The Evaluation of the Implementation of Sustainability Norms: An Exercise for Experts or Citizens?

The Evaluation of the Implementation of Sustainability Norms: An Exercise for Experts or Citizens?

Helga Pülzl (University of Salzburg, Austria and Rutgers University, USA) and Doris Wydra (University of Salzburg, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0882-5.ch502
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Abstract

Since the Brundtland report the world is still struggling to solve the riddle of sustainability. If there is no “blueprint” for implementing sustainable development, the practical meaning has to emerge out of an interactive process of social dialogue and reflection. Sustainability therefore goes through a constant process of redefinition and interpretation. This question of values and different approaches to implementation becomes particularly important when decision-making and the evaluation of the implementation is taking place in different fora. According to the dominant paradigm the policy process is a linear exercise of problem solving, i.e., the problem is identified, data for the problem analysis is collected and according advice is given to the policy-maker to enable his decision, which is then implemented. The implementation is evaluated by experts who determine the merit, worth or value of the result of this process, thus deciding upon its effectiveness. Against this dominant view, the authors hold that the purpose of evaluation and policy analysis is more than simply “client-oriented” advice, but should be rather about democratic dialogue and critique. Building on the methods of practical deliberation a model for evaluating sustainable development is built using the example of forest policy.

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