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Straddling the fence

Sweden is seen as a forerunner in environmental and ecological policy. This book is about policies and strategies for ecologically rational governance, and uses the Swedish case study to ask whether or not it is possible to move from a traditional environmental policy to a broad, integrated pursuit of sustainable development, as illustrated through the ‘Sustainable Sweden’ programme. It begins by looking at the spatial dimensions of ecological governance, and goes on to consider the integration and effectiveness of sustainable development policies. The book analyses the tension between democracy and sustainable development, which has a broader relevance beyond the Swedish model, to other nation states as well as the European Union as a whole. It offers the latest word in advanced implementation of sustainable development.

Open Access (free)
On the possibility of sustainability and democracy in advanced industrial nations

2579Ch8 12/8/03 11:57 AM Page 201 8 Straddling the fence: on the possibility of sustainability and democracy in advanced industrial nations At the heart of this study of Sweden and its efforts to create structures and processes for ecologically rational governance has been the political dilemma posed by sustainable development. Taking as my point of departure the normative question of ‘How are we to govern ourselves so as to value democracy and individual autonomy and still retain the integrity of the commons?’ and by measuring the empirical evidence of

in Sweden and ecological governance
Open Access (free)
Governmental power and authority in democratic ecological governance

2579Ch7 12/8/03 11:56 AM Page 181 7 Where the buck stops: governmental power and authority in democratic ecological governance Ecological governance and the authority of government The preceding chapters analysed what Sweden has done, and how far that country has come, in creating structures and processes of governance for the sustainability of the commons and the autonomy of the individual within the limits of democracy. One conclusion is that while the logic of ecological rationality may seem attractive in terms of sustainability and autonomy when laid

in Sweden and ecological governance

and individual autonomy. Only when formulated and implemented in an open, participatory process of democratic decision-making could massive policy changes deeply affecting individual autonomy be considered legitimate and thus politically sustainable. Participation and autonomy for whom: market actors or democratic citizens? As the earlier chapters reveal, ecological governance for sustainability does have important spatial, temporal, cognitive, and integral implications for both the democratic process and its 2579Ch6 12/8/03 150 11:55 AM Page 150 Sweden and

in Sweden and ecological governance

2579Ch5 12/8/03 11:54 AM Page 117 5 Governing in common – integration and effectiveness in ecological governance Specialisation or integration. Organising principles of ecological governance for sustainability From environment to sustainable development; the quest for effectiveness and integration The first decades of environmental policy in Sweden were characterised by an amalgamation of different governmental units dealing with aspects of the environmental issue into a recognisable sectoral policy domain. This was how SEPA came to be a specialised agency

in Sweden and ecological governance
Criteria for ecologically rational governance

political answers addressing the full spectrum of sustainable development, and in particular its ecological aspects, are now emerging. Sweden provides an interesting case of development from environmental policy towards ecological governance. In his acceptance speech as the new Leader of Sweden’s Social Democratic Party in March 1996, the then Minister of Finance Göran Persson proclaimed the achievement of an ecologically sustainable society as a new and noble mission for his party. Presenting his Cabinet Policy Platform two weeks later, Prime Minister Persson stated that

in Sweden and ecological governance

1990s seem to have weakened the possibilities for ecological governance both politically and administratively. Agenda 21 and local measures for sustainable development As an outflow of the Rio Conference on Agenda 21, the Swedish Cabinet in early 1994 proposed that all Swedish municipalities should formulate their own Agenda 21, based on local problems and alternatives for local solutions. The process should encourage local groups and interests to engage in a discourse to find alternative, less resource-demanding and less environmentally disturbing ways to conduct

in Sweden and ecological governance

’. Rapid and dramatic moves in global financial markets can – so is the lesson driven home by the 1992 economic turmoil in Sweden – put pressure on politicians to provide decisions literally ‘within the hour’ to avert a major national crisis. Doing time on earth; politics as ultimately fenced by natural ecocycles This institutionalised political shortsightedness is increasingly challenged. The long-term trends of population growth, water and air pollution, and possibly irrevocable climate change, have created doubts about the sustainability and productivity of the planet

in Sweden and ecological governance
Open Access (free)
The knowledge base of ecological governance

disciplines or schools. They proceed from differing assumptions and perspectives, which makes the prioritisation about what and by whom even more complicated for political decision-makers (see Holling et al. 2000:344 ff.). Since scientific arguments are not always transparent to policy-makers, this increases the possibility of influence from science over decisions about research priorities. 2579Ch4 12/8/03 90 11:52 AM Page 90 Sweden and ecological governance Problems of scale also come in here. Sustainable development largely focuses on global issues and global

in Sweden and ecological governance

different legislation in the Swedish labour market, as Swedish legislation does not foresee the applicability of collective agreements beyond the sectors involved. This could, in turn, lead to higher levels of industrial action and productivity losses harming the Swedish economy. Second, the post-Vaxholm reality could mean higher wage differentials among but also between occupational categories, cancelling out the LO’s recent advances. The welfare system would have to sustain higher demand, at a time when tax cuts for capital and wealth have been enacted by the centre

in In search of social democracy