OECD review on Australia's performance towards sustainable development

On 19 May 2008, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development published its review on Australia's performance towards sustainable development.

The OECD's full Conclusions and Recommendations can be downloaded as a PDF.

The OECD was positive about Australia's achievements in acquiring new reserve areas for the land and marine environment (although these are not considered comprehensive and representative); also measures to halt deforestation and more national-scale management. At the same time, it was critical of the downward trend in conservation status of Australia's species and that "overall conservation efforts have not been proportional to the economic benefits derived through tourism and environmental services from nature and biodiversity conservation". The report suggests that there is room for improving the integration of biodiversity into land use planning and that lack of taxonomic and trend data means policy-relevant data does not always exist.

The OECD made the following recommendations specifically in terms of nature and biodiversity:
  • further increase the terrestrial and marine are under formal protection while progressing towards the objective of a comprehensive and representative reserve system;
  • persevere with objectives to protect, manage and restore wetlands;
  • strengthen the recovery of threatened species and ecological communities through coordination of recovery plans and pest management plans on the regional level;
  • ensure that regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) plans give due consideration to biodiversity values on private land, as appropriate; ensure effective off-reserve conservation;
  • enhance the collection of taxonomic data and collation of nationally coherent information.

According to Science Alert (http://www.sciencealert.com.au/features/20080505-17269.html)

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the government had pre-empted some of the recommendations with its new $2.25 billion Caring for our Country program announced in March.

The program focuses on six national priorities including improving the national reserve system, protecting biodiversity, fostering sustainable farm practices and improving natural resource management in remote and northern Australia.

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