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First Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific

19-20 May 2015 | UN Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok, Thailand


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Daily Web CoverageAbout | 19 May | 20 May | Summary
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First Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific opens in Bangkok, Thailand

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Delegates on second day of First Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific


Highlights for Tuesday, 19 May 2015

First Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia PacificThe First Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific opened on 19 May 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the participation of high-level delegations from 35 countries.

Kaveh Zahedi, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, and Oyun Sanjaasuren, UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) President and Chair of the Forum, welcomed ministers and senior officials. Sanjaasuren described the First Forum as a chance to see how UNEA decisions have been put into action, identify regional inputs to the second UNEA meeting in May 2016, and provide guidance on the UNEP medium-term strategy 2018-2021.

Dapong Ratanasuwan, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, formally opened the First Forum, drawing attention to the forthcoming ASEAN Economic Community in 2016 and “the urgent and pressing need” to more sustainably manage the Asia-Pacific region’s natural resource base.

Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, delivered the inaugural address on “Investing in the Pacific’s Nature-Based Economies,” giving examples of the “sense of preservation” that is ingrained in traditional practices related to the sustainable harvesting of natural resources.

On opportunities for a green economy in Asia Pacific, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, urged delegates to not only consider “end-of-pipe” problems, but to embrace the challenge of designing future environmental strategies.

Delegations highlighted success stories of valuing natural resources in their countries, and suggested ways that the international community can provide support for implementing the SDGs and addressing the region's environmental challenges.

At a lunchtime event on “Asia-Pacific and Climate Change,” delegates heard a keynote address by Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice-President and Head of Department of Environment, Islamic Republic of Iran, and remarks by Mona Ioane, Associate Minister, Ministry of Environment, Cook Islands.

During the afternoon session, UNEP launched a publication and video on “Indicators for a Resource-Efficient and Green Asia and the Pacific.”

In the evening, the Government of Thailand hosted all delegates at a cocktail reception and cultural show.

- IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and a summary report from the 1st Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific which may be downloaded in HTML or PDF format.

- Visit the web coverage of Tuesday, 19 May 2015.


Noël Messone

Dapong Ratanasuwan, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand

Noël Messone

Anote Tong, President of Kiribati


A group photo of heads of delegations after opening session



Tan Gee Keow, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore



L-R: Ramon J.P. Paje, Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines; Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP; and Heinz Schandl, Senior Principal Scientist of CSIRO and Chief Author of the report “Indicators for a Resource Efficient and Green Asia and the Pacific”



Noël Messone
Noël Messone

Highlights for Wednesday, 20 May 2015

First Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia PacificThe First Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities continued discussions on Wednesday morning. Oyun Sanjaasuren, UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) President and Chair of the Forum, invited delegates’ views on how a regional forum of environment agencies should evolve, and Kaveh Zahedi, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, outlined UNEP’s follow-up activities implementing the decisions of UNEA-1.

Delegates identified priorities to be addressed at UNEA-2 and gave input to UNEP’s Medium-Term Strategy 2018-2021. They reviewed a Chair’s summary of the proceedings at the end of the session.

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, said the UNEA is “the best opportunity” to gain global acknowledgement of regional issues at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the UN General Assembly, and the UN Security Council. Sanjaasuren said this is a “critical time, a critical generation” and noted the responsibility for those in the environmental field to be “part of the solution.” She declared the Forum closed at 1.05 pm.

Delegates then attended the inaugural Asia Environmental Enforcement Award ceremony, where organizations and individuals were recognized for their work in combating wildlife crime and the illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances (ODS), chemicals and wastes.

Two roundtables took place in the afternoon. Chief Justices and public prosecutors from the region participated in an Asia Pacific Roundtable on Environmental Rule of Law in Support to the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which discussed recent developments in the concepts and application of environmental rule of law, challenges and breakthroughs, and the fight against transboundary environmental crime in wildlife, chemicals and wastes. Meanwhile, development actors met at a UNEP Roundtable on Cooperation in the Pacific.

- IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and a summary report from the 1st Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific which may be downloaded in HTML or PDF format.

- Visit the web coverage of Wednesday, 20 May 2015.


Noël Messone

Chung Haeseung, UNEP TUNZA North East Asia Youth Environment Network and UNEP Asia Pacific Major Groups and Stakeholders

Noël Messone

Masoumeh Ebtakar, Vice President and Head of Department of Environment, Islamic Republic of Iran


Kaveh Zahedi, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, delivers his presentation on the UN Environment Assembly: Implementation of resolutions and priorities for the future of Asia Pacific.


Group photo of the winners for the Asia Environment Enforcement Award


Noël Messone

Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown, Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament, Cook Islands

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Mohammad Reza Tabesh, Member of Parliament and Head of Environment Unit for Parliament, Islamic Republic of Iran


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Jeong Yeon-Man, Vice Minister, Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea, greets Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP.

Noël Messone

Jeong Yeon-Man, Vice Minister, Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea, and Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, signing an amendment to donor agreement


IISD RS Team Delia Paul, Team Leader/Writer; Sean Wu, Digital Editor; and Faye Leone, Writer

Specific funding for coverage of the First Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific has been provided by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) - Regional Office for Asia Pacific (ROAP)
UNEP ROA

Daily Web CoverageAbout | 19 May | 20 May | Summary