Governments have failed to make the bodies whose policy actions degrade the environment or inhibit development responsible for ensuring that their policies prevent that degradation or ameliorate development opportunities.
The existence of government agencies, or government-supported institutions, concerned with particular environmental or development issues has created the false impression that these bodies were by themselves able to protect and enhance the environmental resource base. But the mandates of central economic and sectoral ministries are often too narrow and too concerned with quantities of production or growth. As a result although ministries of industry include production targets, any resulting pollution is left to ministries of environment to handle. Similarly, whilst electricity boards produce power, the acid pollution is left to other bodies to clean up. The agencies with specific environmental responsibilities may also interpret their own mandates narrowly or be allocated inadequate resources to respond to the challenges which are effectively delegated to them.