IV. CONSIDERATION OF MULTILATERAL TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS IN DOMESTIC POLICY FORMULATION
C. Constraints on effective integration
1. Lack of tools for integration(a)System of environmental review
To a significant extent, the absence of a well-defined system of prior evaluation of the impact of multilateral environmental agreements acts as a constraint to, or creates delays in, the policy setting agenda. A systematic environmental review can provide advance information on the environmental consequences of different trade policy measures. Furthermore, a well-designed environmental review can substantially facilitate determination of the legal and policy implications of different regulations and standards, as well as the administrative structure needed to encourage compliance. The results of such a review may pinpoint a need to make necessary adjustments or modifications in the current regulatory framework, and could provide a basis for determining the appropriate complementary mechanisms needed for addressing identified environmental and trade concerns.
Since 1977, the country has been operating the EIA system which permits assessment of the potential environmental consequences of projects, and undertaking and designing appropriate preventive, mitigating and enhancement measures. Although the EIS system is expected to improve the quality of the environment and contribute to competitiveness, it is currently not structured to allow directly evaluation of the impact of multilateral agreements on the environment.
(b)System of evaluating compliance
To begin with, accessing information on government commitments to international agreements proved difficult in view of the absence of a central institution or centralized information system for monitoring compliance and related developments in international agreements. Thus a compliance evaluation mechanism was needed for effective monitoring and assessment of the degree to which the country was adhering to its commitments to implement sustainable development.
The IEMSD subprogramme on socio-economic integration, with support from UNDP, is undertaking a study on sustainable development indicators. The study aims to formulate indicators/measures for monitoring the implementation of sustainable development initiatives, particularly the Philippine Agenda 21 principles and action agenda at the macro level. The indicators will provide integral inputs in the development of a compliance evaluation mechanism.