National institutional response to climate change and stakeholder participation: a comparative study for Asia

In International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Volume (Issue): Vol. 11/No.4
Peer-reviewed Article

Asian countries are building domestic institutions in response to climate change at both the international and domestic levels. Many countries have adopted the inter-agency coordination mechanism (IACM) as a national institutional approach to adjust the functions of various governmental agencies to tackle climate change. This article compares and contrasts national IACMs in four countries: Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and India. It examines (i) the structure and function of an IACM; (ii) agencies and their specific roles in IACMs; (iii) measures to empower the participation of other stakeholders including local governments, private sector, civil society and academia; and (iv) changes in IACMs and reasons for such changes. Four success factors drawn from our comparative study suggest that an effective IACM should feature (i) strong overall coordination by the President/Prime Minister; (ii) empowerment of the industry and environment agencies as joint lead agencies coordinating mitigation and adaptation; (iii) involvement of all major sectoral agencies related to mitigation and adaptation; and (iv) maximisation of the use of the comparative advantages of other stakeholders. The article highlights successful practices in Asia that can be emulated by other governments considering reform of their own domestic institutions in response to climate change.