East Asian governments urged to harness market forces to improve environment, save money

n emission charge, a saving of $34 million from this group of enterprises alone, or a 70 per cent reduction from the cost of the command-and-control system.

Creation of apex governmental agencies that coordinate economic development and environmental protection is essential for effective, long-term economic growth, the book says. They can also help reduce complexity in policy and legislation as well as inter-ministerial conflicts of interest.

Among other potential innovations, organizations with ISO 14001 certification can receive priority in bidding for governmental contracts, encouraging a ''greening'' of the market-place.

"Economic instruments and market mechanisms permit cost saving and can lead to sustainable growth," said report editor Zafar Adeel, Assistant Director of UNU-INWEH, the UN University's Canadian-based water academy. "A policy model based on a mix of command and control and market-based mechanisms linked to effective governmental management is showing positive results in countries like Malaysia, and is characterized by the role of government as a facilitator rather than provider; by a prominent role played by the private sector and civil society; and by pricing reform on environmental goods and services."

Long-term thinking is needed when developing environmental protection policies. "Failure to introduce environmental protection measures would in the longer term imply a loss of income as a result of the depletion of the natural resource base. For example, implementation of the polluter pays principle can have dramatic effects on how industries view their waste effluents and treatment processes."

The authors emphasize that technology transfer from developed countries offer developing countries "the potential to bypass many of the constraints which were once seen as threats to economic growth."

As well, "East Asian nations can capitalize on the recent advances in information technology to their best

Contact: Terry Collins
United Nations University

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