Multilateral initiatives-A A +A
Slice of Life
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
BY SIGNING the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, the country has expressed adherence to the principles of sustainable development and environmental preservation.
Seven years later, the Clean Air Act or Republic Act 8749 was enacted to arrive at an effective air quality management program that will mitigate air pollution. The Solid Waste Management Act was also enacted to provide a comprehensive solution to waste problems.
The legislations were part of the commitment under the Kyoto Protocol where countries pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere. Kyoto was built on a philosophy of broad international engagement on topics requiring coordinated collective action—a movement which matured at the 1992 Rio Conference.
It is one product of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which establishes a governance structure within which the full set of countries can discuss how climate change concerns them.
By most assessments, the Kyoto Protocol has been a failure. Emissions have risen substantially even among the parties to the Protocol. While the Protocol attempted to establish a system of monetized assets or emissions quotas and distribute them across countries, it does not have any ability to enforce the rules. Four of the world’s top five emitters (the U.S., China, India and Russia) are not subject to substantial limitations.
The search for a better approach remains. The international climate policy is not a simple matter of making all countries agree to reduce emissions by some percent by some date. It is a broad set of linked initiatives, spanning multiple agencies and levels of government to harmonize decision making.
The challenge is for government, private sector and local communities to come up with a consistent guiding principle on how to go about with economic development without sacrificing public health and the environment.
Kyoto is one particularly ambitious approach to multilateral governance, but it is just one among many possibilities. The challenge on how sustainable development can be efficiently addressed is at the hands of everyone. Email comments to email@example.com
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 13, 2012.