Chapter 5

A Path Forward: Priority Areas
for Interagency Collaboration

Federal agencies face many challenges integrating decisions, both horizontally (across domains) and vertically (across federal, state, tribal, and local governments). Many of these challenges are neither new nor only recently identified.1 At the same time, a number of interagency efforts, including some promising examples in various settings, have begun to successfully address sustainability linkages. Earlier chapters discuss some examples and, drawing from them, the committee developed principles and a framework for addressing interconnected issues and enhancing decision-making linkages among agencies, scientists, the private sector and the public. The committee recognizes that interconnections among issues are extensive, as are points of leverage to enhance interagency coordination. Thus, a challenge for agencies is determining where best to apply their efforts, both in terms of the relative importance of interconnected issues and the potential effectiveness of processes and practices that can strengthen interagency coordination.

This chapter identifies criteria for prioritizing sustainability issues that present significant connections among resource domains and across economic, social, and environmental dimensions. Using these criteria, this chapter highlights several priority issues that would benefit from the decision processes envisioned by this report’s decision framework. This chapter also identifies some “bridging” areas that hold potential, in the near term, to strengthen interagency coordination and public-private collaboration as agencies and stakeholders grapple with the sorts of complex, interconnected issues described in this report.

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1At least as far back as the 1950s, as expressed by the U.S. Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (Kestenbaum Commission), concerns about interagency coordination on interconnected issues have been raised (Kinkaid, 2011).



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Chapter 5 A Path Forward: Priority Areas for Interagency Collaboration Federal agencies face many challenges integrating decisions, both hori- zontally (across domains) and vertically (across federal, state, tribal, and local governments). Many of these challenges are neither new nor only recently iden- tified.1 At the same time, a number of interagency efforts, including some prom- ising examples in various settings, have begun to successfully address sustaina- bility linkages. Earlier chapters discuss some examples and, drawing from them, the committee developed principles and a framework for addressing intercon- nected issues and enhancing decision-making linkages among agencies, scien- tists, the private sector and the public. The committee recognizes that intercon- nections among issues are extensive, as are points of leverage to enhance interagency coordination. Thus, a challenge for agencies is determining where best to apply their efforts, both in terms of the relative importance of intercon- nected issues and the potential effectiveness of processes and practices that can strengthen interagency coordination. This chapter identifies criteria for prioritizing sustainability issues that present significant connections among resource domains and across economic, social, and environmental dimensions. Using these criteria, this chapter high- lights several priority issues that would benefit from the decision processes en- visioned by this report’s decision framework. This chapter also identifies some “bridging” areas that hold potential, in the near term, to strengthen interagency coordination and public-private collaboration as agencies and stakeholders grap- ple with the sorts of complex, interconnected issues described in this report. 1 At least as far back as the 1950s, as expressed by the U.S. Commission on Intergov- ernmental Relations (Kestenbaum Commission), concerns about interagency coordination on interconnected issues have been raised (Kinkaid, 2011). 84

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A Path Forward: Priority Areas for Interagency Collaboration 85 CRITERIA FOR SETTING PRIORITIES The committee concludes that six criteria may be particularly relevant to identifying priority areas for addressing sustainability issues. These criteria build from the perspective that, while many challenges could benefit from some inter- agency coordination in research, goal-setting, and action, some challenges simp- ly cannot be efficiently and effectively addressed without much more coordinat- ed efforts, and it is these that should become priorities for the agencies. The first criterion for priority selection is national importance. Every is- sue is important to someone, but some issues affect the nation; the inability to address these issues in a linked way among agencies and with the private sector can result in significant unintended consequences, duplicative effort, and high economic, environmental, and social costs. A second criterion is the interdisciplinary nature of the issue. Issues that are inherently interdisciplinary would especially benefit from more integrated research and more coordinated action. For example, understanding the compo- nents and functions of ecosystems and the benefits they provide to human com- munities requires knowledge of biology, hydrology, geomorphology, air chemis- try, human demographics, human consumption patterns, engineering, and so on. A third criterion is the extent to which an issue involves multiple inter- connected resource domains. For example, policies and practices to manage energy resources fundamentally affect and are affected by policies and practices regarding water, climate, air pollution, land use, biodiversity, public health, transportation, and other domains. A fourth criterion is the degree to which agency research, policy, and ac- tion would benefit from much greater multi-agency coordination. At some level, every issue or resource domain is interconnected to others, and agencies and the private sector undertake actions that overlap, intersect, and sometimes compete. Yet some of these interconnected domains can nonetheless be reason- ably managed without substantial interagency coordination. For others, sustain- ability fundamentally depends on much stronger interagency and public-private coordination to identify trade-offs, avoid unintended consequences and duplicat- ed efforts, and ensure fairness in outcomes. The fifth criterion is the potential for leveraging private and civil society initiatives and resources. Many interconnected sustainability challenges involve and impact the private sector and broader civil society. For example, considera- ble U.S. communications infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector; energy production and distribution systems are largely privately owned; significant knowledge and capacity to respond to disasters resides among non- profit organizations nationally and within local communities; and much scien- tific knowledge resides in universities and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Effectively addressing sustainability linkages necessarily involves working with these potential partners to leverage their considerable knowledge, assets, and experiences, as well as to engage them in dialogue over goals and

