EEPSEA beefs up talks on region’s green growth efforts

On 6 March 2015, EEPSEA supported a regional policy dialogue on green economy. Entitled Transition to Green Economy in Southeast Asia, the policy dialogue served as a venue for researchers and policymakers to share views on green growth in the context of globalization; evaluate the current situation and future shifts towards green economy models; and assess current policies on green growth and green economy.

The conference program was comprehensive moving from the policy dimension to urban sector, agriculture, energy, manufacturing and green consumption. The three EEPSEA-supported studies presented also generated widespread discussion on technical research design issues as well as policy relevance. These included Le Thanh Loan’s study on “Comparing social costs of biofuels and fossil fuels in Vietnam”, Kannika Thampanishvong’s study on “Using Feedback as a Tool for Household Energy Conservation: An Experimental Approach”, and Nuva’s study on “Impact of Eco-Labeled Indonesia's Smallholder Coffee Farmers”. Loan’s presentation was a good illustration of the long process of research to ensure accuracy and validity of results. The findings also raised a number of related policy issues such as how “green” is the production of biofuel crops if this was to result in the conversion of land formerly allocated to food crops production; this also raises the issues of food security and opportunity cost of land.

For Kannika’s study, there was a lot of interest on whether the information provided by the study’s experimental design can generate both desirable and non-desirable behavioral responses as well as the sustainability of the energy consumption behavior beyond the research experiment period.

Among the other country experiences shared were Vietnam’s green growth strategy and action plan at the national and provincial levels; Vietnam’s low carbon rice farming model; Taiwan’s success stories in solid waste management and the use of “terror theory” in green marketing; and Myanmar’s platform for dialogue on green growth.

Other topics covered included the economic tradeoffs in shifting from "brown" to green economy; balance between attracting foreign direct investment while meeting green growth objectives; policies in encouraging renewable energy production; raising consumer awareness about the environment and the responsibility of the manufacturers; and plans and programs of action towards developing green cities.

Seventy (70) participants attended the event comprised of policymakers from the Ministries of Planning and Investment, Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, NGOs, and researchers from universities and research programs in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The dialogue was televised on HTV7 (11 March) and HTV9 (13 March), the two Ho Chi Minh City news channels which cover the southern half of Vietnam. It was implemented in partnership with the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City.

Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia