Urban Environmental Management
Cities, EMS and Everything
Putting up a Green Front
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Ingredients of Success in Implementing a City-wide EMS   

Key EMS issues:
  • Clear focus on long-term and indirect issues - benefits and positive impacts
  • Externalities of environmental management and its positive impact of 'usual' and 'priority' problems
  • Ability to involve al all stakeholders at all levels horizontal, vertical and different types of stakeholders E
  • Local governments, and local stakeholders, are being bombarded by a number of tools, initiatives, projects etc. in managing the local environment. With ISO 14001, and the EMS principles, being a new-kid-on-the-block, it becomes imperative to link it to other approaches and tools. Some of the ingredients of success that will enable a broader acceptance and participation in an EMS include the following:

    Political Sphere

    It is important to obtain political and public support for the implementation of an EMS. This can be done by linking EMS issues to everyday affairs, especially the economic angle. Integration can be effected by understanding the political processes, politicians terms etc. Secondary and tertiary benefits need to be emphasized - preparation for the question "Why, why, why EMS??" is important!!

    Policy reinforcement

    Make a lack-gap-mismatch analysis of existing local policies. A lack is something that is not there, a gap is something that is not enough, and a mismatch is something that is not right. And then demonstrate how the EMS will help in minimizing the lacks, gaps and mismatches.


    A much maligned buzzword, yet an EMS can, and should be used to demonstrate local sustainability by linking it up to a whole lot of other issues in the economic, social and ecological spheres.

    Networking and Partnerships

    An EMS can be used as an 'excuse' to initiate networking and partnerships among stakeholders in a process of dialogue, both within and in between cities.

    Motivation and Support

    A well developed and planned EMS becomes a tool, a priority in motivating and sensitizing senior officials and decision-makers to 'do something' about the environment. It is important not only to show the management of the local environmental problems, but also the mitigation of global problems as a result.


    Much branded about, orientation and awareness of an 'EMS-way-of-thinking' needs to be developed. Building a sense of ownership for both the EMS plan and ts implementation is critical!

    Legislative Fit

    It is important to demonstrate the way in which an EMS will help in satisfying national and regional legislative requirements. Many national obligations to international agreements on the environment, such as the climate change protocol, can be linked to the development of an EMS

    Monitoring and Evaluation

    Again much branded about, monitoring and evaluation needs to go beyond being just a buzzword and proper monitoring, evaluation, needs assessment, feedback and public participation needs to be incorporated as an integral part of an EMS. Why M&E - needs to be clarified and understood right from the beginning.

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    Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org