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86 Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections & Governance Linkages actions, resulting in significant multiplication of governmental actions to the benefit of the nation. The sixth criterion is the prospect that applying the sustainability linkages decision framework and augmenting multi-agency, public-private sector coordi- nation will have the potential to result in more effective, efficient outcomes with positive return on investment (either in the short term or, more likely, the long term). For issue clusters that involve decisions by multiple agencies, applying the framework can reduce duplication of effort and therefore potentially result in cost savings. It can also reduce unintended consequences in which actions taken to address one domain (for example, energy development) without considering other closely connected domains (for example, water and food supplies) can result in negative outcomes in those connected domains. Applying this criterion can help focus attention on those issue clusters in which many agencies have overlapping jurisdictions and in which the potential for unintended consequenc- es is high. PRIORITY DOMAINS AND ISSUE AREAS Opportunities to better identify and address sustainability linkages are ex- tensive.2 The committee applied the selection criteria described above to high- light several significant issue clusters. All of these areas are nationally im- portant, require interdisciplinary data and analysis, involve multiple interconnected resource domains, would benefit from greater coordination, have a potential to leverage nongovernmental knowledge and resources, and would result in positive returns on investment. Though they all demonstrate these char- acteristics, their areas of central focus vary. 1. Connections among Energy, Food, and Water The availability of affordable supplies of energy, food, and water is vital to sustaining healthy populations and economic prosperity. Producing and using energy often involves consuming water and can also impact water quality, land use, air quality, and the agricultural sector. Producing ethanol to the 2012 target of 7.5 billion gallons per year was estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to require 30 billion gallons of water to process—the equivalent to the total water needs of Minneapolis. If a quarter of the corn crop used for ethanol requires irrigation, ethanol production will consume nearly a trillion gallons of water per year—equivalent to the combined water usage of all cities in Arizona, 2 A 2012 NRC Symposium on Partnerships, Science, and Innovation for Sustainability Solutions included discussion of priority areas for the field (NRC, 2012). Additionally, a 1999 NRC report identifies eight priority areas needing greater attention and coordinated efforts to enhance sustainable outcomes that meet economic, social, and environmental goals.

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A Path Forward: Priority Areas for Interagency Collaboration 87 Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada (DOI, 2006). In 2010, nearly 40 percent of U.S. corn was converted into ethanol, but the mandated amount of ethanol exceeds the supply, increasing the price of corn (Hanlon et al., 2013). Intensive corn production also has adverse environmental effects—chemical fertilizers that are heavily applied to corn crops cause run off, a major source of water pollution that affects drinking water. Likewise, some fossil fuel production, nuclear ener- gy facilities, and renewable energy sources require water for production, pro- cessing, cooling, and other purposes. A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report noted that the energy sector is the fastest-growing consumer of water in the United States (GAO, 2012). Drawing upon a Congressional Research Service report, the GAO indicates that energy is “expected to account for 85 percent of the growth in do- mestic water consumption between 2005 and 2030.” The reverse also applies— some water systems require large amounts of energy to transport water or treat it to necessary standards. Energy production and use are, thus, connected to water. But these connections are in turn affected by other factors. Population trends, urban infrastructure, agricultural production, and changes in economic activity all affect water demand. Complicating these connections is climate change and its effects on the availability and timing of water flows and on water tempera- tures and quality. Energy strategies therefore link to water management, infra- structure policy, and policies pertaining to climate change mitigation and adap- tation. All of these factors—energy, water, and climate change—also affect food production and land use patterns. Better understanding of these connections, better coordination of federal agency actions, and enhancing public-private in- teractions to examine trade-offs and assess management strategies could im- prove economic, social, and environmental outcomes for the nation. 2. Diverse and Healthy Ecosystems Ecosystems, their components, and functions provide “services” to human communities—for example, by supplying water, buffering against coastal storms, pollinating food-bearing plants, absorbing air pollution, and providing extractive minerals and other resources. While often not quantified, the econom- ic value of these services represents a significant contribution to the economic health of the nation, and a significant economic burden would be added if these services were to disappear. The actions of many agencies affect these ecosys- tems, and many agencies and scientific disciplines contribute to better under- standing these ecosystems and their functions. The inherently interconnected nature of ecosystem components requires an interdisciplinary approach to un- derstanding and assessing the health of these ecosystems. Moreover, managing these ecosystems to sustain their benefits and long-term health often requires working at watershed or other larger scales; many different public and private land managers must work together to secure water quality along a river, for ex- ample, or to maintain dune systems that provide community protection against

