Opinion of tools
Name of the case study
Name of tool
Opinion of tool - argumentation for choosing the tool
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.
Opinion of tool - barriers for the tool implementation
Opinion of tool - assessment by tool users
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
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.
What tools were used to assess sustainability?