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Highlights for Tuesday, 29 March 2005

Delegates to the Meeting of Ministers of the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific continued to meet in plenary on Tuesday to: discuss policy perspectives in the region; consider the report of the Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials, the draft ministerial declaration, the regional implementation plan, and the Seoul Initiative; and adopt the report of the Conference.

Above photo: 
Chair Kyul-Ho Kwak takes a customary bow during the closing session of MCED 2005


Above photos L-R: Hak-Su Kim, Executive Secretary of ESCAP and Kyul-Ho Kwak, Korean Minister of Environment; 

Above photos L-R: Joji Banuve, Fiji; Sir Geoffrey Henry, Cook Islands with Vaitoti Tupa in the foreground, Pehin Dato Ahmad Haji Jumat, Brunei Darussalam; Mohammad Saifur Rahman, Bangladesh

Policy Perspectives in the Asian and Pacific Region: 

BRUNEI DARUSSALAM and BANGLADESH endorsed the regional implementation plan to be adopted at the Conference, and called for its full implementation. MALDIVES outlined its commitment to sustainable development in the area of tourism, and called for further commitment from donor countries to climate change, which is affecting the country severely. SRI LANKA urged countries in the region to establish an early warning system to combat natural disasters. MONGOLIA outlined environmental problems that the country faces, in particular dust and sandstorms, land degradation, droughts, and natural disasters, and outlined its green wall zone forestation project.  

PAKISTAN proposed launching a regional campaign for public education on sustainable development, and called for strengthening early warning systems and increasing government investments for environmental projects. MACAO, CHINA said the rapid urbanization process has imposed pressure on the environment, and stressed the need for an holistic approach to strike a balance between environmental protection and economic growth. NIUE called for multilateral cooperation to protect marine resources to avoid over-fishing and over-exploitation. Noting that the priorities on its national agenda include poverty reduction, sustainable energy, and raising environmental awareness, THAILAND briefed participants on its progress in developing strategies for environmentally sustainable economic growth. CAMBODIA highlighted its comprehensive national programme on sustainable use of natural resources, particularly forest and marine resources, and stressed balancing growth and equity.

Highlighting its achievements in strengthening environmental governance, AZERBAIJAN stressed subregional cooperation for addressing transboundary environmental concerns. PALAU said that her country has adopted a number of environmental policies, including, inter alia, a national strategy and action plan for sustainable development and Marine Protection Act, and stressed: strengthening traditional use of natural resources; integrating traditional knowledge into science and technology; and promoting international cooperation and partnership. Noting that climate adaptation and disaster management strategies are priorities for its country, COOK ISLANDS said it strongly supports subregional initiatives for sustainable development. Stressing cross-cutting issues of development policy, SAMOA said ensuring implementation of regional initiatives should be a priority. On behalf of Pacific Islands States, he highlighted development of a subregional strategic plan.

Above photos L-R: Long Man Ao, Macao, China; David Poihega talking to Minister Toke Talagi, Niue; Daniel Le Gargagasson, France; and Alma Ridep-Morris, Palau

AUSTRALIA drew attention to outcomes of a policy case study on promoting environmentally sustainable agriculture, which highlight the importance of: promoting eco-efficiency; establishing good governance systems; allocating appropriate resources; and ensuring that policy is based on sound science and a market based approach. FIJI highlighted its achievements in strengthening national environmental policy and legislation and stated that its government works closely in partnership with local communities. He also stressed strengthening regional cooperation and partnership for sustainable development. ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN emphasized its achievements in environmental protection such as the adoption of a long-term water strategy and promotion of low carbon energy systems. He also stressed the role of private-public partnership in decoupling economic growth and environmental degradation. Noting that environmental considerations are incorporated in all development schemes of his country, TIMOR LESTE stressed the importance of awareness raising and regional and subregional cooperation for environment and development. 

