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.