The Global Environment Information Centre (GEIC) is a centre of the United Nations University (UNU) and the Environment Agency of Japan (EAJ). The GEIC project on "Global Governance and the Role of NGOs" examines ways to support the involvement of Agenda 21 major groups in sustainable development, focusing on implementing recommendations of the UN Agenda 21 Chapter 27 on non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The project theme will change, but focuses on climate change in 1997.
In January 1997, GEIC undertook a study on "NGO Consultative Mechanisms with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)" for the Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn, Germany. Based on that study, a workshop on "Mitigating Climate Change: Defining the Role of NGOs in Japan" was organized by GEIC on 26 March 1997 at the United Nations University's headquarters in Tokyo. This paper is based on the results of the workshop, submissions from and consultations with NGOs in Japan. Three main NGO constituencies were examined: (1) environmental NGOs; (2) local government organizations (LGOs); and (3) corporations.
It was found that Japanese NGOs can effectively participate in climate governance in Japan. In particular, local governments could be made responsible for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the central government for obligations under the FCCC. Japanese LGOs have extensive experience in monitoring and reporting SOx/NOx emissions, and this practice could be extended to GHG gases. There are several advantages to this.
Environmental NGOs in Japan feel that they have a broad base of expertise, skill, experience and networks which urgently require reflection in climate governance in Japan. Possible ways of involvement include the following.
Partnership is defined as:
"collaborative activities among interested groups, based on a mutual recognition of respective strengths and weaknesses, for common agreed objectives that have been developed through effective and timely communication".
There clearly exists potential for partnerships among Japanese NGO constituencies in climate change. Respective strengths and weaknesses of the constituencies were examined, and the following suggestions for partnerships in climate change are made.
Project on Global Governance and the Role of NGOs
The Global Environment Information Centre (GEIC) is a centre of the United Nations University (UNU) and the Environment Agency of Japan (EAJ). In supporting the recommendations of the UN Agenda 21 Chapter 27 on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), this paper examines links between governance processes and NGO inputs. With this objective, the GEIC project on "Global Governance and the Role of NGOs" in 1997 focuses on climate change issues.
In January 1997, GEIC initiated a study on "NGO Consultative Mechanisms with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)" for the Climate Change Secretariat. Based on that study, a workshop was organized by GEIC on 26 March 1997 at the United Nations University's headquarters in Tokyo on "Mitigating Climate Change: Defining the Role of NGOs in Japan" to which some 30 people were invited and attended. In relation to climate governance and implementing the FCCC in Japan, the objectives of the workshop were to: (1) define the role of Japanese NGOs; (2) develop policy options to support the NGO role in Japan; and (3) ascertain mechanisms for partnership among key Japanese NGO groups.
This paper is based on the results of the workshop, submissions from and consultations with NGOs and government in Japan. The main issues of the paper are to:
A. define the role of Japanese NGOs in climate governance in Japan;
Overview of CO2 Emissions in Japan
Carbon dioxide emissions in Japan totaled a record 332 million tons in fiscal 1995, according to a report submitted to cabinet ministers in Japan. The figure for the year that ended in March 1996 was up 0.5% from the previous record level in fiscal 1994, and some 8.3% higher than the fiscal 1990 emission amount, which the government sees as the base in its action program for preventing global warming. While CO2 emissions from plants and other industrial sources stayed almost unchanged due to corporate energy-saving efforts, emissions from transportation vehicles increased by 16%. Emissions from households and corporate offices also increased 16% and 15%, respectively, due to the increase in use of air conditioners and electronics products.
In light of these figures, and the international obligations and discussion related to implementing reductions in CO2 emissions, the need for extensive activities and partnerships at the local government, NGO, corporate, and grassroots levels becomes imperative.
Structure of climate governance in Japan
The basic governmental structure for climate governance in Japan is shown in Table 1. Within the structure, there are several key decision-making committees pertaining to the process. Among the bodies, the Advisory Committee for Energy plays an important role. The Coordination Subcommittee is one of the policy-making bodies. The subcommittees under the Advisory Committee for Energy meet periodically, on an as-needs basis. The most recent meeting was held by the Nuclear Power Subcommittee (January 1997). On the other hand, the Alternative Energy Subcommittee was last held in The structure of responsibility among the ministries is vertical, and members of the committees and subcommittees generally do not overlap.