Stressing the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), the PHILIPPINES said governments should ensure development of clean production technologies for SMEs. He also highlighted the importance of international financial support in promoting sustainable development in the region. VANUATU appealed to donor countries to provide assistance for the full implementation of the outcomes of the Conference. KAZAKHSTAN outlined its national legislation on waste management, and proposed establishing a new international agreement on drinking water. AFGHANISTAN outlined some of its geographical and environmental features and recent trends of environmental protection. LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC drew attention to obstacles facing the country, including institutional capacity, limited access to technology and finance, and called for international support in this regard. UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that UNESCO’s recent launching of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development will help to solve environmental problems faced in the 21st century. REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER FOR CENTRAL ASIA highlighted regional and subregional cooperation and urged for implementation of the outcomes of the Conference.

Above photos L-R: Abdullah Kamaludeen, Maldives; Mohamad Akbar Khalid, Afghanistan; Mareth Mok, Cambodia; Juan E. Dayang, the Philippines
Above photos L-R: Khatanbaatar Jambal, Minister Ulambayar Barsbold, and Chimed Gonchigsumlaa, Mongolia; Bulat Bekniyazov, Kazakhstan; Majid Shafie-Pour, Islamic Republic of Iran

Report of the Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials and Consideration and Adoption of the Ministerial Declaration, the Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, 2006-2010, and the Seoul Initiative on Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth “Green Growth”:

Young-Woo Park (Republic of Korea), Chairperson of the Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials that took place prior to the Conference presented the report of the meeting (E/ESCAP/MCED(05)/1), which includes three annexes: the Ministerial Declaration, the Regional Implementation Plan, and the Seoul Initiative.

FRANCE emphasized the role of local communities in achieving green growth by implementing Agenda 21 and providing services to local people, and proposed establishing an intergovernmental panel on early warning system. He reiterated the French proposal of transforming UNEP into a United Nations Environment Organization. REPUBLIC OF KOREA appealed to countries in the region to actively participate in the Seoul Initiative Network for Green Growth.

Delegates adopted the report and its annexes without amendments.   

Above photos L-R: Young-Woo Park (Republic of Korea), Chairperson of the Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials; Rapporteur W.R.M.S. Wickramasinghe (Sri Lanka); Hak-Su Kim, Executive Secretary of ESCAP; Chair Kyul-Ho Kwak 

Adoption of the Report of the Conference: Rapporteur W.R.M.S. Wickramasinghe (Sri Lanka) introduced the report of the Conference (E/ESCAP/MCED(05)/Rep.). On paragraphs relating to the relationship between economic growth, poverty reduction and environmental degradation, INDIA, supported by MALAYSIA, proposed amendments highlighting: the importance of simultaneously addressing environmental protection and social development where economic growth is a prerequisite to reduce poverty; and stressing that green growth approaches should balance the three pillars of sustainable development. MALAYSIA proposed highlighting the severity and consequences of the recent tsunami and other natural disasters in the region. Delegates adopted the report of the Conference with these amendments.

Closing Session: Hak-Su Kim, Executive Secretary of ESCAP, delivered a closing statement. He commended delegations’ commitment and enthusiasm in promoting environmentally sustainable economic growth, and said the main messages of the Conference stress the need to: move away from business as usual policies; convert environmental challenges into opportunities; and engage stakeholders in the pursuit of green growth.  He also said the Conference has paved the way towards sustainable development in the region.

In his closing remarks, Chair Kyul-Ho Kwak highlighted the important outcomes of the Conference: the Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development; the Regional Implementation Plan; and the Seoul Initiative.

Chair Kyul-Ho Kwak gaveled the meeting to a close at 5:15 pm.

Above photos: Chair Kyul-Ho Kwak takes a customary bow; Chair Kyul-Ho Kwak being congratulated for the successful conclusion of MCED 2005.




Above photos: MCED ENB 2005 TEAM Franz Dejon, Kunbao Xia, Changbo Bai, Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, and William McPherson; ENB in action (speed typing at 200 wpm)