Highlights and images for 6 September 2017



The second day of the Summit saw the opening of the senior officials’ segment of the Second Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific, organized by UN Environment. Dechen Tsering, Director, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, UN Environment, encouraged the region to build on its good cooperation to date.

Wijarn Simachaya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand, noted the meeting will demonstrate Member States’ commitment to achieving a pollution-free planet. Ramon Paje (Philippines), Vice-President for Asia-Pacific, UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), explained that the Forum outcome will feed into UNEA-3 deliberations in December 2017.

In the morning, delegates elected the meeting officials and adopted the meeting agenda (E/ESCAP/MCED(7)/L.1-UNEP/APEnvForum(2)/L.1). They discussed progress on implementation of UNEA-2 commitments (UNEP/APEnvForum(2)/1) and institutional arrangements for the Forum (UNEP/APEnvForum(2)/5).

Delegates highlighted national actions toward the UNEA-3 theme of ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet’, and provided reactions to the UNEA-3 draft resolutions and ministerial declaration (UNEP/APEnvForum(2)/2; UNEP/APEnvForum(2)/INF/1; UNEP/APEnvForum(2)/3 and UNEP/APEnvForum(2)/4). They strongly supported taking concerted action on waste management, environmental health strategies, transboundary air pollution, and marine litter.

The Philippines circulated their draft resolution submitted to the UNEA Secretariat on 24 August, which called for synchronization of objectives and activities of multilateral environment agreements (MEAs). The meeting noted this has been the only draft resolution submitted so far from an Asia-Pacific country.

At the end of the day, delegates adopted the meeting reports of the two senior officials meetings, one relating to the Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-7) (E/ESCAP/MCED(7)/CRP.1) and the other relating to the Second Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific (UNEP/APEnvForum(2)/6). The reports will be forwarded to the relevant ministerial segments this week.

Side events took place at lunchtime and in the evening, on the Astana Green Bridge Initiative, and climate geoengineering in the Asia-Pacific.

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

Dechen Tsering, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, UN Environment

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

Wijarn Simachaya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand

Subrata Sinha, Conference Secretary and Regional Environmental Affairs Officer, UN Environment; consulting with Wijarn Simachaya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand

Taefu Lemi, Associate Minister, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Samoa, with Conference Secretary Subrata Sinha, UNEP

Anuradha Gyawali, Nepal

Pongboon Pongtong, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Thailand

Hanieh Moghani, Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment (CENESTA)

Tu Ruihe, China

Vibhuti Joshi, Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON)

Afternoon Session

Chair Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan

Raza Bashir Tarar, Vice chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to UN Environment, Pakistan

Laksmi Dhewanthi, Indonesia

Midhath Abdul Rasheed, Maldives

Hitoshi Kozaki, First Secretary, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to ESCAP, Japan

Hazri Hassan, Director of International Policy Division, Singapore

Side Event

Astana Green Bridge Initiative: Towards Intra-Regional Partnerships for Sustainable Development

This lunchtime side event discussed intra-regional cooperation towards a resource-efficient and environmentally friendly Asia-Pacific region.

Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Director, ESCAP, presented progress of the Astana Green Bridge Initiative to date, and stressed its purpose to unite efforts of countries toward ‘green’ economic growth through public-private partnerships in the region. She introduced Kazakhstan’s proposal to open a Green Technologies Center for promoting international cooperation on transfer of green technologies.

Representatives of Kazakhstan, Finland, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Samoa, and Bangladesh noted the Astana Green Bridge Initiative has encouraged ‘their’ countries to enhance public-private partnership in greening technology and promoting technology transfer. Speakers said that the partnership has been useful for policy formulation on green economy in relation to the SDGs. They mentioned examples of cross-ministerial planning in their respective countries, with examples including: the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development, which has integrated the SDGs into national plans through stakeholder consultations; and Mongolia’s Sustainable Development Vision 2030, which has aimed to synergize overlapping issue areas and enhance coordination among line ministries.

Speakers called for the proposed Center to be rapidly operationalized as a ‘strong’ center of excellence for accumulating knowledge and experiences, facilitating knowledge sharing and technology transfer, and undertaking capacity building with a focus on climate resilience and energy-efficient technology.

Satu Suikkari-Kleven, Finland

Raushan Yesbulatova, Kazakhstan

Is the Asia-Pacific Ready for Climate Geoengineering?

This side event took place in the evening, hosted by the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance initiative (C2G2).

Janos Pasztor, Executive Director, Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative (C2G2) opened the event and welcomed participants, noting that climate geoengineering – defined as large-scale, deliberate interventions in the Earth system to counteract climate change – is a relatively new issue in the policy arena. Climate geoengineering refers to two different types of technologies that aim to address global warming: Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies that draw out carbon from the atmosphere; and Solar Radiation Management, which seeks to cool the planet by reflecting solar radiation away from the Earth.

Stressing that “even if all the emissions stop today, we will still face considerable amount of global warming,” Pasztor explained it is important to initiate a dialogue between governments, intergovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders, and raise awareness of this technology, which is being posed as a potential solution to climate change.

Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary, ESCAP, said that current action on climate change is insufficient to achieve the Paris Agreement, leading to interest in alternative technologies. She encouraged participants to start dialogue on this new technology.

Alexander Juras, Chief, Major Groups and Stakeholders Branch, UNEP, indicated climate geoengineering has potential to attract business interest and create new market opportunities. He pointed out that the international system is good at kicking off and raising awareness of new issues, but needs to improve its monitoring mechanisms.

Neth Daño, Asia Director, Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group) referred to a case in which a foreign research group had conducted a geoengineering experiment in a coastal area of the Philippines to generate carbon credits for private sale. She urged governments to become more aware of how the technology is being applied, noting that, in this case, the experiment had been conducted without the knowledge or approval of the government.

Janos Pasztor, C2G2

Shamshad Akhtar, ESCAP Executive Secretary

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