With regard to ozone, more coordination is apparent. The Ozone Layer Protection Promotion Conference is held two times each year, and involves government officials from all ministries and agencies (18 in total) responsible for ozone-related matters. The Conference works to act as a forum for discussion and developing coordinated policies in ozone layer protection, but NGO representation is not a priority.
NGOs as major actors in governance
Discussion of Japanese NGO participation in climate governance takes place within a broader discussion of the role and contribution to international processes of "major groups" under Agenda 21, of which environmental NGOs, local governments, and business and industry form part of. In particular, Agenda 21 Chapter 27 provides clear justification for the involvement of NGOs in national decision- and policy-making mechanisms. Action based on partnerships and involvement of major groups opens up a wider political sphere for the participation of social and economic actors, and constitutes a "bottom-up" source of strength which, in principle, should be capitalized by governments and other groups to bring about sustainable development.
Agenda 21 Chapter 27 states that "[G]overnments should take measures to:
In its own words, "Japan played a positive part in formulating consensus through the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) process ", and also developed its National Agenda 21. In its preamble, the Japan Agenda 21 states that "Japan intends to restructure its own socio-economic system into the one which will enable sustainable development in order to make future generations inherit favorable global environmental conditions". It goes on, "Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following measures: (6) Enhancing the level of effective cooperation among major constituencies of society, including the central government, local authorities, businesses and non-governmental organizations."
1. Environmental NGOs;
For the purposes of this paper, the term 'Japanese environmental NGOs' refers to those organizations and groups that are environmentally-related, non-profit and not affiliated with the government in a direct sense.
Trends at the international level
Overall, international trends are tending to favour a greater incorporation of NGO inputs in climate governance.@However, official Japanese NGO participation is proportionately not large. This was also evinced at the UN General Assembly Special Session in June 1997. Some existing mechanisms for NGO participation in the FCCC process are as follows:
A. The Role of NGOs in Climate Governance in Japan The purpose of this section is to examine in definitive terms, based primarily on inputs received, the role of three Japanese NGO constituencies environment groups, local governments, and business - in climate governance and FCCC implementation in Japan.
I. Environmental NGOs
Japanese environmental NGOs feel that they have a broad base of expertise, skill, experience and networks which urgently require reflection in climate governance in Japan. At the national level, the Kiko Forum was launched in November 1996 as a loose network of environmental NGOs for climate change issues and COP3. However, there are other environmental NGOs who are not members of Kiko Forum but still maintain a strong interest in climate change issues.
Implementing FCCC Article 6 obligations
An apparent strength of environmental NGOs in Japan lies in networking and maintaining close ties with civil groups. Education and raising public awareness also represent strengths. The formal requirement for member countries to provide information and education is provided for in Article 6 of the FCCC. Article 6 reads:
"In carrying out their commitments , the Parties shall:
(a)....Promote and facilitate at the national and, as appropriate, subregional and regional levels, and in accordance with national laws and regulations, and within their respective capacities:
Environmental NGOs claim that they can directly assist the national government in implementing obligations under this Article; in particular, paragraphs (a)(i)-(iii).
Monitoring the FCCC
As social-based organizations, environmental NGOs in Japan feel that they can play an important role in monitoring and evaluating national and local policies enacted in relation to climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction in Japan. Monitoring and evaluation of policies can provide important feedback on the effectiveness of national strategies, and will need to be undertaken according to agreed indicators. These indicators will need to be developed, and environmental NGOs with appropriate expertise want to be involved in their development.
Participation in decision-making
Japanese environmental NGOs feel that government support for participation in decision-making processes is lacking and needs to be strengthened. They see their participation in decision-making as important due to their inherent abilities to reflect social factors in the implementation of the FCCC. For this, Japanese environmental NGOs seek allocation of seats to representatives with appropriate expertise on national climate change/energy-related committees.
In this regard, environmental NGOs also feel they possess expertise which should be incorporated in new national energy strategies. As one example of possible inputs, Japanese environmental NGOs currently have access to, or can network to access, new technologies that could be incorporated in a national strategy. Further, their structure and positioning means that they are able to provide a needed social dimension in the planning.
Providing inputs into drafts
Japanese environmental NGOs want to provide constructive inputs into draft proposals of official documents and reports related to the national and international climate change process. These inputs are seen as particularly valuable in developing broader-based consensus mechanisms which can assist in the successful implementation of policies.
