رابط زیست محیطی-اجتماعی و توسعه پایدار: قابلیت، سرمایه اجتماعی، مؤسسات
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29102||2004||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 49, Issue 2, 1 June 2004, Pages 199–214
The social dimension has commonly been recognised as the weakest ‘pillar’ of sustainable development, notably when it comes to its analytical and theoretical underpinnings. While increasing attention has lately been paid to social sustainability, the interaction between the ‘environmental’ and the ‘social’ still remains a largely uncharted terrain. Nevertheless, one can argue that the key challenges of sustainable development reside at the interfaces—synergies and trade-offs—between its various dimensions. This paper looks for preliminary ideas on frameworks for analysing the environmental–social interface. It first discusses the concept of sustainable development and the relations of the three dimensions of sustainability on the basis of the fundamental premises of neoinstitutional and ecological economics, and briefly presents the ‘bioeconomy model’. Based on this conceptualisation of sustainable development, it then goes on to analyse two popular ways of addressing the social dimension of sustainability, namely, the ‘capability approach’ of Amartya Sen, and the concept of social capital, and discusses the potential of these as bases for the analysis of the environment–social interaction. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Environmental Performance Review (EPR) programme is presented as an example of attempts to analyse the environmental–social interface in practice. The paper concludes by noting that a single framework for studying environmental–social interface is neither feasible nor desirable. It questions the usefulness of analysing only two dimensions of sustainability at a time; and emphasises the need to situate the analysis in its context. In particular, it stresses the need to involve the potential users, as well as to take into account the planned use of the analysis and the interactions between different levels of analysis and decision-making. Capabilities and social capital can both be useful in structuring thoughts, but are not as such directly applicable as suitable analytical frameworks. In particular, they do not provide adequate tools for examining the social preconditions for institutional change needed for environmentally sustainable development.
The social dimension has commonly been recognised as the weakest ‘pillar’ of sustainable development, notably when it comes to its analytical and theoretical underpinnings. Until recently, sustainable development was perceived as an essentially environmental issue, concerning the integration of environmental concerns into economic decision-making. In the past decade, there has been a resurgence of interest towards the social dimensions of development, which can be attributed to the fall of communism, the ostensible difficulties of creating market institutions in transitional economies, the financial crises in Latin America, East Asia, and Russia, and the persistent problems of unemployment and social marginalisation in even the most prosperous economies (Woolcock, 2001, p. 66). The academic literature has paid increasing attention to the role of institutions, governance, and social capital in the development process. Finally, the political acceptability of sustainable development depends on its capacity to respond to the persistent social problems that seem to have to some extent surpassed the environmental issues as matters of public concern. Such a shift was clearly seen also in the negotiations at the Johannesburg summit on sustainable development in 2002, which raised the development concerns again to the forefront (see, e.g., Jollivet, 2003). Even less attention has so far been paid to the linkages between the social and the environmental dimensions. Nevertheless, it can be argued that the essence of sustainable development lies precisely at the interfaces and trade-offs between the often conflicting objectives of economic and social development, and environmental protection. The demand for such an analytical framework is clearly present, as manifested i.a. by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Council of Ministers' call for integrating the environmental–social interface into the OECD Environmental Performance Reviews (EPRs) (OECD, 2001a). Given their holistic view of economy and interdisciplinary character, the neoinstitutional1 and the ecological economics can be argued to present a ‘comparative advantage’ over the more conventional neoclassical approaches in integrating the social dimension of sustainability into their analytical toolbox. Among the recent approaches that at least to some extent share the critique that neoinstitutional and ecological economics direct towards the conventional economic theories are Sen, 1987 and Sen, 1999 approach based on individual capabilities and the concept of ‘social capital’, used for addressing the social dimension of sustainable development. This paper looks at these approaches with a view to analysing their potential as foundation for analysing the environmental–social interface. After a brief description of the way in which neoinstitutional and ecological economics conceptualises sustainable development, the paper goes on to review the ‘capability approach’ and the theories of social capital, providing then some preliminary thoughts on their suitability in addressing the environmental–social interface. To present an example of an attempt at evaluating the environmental–social interface, the paper briefly describes the way in which the OECD Environmental Performance Reviews have dealt with the issue.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
