The inaugural training workshop ‘Fiscal Policy for Climate Action’ was held in Shanghai from September 12-15, 2017. Jointly organized by Climate Action Peer Exchange (CAPE) Secretariat and the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Institute (AFDI), the workshop delivered a comprehensive knowledge package covering environmental fiscal policies, energy subsidy reforms, climate budgeting techniques and innovative debt financing. By drawing widely from expertise within the World Bank, the workshop featured instructors from the Macro Fiscal Management Global Practice, the Climate Change Group, and Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice.
Senior technical staff from finance ministries of 13 countries in East and South Asia countries were in attendance, (Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Fiji), as well as the World Bank’s Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice senior economists working on East Asian Pacific countries. In line with CAPE’s purpose of fostering peer exchange, countries also took center stage when they shared their own country experiences. Mr. Wilson Yung from National Climate Change Secretariat of Singapore presented the design and implementation arrangements of carbon taxation in Singapore. Mr. Rolando Toledo, Director of Fiscal Planning Bureau of Philippines, provided participants with an in-depth view of the implementation of national climate budgeting system in the Philippines.
Participants also engaged in case exercises that took them into the practical application of environmental fiscal tools. Centered around the fictional country of Greentopia, participants gained first-hand experience in introducing a carbon tax, applying fiscal risk assessment models and establishing a climate budgeting system – bringing to life the theoretical content presented in the course. The interactive exercise proved to be a very useful way of driving home the importance of environmental fiscal policies and the need to integrate climate risks into the budgeting process.
On the final day of the workshop, participants toured the Suzhou Creek Rehabilitation Project. Participants heard from the project leader of this ambitious cleanup program. The program’s ingredients for success included sound systems analysis, integrated engineering plans, and the consultative approach adopted by the Shanghai Government in implementing the Project. From its inception in 1998, the Shanghai Municipal authorities launched this 12-year-program of integrated projects to improve wastewater management, sewage collection treatment and disposal; relocate solid waste processing wharves and reconstruct the embankments; and introduce water resource management and quality control methods. The benefits in terms of improved water quality, living standards, and emission reductions were all evident.
Overall, the workshop was successful in meeting its objectives of knowledge exchange, capacity development and partnership and outreach for finance ministries. This exercise will hopefully equip participants with basic tools to deal with climate change and the increased frequency of induced natural disasters. The real power of CAPE is the knowledge sharing and confidence building among finance ministries through regular interaction and exchange between peers. CAPE will continue carrying out training workshops, introducing country and regional level case studies and practical experiences, and fostering dialogue on fiscal policy for climate change.