Mechanisms for Stakeholder Partnership
National mechanisms for involving civil society and business in the region take a number of forms:
Many countries employ the second form, some have the first two, but only a handful has the third form, i.e., the multi-stakeholder body or NCSD. This indicates the still relatively low level of partnership among government, civil society and business in this region. This also somehow provides an idea of why integration of environmental concerns with other development dimensions has not progressed much over the years.
The great diversity of conditions and concerns within and among countries in AsPac region highlights the need for a venue at the regional level where stakeholders of development can collectively act on common issues, synchronize efforts and initiatives, exchange information and knowledge, coordinate positions and regional priorities inputted in global discussions, among others. The response to this need has been very good as indicated by the proliferation of regional and sub-regional bodies addressing various and specific concerns. In the area of sustainable development, those dealing with environmental issues have again dominated such bodies. While these bodies involve civil society and business in their various programs, all of them are still intergovernmental in nature, composition and orientation.
There are but a few civil society groups at the regional level. Fewer of them could engage inter-governmental regional bodies into a partnership mode, or take the lead in sustainable development efforts in the region. The major reasons for these are the lack of resources to support regional civil society bodies, and the limited need for such bodies, particularly in the past when regional and global decisions and actions were considered the sole domain and responsibilities of governments. Examples of regional civil society bodies are the Society for the Conservation and Protection of the Environment (SCOPE), Asia Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (AFEJ) and regional chapters of the World Business Council (WBC).
SCOPE has been the Asian link of RIOD, a network of international NGOs spearheading NGO activities relating to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. AFEJ, on the other hand, promotes sustainable development concepts through writing of books, reporting and training on various issues. WBC has national and regional chapters that serve as medium for networking, knowledge exchange, etc., among business enterprises.
Multi-stakeholder regional bodies are even rarer than NGO bodies. One of the most active of these is the World Conservation Union (IUCN), which operates in about 17 countries in the region. IUCN forges partnerships between governments and NGOs, and brings them together to discuss and act on environment and sustainable development issues.
In 1997, the National Councils for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific (APNCSD) was created to serve the networking needs of NCSDs. For almost five years, APNCSD served as the venue for: information sharing; policy advocacy and research, project planning; identification of sustainable development areas/activities for funding assistance by donor institutions; and formation of unified positions for negotiations on important concerns. APNCSD has become inactive recently due to financial and technical resources constraints.
Copyright 1999- © United Nations, All rights reserved.