Japanese environmental NGOs seek an active involvement in the drafting of national communication formats to, i.a., better reflect and incorporate the contributions they could make. In addition, they seek opportunity to make inputs into any national emission reduction scheme or other policy proposal that may be made by the Japanese government to the FCCC Secretariat.
Contrary to international trends, the majority of Japanese environmental NGOs do not generally support the international proposal that environmental NGOs should be included on national delegations. Instead, it is felt that Japanese environmental NGOs should be more involved in the national decision-making processes. There are, however, a few NGOs who do wish to be included in these delegations.
Roster of experts
The discussion of a roster of experts by the Japanese government is reported to be currently confined to experts from business and industry NGOs. Japanese environmental NGOs with appropriate expertise want to participate in such a roster. Expertise in hydrocarbon technologies represent one example of inputs that could be made.
A number of Japanese environmental NGOs want involvement in technology assessment, and technology transfer projects (AIJ). In particular, they feel that they can better incorporate social aspects of a project, and therefore promote its success.
II. Local Government Organizations
Local Government Organizations (LGOs) wish to be "effective strategic partners with their national governments" in addressing climate change issues. LGOs believe that pro-active participation by local governments will assist Japan in meeting its commitments under the FCCC, and consider that they have hands-on experience in implementing policies and measures that can be used to reduce GHG emissions under the FCCC. There are 47 prefectures in Japan, and environmental networks: ICLEI Japan, and the Japan Council for the Environment being two of the more notable examples.
LGOs as official reporting units
It was suggested at the Workshop that Japanese LGOs be designated as official reporting units under the FCCC by the national government for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in national communications. Given extensive LGO experience in monitoring SOx/NOx emissions in Japan, such designation would seem achievable. Further, the Environment Agency has already requested LGOs to monitor CO2 emisssions under a trial scheme.
Regarding SOx/NOx emissions produced from factories and automobiles, the Air Pollution Control Law, and Automobile NOx Reduction Law have already been implemented. Based on these laws, Japanese LGOs have been required to monitor SOx/ NOx emissions. As a result, they have developed a good understanding of the current emission situation within their respective communities, as well as developed their own respective measures and regulations. The SOx/NOx schemes first require that LGOs develop and maintain extensive inventories of industries, equipment, etc. Inspections of facilities and monitoring of equipment are already being undertaken for SOx/NOx gases, and inventories of equipment are detailed, developed on a per equipment basis.
With regard to monitoring levels of CO2 for reporting under the FCCC, current national arrangements in Japan for reporting emission levels tend to adopt a sectoral approach. Rather than actual monitoring, calculations for statistics are developed mathematically, i.e., ascertaining emission levels for one paddy field or piece of equipment, and multiplying the figure with the known numbers of the equipment or area of land under cultivation. Sources of information may vary, and figures can reportedly be uncertain, with discrepancies occasionally appearing in official reports. In line with the structure in Table 1, each ministry is responsible for its area of jurisdiction. With regard to collection of data for industry, calculations are again approached on a sectoral basis, i.e., for each industry. As a result, current data collection methods are organized in a vertical-type structure (see figure 1). There are several identifiable problems associated with this approach: (1) by approaching reporting in a vertical format, the possibility of developing holistic and integrated strategies at the national and local levels may be reduced; (2) enforcement of any emission reduction plan may become difficult as the bodies directly involved in monitoring and regulation may or may not possess legal enforcement powers; and (3) those collecting or reporting data may be faced with a conflict of interest.
On the other hand, there are several strong incentives for the involvement of Japanese LGOs in national communications under the FCCC. As mentioned, for the purposes of the SOx/NOx laws, Japanese LGOs already possess extensive inventories of factories, equipment and data on general emission levels. The mandate for monitoring SOx/NOx gases could easily be extended to encompass monitoring of CO2 and other GHGs. Further, the participation of Japanese LGOs in the monitoring and reporting process could mean more effective governance. Working within a national emission reduction plan with specific reduction limits, LGOs can develop their own implementation plans in accordance with the agreed national targets.
In this way, LGOs can adopt a horizontal and intersectoral approach effectively cutting across the three main areas: industry, transportation and consumer lifestyles (see figure 2). They could apportion reduction limits as appropriate for these and other sectors, and possess the legal ability to enforce as appropriate. Finally, LGOs could take into account local natural sources and sinks of GHG emissions such as agriculture and forests in a reduction plan, approaching the issue from an integrated perspective.