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88 Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections & Governance Linkages high-intensity storms. Sometimes capturing the economic value of these ecosys- tem services—sometimes referred to as “nature’s capital”—requires that urban and nonurban areas and federal, state, local, and private-sector partners work together. For example, Denver’s water utility is working with the U.S. Forest Service to invest in the removal of dead trees and overly dense vegetation in the area’s watershed to reduce the prospects of a catastrophic wildland fire; such a fire could result in severe erosion and sediment that would damage the city’s water reservoirs (U.S. Forest Service, 2011). Near Portland, Oregon, local water managers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to en- gage local farmers in planting trees along streams and rivers; the trees will pro- vide shade, reducing water temperatures, benefiting fish habitat, and meeting water quality needs (Scarlett, 2010). These examples of joint management of connected domains are generating economic and social benefits, but these kinds of efforts remain relatively infrequent, suggesting that this is potentially an area of national significance that would benefit from continued and expanded focus. 3. Enhancing Resilience of Communities to Extreme Events Sustainability of communities and regions is inherently tied to identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, promoting dynamic adaptation to change, and enhancing resilience in the face of disruptions (Fiksel, 2006). Disruptions may come from sudden catastrophic occurrences such as severe weather, earth- quakes, or terrorist events, or from more progressive change such as that associ- ated with a gradually warming climate. A recent Department of Energy (DOE) technical report identified vulnera- bilities associated with extreme events such as hurricanes or high-intensity rain- fall events (DOE, 2012). The report particularly focuses on interdependencies and interconnections, noting that climate effects such as sea-level rise and storm surge can result in coastal flooding that in turn affects transportation, communi- cations, water supplies, and energy services. Eyeing vulnerabilities to infrastruc- ture, the report notes that “cross-sectoral issues related to infrastructures and urban systems have not received a great deal of attention; and, in fact, in some cases the existing knowledge base on cross-sectoral interactions and interde- pendencies…appears to be quite limited” (DOE, 2012, p. 1). While the DOE report significantly enhances understanding of these interdependencies, the na- tion’s capacity to address them through coordinated multi-agency and public- private actions remains limited, as vividly demonstrated by Hurricane Sandy in late October, 2012. The National Response Framework discussed below clarifies roles and responsibilities across multiple agencies that need to coordinate ac- tions in the wake of disasters and other emergencies. However, as its title sug- gests, the framework is focused on after-event responses rather than long-term infrastructure assessment and coordinated strategies to enhance resilience, re- duce vulnerabilities, and meet infrastructure needs. There is a significant need to undertake such an assessment and develop more coordinated strategies for ad-

