B. Coordination between various subnational levels and the national level
Coordination is extremely important in order to resolve any potential conflicts between the economic and environmental goals and to formulate holistic policies. In order to achieve this goal, countries such as Nepal and the Philippines have already created advisory councils to the planning authority, such as the Environment Protection Council and PCSD respectively, with multi-sectoral representation from government as well as from NGOs and the private sector to ensure that different interests and viewpoints are considered before a given policy is designed to accomplish national goals.
Almost all the countries in the ESCAP region have set up government institutions dealing with environment matters, many of them at the national level headed by a minister. However, an apparent major weakness of the current institutional framework is the lack of horizontal and vertical coordination, resulting in dispersed sector-specific policy orientations and concomitant difficulties in trying to harmonize diverse national, local and sectoral interests. In addition, the integration of environmental considerations into the work and mandates of various macroeconomic and sectoral ministries has been hampered by the fragmentation of concerns and responsibilities, restricted decision-making processes which often exclude local level authorities, and inadequate interagency cooperation. (Source: ESCAP. "Integrating Environmental Considerations into Economic Policy Making Processes: Institutional Arrangement Mechanisms at Sector Level". New York, 1999)
In recent years, some Governments have begun to make significant changes in the institutional structures of government in order to enable more systematic consideration of the environment when decisions are made on economic, social, fiscal, energy, agricultural, transportation, trade and other policies, as well as the implications of policies in these areas for the environment. New forms of dialogue are also being developed for achieving better integration among national and local government.
The objective is to improve or restructure the decision-making process so that consideration of socio-economic and environmental issues is fully integrated. (Source: Agenda 21, Chapter 8 - Integrating Environment And Development In Decision-making)
At the policy implementation level, as far as vertical coordination is concerned, in areas where local entities are given authority to make decisions, the need for them to coordinate with national entities would be less. However, when these local and provincial entities are involved in implementing national policies, the need for their activities to be coordinated by the national entity would be greater. Either one department of national entity can coordinate the activities of all provincial entities, or each department created on a thematic basis at the national level can coordinate with its counterpart in a provincial body. The same arrangement can exist between provincial and local entities.
Areas of concern for vertical coordination are;
Counter actions to resolve problems in the areas of concern
(Source: Integrating Environmental Considerations into Economic Policy Making Processes: Background readings, Vol. II pp. 294-295)
Each related ministries and/or institutions nominate a representative, usually a senior ranking official, to represent the ministries and/or institutions in the established coordinating body. The coordinating body meets on a regularly basis to discuss on policy issues and resolve policy differences, along with making policy decisions on behalf of the member ministries.
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Some countries, such as China, adopt a coordination mechanism, from the national to the local level (national-provincial-city-county), by establishing a Planning Agency, which is a functional government agency that is in charge of formulating the National Development Plan.
Each level of sub-national governance has a Planning Commission that formulates plans for each level. Formulation of each plan takes into consideration the consultation and recommendations of the sub-national governments and related departments.
Plans formulated at each level will be passed on to the higher government level, and so on until reaching the national level where plan from each level of government will be included into the National Development Plan. The National Develop Plan will then be submitted to the National Council/Congress for examination, discussion and approval.
(Source: Integrating Environmental Considerations into Economic Policy Making Processes: Background readings, Vol. II, "Development and environmental management in Shenyang City, China)
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