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1st Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment

Towards a Resource-efficient and Pollution-free Asia-Pacific

5-8 September 2017 | UN Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok, Thailand

Highlights for Friday, 8 September 2017

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Melati Wijsen and Isabel Wijsen, Founders of Bye Bye Plastic Bags,
talk about their campaign to ban plastic bags in Bali during the special event on
Strengthening regional ocean governance and partnership towards clean seas.

Ministers continued and concluded their deliberations on Friday, the final day of the Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. In the morning, they provided further comments on the UNEA-3 draft ministerial declaration, after which a ministerial dialogue took place on ‘Policy perspectives on a pollution-free planet’. Delegates provided suggestions on practical ways to tackle pollution and build partnerships.

Side events were organized at lunchtime on: gender, the environment and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific; and lessons from the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth (SINGG), a regional cooperation framework supported by the Government of the Republic of Korea government and endorsed by ESCAP in 2005. A special event on Strengthening regional ocean governance and partnerships towards clean seas took place after lunch.

At the end of the day, ministers adopted several outcome documents: the report of the senior officials and a Chair’s summary of the second UN Environment Programme Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific; and the ministerial declaration on environment and development for Asia and the Pacific (E/ESCAP/MCED(7)/L.4). They also adopted the report of the seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (E/ESCAP/MCED(7)/L.3), after incorporating several amendments proposed by Iran and Japan. They agreed that the Secretariat would review the text of this report to include a mention of the Rio Principles, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).

In closing, Shamshad Akhtar, ESCAP Executive Secretary, and Dechen Tsering, UN Environment Regional Director, thanked all delegates for their active participation and their presentation of best practices and policies for achieving a resource-efficient and pollution-free planet. The meeting closed at 4:41 pm.

The Summit sought to be a climate-neutral and low-impact event. Besides encouraging delegates to estimate and offset their carbon emissions, the conference took a low-waste approach to paper and printing, drinking-water containers, and catering. Participants were provided with their own biodegradable, reusable cups, and dined on meals made from organic and rescued ingredients. Around the venue, participants viewed exhibits about UN Environment and ESCAP campaigns, including information about regional implementation of the SDGs, and actions to reduce acid rain.

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, is producing daily photographic coverage of the meeting proceedings, as well as of key side events, and also produced a summary report, which is available in HTML and PDF.

Photos by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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Morning Session

(L-R) Raza Bashir Tarar, Vice-Chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to UN Environment, Pakistan; Suho Seong, Director of International Cooperation Division, Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea; and Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore

Delegates watch a video message from Edgar Gutiérrez, UNEA President and Minister of the Environment, Costa Rica.

Yeshey Dorji, Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan

Eiji Tanaka, Deputy Director, International Strategy Division, Global Environment Bureau, Ministry of Environment, Japan

Tu Ruihe, Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Environmental Protection, China

Srisuda Jarayabhand, Thailand

Delegates listening to a presentation

Cristina Martinez, International Labour Organization (ILO)

Julius Cainglet, Vice President, Federation of Free Workers - International Trade Union Confederation

Ministers engage in dialogue on ‘Policy perspectives on a pollution-free planet’.

Lee Minho, Deputy Minister of Environmental Policy, Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea

Ramon Paje, Vice President for Asia Pacific, UNEA, the Philippines

Meena Praful Bilgi, Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN)

Anish Shrestha, Advocacy Coordinator, Karnali Integrated Development Centre (KIDC)

Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore; and Subrata Sinha, Conference Secretary and Regional Environmental Affairs Officer, UN Environment

Abdullah Ziyad, Minister of State for Environment and Energy, Ministry of Environment and Energy, Maldives

Chuthatip Maneepong, Thailand Environment Institute (TEI)

The ENB team taking notes

Closing Session

Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore

Dechen Tsering, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, UN Environment, and Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary, ESCAP, give the closing remarks.

Special Event - Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance and Partnership Towards Clean Seas

Lisa Svensson, Chief, Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Branch, UN Environment, introduced the topic. UN senior officials briefed delegates on UN Environment’s Clean Seas Campaign, and highlighted the outcomes of the UN Oceans Conference of June 2017, urging participants not to lose momentum.

Teenagers Melati and Isabel Wijsen, who founded a campaign to rid the island of Bali, Indonesia, of plastic bags, described their work in raising community awareness and rewarding local businesses that have created plastic bag-free zones.

