Assessment of Capacity for Implementing Education for Sustainable Consumption: A comparative study of governmental capacity in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea

Discussion Paper
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National and sub-national policy for Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC) is one of the powerful instruments to influence sustainable consumption (SC) behaviour at both individual and organisational levels. This paper will address how to improve the capacity of policy makers and government officers in formulating ESC policy. It will also address the strategies governments can utilise to influence consumer behaviour.
Despite diverse policy dialogues and many numbers of initiatives on SCP, there is still a lack of knowledge and experience on how we actually can educate nations and their citizens for sustainable consumption. Therefore this paper will provide an assessment of current governmental strategies for promoting SC, address the current capacity for implementing effective ESC, and provide recommendations for improving ESC policy and implementation. The main research was conducted through review of current policy frameworks and strategic plans, assessment of training materials/curriculums, survey and interviews with relevant government officers in China, Japan and Republic of Korea.
The findings from this research identify key aspects of current governmental context for promoting SC and consumer awareness raising (including relevant policy frameworks, overall strategies, understandings of government officers, and barriers and obstacles to implementation). The analysis begins by identifying the current strengths and weaknesses in existing ESC knowledge held by relevant policy makers. The levers of change identified by UNDP for assessing capacity assets and needs: 1) institutional arrangements, 2) leadership, 3) knowledge, and 4) accountability are utilised to assess the capacity of governmental and institutional structures for ESC.
The outputs give consideration to opportunities for better policy integration between wider SCP policies and specific ESC initiatives. The recommendations aim at five main targets: 1) addressing roles and responsibilities for promoting SC; 2) utilising multiple policy mechanisms and inter-ministerial cooperation to promote ESC; 3) defining policy priorities and target areas for sustainable consumption; 4) improving accountability as a means to strengthen the overall system; and, 5) addressing ESC as a thematic approach.


Conference Paper for the 10th Asia Pacific Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production; 9-11 November 2011 Yogyakarta, Indonesia