Monday, March 11, 2013

Sustainable Development

In November 2010,  at the World Summit of United Cities and Local Governments, culture was added to the mix of economic, social and environmental  dimensions to reflect a new strategic approach to sustainable development. What applications of this can we make in ATC and how can we benefit? 

When you hear the words "sustainable development", what comes to mind? The word sustainable is synonymous with words like viable, tenable, feasible, workable and rational
So any development of ATC must be viable, tenable, feasible, workable and rational. How do you rate your local ATC organization? Will you agree that it is sustainable?  
An organization is qualified as sustainable if it "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." That was the first definition of sustainable development (World Bank, 1987). If we want to know whether our local ATC organization is sustainable we must first identify the present needs or the aims. Do you know what your organizational aims or goals are? Does your ATC unit have a mission statement that is related to its goals?

These goals are different from  providing ATS. They are aims that satisfy the needs and the deficiencies of the organization so that it can grow in a certain direction. Objectives and  aims at each level of our ATC organization can make the difference between initiating a project and seeing it completed with results in a short space of time rather than observing developments in slow motion over several years.

In 1987, the World Bank investigated the reasons for the abdication of 13 out of 25 projects even though attention was placed on a lack of economic resources and technical problems. They found that the projects that lasted were consistent with the aims of local institutions that were “strong, flexible and autonomous”.  These institutions had clear cut policies that changed as the expectations of society changed (Brown, 1991).
For long term sustainable development, organizations can follow the MCE plan:-
Mobilize social resources to
Create horizontal linkages via cooperation and
Enable grass roots influence to form vertical linkages  
Local ATC organizations may be justified in declaring that they are stunted from making progress due to there a lack of economic resources and inferior equipment. However, these justifications do not excuse ATC units from not having a set of established policies that every employee is aware of.  These policies should equivalently reflect the dynamic needs of ATC operations and the social resources of ATC - the human factors. 

In order to benefit from long term sustainability in this domain, we need to endorse methods of strategic management. Diversification of skills is more than just training to adhere to new methods of ATC operation. It is also more than a strengthening of the methods that are already existent. 
The ATCO who has an eloquent voice and receives constant commendation from pilots on his manner of speaking, has a skill that is useful to the organization. The ATCO who has this knack for writing lucid reports so that anyone can read it and understand at least 1 notion, also has a skill that is useful to the organization. The ATCO who may be outspoken and sometimes very blunt but is pragmatic in either explaining a concept or voicing an opinion, has a skill too that is useful to the organization.
When we can tap and skillfully use the talents of ATCOs to help the organization to grow, we are making ATC sustainable. When we can strategically diversify the skills in our ATC environment, we are also laying the groundwork for future generations of ATCOs to benefit. This is what is entailed in strategic management and to succeed, we must have clear cut policies. Only then, would we be on the path towards sustainable development of ATC. 

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