Comparative Environmental Policy and Risk Assessment

Implications for Risk Communication, International Conflict Resolution and National Security
  • Gerhardus Schultink
Part of the NATO Science Series book series (ASEN2, volume 78)


Assessment of environmental impacts and risks associated with the implementation of public policy alternatives is a fundamental requirement in the selection of sustainable development strategies. Critical in this process is the identification of comparative risk measures that can be used effectively to communicate public risk, resolve conflict, and promote the selection of acceptable public policies. Under conditions of global market competitiveness, resource scarcity and degradation, and potential state conflicts, it is essential to provide comparative measures that permit policy design that balances socio-economic conditions with environmental stress.

Most environmental impacts are associated with the modification or intensification of land use inputs and practices in the broader context of economic development. Therefore, realistic risk assessment must be based on key indicators that effectively define comparative development potential, environmental constraints, and anticipated economic and environmental impacts. A comparative evaluation framework is discussed that defines the comparative advantage of the natural resource base and identifies fundamental capacities to sustain production rates of goods and services to promote societal well-being, while including measures of economic benefits and public risk.

Complex biophysical and socio-economic characteristics affect both the identification of critical policy issues and the selection of sustainable development strategies and their associated policies. In the newly emerging structures of economic integration and market globalization, it is critical to explore comparative measures of production opportunities and accumulative effects of environmental impacts. This will ensure improved production efficiencies, reduce environmental impacts, and enhance contributions to the quality of life of the country populations affected.

The identification of multilateral interests, challenges, and opportunities for economic development cooperation can be assisted by the systematic evaluation of policy initiatives. In this process, guidance by international organizations is critical in promoting international dialogue aimed at resolving perceived conflicts. Analytical approaches to identify key indicators are suggested to identify comparative policy strategies, resolve conflicts, and select and implement sustainable development policies.

It is also suggested that international environmental quality standards be identified and used to define standards of public risk tolerance limits, environmental carrying capacity constraints, and sustainability indicators.


Development Assistance World Resource Institute Ozone Layer Depletion Natural Resource Base Sustainable Development Strategy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhardus Schultink
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Resource DevelopmentMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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