Thai Workshop on the Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment
Wednesday, 8 August 8, 2001 Summary of Discussions
On Wednesday, 8 August 2001, the Thai Workshop on the Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment was held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and with the participation of the Embassy of Japan in Thailand, the Office of Environmental Policy and Planning (OEPP), the Department of Environmental Quality and Promotion (DEQP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), Nonthaburi Municipality and Kitakyushu City.
The workshop was proposed to target national and local governmental officials and related persons to raise awareness on the past successes and effectiveness of intercity cooperation in related fields and to promote the implementation of the Kitakyushu Initiative in Thailand. General elements and approaches for implementation of the Kitakyushu Initiative were presented and participants were invited to discuss their views on specific approaches for the implementation of the Kitakyushu Initiative in Thailand.
Before the floor opened for discussions, details on the following topics were presented: an outline of the background of the Kitakyushu Initiative, information on ongoing environmental management projects and intercity cooperation programmes conducted by Kitakyushu City, and key elements in the implementation of the Kitakyushu Initiative.
The open discussion focused on clarification of the Kitakyushu Initiative and its translation to local governments in Thailand (namely, Nonthaburi Municipality). Questions were raised on the identification of problems, the methods used to solve those problems and how to proceed with improvement of the environment in a short period of time. The roles and responsibilities of local and national governments, the private sector, and residents, among others were discussed, especially in relation to the experiences of Kitakyushu City. Other topics included the depth of investment by local authorities and support from the central government and private sector in urban environmental management, in addition to the importance of linkages with existing international and national initiatives to cover such topics as Local Agenda 21, public improvement and education programs, technological cooperation and dissemination of information related to cleaner production, among others.
Collaboration and consensus among stakeholders was stressed, with a short description of the voluntary environmental pollution control agreement presented as one example of this type of collaboration. Other incentives to combat pollution were presented as the three P’s: Polluter Pays Principle, Public/Private Partnerships and Pollution Prevention Pays.
Discussions with the donor community, namely, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), focused on potential methods to acquire funding either indirectly through the national government or directly to the local government itself.
Final comments included a proposal to identify a counterpart research organization in Thailand to assist in activities and the idea of a multi-city forum to exchange experiences, both successes and failures, to move cities in the Asia-Pacific region on the road to sustainable development.