The First Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit opened at the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, 5 September. The Summit brings together the seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED7), organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the second Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific, organized by UN Environment. The Senior Officials Meeting of MCED7 took place on Tuesday.
Wijarn Simachaya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, welcomed ministers and senior officials, highlighting the importance of the conference as a platform to provide regional commitment and concrete recommendations for implementing the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), noted resource efficiency challenges for the region, observing that 32% of the world’s GDP is produced in the Asia-Pacific region, whereas 60% of the world’s resources is consumed here. She encouraged countries to take their own policy measures, such as integrating resource efficiency targets into national development agendas, and introducing resource efficiency standards. Endah Murniningtyas, Co-Chair, eminent scientists group on the quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019, delivered the keynote address, in which she urged countries to give the same attention to their natural resources ‘carrying capacity’ as they would to their national borders.
In the morning, delegates elected meeting officers, adopted the meeting agenda (E/ESCAP/MCED(7)/L.1-UNEP/APEnvForum(2)/L.1), and reviewed implementation of previous regional commitments on sustainable development. A panel discussed ‘The environmental dimension of sustainable development’ with representatives of the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Republic of Korea, Bhutan, and Kazakhstan, followed by interventions from the floor.
In the afternoon, a multi-stakeholder panel discussed ‘Policy perspectives towards a resource-efficient Asia-Pacific region’, in which participants from government, business and civil society offered thoughts on ways to advance the sustainable development agenda in the region. Finally, delegates considered the text of a draft ministerial declaration (E/ESCAP/MCED(7)/WP.1) and agreed to recommend it, without amendment, to the Ministerial level.
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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Shamshad Akhtar, ESCAP Executive Secretary
View of the conference room during the morning session
Endah Murniningtyas, Co-Chair, GSDR 2019
Wijarn Simachaya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand
Chair Lorna Eden, Assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Fiji
Samuel Manetoali, Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Solomon Islands
Moderator Sirpa Jarvenpaa, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)
(L-R) Moderator Sirpa Jarvenpaa, GGGI; Samuel Manetoali, Solomon Islands; Lorna Eden, Fiji; Suho Seong, Republic of Korea; Tenzin Wangmo, Bhutan; Md Ziaul Haque, Bangladesh; and Aliya Shalabekova, Kazakhstan
Tenzin Wangmo, Bhutan
Suho Seong, Republic of Korea
Md Ziaul Haque, Bangladesh
Aliya Shalabekova, Kazakhstan
Deepa Ravindran, Pesticide Programme Coordinator, Pesticide Action Network Asia & Pacific
Oleg Kobiakov, Russian Federation
Moderator Shun Fung Chiu, International Resource Panel, consulting with speakers
(L-R) Moderator Shun Fung Chiu, International Resource Panel; Yoshinori Suga, Japan; Jumpote Himacharoen, Thailand; Akash Bhavsar, India; Bernadette Resurreccion, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); John Bongat, the Philippines; and Imogen Ingram, Cook Islands
Moderator Shun Fung Chiu, International Resource Panel
Jumpote Himacharoen, Thailand
John Bongat, the Philippines
Imogen Ingram, Cook Islands
Akash Bhavsar, India
Majid Shafiepour, Iran
Manoranjan Hota, India
A Common Path: How does the Paris Agreement promote the goal
of a resource-efficient and pollution-free Asia-Pacific?
Experts and practitioners in the field of climate action came together for a discussion on how the implementation of the Paris Agreement contributes to resource efficiency and pollution reduction in the Asia-Pacific region. Jens Radschinski, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, moderated a panel discussion involving Hideyuki Mori, President of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES); Friedel Sehlleier, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); and Gajanana Hedge, UNFCCC Secretariat.
The panel indicated the climate and sustainable development agendas are deeply interdependent, saying well-designed emissions reduction policies and actions can provide broader sustainable development benefits. They noted it is increasingly understood that tackling air pollution and climate change can lead to substantial gains, as technologies or policies often serve both objectives. For example, a recent study projected that global climate action aimed at avoiding 1.5 degree Celsius global warming can also avoid 4-7 million air pollution deaths each year.
Friedel Sehlleier, GIZ discussed energy efficiency in transport, including transport reduction and smoothing proposals. He noted that transport represents over a quarter of total energy consumption in the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other key economies, and that transport proposals have co-benefits in reducing carbon emissions and generating broader socio-economic benefits for cities.
Gajanana Hedge, UNFCCC Secretariat, and Hideyuki Mori, IGES, emphasized broad learnings from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), indicating that the most robust methodologies from a range of sectors, particularly those with potential for upscaling and SDG co-benefits, should be reflected in the Paris Agreement’s emissions trading mechanisms.
The panel concluded that well-designed climate action can greatly contribute to pollution prevention and enhancing resource efficiency, noting that measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) will be key to success.
(L-R) Jens Radschinski, UNFCCC secretariat; Hideyuki Mori, President of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES); Friedel Sehlleier, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); and Gajanana Hedge, UNFCCC secretariat
Jens Radschinski, UNFCCC secretariat
Gajanana Hedge, UNFCCC secretariat