The Key Role of Civil Society in Managing Environmental Sustainability in Asia
Command-and-control environmental management regimes, generally imported from western countries, do not work well in emerging market countries. This is largely because the demands for economic growth outweigh concerns for environmental protection at the various levels of practical decision-making. As a result, emerging market economies have two options. They can seek to strengthen their regulatory enforcement regimes so that environmental laws and standards, already in place in most emerging market countries, can actually produce a stabilized or reduced amount of environmental degradation. Or these same countries, especially ones that are so positioned with the necessary determinants, - a robust democratic process, open print media, available and affordable communications technology, and active public participation in governance, - can utilize a second option, a civil society environmental management regime. This alternative environmental management regime places greater responsibility on local citizen involvement and public-private partnerships as ways to maintain governmental accountability, increase transparency, and deliver environmental sustainability. This paper reviews various indexes of environmental degradation, discusses the limitations of command-and-control regimes for Asian emerging market countries, and shows how the basic elements of a civil society environmental regime are already in place in the Philippines.
Keywords: Civil Society, Environmental Sustainability, Regulatory Regimes
Dr. Robert Winston Taylor
Professor of Urban & Environmental Studies, Professor, Urban & Environmental Studies