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A Path Forward: Priority Areas for Interagency Collaboration 89 dressing vulnerabilities in infrastructure and promoting adaptation and resilience in communities. Resilience has been defined as the capacity of a system to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant disruptions (Wilbanks and Kates, 2010); resilience allows a system to tolerate disturbance while retaining vital struc- ture and function (Fiksel, 2003). Currently, our fundamental knowledge of what is required to enhance community resilience, whether in an urban, rural, or coastal environment, is inadequate. For example, what are the characteristics of communi- ties that were more successful in quickly recovering from severe disturbances such as Hurricane Katrina? What roles do flexibility, dynamic adaptation, and infra- structure redundancy play? Many opportunities exist for collaboration among fed- eral agencies in research, planning, strategy, and application to enhance resilience of communities to both sudden and ongoing stressors. 4. Human Health and Well-being While Americans are in many ways healthier than ever, important health parameters continue to raise cause for concern. Some conditions have increased in prevalence over recent decades; examples include obesity (Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2012a), asthma (Akinbami et al., 2012), diabetes (CDC, 2012b), autism spectrum disorders (Newschaffer et al., 2005), and some autoimmune diseases such as lupus (Uramoto et al., 1999). Mental health issues remain widespread: anxiety disorder affects 15 percent of people over the course of a lifetime and 10 percent in any year (Kessler et al., 2009); one in every 15 U.S. adults suffers a major depressive episode each year (Kessler et al., 2005); many more suffer from minor depression; and 9.4 percent of U.S. adults report “frequent mental distress” (Moriarty et al., 2009). Several trends—declining age at menarche (McDowell et al., 2007), rising prevalence of hypospadias (Pauloz- zi et al., 1997), and falling sperm counts (Swan et al., 2000)—may reflect expo- sure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (Wang et al., 2008; Nassar et al., 2010; Meeker et al., 2010), a worrisome possibility given the widespread presence of synthetic organic chemicals in tissue samples from the U.S. population (CDC, 2012c). Tens of thousands of Americans die in motor vehicle accidents each year, and hundreds die in severe weather events, which may be increasing in frequency. Importantly, many health impacts are unevenly distributed across the population. People of certain races, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic levels, ages, and disability status bear disproportionate risk in some circumstances, rais- ing a range of equity concerns. Sustainability efforts may affect each of these outcomes, and human health and well-being more generally, in complex, crosscutting ways. Agricul- tural practices affect the nutritional content and contaminant levels in food, as well as its availability and price. Land use and transportation decisions affect levels of physical activity, which in turn affect the risk of cardiovascular disease,

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90 Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections & Governance Linkages many cancers, and other conditions. Transportation and energy decisions affect air quality, which affects the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Urban design and preparedness efforts affect community resiliency, which in turn affects people’s health and safety risks during and after disasters. Environ- mental policies affect health in numerous ways, including the probability of ex- posure to toxic chemicals, contaminated air and water, and hazardous waste. Housing—its availability, affordability, design, and quality—has a far-reaching impact on health and well-being, as do indoor environments in schools, work- places, and health care facilities. Land conservation, from the scale of extensive wilderness areas to that of urban pocket parks, affects recreational opportunities, and biodiversity protection may facilitate future pharmaceutical development. These multifarious connections suggest that a linkages framework, engaging the many involved federal, state, and local government entities along with nongov- ernmental players—is essential to achieving sustainability policies that equitably and effectively promote human health and well-being. IMPLEMENTATION BRIDGES Agencies need not await policy or organizational restructuring in order to strengthen their capacity to address sustainability issues. Information provided by agencies, scholars, and research literature points to several ways to enhance agency capacity to operate with an interdisciplinary, cross-agency approach. In addition, examples presented to the committee illustrated ways to facilitate in- teragency coordination to address interconnected issues. This section highlights some of these “bridging” approaches, including roles and practices, legislative tools, and program planning. Roles and Practices Collaborative leadership: Collaboration and shared governance require more, not less, leadership (Emerson, 2012). Multiagency and public-private col- laboration may generate conflict as different missions, values, purposes, and trade-offs become evident. Such conflict helps illuminate important issues and is, therefore, not a negative feature of collaboration. At the same time, managing these differences and conflicts requires effective leadership. One way to think about leadership competencies in collaborative settings is to consider three di- mensions—attributes, skills, and behaviors—as described by Taylor and Morse (2011). For example, collaborative leadership requires systems thinking, facilita- tion of mutual learning, and building trusting relationships among partners. Convening function: A first step in strengthening interagency and public- private sector coordination is to assemble diverse participants that have knowledge, resources, and interests related to a set of interconnected issues. Such convening can be initiated at all levels of government and by the nongov- ernmental and private sectors; however, federal agencies are often well-situated

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A Path Forward: Priority Areas for Interagency Collaboration 91 to serve in this convening role. The Desert Managers Group (DMG) in Califor- nia emerged through federal leadership as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other federal agencies recognized the crosscutting nature of the is- sues they faced. The group has no special implementation authority, but it has served as a forum to share information and discuss shared issues. In some cir- cumstances, this sort of convening role can ultimately lead to more formal cross- agency, public-private sector decision structures, as it did in this instance. Training and collaboration capacity: A common theme identified in all the examples reviewed by the committee was the importance of skills in collabo- ration, negotiation, and dialogue facilitation. These skills may be developed through mentoring programs for employees and cross-agency experiences. For example, a representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), discussing the practice of emergency management, emphasized the need to reorient or retrain agency employees to think about the “problem state- ment,” bringing a collaborative and community-centered approach rather than a hierarchical approach to emergency response (Kaufman, 2012). Personnel competencies: As agencies have increasingly perceived the im- portance of interagency coordination and public-private collaboration, some agencies have pressed for more formal tools with which to assess relevant skills (Emerson, 2011). To this end, the Office of Personnel Management has added collaborative skills to its leadership competencies for senior executive service managers.3 Legislative Tools As illustrated by many of the case studies assessed by the committee, fed- eral agencies have access to several legislative and administrative tools that pro- vide support for addressing interconnected issues and enhancing decision- making linkages among agencies. However, these tools are significantly un- derutilized. Below, the committee highlights two such tools—the recent regula- tory and policy updates to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and statutory changes to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)—that offer potential to strengthen federal capacity to address linked issues through interagency processes. NEPA: Signed into law in 1970, NEPA provides a vision and general framework to link economic, social, and environmental aspects of federal agen- cy decisions. It also anticipates the need for federal, state, and local coordination and sets forth provisions to facilitate such coordination. However, these provi- sions have generally been underutilized. A review of NEPA by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) after 25 years of implementation concluded that 3 See Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Competencies. Online. Available at: http://www.dtc.dla.mil/wfd/ldrshpdv/1.htm. Accessed October 24, 2012.

