The Role of Governments in Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC): Capacity for the Effective Implementation in Asia-Pacific Region

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: F203
Oral Presentation
Robert J. DIDHAM , Programme Management Office, IGES, Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan
So-Young LEE , Integrated policies for Sustainable Societies, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan
Paul OFEI-MANU , Integrated Policies for Sustainable Societies, IGES, Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan
Sustainable consumption is an integral element of sustainable development and an issue of paramount importance to the United Nations. At the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, the Heads of State reaffirmed that promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is an essential requirement for sustainable development and the outcome The Future We Want adopted the 10-Year Framework of Programme on SCP. The importance of education in facilitating a shift towards sustainable development and in promoting sustainable lifestyles has also been internationally reaffirmed in the UN’s decision to launch a UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014. Hence, Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC) is understood as the way to promote responsible environmental citizenship and national policy for ESC is a powerful instrument to influence sustainable consumption behaviour.  

This paper addresses how to improve the capacity of governments in implementing effective ESC. The research was conducted through primary interviews with relevant government officers, survey/ questionnaires, and analysis of policy documents in Asia-Pacific Region: East Asia cases from P.R.China, Japan, R.O.Korea in 2010-2011 and Southeast Asia cases from Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand in 2013-2014. This research targeted governmental capacity for implementing effective ESC as an important opportunity for strengthening the meta-level structures through which transformative change can be encouraged.

The findings identify key aspects of current governmental context for promoting sustainable consumption. The six country cases are analysed in a comparative capacity assessment based on the four levers of change identified in UNDP’s capacity development framework: institutional arrangements, leadership, knowledge, and accountability. The recommendations aim to strengthen policy and institutional frameworks for ESC and to link with wider policies for SCP and Education for Sustainable Development.