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Highlights for Friday, 25 March 2005

The Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials for the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific convened in a plenary session during the morning and a working group from the afternoon till late in the evening to consider: the draft Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development, Regional Implementation Plan, and Seoul Initiative on Green Growth. Participants to the Eminent Scientists Symposium continued discussions. The Private Sector Forum convened to consider corporate and public policies to promote green growth. A briefing on North East Asia Regional Cooperation for Prevention and Control of Dust and Sandstorms took place. 

Above photo: View of the plenary  during the Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials.


Preparatory Meeting of Senior Officials to the MCED 2005


Above photos L-R: Dais during the morning plenary with Young-Woo Park  (left), Chair of MCED 2005, Rae-Kwon Chung, ESCAP and Pranesh Chandra Saha, ESCAP; view of the drafting group led by Chair Woo. 



Above photos L-R: Manasa Sovaki, Fiji; Dinh Xuan Hung, Viet Nam; Deborah Barker, Marshall Islands

Ministerial Declaration: 

Delegates held a general discussion on the draft declaration, with some expressing support for the document. Chair Park Young Woo (Republic of Korea) requested delegates to consider the voluntary nature of the ministerial declaration in their deliberations. MARSHALL ISLANDS, supported by NIUE and AUSTRALIA, proposed that sustainable use of marine and coastal resources be highlighted in the declaration. FIJI supported strengthening environmental legislation and promoting effective partnership. CHINA stressed balancing all aspects of sustainable development, including social and cultural, and said fulfillment of international obligations such as official development assistance, technology transfer and capacity building for developing countries should also be taken into account. Noting its progress in implementing the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, SAMOA said that practical implementation of the declaration is a key priority. JAPAN proposed references to promoting the 3R (reduce, re-use and recycle) concept and engaging multi-stakeholder dialogues, such as the Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED). Drawing attention to the voluntary nature of the declaration, INDIA suggested it be amended accordingly. Highlighting lessons learnt from the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), VIET NAM stressed: promoting environmental education; engaging all stakeholders; decentralization of authority to the local level; incorporating environmental considerations into socioeconomic plans at all levels; and promoting international cooperation, in particular, financial and technical assistance. TAJIKISTAN suggested more emphasis on strengthening international cooperation.



Above photos L-R: Takashi Omura, Japan; Tu'u 'u Ieti Taule'alo, Samoa; Kodir Boturov, Tajikistan


AUSTRALIA highlighted language consistency with the Rio and Johannesburg Declarations. INDONESIA highlighted the role of all stakeholders in achieving MDGs, regional cooperation and institutional capacity building. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said that environmental services should be stimulated and bilateral cooperation be emphasized. COOK ISLANDS said that small island state’s economic scale and vulnerability should be taken into consideration.

INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN and INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF WOMEN suggested references to gender equality and women’s role in disaster management. UN Development Programme said that green growth should take into account interests of the poor and women and children, which are both defined in the Millennium Development Goals.

Following general discussion in plenary, a working group was established to consider the draft declaration. Noting lack of adequate resources and necessary capacities, one delegate proposed a new preambular paragraph stressing the urgent need for financial and technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries. Another delegate suggested references in the preamble to: changing consumption patterns in developed countries, as stated in the JPOI, and the importance of poverty eradication.

Some delegates suggested replacing “green growth” with “environmentally sustainable economic growth”. In a paragraph regarding using economic instruments to support green growth, some delegations opposed a reference to “green accounting”. Noting regional diversity, some countries supported a paragraph highlighting the importance of traditional and cultural values in promoting sustainable consumption patterns. Some delegations suggested a reference to strengthening activities to mitigate adverse impacts of sandstorms, droughts and cyclones. Several countries suggested deleting paragraphs related to environmental compliance and timely and thorough implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.



Above photos L-R: Vladmir Maximov and Yury Yu Aleksandrovkiy, Russian Federation; Sachiko Okumura, International alliance of Women (IAW); Vaitoti Tupa, Cook Islands

Regarding the text on promotion of environment as a driver of economic growth, delegates agreed to an amendment that environment is not an obstacle to economic growth, but offers opportunities for sustainable growth. Delegates also agreed to stress stakeholders’ engagement in: promotion of markets for environmental technologies, products and services; encouraging research, development and demonstration of environmental technologies; fostering a communication strategy on the concept of “green growth”; and promoting capacity building for environmental technology in developing countries.