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92 Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections & Governance Linkages the Act’s “most enduring legacy is as a framework for collaboration between federal agencies and those who will bear the environmental, social, and econom- ic impacts of agency decisions” (CEQ, 1997 and 2007). A 2005 Memorandum of Agreement between Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and CEQ, which was reaffirmed in 2012 among 15 agencies, was intended to highlight agency collaboration under NEPA provisions by requiring a reporting of collab- orative efforts. Several agencies have built upon NEPA’s potential to enhance interagency coordination and collaboration. U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI’s) NEPA regulations, published in October 2008, provide directions for how to incorporate consensus-based management resulting from multi- participant collaboration into the NEPA process.4 However, use of this and other tools has been limited. GPRA: The importance of metrics in shaping actions and influencing out- comes is well-recognized in management literature (Melnyk et al., 2004). Though metrics are important, their utility depends on how well they actually capture and measure positive outcomes. GPRA, which requires agencies to de- velop performance measures, holds potential to motivate agencies to apply a sustainability framework and be accountable for coordinating with other agen- cies on shared and interconnected issues. Indeed, the amendments to GPRA in 2010 provide several changes that would support the inclusion of a focus on sustainability. For example, the revisions place “a heightened emphasis on prior- ity-setting, cross-organizational collaboration to achieve shared goals, and the use and analysis of goals and measurement to improve outcomes” (Circular No. A-11, 2012, section 200-3). Notwithstanding this potential, drawing from presentations to the committee and a review of the literature, the committee notes that most agency GPRA measures have been narrowly focused and devel- oped by individual offices for their particular programs. The committee supports the use of sustainability linkage metrics reflected in the GPRA Modernization Act guidance and urges the agencies to think more broadly in crafting their met- rics. Program Planning Our case studies highlight several examples of resource connections and governance linkages in coastal, urban, and nonurban settings. Beyond these place-based examples, some agencies have developed broader programmatic initiatives that are designed to enhance governance linkages and collaborative partnerships. One example is the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an initiative started in 2009 by three federal agencies—the U.S. Environmental Protection 4 The regulations state that, “in incorporating consensus-based management in the NEPA process, bureaus should consider any consensus-based alternative(s) put forth by those participating persons, organizations, or communities who may be interested in or affected by the proposed action” (DOI, 2008).

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A Path Forward: Priority Areas for Interagency Collaboration 93 Agency (EPA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Transportation (DOT). The purpose of the Partnership is to coordinate investments and align policies to “support communities that want to give Americans more housing choices, make transportation systems more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, protect the environment, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses” (DOT, 2012). The Partnership develops programs and reviews grant applications to ensure that activities build on previous funding and meet multiple community goals. Since its inception, the Partnership has provided assistance to more than 700 communities all over the United States. In 2012, the Partnership identified several areas of focus, including continuing coordination to make government more efficient. One aspect of this coordination is offering joint training pro- grams to help regional staff from the Partnership agencies develop knowledge and skills to support sustainable cities. The committee supports agency efforts to develop such programmatic initiatives. A NATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY POLICY Sustainability linkages are by their nature extraordinarily complex, involv- ing multiple domains, multiple locations, and multiple time frames. The evi- dence-based studies described in this report highlight the national importance of sustainability efforts in urban, nonurban, and coastal environments. As discussed in Chapter 2, however, the federal government faces significant challenges in dealing with the inherent complexity of sustainability. The fragmentation of authorizations and appropriations for federal agencies, the lack of open access to necessary information and research results, and a government culture that rein- forces silos have resulted in barriers to interagency coordination. Analysis of the examples described earlier in this report and consideration of additional reports and presentations received during the course of this study have led the commit- tee to conclude that the success of complex, multiple-domain, interjurisdictional, multidisciplinary initiatives is significantly enhanced when addressed within the context of an overarching policy. Such a policy should clarify general goals and objectives, lay out governing principles, and provide for an operation- al/functional framework that explicitly delineates roles, authorities, and respon- sibilities. Examples and a discussion of this type of policy are given in the fol- lowing text. The lack of a guiding policy has limited the reach and effectiveness of col- laboration in sustainability initiatives. In the absence of such a policy, agency participation in coordinated sustainability efforts has been uneven, capacity to develop unified or crosscutting budgets has been limited, and processes to de- velop shared goals on interconnected issues have been constrained. A national sustainability policy could significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of complex initiatives involving multiple federal agencies, state, regional, and local governments, and nongovernmental stakeholders. The existence of such a

