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Governance and Control Over Natural Resources

NRM picsGood environmental governance is necessary to achieve the sustainable use of resources and the protection of environmental quality. This objective requires a transparent system of well-functioning environmental institutions, policies, and programs that actively involve the public in their formulation and implementation.

Good environmental governance is an essential component of sustainable development.  For example, clarification of resource tenure rights and provision of tenure security is key to the sustainable management of natural resources. However, there is a need in the East Asian and Pacific region to address problems with respect to transparency and accountability in public decision making, conflict resolution, corruption, and involvement of local communities in resource use decisions. Effective environmental governance is necessary to promote sustainable development on a variety of fronts:

Poverty Reduction

The poor frequently rely on natural resources to supply energy, clean water, sanitation services, and other resources essential to their livelihoods, which often means that they suffer disproportionately from the degradation of these critical resources. Good environmental governance is, therefore, critical for sustaining their livelihoods, while also providing opportunities for poverty reduction.

Social Benefits

  • Good environmental governance promotes the empowerment of civil society by enhancing public participation of citizens, including women and the poor, in environmental decision-making processes.
  • Meeting environmental quality performance objectives reduces the burden on public health systems. This  will be shown, for instance, by improvements in indicators attributed to environmental pollution, such as infant mortality and respiratory disease.

Economic Benefits

  • Promoting effective natural resource management contributes to price stability, availability of products, and long-term employment, especially for economies heavily dependent on natural resources and primary products.
  • Promoting industry compliance with regulations reveals indicators of inefficiency and, therefore, encourages reinvestment in natural capital.
  • Reducing behaviors that distort access .

The Bank's analytical services are aimed at enhancing environmental governance, including improved policy dialogue and institutional development in East Asian client countries, raising awareness of key environmental issues, and influencing the design of sector plans and strategies and operations  For example, the Good Environmental Governance Program was launched in Indonesia to support innovation in introducing performance measures for environmental management.

In addition, the World Bank Group's Forest Governance Program, launched in 2000, gives strong emphasis to working in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and donor organizations. In May, 1998, the G-8 launched an action program on forests, which gives high priority to eliminating illegal logging and illegal timber trade. The action programme seeks to complement actions undertaken at regional and international levels, and states the G-8's commitment to identifying actions in both producer and consumer countries.

The World Bank's Forest Governance Program and the G-8 program motivated a partnership on forest law enforcement for East Asia between East Asian governments, the World Bank, United Kingdom and United States, which led to the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) East Asia Ministerial Conference in September 2001.

Public environmental disclosure programs were supported in several countries. In the Philippines,for example, a successful international workshop was organized (EcoWatch for Beaches) to explore water quality information disclosure and links to tourism.

More information
  World Bank Forest Governance Program
  East Asia and Pacific Forest Law Enforcement and Governance




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