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Highlights for Saturday, 26 March 2005

The Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials for the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific met on Saturday in plenary to consider: the Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development, the Regional Implementation Plan, the Seoul Initiative on Green Growth, and adoption of the meeting’s report. The Private Sector Forum continued its deliberations in the morning. The Eminent Economists Symposium convened to discuss economic aspects of sustainable development. 

Above photo L-R: Hak Su Kim, UNESCAP Executive Secretary congratulates Chair Young-Woo Park  for the successful conclusion of the Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials to the MCED 2005

Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials to the MCED 2005

Above photos L-R: Dais during the closing plenary of the Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials to the MCED 2005 with Rapporteur Muhammad Zahir Shah, Pakistan; Hak Su Kim, UNESCAP Executive Secretary, Young-Woo Park , Chair  of the Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials to the MCED 2005, Rae Kwon Chung, ESCAP and Pranesh Chandra Saha, ESCAP

Above photos L-R: Georgi Arzumanyan, Armenia; Benoit Foret, France; Rashad Novruzov, Azerbaijan; Chong Poon Chai, Aminuddin Hasim, and Nadzri Yahaya, Malaysia 

Ministerial Declaration: 

Chair Park Young Woo (Republic of Korea) opened the discussion on a new text of the declaration prepared by the working group. He reiterated that the declaration is non-binding and does not contain new concepts.  

Delegates agreed to add a paragraph in the preamble calling for donor countries to honor their commitments in providing financial and technical support to developing countries. Regarding a preambular paragraph recognizing that transboundary concerns in the North Western Asian region cause a substantial threat to environmentally sustainable economic growth, INDIA and INDONESIA suggested its deletion, while AZERBAIJAN and UZBEKISTAN supported its retention.  

On environmental sustainability and performance in the context of economic growth, CHINA suggested and delegates agreed to deletete of references to green accounting and taxation in relation to application of economic instruments. MARSHALL ISLANDS suggested and delegates accepted inclusion of references to technology transfer in the context of capacity building for environmental technologies. On the role of major groups, AUSTRALIA suggested highlighting the major role of civil society in encouraging environmentally sustainable of consumption. CHINA and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION opposed it, noting that it might diminish government’s role. The language agreed upon is “important role of civil society.”

Above photos L-R: Hassan Hazri and Yong Soon Tan, Singapore; Sudir Mital, India; Jae-Young Ko , Republic of Korea; Nikolay Pomoshchnikov, Russian Federation

Regarding the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development, 2006-2010, PALAU suggested taking into account children in integrating environmental concerns of vulnerable groups into national frameworks for poverty reduction. INDONESIA, supported by INDIA, proposed a reference to the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-Building in a paragraph urging donor countries to provide full support to the implementation of the Regional Implementation Plan. Delegates agreed to include the proposed reference in the preamble of the Plan, noting that the Bali Strategic Plan should be placed in a broader context. Delegates agreed to a proposal by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION that a final review report of progress in implementing of the Plan be submitted to MCED 2010. UZBEKISTAN, with some delegates opposing, proposed adding a new paragraph highlighting efforts of Central Asian countries in strengthening cooperation to enhance the sustainable development process in the subregion. Delegates agreed to add relevant language on acknowledging important work at the regional and subregional level in the chapeau of the section.

Development of the Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, 2006-2010: 

Delegates considered a revised text of the plan presented by the Chair. AUSTRALIA stressed the voluntary nature of national activities for improving environmental sustainability. INDIA proposed several amendments, including: highlighting extreme poverty as a major threat to sustainable development in the region; deleting a reference to globalization and the inconsistency between trade and environmental policy; deleting a reference to regional and subregional cooperation for solving transboundary environmental problems; and amending language on policy measures to encourage environmentally sustainable lifestyles. THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION suggested a reference to bilateral cooperation for considering environmental issues. JAPAN proposed a reference to the 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) concept as one of the action areas for promoting environmental protection for sustainable economic growth. Delegates approved the draft Regional Implementation Plan as amended.

