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Sustainability assessment in context: Issues of process policy and governance

Pope, J. and Grace, W. (2006) Sustainability assessment in context: Issues of process policy and governance. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 8 (3). pp. 373-398.

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This paper seeks to contribute to the development of principles for effective sustainability assessment. Drawing upon three sustainability assessments of project proposals conducted recently in Western Australia, three important aspects of good process are identified: the "question" that guides the assessment process; the influence of the assessment process on the development of the final proposal; and the basis for sustainability decision-making. These three aspects are closely inter-related, and also influenced by and related to the prevailing policy context and institutional arrangements guiding the assessment. Recommendations are made for more effective sustainability assessment processes in Western Australia; and the ultimate contribution that effective sustainability assessments of project proposals could make to a more sustainable society is considered. The broader Western Australian political, cultural and social context within which the assessments have been conducted is described, in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of the issues discussed and therefore to maximise the potential for others to learn from these experiences.

Keywords: Sustainability assessment; project approvals; context; Western Australia

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
Publisher: Imperial College Press
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