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Saturday, March 10, 2018
Auditor: Ten Years Later, Hawaii's Forgotten 2050 Sustainability Plan
By Hawaii State Auditor @ 2:27 AM :: 6699 Views :: Environment, Hawaii History

Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Plan - Ten Year Measurement Update

From Hawaii State Auditor, March 7, 2018 (excerpts)

Act 8 of the 2005 Special Session of the Hawai‘i State Legislature (Act 8) established the Hawai‘i 2050 Task Force (Task Force) to review the Hawai‘i State Plan and the State’s comprehensive planning system, to develop a statewide sustainability plan for the 21st century. Act 8 required the Office of the Auditor, after receipt of the Task Force’s report, to prepare the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Plan to define and implement state goals, objectives, policies, and priority deadlines by incorporating the Tasks Force’s recommendations.

In January 2008, the Office of the Auditor submitted the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Plan to the Hawai‘i State Legislature.

While Act 8 called for “[t]he auditor, with the assistance of the office of planning [to] update the [sustainability] plan every ten years and report to the legislature,” no funding beyond Fiscal Year 2007 was appropriated for the purposes of this Act. Furthermore, Act 8 called for the Hawai‘i 2050 Task Force to sunset on June 30, 2008. Therefore, the Task Force recommended the Legislature pass a law establishing an implementing agency, the Sustainability Council, to be a continuing, governmental organization with budgetary and staffing resources essential to carry forward the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Plan. However, a Sustainability Council was never established.

Given that a Sustainability Council was never established, and that our office lacks the requisite expertise and financial resources to facilitate a full, formal update, this report represents an informal update of the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability plan prepared by the Office of Planning. This informal update includes a compilation, review and analysis of available metrics originally established by the 2008 version of the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Plan, along with additional recommendations developed by the Office of Planning. This report is also accessible through the Office of the Auditor’s website at

We express our appreciation for the assistance extended by the State Sustainability Coordinator Danielle M. M. Bass in preparing this report.

  *   *   *   *   *

Executive Summary

The Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan was published in 2008 in accordance with Act 8, Special Session Laws of 2005. Act 8, Special Session Laws of 2005 requires the State Auditor, with the assistance of the Office of Planning, to update this plan every ten years; due to a lack of funding for the update of this plan, the Office of Planning, through the State’s Sustainability Coordinator, conducted an evaluation of the metrics and indicators established by the 2008 Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan. This evaluation and measurement was the first of its kind over the past decade. This report reviews the data collected over the course of this ten year measurement of Hawaii’s progress toward sustainability according to the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan’s 5 goals, 9 “2020 benchmarks”, 22 strategic actions, and 55 indicators.

This report found that through the course of the past ten years, the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan was disregarded. The Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan set nine benchmarks to achieve by 2020. This report found that as of 2017, Hawaii continues to struggle with these same issues. The Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan also provided recommendations and next steps to assist with implementing sustainability statewide. This report found that these recommendations were either only partially implemented or not implemented at all.

Although Hawaii’s sustainability ethic has strengthened over the past ten years, this ethic is primarily externally driven through climate change mitigation and adaptation reports and data, and recent international, national, and local sustainability efforts. This report found that many sustainability efforts and indicators were not implemented by government in a coordinated manner

Hawaii lacked a permanent governmental sustainability coordinating entity over the past ten years to assist with the implementation of the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan and its sustainability goals. A stronger legislative framework focusing on sustainability, the permanent establishment of a governmental sustainability coordinating entity with recognized responsibilities and authorities, and budgetary funding are necessary to develop, coordinate, and implement Hawaii’s sustainability goals, priorities, and planning throughout government.

The Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan is outdated with some unmeasurable indicators. Funding will be necessary to perform a formal ten year update of this large plan pursuant to Act 8, Special Session Laws of 2005, with current scientific data, best practices, and indicators measuring the sustainability of Hawaii, its economy, society, and natural resources. Future sustainability coordination should include but are not limited to: assessments of Hawaii’s infrastructure, water security planning and strategies, sustainable land use recommendations, and local food security planning and strategies. These areas must be examined to prepare for a sustainable Hawaii by 2050.

read … Full Report 


March, 2010: “The auditor has also gained administrative powers — over Lingle's objections — to manage traditional executive functions such as the Hawai'i 2050 Sustainability Task Force”

December, 2010: “The goals of Kaneko’s masterpiece, the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan, line up almost perfectly with the interests of Radcliffe’s lobbying clients….”


HNN: By 2020, Hawaii was supposed to be a much more sustainable place. What happened?


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