Report on 8th ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme on SCP and SWITCH-Asia Workshop on “ASEAN and SCP Governance in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”

8th ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme on Sustainable Production and Consumption (SCP) and SWITCH-Asia Workshop on “ASEAN and SCP Governance in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”

The 8th ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme (LP) on Sustainable Production and Consumption (SCP) was held back to back with the SWITCH-Asia Workshop on ASEAN and SCP Governance in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Both events were hosted by the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department of Malaysia in partnership with three UN agencies, the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), as well as the ASEAN Secretariat in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

The Leadership Programme is an important regional platform, which brings together policymakers and relevant stakeholders from the ASEAN+3 countries to promote the development and implementation of SCP policies in the region. Since its inception in 2008, the annual ASEAN+3 LP supported the goals of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD 2005-2014) and is organized according to the implementation scheme of the ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan (AEEAP 2008-2012 and 2014-2018) endorsed by all ASEAN members.

There were 27 participants at the event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with mainly mid to senior level government officials from nine countries (eight of the ten ASEAN Member States; and one of the three dialogue partner countries) – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. This year’s ASEAN+3 LP constituted the participation of mixed inter-ministerial delegations from countries, reflecting the cross-cutting nature of SCP in national governance. Both the LP and the workshop were geared towards the understanding and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Participants discussed issues critical for expanding SCP systems in the region with one particular focus being policy and decision making tools to finance and support SCP in the small and medium sized enterprise (SME) sector. SMEs constitute a significant sector in the ASEAN region’s economy. Learning cases engaged participants in analyzing and generating policy options. This was particularly highlighted in the transformative potential of green SMEs, taking into account their respective challenges and solutions.

Policy instruments proposed included SME capacity development, green financing, innovative investment schemes, sustainable public procurement, and integrated policy measures for SCP that can ensure this sector’s transformative contribution to competitiveness, job creation, and economic development of the region.  At the same time, attendees learned how a favourable investment climate for resource efficient and cleaner production can be created for SMEs.

The need for harmonisation of SCP policies across countries in the region and sharing of information and good practices was emphasized in order to upscale SCP actions. Establishing an ASEAN academy on SCP that enables learning and engagement of policymakers, enhances domestication of SCP practices especially in the SME sector, and raises a regional platform to facilitate mainstreaming of SCP in the ASEAN region and partner countries, was proposed.

In addition, special focus was placed on areas which can achieve transformative change in the ASEAN region. Within the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, areas proposed included energy, green growth, inclusive and sustainable SCP, tourism, and industrialization.

The ASEAN+3 LP was held back to back with the SWITCH-Asia Workshop on “ASEAN and SCP Governance in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. In 2008, the European Commission launched the SWITCH Asia Programme, with the aim to promote economic prosperity and help reduce poverty in Asia.  The objective was to encourage sustainable growth with low environmental impact from industries and consumers, in line with international environmental agreements and processes.

The workshop’s main focus was governance in the area of SCP within the ASEAN+3 policy context and in line with the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The workshop incorporated cases of current SCP projects in the ASEAN+3 countries to encourage harmonization and policy action in the area of SCP. The workshop was aimed at enabling ASEAN+3 policymakers to learn about the SWITCH-Asia Policy Support and Projects progress, experiences and lessons learned with the goal of strengthening governance for SCP and resource efficiency at the ASEAN level and within ASEAN+3 countries.

Both, the Leadership Programme and the SWITCH-Asia Workshop provided a dedicated networking space for policymakers across government ministries and programmes to support policy dialogue for SCP governance in ASEAN+3 countries.