Environmental Governance in Asia Result of a Questionnaire Survey concerning the Johannesburg Summit

Journal of Environmental Information Science所収
Volume (Issue): Vol. 32, No. 5 March, 2004

This article is based on the result of a questionnaire survey conducted between May and June 2003.
The target respondents were environmental professionals in national governments, local governments, NGOs, businesses, international organisations and research institutes (including Universities) in Asia.

Valid responses totalled 134, from 15 countries in the region. The questionnaire was mainly distributed and collected by e-mail, but was also distributed at two international meetings.

Mega summits have a significant impact on governance, not only at international, but also at national and local levels. The Johannesburg Summit emphasised the role of 'partnership' to enhance environmental governance. This is especially significant in Asia as a result of the decrease in the power of the state due to recent economic and socio-political changes in the region. The authors surveyed major environmental actors in Asia to determine the impact of the Summit on environmental governance, especially in terms of the promotion of partnership. There are five major findings. First, the Johannesburg Summit has contributed to raised public awareness concerning sustainable development. Second, the Summit has, nevertheless, failed to encourage follow-up activities. The major reasons are the vagueness of the outcomes and the gap between international discourse and local needs. Third, among the various topics discussed at the Summit, 'water' and 'poverty' are considered particularly important issues in Asia, although there are considerable differences between actors and sub-regions. Fourth, local governments and NGOs are expected to play a more significant role in the future in building sustainable society. Fifth, 'lack of a mutual trust relationship' and 'undemocratic government' are recognised by Asian actors as major obstacles to promoting partnership.