APEC and the Environment: Civil Society in an Age of Globalization


Jack Barkenbus

AsiaPacific Issues, No. 51


Honolulu: East-West Center

Publication Date: March 2001
Binding: paper
Pages: 8
Free Download: PDF


The continuation of Asia's economic development and improvement in living standards is dependent upon addressing its worsening environmental problems. While the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is not ideally structured to deal with Asia's urgent environmental problems, it can take an important step toward improving prospects for Asia's environment by bringing civil society, specifically nongovernmental groups for the environment, into APEC deliberations. This can be done by including members of environmental organizations in: (1) APEC working groups and through the creation of an APEC Civil Society Advisory Council; (2) a new APEC Commission for Environmental Cooperation; and (3) policy dialog forums where contentious issues such as the environment-trade nexus are addressed. While none of these suggestions requires any basic changes to APEC's structure, they do call for tolerance, even encouragement, of a more open and collaborative APEC dialog. These changes are not only necessary for environmental improvement, but also for ensuring that liberalized trade and investment stay on course.