The working group continued its deliberations into late in the evening. 

Development of 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): 

The Secretariat introduced the draft Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, 2006-2010 (E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(05)/5), and Seoul Initiative on Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth (Green Growth) (E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(05)/6). Delegates made preliminary comments on the aforementioned documents. Noting the importance of capacity building and exchange of best practices, REPUBLIC OF KOREA proposed establishing a Seoul Initiative Network to support the implementation of the Seoul Initiative.



Above photos L-R: Shafique Alam Mehdi, Bangladesh; Tshering Tashi, Bhutan; Li Yong and Luo Delong, China 

EMINENT SCIENTISTS SYMPOSIUM: 

Regional Air Quality, Forestry and Biodiversity: 

This session discussed the need for science to address air pollution effects on climate, health and biodiversity with presentations on smoke and dust, atmospheric aerosols, carbon sequestration, and indigenous knowledge.

Above photos L-R: Scientists who presented during this session include V. Ramanathan, Jariya Boonjawat, Mohd Nor Salleh, Young-Sin Chun, Peter Brimblecombe, and Ferdousi Begum


Responses to Climate Change and Disasters: 

This session addressed the need for early warning systems (EWS) and disaster management with presentations on: climate change in Western China; climate change adaptation and mitigation in Asia and the Pacific; the need for an EWS in Asia and the Pacific; disaster risk reduction in Asia and the Pacific; and tsunami impacts in Sri Lanka.    


Above photos L-R: Scientists who presented during this session include Dahe Qin, Linda Anne Stevenson, Sálvano Briceño, and Michael Glantz


Environment Industry, Governance and Tools for Environmental Management: 

This session focused on implementation of environmental assessment in the public and private sectors with presentations on: environmental industry development; environmental governance and regional seas programs; environmental life cycle assessment; and an environmental assessment system in Korea.  

Above photos L-R: Scientists who presented during this session include Alvin Culaba, Yong-Il Song, and Ryokichi Hirono

Panel Discussion with Invited Scientists and Ministers: 

This session discussed information from scientists needed for policymaking, and the need for integration of science, politics and business, with education as a vehicle for conveying science into policymaking.



Above photo: Delegates from the Eminent Scientists Symposium


THE PRIVATE SECTOR FORUM: 

The Forum, under the theme of corporate and public policies to promote green growth, was sponsored by the Korean Business Council for Sustainable Development (KBCSD), in cooperation with ADB and ESCAP. 

In his opening address, Dong-Soo Hur, KBCSD, said that a new development paradigm is rising and business is expected to assume greater social responsibilities. Sun-Sook Park, Vice Minister of Minister, Republic of Korea, said that the government and business should work hand in hand to promote green growth. Bindu Lohani, Asian Development Bank (ADB), said that the government should create an enabling environment and the private sector should promote green growth and shoulder social responsibilities. Hak-Su Kim, Executive Secretary, ESCAP, said that corporations should take measures to increase their business opportunities by adopting green growth policies.


Above photos L-R: Speakers during this session include Tak Hur, Hae Bong Chung, Peter King and Sang-Eun Lee

The need for environmental management and corporate responsibility: 

Participants from Konkuk University and  Eco-Frontier Co, Republic of Korea, made presentations on environmental management and corporate responsibility, highlighting the life-cycle approach, improving resource productivity, realizing business benefits and creating sustainable enterprises, and Korea’s Environment-friendly Company Certification System. ADB introduced its “Asian Environment Outlook 2005” report, which focuses on corporate responsibility for environmental performance in Asia and the Pacific.


Above photos L-R: Luncheon speakers during the visual presentation of case studies on Public-Private Partnerships with Hongpeng Liu, ESCAP, Nan Joo Kim, Republic of Korea and Pranesh Chandra Saha, ESCAP

Case Studies on Environmental Management and Green Business Opportunities: Yuhan– Kimberly, Hyundai Motor and LG Caltex Oil, Samsung Everland made presentations on their vision, strategies, measures and plans for corporate environmental management for producing environmentally friendly products.


BRIEFING ON ADB-GEF REGIONAL ASSISTANCE PROJECT FOR PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF DUST AND SANDSTORMS (DSS) IN NORTHEAST ASIA:

At the briefing, presentations were made on: the ADB-GEF Regional Technical Assistance Project; the proposed program to establish regional monitoring and EWS against DSS; and an investment strategy for prevention and mitigation.