The effectiveness of state of the environment reporting (SoER) at the local government sphere - a developing country's experience
Mlangeni, Gugulethu Violet
Retief, Francois Pieter
Sandham, Luke Alan
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State of the environment reporting (SoER) is a well-established and widely applied environmental management tool in the South African context. Despite a wealth of knowledge about conducting and preparing SoERs, there is a paucity of research on the effect SoER has had on decision-making at the local government sphere. This study investigated the effect of SoER on decision-making for a sample of municipalities in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. The methodology relied on interviews with key role players, which include the ��environmental function�' as well as ��other functions�' responsible for infrastructure development and planning within the municipalities. The results show that notwithstanding the extensive time and resources spent on SoER, it appears to have had a limited effect on decision-making, especially beyond the environmental function. Recommendations to improve the influence of SoER on decision-making in developing countries include improved clarity on the purpose and home of SoER within municipalities, adequate budget and capacity, and effective cooperative governance both within the municipalities, and with other spheres of government.