This, in addition to close links with the community, as well as previous experiences in monitoring and abatement, provide Japanese LGOs with the expertise that may be required to enable meeting any targets under the FCCC.
Implementing Article 6
LGOs maintain close ties with their local communities. Education, training and raising public awareness are in the sphere of their responsibility. More formally, the requirement for countries to provide information and education is provided for in Article 6 of the FCCC.
In broader terms, LGO representatives felt that mechanisms to promote communication to support the implementation of the FCCC are important. For example, the Saitama Prefecture is opening its Environment Information Centre to provide citizens with information pertaining to the environment, including climate change. They maintain expertise in the application of technologies for the environment. LGOs in Japan could build on the Saitama initiative and work together to develop a clearing house for low-impact and other technologies of interest to other LGOs.
At international level, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) launched its Local Sustainability (Europe) on-line service, representing "an interactive facility on the Internet for technical and scientific advice from LGOs". A similar initiative for Japan could be developed by ICLEI Japan. The underlying concept would be for a database of local actions, measures and emission reductions. ICLEI Japan also claims capacity to assist local governments with (1) identifying GHG emissions and targets; and (2) formulating action plans and methodologies to achieve those targets.
Involvement in decision-making
As examples of innovative policies, the city of Koshigaya has initiated its CO2 reduction 'Eco-Topia Plan' and Tokyo's ECOPOLIS maintains a strong educational programme with the involvement of some 80 schools. On energy, the town of Tachikawa (population 7000) in Yamagata Prefecture, plans to meet its entire future energy demands by wind power generation. The city of Kamakura has also developed an Action Plan to reduce emissions by 20% of 1990 levels in line with initial international target proposals. In this light, sufficient expertise may exist for them to be better and duly represented on the main climate change committees, to better convey the role and needs of local communities in the implementation of national decision-making pertaining to the FCCC.
III. Business and Industry
Business and industry NGOs in Japan will be at the forefront in implementing policies related to CO2 abatement. As such, they have a strong vested interest in the outcome of negotiations at COP3, and due to the strong corporate base in Japan, do play an active role in domestic decision-making processes, advertently or inadvertently.
At the national level, the position of business and industry NGOs is currently conveyed by the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren). The Keidanren position is reflected in several documents relating to several projects undertaken by Keidanren on the corporate role in environmental issues. In the Keidanren Appeal on the Environment, importance is attached to three goals: (1) environmental ethics; (2) eco-efficiency; and (3) increased voluntary efforts. Keidanren also points to the need for partnership with "companies, consumers, citizens, non-governmental organizations and the government". While the document is meant to cover the whole range of environmental issues, specific reference is given therein to global warming. Strategies lie with the introduction of more energy-efficient technologies (including nuclear technologies), technology transfer to developing countries, and voluntary actions by the corporations. Keidanren is registered with the UNFCCC process.
However, while efforts are being made, one may question the extent to which Voluntary Plans are being or will be implemented by Japanese business and industry NGOs. In addition, Keidanren does not yet maintain an official position as to the types of activities corporations would be able to implement the FCCC in Japan. On the other hand, the role of corporations should be expressed clearly to promote their effective role in meeting and supporting international and national obligations.
Based on a survey, awareness of climate change issues among Japanese business and industry is generally low but varies considerably, depending on the section within the corporation. Out of 80 major Japanese corporations from various sectors which were surveyed, 56 responded that they were undertaking activities related to climate change.
Dissemination of climate change information to corporations is seen as key, and Keidanren could play a key role in this process. Keidanren also maintains a Nature Conservation Fund which supports NGO activities, and actively encourages corporations to undertake philanthropic activities.
However, there are distinct differences between national and international approaches to climate change by business and industry NGOs. At international level, developed country business and industry NGOs with interests at stake are extremely active and favour the creation of a formal mechanism to make inputs (a Business Consultative Mechanism (BCM)). Unlike the US, this may be due to cultural and other factors taken by MITI and Keidanren that work to protect industry and thereby preventing the same feeling of urgency.