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94 Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections & Governance Linkages policy would enable the development of institutional bridges, practices, or pro- cesses on which to build and maintain the necessary linkages among key respon- sible parties and stakeholders could be established under recognized policy au- thority, a statement of priorities, and established processes, leading to more successful and cost-effective sustainability efforts. An Executive Order establishing a National Sustainability Policy and in- corporating an implementation framework would substantially enhance the na- tion’s capacity to address many of the governance challenges identified in Chap- ter 2. The objective of the National Sustainability Policy would be to address environmental, economic, and societal issues and support human well-being by: 1) encouraging and promoting coordination among agencies; 2) reducing siloed decision making and improving integration of research and operations across the government; 3) enhancing communication among agencies and between the federal government and stakeholders at national, state, and local levels; 4) re- ducing duplication of efforts and improving cost effectiveness; and 5) enhancing the use of existing laws such as NEPA by providing guidance on how to incor- porate sustainability goals and linkages into federal decision making processes. Several models exist for developing such a National Sustainability Policy, as discussed below: The National Oceans Policy (NOP): Two recent reports that have galva- nized presidential focus and action provide insights and recommendations on ocean policy. The first, released in 2003 by the PEW Center for the States, Re- port to the Nation: Recommendations for a New Ocean Policy (May 2003), called for national ocean policy legislation. The second, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy’s 2004 report An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century, called for a coordinated and comprehensive national ocean policy. As a result of these reports, President Bush issued an Executive Order creating a Committee on Ocean Policy and calling for a U.S. Ocean Action Plan. In 2010 President Obama, building upon these reports and momentum, recognized stewardship of the oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes as connected to national prosperity, en- vironmental sustainability, and human well-being, and he signed an Executive Order developing a National Oceans Policy. The policy includes a set of over- arching guiding principles for management decisions and actions toward achiev- ing the vision of “an America whose stewardship ensures that the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes are healthy and resilient, safe and productive, and understood and treasured so as to promote the well-being, prosperity, and securi- ty of present and future generations.” According to the Administration, this poli- cy will improve communication, coordination, and integration across all levels of government, and “agencies will streamline processes and reduce duplicative efforts, while better leveraging limited resources” (The White House, 2012). The National Oceans Policy speaks to the need for connections similar to those required for sustainability in that it establishes a national framework to address a cross-governance challenge, and then engages stakeholders in regular meetings and other interactions designed to stimulate cooperative ac-

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A Path Forward: Priority Areas for Interagency Collaboration 95 tion. The committee views the NOP as a good model for addressing sustaina- bility linkages. National Incident Response Policy: FEMA is responsible for ensuring ef- ficient and effective management of response to a wide range of incidents that invariably involve multiple domains and authorities. Since the founding of the agency, FEMA has learned through experience that the existence of a national policy and organizational framework greatly facilitates response to incidents. The two major policy structures aiding FEMA’s work are the National Incident Management System and the National Response Framework. The components of these two policies are as follows:  National Incident Management System: o A comprehensive, national approach to incident management o A template for incident management, regardless of size, location, or complexity o Application at all jurisdictional levels and across functional disci- plines  National Response Framework: o Guiding principles that enable response partners to prepare for and provide for a unified national response to all domestic disasters and emergencies o Application across all federal agencies and in coordination with state, local, and tribal agencies and the private and nongovernmen- tal sectors. o Clarification of roles, responsibilities, and conditions for activating a unified response Although these policy frameworks are not prescriptive, they present a common set of unifying principles and a structure for assessing and addressing complex, multiparty actions that promote efficient and effective outcomes. The policies guide efforts of all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sec- tors, and the public. The frameworks include guidance for planning, organiza- tion, and training needed to build and maintain domestic capabilities in support of the National Preparedness Goal. This is done, in part, through the develop- ment of a series of integrated national planning frameworks covering preven- tion, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP): The DRECP, discussed in Chapter 3 under the Mojave Desert example, was created in 2011 to help provide for effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems while allowing for the appropriate development of renewable energy projects. The DRECP will provide long-term endangered species permit assurances to renewable energy developers and provide a process for conservation funding to implement the plan. It will also serve as the basis for one or more Habitat Con- servation Plans under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

