – to suggest how the historical process might be improved and accelerated. This is among the most constructive efforts I have read.’
– Richard B. Norgaard, University of California, Berkeley, US
Contents
Contents: Introduction Part I: Approaching Institutional Change and Policy Learning 1. Conceptions of Institutions and Policy Learning 2. Operationalizing Learning Part II: Case Studies in Institutional Change 3. Environmental Policy in the European Union 4. Sustainable Management of Natural and Physical Resources: The New Zealand Resource Management Act 1991 5. National Councils for Sustainable Development: Experiments in National Policy Development and Integration 6. Strategic Environmental Assessment: Policy Integration as Practice or Possibility? 7. Property Rights Instruments: Transformative Policy Options Part III: Conclusions 8. Principles and Elements of Institutional Change for Sustainable Development References Index
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