At the GEIC workshop, participants noted the difficulty of establishing an alternative national mechanism in Japan to voice differing corporate positions. The current mechanisms such as Keidanren's Japan's Industry-wise Voluntary Environmental Action Plans work to promote a lowest common denominator effect. Rather, it was felt by workshop participants that Japanese corporations could play a more active role in specialized international business associations, and express positions through those mechanisms, as in the case of the insurance and banking industries. There does exist in Japan a significant minority of corporations that are either involved or interested in the development of sustainable energy, technologies and markets.
B. Requirements to Facilitate NGO Involvement in Climate Governance in Japan.
Environmental NGOs and LGOs in Japan note a number of ways in which mechanisms could be introduced to strengthen their involvement in climate governance in Japan. These include the following:
Legal Corporate Status
Currently, there are very few mechanisms that provide corporate legal status to Japanese environmental NGOs. Corporate legal status is difficult to achieve and often involves a high degree of affinity with government ministries. In recognition of this problem, and after a long lobbying effort, efforts have begun to pass a Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Bill which makes some provision for registration of environmental NGOs. One of the categories covered under the Bill is the global environment. However, the prospect of smaller Japanese environmental NGOs or community groups with primarily domestic activities attaining legal status seems low.
Another important factor is the effect on Japanese NGO participation in international processes. Secretariats of international conventions have noted difficulty in accrediting Japanese environmental NGOs to their processes. As one example, one of the basic requirements for accreditation for NGOs under any convention is proof of non-profit status. However, Japanese environmental NGOs in particular are often unable to readily provide such documentation since many do not have access to corporate legal status. In effect, deprivation of legal personality can lead to a disenabling of participation by Japanese environmental NGOs in both international and national processes.
Japanese environmental NGOs call for increased transparency to the national decision-making processes. Currently, there are distinct problems with transparency and revealing information, and with information flows. Unlike other countries, there is no practice in Japan of distributing copies of draft proposals to NGOs beforehand so that questions and inputs can be made. It is felt by environmental NGOs that circulation of such documents should be made common practice, with sufficient time being given to allow for appropriate inputs. Further, again unlike the practices of other nations, the Japanese government does not identify the experts in charge of chapter drafting. As a result, it is felt by environmental NGOs that the whole process is not sufficiently open. Therefore, environmental NGOs seek an identification of the responsible drafters.
Environmental NGOs also seek more official detailed information on how figures are developed with improved justification by the government. In effect, under present systems, it is felt that environmental NGOs cannot make counter arguments and assessments.
Validation of meeting reports
Official reports are issued for key committee meetings. However, it is claimed that often the report does not reflect the true essence of the meetings, and that there have been cases where consensus on issues was not reached, but reports nevertheless provide the appearance of consensus. Further, it is claimed that issues where consensus was not reached are not identified in the reports. Environmental NGOs request that mechanisms pertaining to reporting (1) be made more open; (2) better reflect the situation at hand; (3) allow for inputs as appropriate; and (4) attach the minutes of the meeting.
National communication inputs
Japanese environmental NGOs find that there is insufficient time to make serious comment on, or inputs in, national communications under the FCCC. It is felt that one month is needed to provide comment on the national communications, whereas a draft of the national communication is usually published just before or after the national deadline (15 April).
It is generally felt by environmental NGOs and LGOs in Japan that greater representation on key committees and governmental groups is required throughout the decision-making processes. Generally, it is strongly felt by environmental NGOs that they are under-represented on these committees. In particular, some select non-governmental bodies that may or may not have expertise in the field have been afforded seats on the committees.
Some Japanese environmental NGOs claim that, in some cases, the current practice of certain key governmental policy-making committees is to invite non-governmental people/groups with little or no expertise in climate change to hold seats on key climate change-related committees. This , thereby allowing the claim of NGO involvement. It is generally felt that the process of selecting and inviting NGOs (and other members) on these committees needs to be made open, and that it be made certain that environmental NGOs who maintain appropriate expertise be invited to occupy committee seats.
As one example of how environmental NGOs are prevented from participating in decision-making processes, NGO representatives point to the New Energy Bill. Some environmental NGOs claim expertise in new energy development strategies and technologies, but are not currently mentioned in the bill's provisions. Further, despite the fact that the Bill's contents relate extensively to climate governance, its provisions do not make mention of the words 'climate change' or 'global warming'. Japanese environmental NGOs seek involvement in this process, as well as involvement in the drafting and preparation of energy-related Bills.
