The Role of Consent and Communication in Environmental Regulation: A Developing Country Perspective
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The failure of the civil society to generate and communicate commonly shared (consensual) environmental values and the incapability of the other social systems- environmental law and the environmental protection agencies- to assess and respond accordingly creates disequilibrium in mutual expectations. The communication gap among them promotes non-compliant behaviour, ultimately making enforcement of environmental law for the most part impossible in developing countries like Pakistan. Disrespect for law and lack of confidence in public institutions stems from problems in social fabric. It is often the result of a societal failure not the weakness of government institutions. In these circumstances, the legislative process not informed of existing social realities and the administrative process ignorant of the social stress face miserable failure. The enforcement agencies alone are incapable of achieving compliance and the law as a tool of the public policy is unable to bring change in social attitudes for a better environment. The onus is mainly on social institutions to generate positive social values which are later communicated with other individuals/groups/systems in the environment. For a better and healthy environment, the government agencies have to think beyond regulation and facilitate greater participation and positive mutual interaction among non-state actors.