A programme of co-operation between the OECD and the Asian economies on the environmental protection provides opportunities for:
A series of activities aim at strengthening national and international actions on key environmental issues in Asia. As Asian countries implement policy and structural reforms, these efforts build on opportunities to develop economic and environmental policies that are more mutually supportive.
The OECD is a partner of the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN, www.aecen.org) and participates in its annual forums as well as selected regional and country-specific activities. The latest AECEN annual forum took place on 4-5 December 2006 in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the OECD presented its work on environmental permitting and reviews of environmental compliance and enforcement practices in China and India.
In connection with the OECD Environmental Performance Review of China, a report was prepared analysing government strategies for ensuring compliance with environmental requirements in China. The report assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of various instruments used in China and key obstacles to overcome to better implement environmental policies. A rapid assessment on enforcement and compliance in India was conducted jointly with the AECEN Secretariat. Its preliminary recommendations were presented and discussed at a stakeholder workshop in New Delhi on November 3, 2006.
The workshop, organised jointly by the OECD and Japan’s Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), gathered participants from eight Asian countries and Australia. The workshop provided a forum for dialogue among governments and experts to exchange information, knowledge, and learn from each other’s experience on water quality management in Asia and OECD countries.
This OECD project is a first attempt to examine in a systematic way a range of environmental compliance assurance systems. It will engage environmental agencies in several OECD member countries (France, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK and the US) and two major emerging economies (tentatively, Brazil and China) in a comparative analysis of their compliance and enforcement instruments, they ways in which they are applied, and the results achieved.
The Asian financial crisis has its roots, among others, in serious environmental problems which have emerged in many countries of that region. The rapid economic growth, which was not associated by properly designed and enforced environmental policies, resulted in environmental damage such as deforestation, which was further exacerbated by devastating forest fires, soil erosion, water contamination and heavy pollution in urban areas. Existing consumption patterns in the region have reinforced pressures on the environment and natural resources. The negative environmental effects started to affect the Asian economies’ ability to grow. A decline of economic activity which occurred as a result of the crisis has reduced the loads of pollution and improved air and water quality. Though these positive effects are transitory and, in many cases, emissions are expected to surpass the pre-crisis levels as the growth resumes.
In OECD Member countries, achieving environmentally sustainable development remains a key challenge despite the improved policy performance and diffusion of more environmentally friendly technologies. The recently published OECD Environmental Outlook assesses the projected development of environmental pressures and conditions in the perspective of the next 20 years and indicates policy options to improve the situation. The OECD Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century builds upon the analysis in the Outlook. It specifies national actions that countries can take to address some of the critical environmental issues, activities that OECD could undertake to support its Member countries in their efforts, and indicators to measure progress. The Strategy recognises that closer co-operation between OECD Member and non-Member countries will be essential to address critical environmental problems at the regional and global level.
For further information contact:
Environment and Globalisation Division
Environment Directorate, OECD
Tel: (33 1) 45 24 76 92