When federal and provincial governments first established environmental protection agencies in the 1960s and 1970s, they assumed that "management" would be the responsibility of those agencies, and would be undertaken through new laws, regulations, policies and programs. Today, however, governance suggests that protection of the environment goes far beyond government agencies and the formal regulations they create and enforce. Governance requires new kinds of relationships that incorporate different kinds of knowledge, and institute new forms of collaboration with a broad range of stakeholder groups.
Environmental governance is broader than ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT. Environmental management refers to the actual decisions and actions taken with regard to policies or programs about the environment. Governance implies leadership and draws attention to the fact that there are important actors outside of formal government structures who are also key players in governance, as well as mechanisms beyond government policies and programs that contribute to decision-making.
Internationally, the United Nations Environmental Programme promotes governance by supporting actions that link science with public policy objectives. These objective encourage the establishment and delivery of environmental policies and strategies, and support governments to strengthen their environmental policies and programs and meet environmental objectives through engagement of non-governmental stakeholders including civil society. In Canada, the province of British Columbia has served as a model of environmental governance through the broad engagement of interested parties in its strategic land and resource planning processes. First established in the 1990s, land use planning on CROWN LANDS (92% of the province's land base) and adjacent marine areas involves government agencies, First Nations, private sector groups and civil society organizations. As the processes have evolved, the province has started to employ land use plans and associated agreements to support the establishment of government-to-government relations with First Nations.
Author MAUREEN G. REED
Links to Other Sites
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
An international organization created by Canada, Mexico and the United States under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). The CEC was established to address regional environmental concerns, help prevent potential trade and environmental conflicts, and to promote the effective enforcement of environmental law.
Canadian Environmental Network
The website for the Canadian Environmental Network. Check out the online newsletters and other information sources about current environmental issues.
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
This website offers online copies of research studies and reports that concern sustainable strategies related to resource use, climate change, biodiversity, and more.
Centre for International Governance Innovation
The website for the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a Waterloo-based think tank that focuses on global governance issues.
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.