IV. CONSIDERATION OF MULTILATERAL TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS IN DOMESTIC POLICY FORMULATION
B. Integrating agreements into domestic policy formulation
At present, no formal mechanisms (tools) and systems (institutional arrangements) are in place or being utilized in integrating multilateral agreements at the policy level. That is apparent from the list of initiatives undertaken thus far by the respective focal agencies related to integrating environmental agreements at the policy level. Policy formulation has proceeded in an academic manner, involving the creation of interagency committees and multisectoral task forces which are relied upon to evaluate policy issues and formulate applicable compliance provisions. Systems continually evolve as the need for such arrangement arise.
Environmental concerns have traditionally been viewed as falling within the scope of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, mainly because of the highly sectionalized planning approach. The failure to recognize the interconnection of environmental concerns have resulted in other departments becoming largely detached from the process of contributing to solutions to environmental problems. That situation essentially reflects the state of the response mechanism accorded to multilateral environmental agreements prior to the creation of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, as the focal agency in charge of environmental concerns, retains the adjunct responsibility of translating agreements into policy initiatives.
Promoting internal consensus on sustainable development
The creation of PCSD in 1992 formalized the forum for the discussion of policy options on sustainable development. The PCSD structure and mechanism serves as a clearinghouse for intra-agency debates and conflicts. PCSD committees and subcommittees constitute by far the most effective structure in encouraging discussion and consensus on major international agreements. Similarly, PCSD may be credited for facilitating preparatory activities for international meetings including organizing a pool of experts to constitute the Philippine Delegation to those forums. The Department of Foreign Affairs recommended that an inter-agency approach (approximating the PCSD structure) to Philippine participation be continued because it had proven to be effective in evolving and enunciating the position of the Philippines during international meetings.
To that end, PCSD is endeavouring to further strengthening of its structure to enable it to contribute to environmental protection and sustainability. In addressing the need to strengthen PCSD participation in international forums and conferences, and to provide an effective response and mechanism in compliance with global agreements on the environment, PCSD has proposed the formulation of a Manual of Protocol that will formalize and systematize the process of participation and reporting on the results of major international meetings, country commitments and the status of compliance. With PCSD localization currently underway that process is expected to be reinforced.
A number of entities play important roles in facilitating the process
of mainstreaming global agreements at the policy level. Those entities
are described below.