Transparent and Fair Governance That Supports Low-Carbon Asia
For Asian countries to become LCSs and enjoy the related benefits, all actors – governments, industry, citizens, and international society – need to share a common vision and strategy for an LCS. It is essential to plan, implement, and evaluate the options, with coordination of each of the respective roles.
In the past, in order to achieve the GHG emission reduction targets allocated under the Kyoto Protocol, a variety of related policy frameworks were established, and there was much discussion about the roles of national governments in implementation. To truly create LCSs, however, we cannot avoid the need for reallocation of resources and burdens in the domestic context. However, political interests can become a major factor in some cases, and it becomes difficult for national governments to plan and implement effective policies. Furthermore, due to rapid economic development, GHG emissions from developing countries – which are not under legally binding obligations to reduce emissions – are rising significantly. It will not be possible to limit the global temperature increase to 2 oC if discussions and efforts continue at the current pace for achieving emission reduction targets that were adopted based on the concept of equity when the UNFCCC entered into effect. The answer to the question of what is a fair reduction varies significantly depending on a country's perspective of what is “fair.” Thus, for “lowcarbon governance” that will achieve large, long-term reductions in GHG emissions in order to achieve the 2 oC target, national commitments are important, but it is also important that other nongovernmental stakeholders make voluntary commitments, depending on their ability to do so. Also, it will be important to create institutional designs that will allow mainstreaming of low-carbon policy, in an integrated way, of the frameworks that have so far been built on a sector-by-sector basis. And, based on them, it will be important to create efficient administrative management frameworks.
Notably, many Asian countries have formulated action plans to become LCSs, but in many cases the plans are not being implemented, or, even if they are being implemented, the effects are limited. In some cases, government fraud or corruption due to inadequate legislation or governance results in a failure to effectively utilize physical, economic, and human resources. Also, due to inadequacies in governments' management philosophy or concepts, it is not uncommon to see redundancy of policies and measures by different government ministries and agencies or inadequate sharing of information.
In this context, as a national-level initiative to establish LCSs in Asia, it is necessary to build the foundations of transparent and accountable government and to institute corruption prevention measures in the public sector, including central and local (municipal) governments. Meanwhile, the international community is expected to provide support to accelerate those efforts at the national level. For example, the World Bank and other institutions have developed frameworks for country-specific evaluations of public sector policies and institutions, and attempts are being made to reflect these efforts in their international assistance. Thus, strengthening the role of the international community in encouraging improvements in public sector management in Asian countries could be a major step forward to implement policies and measures proposed under Actions 1 through 9 of this document.
Also, as described below, Asian countries are characterized by the diversity of their political systems, and they need to plan and implement policies not only for sustainable development but also other development objectives, such as reducing health problems and poverty. In many cases, the differences between countries are mainly in scale, but they have much in common. Thus, there is a need for intergovernmental policy coordination in the planning and implementation of policies that have some compatibility between development objectives and GHG emission reductions.
Regarding the public-private sector relationship, in the past there has been excessive protection of government-related and/or certain private companies. However, it is important to establish healthy public-private partnerships by establishing objective standardization and certifications.