National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development

Prepared by the Ecologically Sustainable Development Steering Committee
Endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments
December, 1992
ISBN 0 644 27253 8

Community Awareness, Education and Participation
Part 4 Future Development of ESD in Australia - Chapter 32


To ensure that the implementation and further development of this Strategy benefits from informed community participation, and that progress towards ecologically sustainable development is supported by community understanding and action.

Strategic Approach

Governments will facilitate exchange of information and views on this Strategy by liaising with those community, industry and business groups who have professional expertise in relation to ESD, and by providing the broader community with access to both policy development and program delivery processes. In addition, ESD-related information and education programs will be coordinated and primarily targeted towards raising awareness of sectoral objectives, actions and mechanisms for improving levels of personal involvement.

Objective 32.1

  • to develop a high level of community awareness and understanding of the goal, objectives and principles of this ESD Strategy

Governments will:

  • maintain targeted public information and education programs, aimed at key community groups, such as farmers, industry sectors and consumers
  • work to improve the level of information provided to the community on the implications of the goal, objectives and principles for all industry sectors
  • at the Commonwealth level, and in consultation with interested States and Territories, develop an appropriately targeted awareness program which aims to increase broad community understanding of the goal, objectives and principles underlying this Strategy, and which complements sectorally based programs
  • seek to develop other appropriate means of emphasising the positive contribution that can be made by individuals and groups to ESD, and the need for every individual to participate in actions aimed at embracing ESD

Objective 32.2

  • to promote open and effective communication on ESD issues and policies between governments, industry, conservation groups, unions and community groups

Governments will:

  • hold a Ministerial level intergovernmental ESD Roundtable of peak community representatives in the first year after endorsement of this Strategy, and biennially thereafter
  • authorise the Ecologically Sustainable Development Steering Committee to establish, as necessary, ad hoc consultative mechanisms with groups with appropriate expertise to supplement the Roundtable consultations
  • in developing protocols for the operation of Ministerial Councils, through the Council of Australian Governments, consider the need for improved consultation and information exchange arrangements
  • at the program level as indicated throughout the Strategy, and in a manner consistent with current program obligations, undertake consultations with community interests directly affected by ESD related programs and policy development
  • in general, use, and modify as necessary, already established consultative processes to promote communications on ESD related issues

Objective 32.3

  • to ensure timely and informed contributions from stakeholders to the implementation of initiatives outlined in this Strategy and in its further development, monitoring and review

Governments agree:

  • that consultative processes should take account of the following principles:
    • consultation should become an integral part of all issue-specific and sectoral level decision-making processes;
    • all major stakeholders should be identified and their involvement in the consultative process encouraged;
    • stakeholders should be provided with opportunities to develop an understanding of the issues sufficient to enable effective involvement in the consultative process;
    • adequate opportunities should exist for timely input to the consultative process; and
    • agencies should meet the community's expectation that views will be heard and considered
  • to ensure mechanisms for community awareness, education and participation are coordinated with Strategy monitoring and review process
  • to encourage business, industry and community groups to establish their own priorities and processes for embracing ESD as part of the nationally-coordinated effort