Economic Instruments Applied in Environmental and Natural Resource Management in Southeast Asia: Forum-Workshop Proceedings
2015 274 pp.
978-971-560-172-6 (Soft cover)
Over the past two decades, the quest of many developing countries in Asia to meet the goals of sustainable development has altered the way policy makers have viewed the interconnectedness between the economy and the environment. Environmental laws, standards, regulations, and enforcement mechanisms have ensued in recognition of this vital link. The more common means of direct regulation of environmental quality (e.g., pollution) involved the setting of standards for certain pollutants of water, land, air, and even of consumer products.
However, the challenges presented by environmental and natural resource management (ENRM) issues arising from economic activities have become increasingly more complex in recent years and have demanded the use of more creative and cost-effective approaches than can be dealt with solely by the usual command-and-control (CAC) regulations. CACs have also been criticized on grounds of inefficiency, difficulty of enforcement, rigidity, and cost-ineffectiveness, among other things. Thus, various economic instruments in varying forms and degrees of sophistication and application have emerged.
Economic instruments are incentive-driven, with the aim of influencing or altering the behavior of natural resource users through the internalization of the environmental externalities that they create. Some of the more common examples of economic instruments include, but are not limited to, pollution charges, user fees, water rights, and tradable permits. Although economic instruments have been implemented by a number of developing countries in Asia (usually in combination with CAC measures), there hasn’t been an attempt to establish a database or inventory of these economic instruments from which particular government regulatory agencies, research institutions, universities, NGOs, private sector corporations, and even regional and international development assistance institutions can learn.
Toward this end, this forum-workshop amongst government-based stakeholders and decision makers provided a timely and innovative opportunity to know who is doing what and to exchange experiences on what works and what does not in the realm of environmental and natural resources management using economic instruments. The workshop provided participants with new perspectives and methods to assess the appropriateness of their own instruments and build up on identified gaps. Specifically, the forum-workshop aimed to:
Consolidate experiences, findings, lessons, and recommendations on the application of various economic instruments in ENRM in selected countries in Southeast Asia and China;
Collectively distill and reflect on successes, lessons learned, and gaps in the application of economic instruments in ENRM in the region; and
Develop a publication and policy briefs that provide a better understanding of the relevance of economic instruments in ENRM in Southeast Asia.
Sixteen representatives from China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam were invited to serve as paper presenters. Each representative was endorsed by their respective ministries in charge of ENRM. They wrote and presented papers consolidating experiences, findings, lessons, and recommendations on the application of various economic instruments in ENRM in their respective countries.
Environmental management (EM) is generally concerned with the Brown Agenda, a term commonly used to describe the pollution caused by industrial, urban, transport”, and energy sources and their impacts and protection measures. Thus, issues under this agenda commonly include solid and hazardous waste management, air and water pollution, and agricultural pollution.
Natural resource management (NRM) is concerned with the Green and Blue Agendas. The Green Agenda is used to describe environmental impacts caused by agriculture, deforestation, land conversion, and destruction of protected species and related protection measures. The Blue Agenda refers to all forms of water resources management; it is concerned with protecting water sources, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.
Philippine and Thai representatives were also invited to present on their country’s environmental tax policy and relevant experiences on its implementation. They also provided additional context on how environmental tax can be used to better support environmental reform.
Participants presented their papers during the first two days of the three-day forum. They collectively reflected on the content of these presentations during the two workshops conducted during the first and third day of the forum to distill successes, lessons learned, and gaps toward identifying followup actions needed. The discussions and workshops were led by the three forum facilitators and discussants: Dr. Benoit Laplante, Lead Facilitator; Prof. Maria Angeles O. Catelo, Technical Coordinator; and Dr. Herminia A. Francisco, EEPSEA Director.
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