Translation of information
Environmental NGOs and LGOs seek support from the government in making available information translated into Japanese so as to better enable them to generate public awareness and educational activities. Environmental NGOs point to Paragraph 27.10(f) of Agenda 21 Chapter 27, which states that governments should "[M]ake available and accessible to non-governmental organizations the data and information necessary for their effective contribution to research and to the design, implementation and evaluation of programmes."
C. Principles of Partnerships for Climate Governance in Japan
At the GEIC workshop, the issue of partnership was given significant importance during discussions. It was noted that partnerships were needed in Japan to implement both policies related to effective climate change abatement, and to sustainable development in general.
What is 'Partnership'?
For the purposes of this paper, the term "partnership" was given significant consideration and is defined as:
"collaborative activities among interested groups, based on a mutual recognition of respective strengths and weaknesses, for common agreed objectives that have been developed through effective and timely communication".
From this definition, a "partnership" occurs where (1) groups with common objectives (2) agree to undertake activities which (3) build on each other's strengths, and (4) help overcome apparent weaknesses. Overcoming apparent weaknesses may involve a sharing of expertise, knowledge or experience by one or more groups to one or more other groups. Partnerships are undertaken for the purposes of implementing objectives that have been agreed to by the groups involved. The objectives are ideally developed through a process of communication that is acceptable to all groups involved. 'Groups' for the purposes of climate governance may include environmental NGOs, parliamentary NGOs, LGOs, labour unions, agriculture and development NGOs, corporations and national governments.
Partnership was unanimously seen by workshop participants as a rarity in Japan. As a first step to creating partnerships, it was felt that the strengths, weaknesses and interests of the three NGO constituencies need to be better examined.
Strengths and Weaknesses of NGO Constituencies
The strength of environmental NGOs was seen to lie in their autonomy. As units separate to the national government, environmental NGOs feel that they have the ability to express a human voice and perspective to an issue, and can thus represent a community pulse. They are excellent disseminators of information at community and national levels, and consequently maintain a strong networking capability. Through their autonomy, environmental NGOs are able to act as watchdogs in monitoring and evaluating governmental actions and policies, and excel at vision development.
Weaknesses centre on the current inability to achieve corporate legal status. Secondly, there is an apparent lack of expertise to provide scientific and technical back-up for claims and proposals. Japanese environmental NGOs do not generally maintain a clear professional membership, and suffer from a "necktie syndrome", whereby members literally remove neckties after work to become members of NGOs. A workshop participant identified the term 'partnership' with the simile 'part-timer-ship'. This maintains serious implications, including issues of legitimacy, a lack of specialized training (e.g., in NGO management) and professionalism, and an inherent difficulty by Japanese environmental NGOs in sanctioning their own proposals. In these regards, NGOs themselves should give further thought.
Strengths of Japanese LGOs focus on their inherently strong ties with the citizens of local communities. They possess experience in information dissemination, and are in a position to instigate environmental policy/programme frameworks at the local level. With regard to the FCCC, LGOs can play a particularly strong role in monitoring GHG emissions; developing action plans for emission reduction targets; supporting compliance of obligations; and assisting the national government in its reporting under the FCCC Secretariat. LGOs also have access to relatively significant financial resources.
While LGOs do enjoy autonomy, weaknesses focus on restraints found in issues related to budgetary sources, national laws, directives, rulings and regulations. Japanese LGOs, together with the national government, need to make environmental policies clearer. LGOs also tend to lack human resources who fully appreciate the implications of global systems on local communities. Leadership, vision and communication skills with the community by Japanese LGOs require enhancement. As such, potential exists for increased networking and interaction with the community.
Further, some workshop participants felt that LGOs need to ensure greater fairness of participation and enhance transparency. Leadership of the Mayor was seen as a key factor, as identified by one Japanese LGO participant. In the case of climate change, local leadership should first set its own reduction emission targets, and then seek support through appropriate models to bring about those targets.
Business and industry NGOs
The position of business and industry NGOs in Japan with regard to climate change at national level is generally strong. Strengths of these organizations centre on individual commitments to the environment, as well as managerial, technical, and financial skills which they could share with others.
However, Japanese business and industry NGOs tend to suffer from a 'one voice syndrome'. While there exists a strong corporate diversity in Japan, the corporate position is conveyed as "one voice", thus promoting a lowest common-denominator approach. Further, human resources with a full appreciation of the implications of global systems on corporate and national systems are lacking overall and strategies need to be adopted which can strengthen these areas. Consumer-based corporate strategies are generally preferred to community-based strategies. While active in environmental protection, there is scope for Japan's business and industry NGOs to enhance communication and dissemination skills, at both national and international levels.
