A critical evaluation of negotiated environmental agreements - a case study from South Africa
This research critically evaluates negotiated environmental agreements in South Africa and entails a single case study in the mining industry regarding the use of a voluntary environmental agreement to prevent water pollution. The objectives of the research include the identification of criteria for evaluating negotiated environmental agreements and the critical evaluation of a negotiated environmental agreement in South Africa within its own regulatory regime. This is a phenomenological study as the author was involved in the process of negotiating and drafting the environmental agreement. Data was collected in the form of a literature review, interviews with role players involved in the case study, and the review of relevant documents, including policies and procedures. The researcher identified a number of criteria for the successful conclusion of negotiated environmental agreements in the mining industry in South Africa. These included a legal and policy framework; mutual trust between parties; a clear desire by both parties to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement; the so-called "soft effect" (which relates to changes in attitude and awareness); community trust in the industry; a public participation process; clear and measurable objectives, targets and time frames as well as negotiated commitments; clearly established monitoring procedures; sufficient sanctions or incentives to ensure compliance; adequate financial and human resources; the extent to which the voluntary agreement contributed to the achievement of the objectives in terms of environmental effectiveness; whether the voluntary agreement promotes compliance with the objectives of the applicable legislation; and stakeholders established for ongoing monitoring and reporting of implementation of the voluntary agreement. A critical evaluation of the agreement of the case study at hand reflected that certain of the identified criteria were not met.