It is neither feasible nor desirable to search for a single measure or a single framework for analysing the environmental–social interface. Different geographical and temporal scales as well as situational contexts require their own frameworks, which do not necessarily provide a coherent picture, but a mosaic of partly contradicting views of reality. Eventual thresholds of sustainability, beyond which irreversible damage would be caused, cannot be defined in absolute terms, but need to be looked at in their context—as a part of a coevolutionary framework, in which changing one ‘parameter’ affects several others, and may thus affect the system resilience. Hence, any evaluation or measurement of sustainability needs to be embedded in a coevolutionary framework that takes into account the dynamic interactions between different elements. Analysing the environmental–social interface without including the economic dimension may not be desirable, because in most cases, the three dimensions of sustainability are all entangled together. The need to demonstrate the existence of causal relationships between the social and environmental aspects may in such a situation be rather counterproductive, and exclude a number of relevant factors from the analysis. Integration of the three dimensions of sustainability seems easiest and most ‘natural’ at the local level, in concrete situations, and at a scale in which specialisation and sectorisation are far less developed than at higher levels of hierarchy. However, the challenge is to come up with assessment frameworks that enhance meaningful communication and attribution of responsibilities between the local and the national–global levels. The institutions at the nation level play a crucial role in setting the framework for local action. Addressing the local–global interaction implies addressing the questions of power that neither the capabilities nor the social capital approach seem be able to handle in a satisfactory manner, but where neoinstitutional economics might be helpful with its emphasis on institutions and power. Neoinstitutionalism might also help to escape the view of rational, utility-maximising individual, which still underpins a lot of the work on social capital. Any analysis of the ‘social’ should recognise that human beings have multiple motives for action, and that the social ‘outcomes’ of two seemingly similar actions may differ depending on the underlying motives. This is particularly relevant when studying an area that has received little attention in capability and social capital approaches, namely, the social conditions of an institutional change towards an environmentally sustainable development. Likewise, the capability approach should clearly distance itself from methodological individualism, which ultimately explains all social phenomena by reference to the individual. Applying the capability concept to societies, along with individuals, is a welcome opening to this direction. Neither the capabilities, nor the social capital approach provide ready-made toolkits for measuring the environmental–social interface, but both can be useful as frameworks of thought helping to conceptualise the social phenomena—in the simple framework presented in the Dutch experience the ‘social quality’—which could then be used in developing tools for analysing the environmental–social interface. The social capital metaphor can be useful in ‘marketing’ social issues to economists, but its vague definition and the underlying conception of rational, utility-maximising individual lessen its usefulness. While a simple, pragmatic framework of analysis is preferable in studying the environmental–social interactions in practical policy situations, the basic framework suggested in the Dutch study was too reductionist in its assumptions of simple causal relationships among the four variables of environmental policy, environmental quality, social policy and social quality. A coevolutionary framework would be better adapted to grasping the dynamic and holistic character of human–social interactions, and would avoid the dead-end resulting from the need to always demonstrate causal relationships. The OECD experience testifies to the need of involving stakeholders and potential users of evaluations in the design of the analytical framework—otherwise there is a significant risk that the results will not be of greater interest to any constituency. A particular problem when developing methods for analysing the environmental–social interface is the lack of an organisation clearly responsible for the issues at the interface—a gap between the political demand for greater attention to the interaction between social and environmental issues, and the capacity of the formal institutions to respond to the demand. The relative neglect of global equity issues related to consumption patterns in the OECD reviews demonstrates the political sensitivity and methodological complexity of the issues involved. Probably the only way to overcome such problems is learning by doing—an approach that the OECD is applying—but broadening the range of stakeholders involved would probably increase the legitimacy and credibility of the reviews in the eyes of the stakeholders. Finally, any evaluator addressing the issues of environmental–social interaction faces the question of how best to influence decision-makers and other actors; through a diplomatic, ‘soft’ persuasion, or through a more direct confrontation. There is no universal answer: an intergovernmental organisation like the OECD must probably be rather cautious, whereas an NGO is instead morally obliged to take a tougher stand. One can only hope that the mere fact of the environmental–social interface being now addressed in reviews carried out by an intergovernmental organisation of a certain standing will gradually bring about the needed institutional change towards better integration of social and environmental issues in OECD countries' public policy making.