SUSTAINABILITY ACCOUNTING

QUESTION

Required:

Submit an essay which is a summary and critique of an article that has been provided in your reading list. Use dots, points and numbers. Include examples to support your critique.

SOLUTION

Summary

An invitation was sent to the authors to conceptualize a project in order to explicate a cluster of sustainable development (SD) indicators for the North West of Malta. In this region organized tourist activities are quite high. Moreover, the rural economy of the sandy beaches is capable of further development.

In order to design the project, the authors worked with two key agencies. They are as follows:

  1. 1.     Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAPRAC)
  • This agency is based in Split in Croatia
  • PAP is highly proficient in management of coastal areas
  • The agency also serves as centre for Coastal Area Management Programmes (CAMP)

 

  1. 2.     Mediterranean Blue Plan Regional Activity Centre (BP RAC)
  • BP RAC is the direct contacting agency for the systemic sustainability analysis (SSA)
  • the key area of concern for BP RAC is prudent and systemic analysis of a region
  • BP RAC also fulfil requirements of CAMPs by developing environmental scenarios
  • the BP RAC follows a think-tank approach and under this system it furnish a package of data or some prudent studies along with some actions that can be taken to generate information which can help in carrying out long lasting socio-economic development and does not harm the environment
  • Blue Plan follows a holistic approach to enquire and furnish sustainability indicators

The North West of Malta Island was the key focus area. The Maltese government along with members of PAP RAC was already working on certain areas thus these areas were considered as the five sub-projects under the MALTA CAMP project. They were as follows:

  1. sustainable coastal management
  2. marine conservation areas
  3. integrated water resource management
  4. erosion/desertification control management
  5. tourism: impacts on health

In order to assist the above mentioned sub-projects by providing statistical data, maps and other data, three cross cutting sub-projects were also created. They were:

  1. data management
  2. participatory programme
  3. systemic sustainability analysis

The actions that were to be carried out under the MALTA CAMP were as follows:

  • identification of an agreement on the system, stakeholders and main sustainability indicators
  • participatory development of the systemic sustainability analysis with description and assessment of the system by main indicators
  • provision of inputs to final Project documents and post project activities
  • proposal for dissemination of results for scientific and lay communities

In order to understand the notions and views of the parties involved in MALTA CAMP, a meeting was organised before starting the SSA formally. In this meeting the Blue Plan team, delegates from PAP RAC, Maltese government officials, thematic team leaders and local people met to exchange their opinions.

For MALTA CAMP, SSA was unreservedly categorised in three stages. They were:

  • Workshops with the thematic teams
  • Stakeholder workshops
  • An analysis of policy options and setting out the framework for future development and use of indicators

Rich pictures, root definitions, conceptual models and, in some cases aspects of logical frameworks for the setting of indicators were found. In the second stage, SSA met with representatives of key industries such as tourism and fisheries, concern groups like the Gaia foundation and official bodies such as local councils in order to evaluate the pace of work of each team and to explain the nature of the SSA process and seek their ideas and clear their doubts. In third stage, various assumptions were created to frame a forward looking scenario on the basis of indicators that were gathered so far

Critique

The time which the authors have spent in the region is too short to analyse any information. The grounds on which local agencies were working and the grounds on which SPSA team was working were not similar in nature. SPSA team does not work individually. It is dependent on all the teams that are part of CAMP for a particular region. Thus for other teams, tasks given by SPSA team is an add on work along with their routine work. Thus success of a process is the outcome of successful consolidation of work of SPSA team, work of wider thematic teams and most importantly work of stakeholder communities. But this is a complex task as it involves many teams and people. It became clear in March and April of 2000 that the teams had very different demands being placed upon them by the wider project and by agencies outside the project.

Though, great enthusiasm was shown by many teams, but for most of them, SPSA process were an add on load on them so the tasks were not performed efficiently and effectively. As a result, there did appear to be some sense of purport and suspense between the workshop events and some concern arose from them as to their capacity to deliver within SPSA. Moreover, the tasks which SPSA gave to stakeholders, needed some special skills which were out of their capacity and the task performed by them were not up to the standard of SPSA team. There is a big apprehension and doubt on the way the indicators have been formulated and produced. In fact, during the discussion with stakeholders regarding the sustainability indicators, solicitude was put forward that though these indicators are vestal but will not bring any profit to the parties concerned.

One thing which is very crucial and one need to keep in mind as far as SPSA process is concerned that SPSA process delivers ‘options’ and not ‘the truth’ or ‘facts’ as such. The delivery of ‘options’ gives choices to the local decision maker to follow them or reject them. They should be cowed to follow the course of action suggested whether they like it or not. As the project was entering into its advanced stages, it was becoming apparent that many teams never had a chance to even attempt the task they were asked to do. The fact that experts were giving very short visits made this additional load more prominent. There were certain initiatives which experts need to take, and these initiatives were missing in MALTA CAMP. Certain important factors were not given proper weightage. In fact, there were some anxieties which required special focus, but it was observed that the attention did not match the standards.

KA29

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