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96 Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections & Governance Linkages The DRECP was established by California law and a subsequent executive order from the governor (Senate Bill No. 2X [Joe Simitian, 2011-2012 1st Ex. Sess.], signed into law by Governor Brown on April 12, 2011) (DRECP, 2012). To oversee its implementation, a Renewable Energy Action Team (REAT) was formed, consisting of the California Energy Commission (CEC), California De- partment of Fish and Game (CDFG), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Memorandums of Understanding were signed by the participating agencies. Others joining the team include the California Public Utilities Commission, California Independent System Opera- tor, National Park Service (NPS), EPA, and the Department of Defense (DOD) (California Department of Fish and Game et al., 2008). Four major products and a schedule for their completion are being devel- oped under the direction of the REAT: 1. Best Management Practices and Guidance Manual: Desert Renewable Energy Projects. 2. The Draft Conservation Strategy, which clearly identifies and maps ar- eas for renewable energy project development and areas intended for long-term natural resource conservation as a foundation for the DRECP. 3. DRECP: a joint state and federal Natural Communities Conservation Plan and part of one or more Habitat Conservation Plans. 4. DRECP: draft and final joint state and federal Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement. Independent science advisors provided input into the Conservation Strate- gy and the DRECP. These advisors also completed the final report. Additional science input is expected as the process moves forward. A stakeholder committee has been established to inform the state and fed- eral REAT agencies on the development of the DRECP and to provide a forum for public participation and input. The stakeholders represent the interests of the counties in the desert region, renewable energy developers, environmental or- ganizations, electric utilities, and Native American organizations. Specific work- ing groups composed of DRECP stakeholder committee members have been established and meet regularly to address specific issues such as covered spe- cies, covered activities, resource mapping, and cultural resources. Interjurisdictional approaches in other countries. There are abundant ex- amples of sustainability strategies throughout the world, several of which could serve as instructive models in the development of a U.S. national policy. More than 100 countries have established national sustainable development strategies and have reported on them to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.5 In the committee’s opinion, some of the best models can be seen 5 The United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. 2012. National Reports by Topic: National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS). Online. Availa-

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A Path Forward: Priority Areas for Interagency Collaboration 97 in the United Kingdom (HM Government 2005; Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, 2011), Canada (Environment Canada, 2010), and the Netherlands (RMNO, 2007; 2008). All of these national policies and strategies present long-term goals for a sustainable nation and consider the environment and natural resources, economic health, and social well-being. They all are structured as broad frameworks that outline how long-term goals are to be achieved and do not create prescriptive processes. Rather, they provide clarity and a framework for how the range of stakeholders across government and out- side of government can work together to achieve common sustainability goals. Most importantly, each of these policy and strategy instruments are living doc- uments with clear provisions and processes for updating, refocusing, and evolv- ing based on new knowledge and changing times. RECOMMENDATIONS This chapter has described criteria for prioritizing sustainability issues that present significant connections among resource domains and across economic, social, and environmental dimensions, and it highlights several priority issues that would benefit from the decision processes envisioned by this report’s deci- sion framework. “Bridging” areas have also been identified for strengthening agency coordination and public-private collaboration. It also discusses the need for a National Sustainability Policy. The following are key recommendations for action. First, a National Sustainability Policy should be developed that will provide clear guidance to the executive agencies on addressing governance linkages on complex sustainability problems and inform national policy on sustainability. A process should be established for developing this policy, as well as a strategy for implementing it. All stakeholders, including the private sector and NGOs, should be provided an opportunity for contributing to this process. Once the policy is in place, agencies should develop specific plans to define how they expect to implement the policy. In implementing the National Sustainability Policy, consideration should be given to the creation of open and transparent oversight involving the public, state legislatures, Congress, and the President. The committee suggests that an optimum National Sustainability Policy should be designed to accomplish the following: 1. Establish that the fundamental principle of sustainability is to promote the long-term sustainability of the nation’s economy, environmental and natural resources, and social well-being. ble at Available at http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?menu=973. Accessed February 13, 2013.

