IAIA06 - Power, Poverty and Sustainability

Power in the form of energy is vital in our lives. Power in politics can determine our place in society and how we lead our lives. Lack of political power can lead to life in poverty. Power and poverty affect the sustainability of the environment and society. How can impact assessment illuminate these relationships?

Norway and the other Nordic countries are major producers—and consumers—of energy, and thus contributors to global warming. Near Stavanger, oil and gas are produced in the North Sea, hydropower is generated in the mountains, and wind power is generated along the coast. Land use, transport planning, and coastal zone management are important issues. The proximity to the circumpolar north poses great challenges, but also opportunities.

The Nordic countries also have a strong tradition of cooperating with developing countries. This conference highlighted how impact assessment can assist developing and rapidly urbanizing countries in their work toward poverty eradication and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and how national development agencies, international financing institutions, and NGOs can contribute by integrating environmental concerns into their practice.

This conference focused on issues of particular relevance to the Nordic region while giving continued attention to trends and topics from other regions and previous conferences. We discussed how impact assessment in its various forms can be an important instrument to achieve sustainable development. How far have we come, nearly twenty years after the Brundtland report on "Our Common Future"?

Over 600 participants from over 90 countries shared their ideas, experience, concerns and your optimism on these themes and other topics.