Possibilities for NGO Partnership in Climate Governance in Japan
Taking account of the above factors, there clearly exists potential for developing partnerships among the NGO constituencies in the field of climate change.
It is particularly clear that Japanese environmental NGOs and LGOs can work together for the promotion of environmental causes. However, mutual initial expectations of NGO/LGO partnership tend to hinder the process, and these should be removed. Some possible partnerships in climate governance in Japan are as follows:
Monitoring and compliance
LGOs and environmental NGOs in Japan can play a major partnership role in supporting the monitoring, evaluation, compliance, and reporting under the FCCC. Article 6 of the FCCC on information and education, represents one clear example.
On emission reduction obligations, LGOs could monitor and report emissions for national communications, while environmental NGOs can assist in monitoring and evaluating related policies. LGOs need to maintain strong communication links with their communities. As such, LGOs could work with environmental NGOs in having the latter assist in providing external monitoring and evaluation of local environmental performance and policies for the purposes of review and refinement of policies.
Environmental NGOs can work to publicize actions, mobilize public opinion, and organize dissemination and information campaigns. This capacity may be of use to LGOs in their efforts to create closer links with the local community.
Workshop participants mentioned that LGOs could work with environmental NGOs in the field of technology. Environmental NGOs can identify producers and users of appropriate/alternative technology and information, while ICLEI/LGOs could take a lead in promoting and expanding markets for these technologies.
LGOs have faced difficulties in identifying the real-time needs of environmental NGOs and civil groups. As a main objective, there is agreement that civic groups need to set their own goals. Rather than act on perceived needs of environmental NGOs, a preferred approach may be for LGOs to work with and directly support environmental NGO-generated projects, as well as support environmental NGO efforts in education and information dissemination.
Developing environmental policy
LGOs should aim to develop a clear environmental policy framework. Environmental NGOs can assist LGOs in the development of a vision for such a policy, and mobilizing public opinion for agenda-setting purposes.
Business and industry
Business and industry NGOs can continue to provide occasional human resources to NGOs, while adopting a more community-based corporate strategy. However, Japanese business and industry NGOs claim difficulties in developing partnerships with environmental NGOs due to the latter suffering from both a lack of human resources and overall professionalism. Corporations can also commit themselves to developing low-impact technologies for processes and products.
One option may be for corporations to more fully support NGO-related volunteer programmes, through sponsoring the involvement of their employees in NGO activities through providing benefits and other incentives.
As judged from the results of the workshop, and responses and consultations with the NGOs, main policy proposals/options for promoting NGO involvement in implementing the FCCC in Japan may be as noted below. Options/proposals are targeted to (1) the Japanese government; (2) environmental NGOs; (3) LGOs; and (4) business and industry NGOs.
(1) To the Japanese Government
In line with international standards, and to enable environmental NGOs to better participate in national and international processes, environmental NGOs call for appropriate legal status to be afforded to them as a first basic step in ensuring equal parity between the major interest groups in climate change. In this regard, the government should make efforts to strengthen the provisions of the proposed NPO bill.
Implementation, monitoring and reporting under the FCCC
There is much potential for the government to involve LGOs and environmental NGOs in implementation, monitoring, reporting, and evaluation under the FCCC. LGOs can develop integrated plans for the reduction of GHG emissions in their respective areas in line with national targets. By extending current SOx/NOx practices. LGOs can monitor CO2 emissions for direct inclusion in the national communications required under the FCCC. With their networks, environmental NGOs can assist in evaluating and monitoring implementation of national policies for climate change in accordance with agreed indicators.
Article 6 obligations
The Japanese government could capitilize on the role of environmental NGOs and LGOs in implementing Article 6 obligations. With their respective networks, close ties to communities, and educational/awareness-building mandates, these groups can directly assist with the implementation of national obligations under the FCCC to provide information and education on climate change.
Promotion of sustainable energy industries
Policies and projects that are currently in place to promote markets for sustainable energy technologies need to be strengthened. Acting strongly on consumer-based strategies, business and industry NGOs in Japan need incentives and consumer demand to actively pursue sustainable energy alternatives. Sustainable energy promotion projects could be developed by the government involving partnerships with (1) business and industry NGOs - focusing on technological development; (2) LGOs - creating markets for sustainable energy; (3) environmental NGOs - in disseminating information to the public.
