AECEN urges ADB to adopt south-south cooperation as preferred capacity building mode

Manila, Philippines – Adopt south-south cooperation as the preferred mode for capacity building and support organizations like the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) to act as intermediaries, said Dr. Peter King, Head of the AECEN Secretariat, to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Speaking to public and private sector officials and representatives from international financial institutions and civil society at an ADB workshop held last week, he highlighted how AECEN has strengthened government capacities on compliance and enforcement, using South-South cooperation (or twinning) as a “guiding principle.”

“South-south cooperation has been used to establish green courts, train judges, address soil contamination, and establish compliance assistance centers and self-reporting systems,” said Dr. King.

Since 2005, AECEN has been engaged by the ADB to compile a compendium of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) related laws, court case examples, news items about EIA, and good practices in EIA. Under this program, AECEN has also facilitated south-south cooperation to strengthen EIA capacity between Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, and Japan.

“The main advantage of south-south cooperation compared to engaging consultants is that benefits flow to both the mentee and the mentor countries,” he explained. “The costs are also considerably less than using consultants, and assistance can be highly targeted.”

AECEN’s experience with south-south cooperation helped developed the implementing capacity of EIA among environmental agencies in Asia through mutual hands-on learning opportunities between the government officials in charge and experts in the field.

AECEN also delivered concrete outputs that were beneficial to Sri Lanka and Lao PDR, including underlining the countries’ need for additional training and support on sectors such as mining and solid waste management.

“With these tangible benefits clearly outlined, the ADB should readily embrace south-south cooperation and formally adopt twinning as its primary mode for building country capacities,” said Dr. King.

Two AECEN consultation workshops were held in Sri Lanka in December 2013 and Lao PDR in January 2014. A joint triangular (donor-south-south) AECEN workshop was held in Japan in June 2014.

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