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VIC State of Environment 2023 to parliament

On Monday June 16, the framework for the Victorian State of the Environment (SoE) 2023 report was formally presented to state Parliament.

Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian Minister for Environment, caused the tabling of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability’s Framework for the Victorian SoE 2023 Report, Science for Sustainable Development.

The Science for Sustainable Development document builds on the work of the SoE 2018 report and is the guiding framework for all five reports that will be prepared by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability as part of the 2023 State of the Environment reporting cycle.

The State of the Environment 2018 Report (SoE) was released in March last year and was the the first time the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been comprehensively applied to state level environmental reporting in Australia.

The Victorian SoE 2023 will continue to assess the environmental condition of the baseline indicators from SoE 2018, in terms of status, trend and data quality across 170 indicators and 13 themes.

According to Dr. Gillian Sparkes, Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, the new framework builds on SDGs to better analyse the entire system and the interlinkages between economic, social and environmental considerations.

“Using the SDGs individually and collectively as an organising framework will push SoE reporting beyond previous cycles,” Sparkes said.

“The SoE 2023 will build on lessons learnt and continue to highlight the important roles of science, data and community in decision-making for ecologically sustainable development.

“I believe that the SDGs provide a unique organising framework to better define and quantify the concept of ecologically sustainable development and animate the objectives of the CES Act 2003.”

The Victorian SoE 2023 will also measure Victoria’s progress against relevant SDG targets and aim to determine those interventions, through predictive models that also explore the interlinkages between economic, social and environmental targets.

In the Commissioner’s foreword in the SoE 2023 framework report, Sparkes stated that SoE reports that are not integrated into decision-making processes and adaptive management cycles are insufficient to engender change.

“Environmental reporting is not a static discipline – it must continue to evolve, innovate and adopt new methods to improve its impact.”

However, Sparkes said there is much more work to be done.

“Together, we (Commissioner’s Reference Grou) have successfully developed baseline condition reporting for Victoria over the past five years and are now developing the SDGs as an additional and broader part of the story-telling process through the Victorian State of Environment 2023 reporting framework, Science for Sustainable Development,” she said.

“We remain committed to preparing best-practice science-based reports to inform policymakers, scientists and the wider Victorian community.”

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