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JIIS Bulletin - May 2013
Wrapping policy in packages
Policy today is usually formulated only in response to an immediate or current situation or crisis; that is, the search is usually for fixes with instant results to solve, rather than prevent problems or realize opportunities. Outlook 2030 is trying to turn that concept on its head: an integrated approach capable of generating long-term transformation is not the norm today but is exactly the tack needed to look out for the future. 

Most commonly, the researchers note, policy is formulated only in response to an immediate or current situation or crisis; that is, the search is usually for fixes with instant results to solve, rather than prevent problems or realize opportunities. Outlook 2030 is trying to turn that concept on its head: an integrated approach capable of generating long-term transformation is not the norm today but is exactly the tack needed to look out for the future. “Significant change in the state of the environment will require making the connections between the variables that influence the environmental agenda and the driving forces that determine the economy on all levels, from the national level to the individual consumer. A radical structural change is needed,” the Outlook report states. 

The high level of uncertainty concerning what lies ahead in the future does not enable models to predict or anticipate accurately what is likely to occur. Sudden processes such as economic crises, social instability, political changes or extreme events (earthquakes, fires, and so on) can cause dramatic changes – as we have witnessed numerous times just over the last decade. Other processes are slow but steady and their trends can be foreseen.

A wide variety of policy tools will be needed to implement the numerous strategies proposed in Outlook 2030. The team members thus suggest that the tools and means for implementation be bundled into "packages." “You need to combine complementary instruments, not rely only on one” to make the policy tools effective and efficient, says Brachya. She also stresses the need to “bring on board several partners, and work on consensus building. We realize that there will be barriers, that some actors will object to new actions, but if you are going to effect change – and find ways to cope with all kinds of scenarios – you have to find ways to diminish the objections. Ultimately, they will become socially and politically acceptable and this will give them a high likelihood of realization. This is the concept behind the policy packages.”  

Thus, Outlook 2030 proposes a “whole of government” package, a "risk management" package and a "community-business" package. 
Regarding the first package, Brachya notes that governments, in Israel and elsewhere, need  a “whole of government” approach – a long-term, broad and integrated concept that sees coordination between all relevant bodies to achieve a shared goal and an integrated government response to issues pertaining to the economy, environment and society. We frequently see resources wasted on measures that conflict,. What we are suggesting is that a forum for long-term policy be set up that would include representatives of the Finance Ministry’s budget department, the Economic Council in the Prime Minister's office, and the Planning Administrations in the Ministry of Interior and  where relevant, the Ministry of Environmental Protection. This integrating body would have as its mandate to initiate and promote coordinated plans for action at the national level.

The purpose of the "risk management" package is to expand activities relating to identifying and evaluating risks and building resilience to them. In this framework, a unit would be set up to coordinate and manage environmental risks, whether they result from gradual processes or from sudden environmental events; the financial sector would be encouraged to include environmental considerations when making decisions on financial investments; and local government would be urged to expand its focus on risks and resilience-building. This package also encompasses leadership development and strengthening of local government with an emphasis on the needs of weak local authorities, particularly in the periphery.

Finally, the "community-business" package is aimed at advancing non-governmental activities: local-community social-environmental activity and business activity. In the community component the critical measures provide access to credit and a budget for community activity and lowering barriers to enable the use of public assets. Complementary measures to encourage community activity would be decentralizing powers to the community level, developing strong local leadership and stimulating local-regional democracy. The second component consists of encouraging business models that emphasize the transition from the consumption of products to the provision of services and the transition from material consumption to sustainable consumption.

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