The Public Policy Process

The public policy process was the topic covered in week 11. The importance of this area to sustainable development quickly became clear. As we have learned, the four pillars of sustainability are: Environmental, Economic, Social, and Operational. The first three of these are probably the easiest to visualise because they encompass things that everybody can relate to. The operational side of things however deals with governance and policy making, things that most people wouldn’t have too much experience of. Yet this aspect of sustainability is equally as important as the other ones. You can’t have one pillar smaller than another otherwise it is not acting as a pillar.

Anyway the policy process is vital to sustainable development in that it is the mechanism that brings in the guidelines or laws regarding sustainability. Without environmental protocol, countries wouldn’t worry about carbon emissions and so we would never see a reduction in them. Without law, society couldn’t live in harmony as their would be no punishment for those who overstep the boundaries. The same is true with regard to economies. And so, if these areas are to progress in a more sustainable manner in the future, it is clear that the public policy process will play a major part in the planning and implementation of  the guidelines and laws which must be adhered to. We saw the effect of public policy first hand in Cloughjordan where the county council didn’t give planning permission for a reed bed system to deal with the towns waste even though it is the most environmentally friendly way. In order to become more sustainable, policies like this one will have to be reformed.


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