Lorna Eden, Assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Fiji, drew attention to the Pacific Island Forum’s Pacific Oceanscape Framework, which was initiated by Anote Tong, then-President of Kiribati in 2009 as a catalyst for formulating ocean governance at all levels. Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore, observed that eight out of the top ten countries contributing to marine litter pollution are in Asia, and urged countries to take their own national actions. He described Singapore’s initiatives, such as requiring ships in port to be registered and to comply with regulations. Abdullah Ziyad, Minister of State for Environment and Energy, the Maldives, highlighted Maldives’ national campaigns against dumping of plastics into the sea. Lev Neretin, Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP), introduced its regional oceans programs involving 140 countries, and its medium-term strategy, which contributes to action on SDG 14 on oceans.

Lars Svensson, IKEA, noted that the company recycles 70% of the around 10 million kilos of waste it generates annually in the region and is encouraging customers to participate more actively in recycling, including through imposing a charge on plastic bags. The NGO sector called on countries to return to more sustainable and culturally-relevant, reusable packaging, such as banana leaves.

Muhammad Khurshid, Director General, South Asia Co-Operative Environment Programme

View of the delegates during the special event

Side Events

Gender, the Environment and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific

Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary, ESCAP, opened this side event, organized by UNESCAP. She stressed that women work in activities and sectors impacted heavily by impact of climate change, noting 58% of the economically active women are in the agriculture sector and women constitute 54% of the labour force in small-scale inland fisheries in the region. She introduced ESCAP’s publication “Gender, the Environment and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific,” which identifies a strategic entry point for policy interventions.

Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development, ESCAP, moderated the panel discussion. Lorna Eden, Assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Fiji, introduced Fiji’s national initiatives, such as the Markets for Change program, which includes training women in accounting, and encouraging inclusion of women in board members of private companies.

Deepa Liyanage, Director, International Relations, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka, said that environmental policy making can be an arena for enhancing women’s participation. She noted the importance of both institutional and economic instruments, including training programs that will encourage women to enter technical fields of work and access greater opportunities.

Bernadette Resurrección, Senior Research Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute, reminded participants that “green growth” is not necessarily socially inclusive and just. Muhammad Khurshid, Director-General, South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme, highlighted the potential role of new technologies that are replacing biomass fuels and reducing the dependence of rural women on biomass for cooking, heating and lighting.

A group photo of Shamshad Akhtar (center), Executive Secretary, ESCAP; and the Panelists

View of the dais during the side event

Towards Resource Efficient Asia-Pacific Through Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth

Stefanos Fotiou, Director, Environment and Development Division, ESCAP, moderated a panel discussion on the potential for learnings from the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth (SINGG), a regional cooperation framework supported by the Government of the Republic of Korea government and endorsed by ESCAP in 2005 to assist the Asia-Pacific region’s progress towards resource-efficient practices. Lee Minho, Deputy Minister of Environmental Policy, Ministry of Environment, outlined SINGGI’s development since its launch in 2005, noting that projects are now in the final stage of development and offer lessons for green growth opportunities. June-Woo Park (Republic of Korea) gave the keynote presentation about national progress towards shared responsibility for sustainably managing waste. He explained that initially governments had sole responsibility for sanitary treatment; then consumers increasingly accepted responsibility through reducing and recycling; and finally producers have been asked to manage their products over their full life-cycle in a circular economy.

Phub Tshering (Bhutan) outlined a project managing waste glass bottles in Bhutan, which showed that, in a small market, it can be difficult to recycle glass products. Ahmed Murthaza (Maldives) outlined that the Maldives is implementing projects to introduce the 3Rs, but considerable marine transport is involved in managing the waste – which imposes costs and other pollution management challenges. Alma Shalabexdya (Kazakhstan) outlined her country’s efforts to decouple growth and resource consumption. Eujin Kwon (Republic of Korea) discussed how to share green growth learnings with other countries. She noted that the Korea Environment Corporation conducts annual conferences involving over 40 countries to demonstrate the outcomes of a range of green growth projects that Korea has supported.

June-Woo Park, Republic of Korea

Around the Venue

IISD/ENB team: (L-R) Ikuho Miyazawa, Writer; Sean Wu, Digital Editor; Richard de Ferranti, Writer; and Delia Paul, Team Leader, experiencing virtual reality glasses during a coffee break


Daily Web CoverageAbout | 5 Sep | 6 Sep | 7 Sep | 8 Sep | Summary
Specific funding for coverage of the first Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment
has been provided by UN Environment
UN Environment

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