Soliciting inputs from NGOs
In line with international practices, the government could undertake both formal and informal polling among NGOs on relevant issues, to improve the involvement of Japanese NGOs. It is suggested that the government and key committees could seek the views of NGOs on a range of issues, including for the purposes of agenda setting. The invitation to and response by Japanese NGOs could be disseminated via post, electronic mail, and/or the world wide web.
It is felt that appropriate and equitable representation needs to be afforded to Japanese NGO groups in the main committees related to climate change in Japan. In line with international practices, NGO constituencies should be equitably and duly represented by representatives with appropriate expertise on all major committees and sub-committees relating to climate change or global warming in Japan. Depending on the importance of the committee or sub-committee, additional seats should be allocated to these groups to provide for a diversity of views. The process of selecting NGOs to sit on committees needs to be made open, and needs to be justified. (deleted the last bit).
In line with international practices, efforts need to be made to make information flows in Japan more transparent. Copies of draft proposals need to be made open and distributed beforehand. In line with US practice, the Japanese government needs to identify the experts responsible for chapter drafting.
As a matter of practice, the government should ensure that sufficient time is allocated for inputs and revision of official reports. A system of checks and balances needs to be incorporated whereby reports of meetings correctly reflect the consensus/outcome. Areas of non-consensus need to be correctly identified in the reports of meetings.
Information to the public on climate change needs to be better provided in Japan. The Japanese government should assist in the translation of English information to the Japanese language to better promote public awareness building. This initiative could be done in partnership with the NGOs.
As organizations that can assist in promoting a more transparent process, environmental NGOs and LGOs feel that they need to be directly involved in the national communications, particularly in the drafting of the national communication format.
Any development of a roster of experts in relation to technology assessment should include representatives with appropriate expertise from the three NGO constituencies. Further, technology transfer and Joint Implementation projects related to climate change could involve an environmental NGO component to support the inclusion of social aspects of projects, which can work to support the success of any scheme.
Advisory Working Group
The government may wish to consider the establishment of an Advisory Working Group on NGOs and Climate Change to provide advice on details, guidelines and systems to implement the recommendations above.
(2) To Environmental NGOs
Environmental NGOs need to enhance their own legitimacy in climate change affairs in Japan. This will require efforts among themselves to support and train each other, and to raise their own professional profiles. Environmental NGOs need to further develop mechanisms which can provide needed technical and scientific back-up for proposals and inputs. Further, they could, for example, better offer services as professionals on environment--climate change--energy issues both for the government and for corporations who may require various services. Marketing services needs to be better contemplated, both as a source of income and to raise their professional profiles. Continued participation in international activities, such as CC:Info and CC:Forum of the FCCC Secretariat, is also seen as positive both to raise levels of professionalism and awareness. Human resources should be considered more carefully, in particular, the recruitment of future human resources and mobilization of key groups. In this regard, women may be a target source of future professionals.
(3) To Local Governments
Japanese LGOs need to consolidate in-house expertise and work to support partnerships with environmental NGOs where there are similar objectives. As organizations with access to funding, LGOs could take a leading role in developing partnerships with environmental NGOs by funding community projects which are environmental NGO-developed and lead, as well as work with business and industry NGOs by incorporating policies that support the expansion of markets for sustainable energy technologies. However, LGOs lack human resources who can fully appreciate the interaction and relationship between global systems and local communities, and efforts need to be made by LGOs to further enhance available human resources who understand the implications of actions taken.
(4) To Business and Industry NGOs
Japanese business and industry NGOs need to better express themselves at international level, as well as have a better understanding of the interactions with global-level processes and how these affect them. Corporations that maintain differing positions to the official Japanese business and industry NGO position on climate change should participate in international associations pertaining to climate change that can promote their interests at the international policy-making level, thereby supporting a filtering down effect to the national level. This is particularly so for those corporations who are interested in promoting future export markets for new energy products. Business and industry NGOs can also further promote their involvement in community-based activities related to technological development and information dissemination. Supporting employee participation in NGO-related volunteer activities may be one way in which social responsibility can be enhanced.
Source: Global Environment Information Center, 1999
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