II. MECHANISMS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS INTO OVERALL ECONOMIC POLICIES
A. Mechanisms and experiences in integration
(a)Philippine Council for Sustainable Development
PCSD comprises representatives from various sectors (i.e., representatives from 18 government line agencies, nine from civil society including the non-government agencies, people's organizations and other major groups such as women, youth, basic sectors etc., and two from the business and labour sectors), who are selected based on their commitment to sustainable development concerns. The structure brings together those agencies for which the main purview would be the formulation of macroeconomic and sectoral policy-making with NGOs whose main advocatory interests are environmental and social causes under the chairmanship of NEDA. Such an arrangement has enhanced the effectiveness of PCSD in integrating environmental concerns in economic policy-making.
The agricultural staff of the NEDA Secretariat serves as the Coordinating Secretariat to PCSD. The staff provide the necessary technical and administrative support to PCSD and its various units. An Interstaff Technical Working Group, comprising various personnel from the NEDA secretariat was created to lend support to the unit providing secretariat services to PCSD. The interstaff group relates the policy issues discussed at the council level to existing policies in the sector in which they are involved, and brings them to the attention of PCSD. They also ensure that proposed policy actions are consistent with the overall development objectives in their respective sectors. In the same way, since the staff involved in PCSD work are also involved in policy and project evaluation and analysis, it is easy for them to incorporate the environmental considerations discussed at the council level into their review of macro and sectoral policies and programmes.
(c)Committees and subcommittees of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development
Among the PCSD committees, it is mainly CSED which has a clear mandate for addressing concerns and issues pertinent to environmental-economic integration. In fact, the creation of the subcommittee was not considered for CSED because of the recognition that its concerns cut across different sectors. Its membership therefore is structured to represent, to the extent possible, all the sectors.
To date, PCSD is probably the most effective mechanism for incorporating sustainable development in planning and policy decision-making. Integration of environmental issues into economic decision-making is achieved mainly through dialogue and debate among concerned stakeholders during meetings of PCSD and its committees. Moreover, relevant policy issues and programmes are subjected to the evaluation of member-agencies to ensure that the concerns of all affected sectors are considered.
PCSD recommendations are normally translated into resolutions and Executive
Orders which are submitted for the consideration and approval of the President.
The requirement of the President for a complete briefing on all policy
issues submitted to his office also provides assurance that the concerns
of virtually all agencies and sectors are considered. Some of the more
notable resolutions and Executive Orders in which the Council has played
an important role are: Executive Order 247 on Prescribing Guidelines and
Establishing a Regulatory Framework for the Prospecting of Biological and
Genetic Resources; Memorandum Order 289 on Directing
the Integration of the Philippine Strategy for Biological Diversity Conservation
in the Sectoral Plans, Programmes, Projects of the National Government; Memorandum
399 on Directing the Operationalization of the Philippine Agenda
21; Executive Order 291 on Strengthening
the Environmental Impact Assessment System; and Executive
Order 406 on Environmental and Natural Resources Accounting. Discussions
have been initiated in the Committee on Social and Economic Dimensions
on the incorporation of sustainable development into the planning and budgeting
guidelines for the formulation of the Development Plan for 1998 to 2004.