Integrating environmental and economic decision-making

Because several economic sectors use the same natural resource base, trans-sectoral impacts should be clarified and legal and institutional arrangements governing property and use rights understood. This implies the consideration of all relevant information and criteria applied by different institutions and at different levels in planning and decision-making.
The last two decades have witnessed the introduction, in both developed and developing countries, of environmental policies designed to work in tandem with economic policies. In practice, however, environmental policies have largely been viewed as policy appendages, in which remedial actions are taken once economic priorities are implemented and environmental degradation has taken place. By contrast, sustainable development requires the integration of environment and development at the outset of the decision-making process, so as to align core and macroeconomic policies with environmental goals.

The principle of informed decision making articulates the belief that wise resource decisions cannot be made unless we know and understand the physical world, its ecosystems, and the relationships between the environment and the economy. The principle stresses the importance of high-quality environmental science, education, and information, and also of a wide cross section of public input into decision making.

The environment is rarely taken as seriously as the social, economic and other components of national and regional planning. There is a critical gap between macroeconomic policy-making and environmental considerations. Although there are positive exceptions, many macroeconomic institutions - treasury, budget office, central banks, planning departments - still ignore sustainability questions and the long-term benefits of environmental choices against short-term economic options. The state of natural resources is often ignored when national macro-economic policies are evaluated.
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies