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Project Summary Project Description Application of Tools Opinion of Tools Decision making process Contact Details

Opinion of tools

Name der Fallstudie
Environmental monitoring in Breda
Umwelt Monitoring in Breda

Name of tool
Umwelt Monitoring

Opinion of tool - argumentation for choosing the tool
Policy and politics are interested in it, because it supplies useful information concerning the followed policy on a simple and attractive way. The environmental functionaries happen to offer some resistance to participate. They acknowledge the sense of the instrument, but find it sometimes too annoying (too much extra work). By the way, many participants prefer to rely upon there own lists, don't appreciate critical questions concerning the way the information has been gathered, ... One is forced to some transparency and another way of working, which are not always pleasant. External organisations and citizens are often very obliging when asked to participate. Nevertheless participation is dependent on how they are approached and on how the feedback is organised. Citizens appreciate when the results are made available. * The results of the environmental policy are clear and cover a long period of time, * The results are concrete : no concentrations, but for instance the increase of a certain plant, which might indicate, * As the information is made more accessible, the environmental collaborators are better informed of the results of other fields of policy. * Policy and politics are interested, so it enhances the importance of the "environmental work" , * Citizens are more involved, especially when the information is presented on a website.

Opinion of tool - barriers for the tool implementation
Bad experiences : * Its seems much easier to consider and defend indicators, than to link them, * Some people don't feel responsible at all for supplying the necessary information (in time); they try to withdraw themselves from the responsibility. * The influence on external participants is small: one cannot blame them for less accuracy, reproducibility.

Opinion of tool - assessment by tool users
Environmental monitoring is a very important instrument for the environmental collaborators to obtain useful information in time, so as to steer policy. Monitoring can be seen as a system that delivers accessible information to the citizen or the interested layman. The largest problem is how to obtain reliable information in time. Some people update information continuously, but most try to gather it in a hurry at the end of the year. This late collection sometimes leads to less reliable information, to more discussion and a worse understanding. Sometimes an indicator of the same aspect must be replaced, because the former one was not feasible, or because its continuity couldn't be warranted (measurements stopped). This can happen with external collaborators, whose choices can't be influenced that easily.

Opinion of tool - reviewer\'s assessment
It is a useful instrument when used correctly, that means to plan, control, steer the cycle of environmental policy. At the moment it still is too much an aim in itself : making nice diagrams, tables or charts which politicians and managers like so much, after having begged for the necessary information at the end of the year. But if we can continue on a similar way for more years, we will have a nice complement to existing instruments. Gradually everyone should accept Environmental Monitoring as a tool. Monitoring should spontaneously supply the necessary information to feed the system. Only this way it becomes a useful and steering element in the cycle of environmental policy. This increases if the monitoring broadens to include more indicators and deepens to include appropriate indicators. Furthermore, there should be a connection with the internet. This would make citizens feel more concerned by the environment and the environmental policy. And it would also enlarge the transparency with results visible for everyone. A regional study group works on software that registers monitoring (indicators) and that can carry out some simple operations. It will provide a connection with Word and Excel. Breda is closely involved in this evolution. There should be more encouragement and steering from a national level to develop and use this instrument. This would be especially interesting for small municipalities. Environmental monitoring is a useful instrument to comprehend the results of the actual environmental policy. It permits working on a long term and provides an attractive way of communication. Unfortunately it is often not accepted this way. Moreover the threshold to participate is frequently to high for small communities / municipalities. In the long run it will be taken up as a valuable instrument, as it gives a simple and correct answer to some questions of our society. Unfortunately VROM (Netherlands Ministry of Spatial Planning, Housing and Environment) doesn't give a good example by abolishing a certain form of national environmental monitoring. Putting enough time and efforts in communication is a condition to make monitoring successful. All participants should see the importance of its implementation, and should feel responsible for its working. It should not be seen as a specific product of one single person of a specific department.

Welche Tools wurden verwendet, um Nachhaltigkeit zu beurteilen?

Umwelt Monitoring

Weiterführende Informationen (nur auf Englisch):

Für den vollständigen Bericht hier klicken (pdf)