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98 Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections & Governance Linkages 2. Facilitate and empower sustainability initiatives across the federal gov- ernment, including working with the many governmental and nongovernmental partners. 3. Set out broad general objectives, management principles, and a frame- work for addressing complex cross-jurisdictional sustainability challenges. However, it should not be prescriptive in approach, goals, participants, or struc- ture. 4. Build sustainability and collaborative approaches that deal with sus- tainability connections into the fabric of governmental agencies. The committee also believes it would be useful to clearly define the need for an initiative to enhance the ability of the federal government to address sus- tainability linkage issues; prepare an “initiative” communications kit to docu- ment the need for the initiative, its structure, goals, participants, etc.; and identi- fy and communicate with key stakeholders and other audiences. As discussed in Chapter 3, sustainability solutions need to be communi- cated in a way that clearly identifies both the costs and benefits of action and inaction. An effective communications strategy is important not only at the out- set to engage major and important constituencies, but also throughout the pro- cess in keeping key stakeholders and the public generally aware of the progress being made and the work that still needs to be done. Research in this area will be important. In addition, agencies should legitimize and reward the activities of in- dividuals who engage in initiatives that “cross silos” in the interest of sus- tainability, both at the staff and leadership level. Among other things, agen- cies should develop personnel performance measures that emphasize collaboration and the design and implementation of interagency, integrated ap- proaches to addressing sustainability issues. Agencies should nurture “change agents” both in the field and at regional and national offices, an effort that may include revisions to managers’ performance plans, rewards, and training as well as better alignment of policy tools to support collaboration. Similarly, agencies should encourage and enable cross-agency management and funding of linked sustainability activities. In some cases, statutory authority to cross silos as well as to develop cross-agency funding on integrated cross-domain issues may be required. Continuity in strategic plans that incorporate sustainability as a core value will require strong support from the highest levels of leadership. It is also neces- sary to maintain long-term initiatives on sustainability despite periodic temporal change in leaders (and changes in the beliefs and priorities of the leadership). Agencies should also support long-term, interdisciplinary research underpinning sustainability. Among other things, the committee recommends funding robust research to provide the scientific basis for sustainability decision making. Sustainability challenges play out over long time scales; therefore, agencies should invest in long-term research projects on time scales of decades to provide the necessary fundamental scientific understanding of sustainability.

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A Path Forward: Priority Areas for Interagency Collaboration 99 An example of such a long-term research program is the National Science Foun- dation’s (NSF’s) Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program. To success- fully meet sustainability challenges, agencies will need to support additional interdisciplinary, cross-program research, such as NSF’s Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Program. Although the impact of sus- tainability on human well-being is critically important, scientific information on this relationship is woefully inadequate and incomplete and needs to be strengthened at major health funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health. The committee also recommends a systematic analysis of network and governance models and adaptive decision making efforts to identify common issues and challenges. Federal agencies that support scientific research should be incentiv- ized to collaborate on sustained, cross-agency research. Sustainability should be supported by a broader spectrum of federal agencies, and additional federal partners should become engaged in science for sustainability. Federal agencies should collaborate in designing and implementing cross-agency research portfo- lios to better leverage funding. It will also be critical to develop training for leadership and staff that in- cludes both scientific and management aspects of sustainability issues and that addresses the system and agency linkages needed to achieve sustainability out- comes. Similar training should be incorporated into entry-level programs such as the Presidential Management Fellows program and into senior-level training such as the Senior Executive Service program. The maintenance and enhancement of sustainability, a crosscutting issue vital to the United States over the long term, cannot afford to be constrained by fragmentation of authority, inadequate sharing of information, the structure of government, or other complexities. In this report, we suggest a number of ap- proaches to minimize or surmount these challenges. It is important to the coun- try to do so, and the committee hopes that its recommendations can be imple- mented with vigor and alacrity, for the linkages of sustainability in the federal government require it. REFERENCES Akinbami, L. J., J. E. Moorman, C. Bailey, H. S. Zahran, M. King, C. A. Johnson, and X. Liu. 2012. Trends in asthma prevalence, health care use, and mortality in the Unit- ed States, 2001-2010. NCHS data brief 94. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Baskin, L. S., T. Colborn, and K. Aimes. 2001. Hypospadias and endocrine disruption: is there a connection? Environmental Health Perspectives 109:1175-1183. California Department of Fish and Game, California Energy Commission, California Bureau of Land Management, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 2008. Memo- randum of Understanding between the California Department of Fish and Game, the California Energy Commission, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the Establishment of the California Renewable

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