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Comparing Sustainability Checks Essay

1710 words - 7 pages

Thomas Aitken 48636120Poli 320 term 1Comparative paper, Plan B, Option 1"Cross-national Comparisons"Sustainability ChecksA sustainablity check is defined as an assessment which looks to analyse the costs and benefits of regulations and thus assess whether more or less regulations should be implemented; according to the SGI codebook, a high quality sustainability assesses the short and long-term impact on social, economic and environmental issues when regulations are implemented.. The 2014 Country Report of the United States concedes that "there is no separate check required for "sustainability" per se" (p34 Quirk, 2014) since the definition of the term sustainabilty can be interpreted in many ways. According to other Country Reports, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom don't have a seperate check for 'sustainability' either, only it is written less blatently due to the different authors involved in the reports. What is initially peculiar about this is that all four countries were awarded a score of at least 7 out of 10 for the criteria of sustainability checks despite none of them actually having a seperate check. This is because the scores are derived from the quality of each country's regulatory impact assessment (RIA) which assess a regulation's impacts on socioeconomic and other indicators; according to the SGI codebook, a strong RIA "analyses consistently involve stakeholders by means of consultation or collaboration, results are transparently communicated to the public and assessments are effectively evaluated by an independent body on a regular basis" ( p57 Codebook, 2014). RIAs can include cost assesments of social, economic and environmental issues, thus implying that a seperate check is not necessary as it is already included in the RIA, as stated in the US 2014 country report "one could argue the U.S. regulatory impact assessment process does include a sustainability check. After all, assessments are expected to consider all important costs and benefits."(p34 Quirk, 2014) In other words, according to the Country Reports, there is a strong overlap between sustainability checks and RIAs, so much so that sustainability checks take place within RIAs. The main distinction between the two appears to be that RIAs don't factor in both short and long term impacts while sustainability checks do.In general, I believe that the report is quite generous towards the United States regarding this criteria. This is because the Regulatory Impact Assessments in the United states appear to be more biased than the others; there is no independent body that evaluates the assessments making it harder to hold the executive branch accountable, allowing the party in power to control the assessment in their favour. This resulted in the United States recieving a score of 8 for quality of RIA process because they only lack on aspect of the criteria for a perfect score (the aspect being that there is no independent body to scrutinize reports). In my opinion this...

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