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Environmental licensing and audit - Public sector

Organization
Environmental Office of Regional Government
Position in the company
State employee (Ph.D.) – Environmental licensing and audit
Economical or Societal Sector
Public Sector
Country
Greece
Report
The subject of the interviewee’s work is related with environmental licensing and control of public and private projects as well as monitoring and participation in the elaboration of large-scale studies and plans at national and regional level (eg. Regional Waste Management Plan). Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the ones which are more closely to the activities / priorities of his professional activity are the following: 3, 6-7, 9, 11-15 and 17.
The above SDGs are an integral part of his professional responsibilities as an important part of the process concerning the construction and operation of activities and projects in the public and private sector. But especially for the older staff these principles are treated as conditions of construction and operation that are set in order to give the license and this is the reason why most of the time they are not taken into account in practice, unless some control is imminent.
Concerning the staff selection for tasks related to sustainable development issues, in the public sector, it is not done with criteria of knowledge and experience in matters of sustainable development. This applies also internally in terms of the selection of directors and supervisors who are also the operating guides of each service. The selection criteria should be related to relevant scientific background issues but even more importantly on the basis of experience.
The environmental issues that the service deals with are multifactorial and multilevel based on the axes of economy, society and environmental footprint. Therefore, knowledge related with complex systems, is very important and can certainly help in completing a task and / or producing a better quality result. This is because it enables the examination of the parameters separately and in depth and finally in combination in order to first document the approval (or not) of the implementation of each project or activity as well as to set their optimal terms and operating specifications. Then it will be possible to monitor and control all stages of each project or activity. The construction of, for example, a landfill is a project that is governed by social, economic and environmental parameters that require from those involved a systemic approach based on consultation with stakeholders. The need to understand the motivations, views, attitudes, knowledge of each side requires a systemic approach in order to satisfy as much as possible all stakeholders in the implementation of any project. Consequently, the argumentation for the need or not of such a project but also its approach according to spatial criteria or issues of conflict of interests or land uses requires systemic thinking and approach.
According to the interviewee’s experience as an assistant teacher during the preparation of his doctoral dissertation or as supervisor of young university graduates at his professional environment, the majority of young employees do not possess adequate knowledge or skills to handle complex issues. In his opinion, this is due to the lack of connection between academic lectures and case studies of real or hypothetical scenarios that will allow students to get to know and understand systemic thinking and approach and to be immersed in it in practice.