Above photos L-R: Sudir Mital, India in discussion with Chair Woo; Sergey Samoylov, Uzbekistan; Carlos Lopes Ximenes, Timor-Leste

Seoul Initiative on Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth (Green Growth): 

Delegates considered a revised version of the Initiative, presented by the Chair. AUSTRALIA stressed that the Initiative has its origins in the Ministerial Declaration and should be read in the context of the Ministerial Declaration. On the target to enhance environmental performance, AZERBAIJAN proposed adding a reference to “concerned stakeholders”. Throughout the text, CHINA and AUSTRALIA preferred to use the “green growth approach” than the “green growth paradigm”. On improving energy efficiency, CHINA suggested deleting specific references to power plants and dams. CHINA also suggested deleting a paragraph on monitoring of activities undertaken within the framework of the Initiative. Regarding policy areas, AUSTRALIA stressed their voluntary nature. On funding for the Initiative, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION stressed that mobilization of funding for follow-up activities to the Initiative should be on voluntary basis. Delegates debated on a paragraph on policy areas to internalize environmental costs into the price structure by employing economic instruments, with CHINA, supported by INDONESIA and ARMENIA, suggesting deletion of specific references to “green GDP” and “eco tax”, while REPUBLIC OF KOREA supported its retention. A compromise text was agreed with references to green GDP and taxation. Delegates approved the draft Initiative as amended.

Above photos L-R: Hak-Su Kim, Executive Secretary of ESCAP; Rapporteur Muhammad Zahir Shah, Pakistan and Chair Young-Woo Park .

In the closing plenary, delegates considered the draft report of the meeting (E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(05)/Rep), which contains three annexes: draft Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development, Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, 2006-2010, and Seoul Initiative on Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth (Green Growth). With a number of minor amendments, delegates adopted the report and agreed to submit it to MCED 2005 for its consideration and adoption. 

In his closing remarks, Hak-Su Kim, Executive Secretary of ESCAP, commended the meeting for achieving its objectives by identifying progress and gaps in the area of green growth and sustainable production and consumption patterns. Chair Young-Woo Park  closed the meeting at 6:45 pm. 

Above photos L-R: Hak-Su Kim, Executive Secretary of ESCAP congratulates Rapporteur Muhammad Zahir Shah, Pakistan and Chair Young- Woo Park .


The Forum continued discussions in a session on Towards Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Management. Myung-Ja Kim, Republic of Korea, made the following recommendations: formulating coherent environmental management strategies; re-designing corporations’ organizational setup for more effective environmental management; setting up cleaner production and recovery and recycling systems; establishing a sound evaluation system for environmental performance; promoting green marketing and purchasing; and environmental accounting.

Above photos L-R: Delegates from the Private Sector who presented in today's Forum session include Sei-Hun Ion, Jung-Hwa Lee, and Young-Kee Kim

Samsung SDI, LG Electronics and Korea Electric Power Corporation introduced their activities, in particular: green purchasing; environmentally friendly auditing and environmental accounting; environmental performance assessment; ISO 14000 certification; installing environmentally friendly facilities; developing eco-friendly technologies and products; and operating eco-friendly recycling facilities and recovery systems for wastes. 

Yong Seung Lee, Kookmin Bank, Republic of Korea, highlighted the bank’s activities, including: signing of the UNEP Declaration of Financial Institution on Environment and Sustainable Development; implementation of “Environmental Risk Evaluation Guideline”; and investment in environmental projects and facilities. Yul Choi, Korea Green Foundation, made a presentation on the role of civil society for sustainability management. He said the Foundation is promoting changes of government policy and citizens’ life-style and monitoring companies’ environmental performance.


Above photos L-R: Environmental Economists who presented during the symposium include David McCauley, Hyun-Hoon Lee, Tanja Srebotnjak, Akio Morishima.

The Forum, co-organized by Kangwon National University, Korean Association of Public Finance and Economics, and ESCAP, was opened by Hak-Su Kim, Executive Secretary of ESCAP.  

Session 1 on cooperation among sectors for eco-efficiency comprised presentations on: economic development and environment in Asia; achieving environmentally sustainable economic growth in Asia; and programs for ensuring that Asia-Pacific economic growth is environmentally sustainable. 

Session 2 on application of indicators to analysis of environmental sustainability comprised presentations on: analysis of the Environmental Sustainability Index as a tool for environmental policymaking; the relationship between economic growth and environmental sustainability; and sustainable development indicators for Thailand.  

Above photos L-R: Environmental Economists who presented during the symposium Rae Kwon Chung, Jong Ho Hong, and Olivia la O' Castillo

Session 3 on measurement of costs and benefits of sustainable development comprised presentations on: making markets work for sustainable development; achieving green growth and the role of economics; and conflicts in pursuing green growth.  

Session 4 on accounting for environmental costs and benefits comprised presentations on: the importance of market signals in sustainable production and consumption (SPC); the value of nature in economic growth; and corporate programs for sustainability.

 Session 5 on environmental influences on decisions and costs in companies and societies comprised presentations on: the effects of SPC on pursuit of green growth; environmental regulation effects on competitiveness; and a regional cooperative approach for sustainable development in Asia.