ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
EMERGING ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL:
(Item 6 (b) of the provisional agenda)
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT ON ITS FIRST SESSION
Note by the secretariat
1. Subregional cooperation for environmental programmes
1. The Committee urged the secretariat to facilitate enhanced cooperation among subregional environmental programmes to promote exchange of information on best practices and national experience in pollution control, environmental management and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies.
2. The Committee requested the secretariat to provide in further detail the institutional structure through which subregional arrangements could mobilize cooperative activities, as well as their linkages with other subregional and regional arrangements to meet pending environmental problems. The Committee supported the efforts by the secretariat for the North-East Asian Subregional Programme of Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC). It suggested that that cooperation might be enhanced with the strengthening of the institutional mechanism.
3. The Committee urged the secretariat to strengthen the linkages between subregional environmental cooperation programmes and the Regional Action Programme for Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development, 1996-2000, as well as to strengthen the Subcommittee on Environment and Sustainable Development under the Regional Inter-agency Committee for Asia and the Pacific (RICAP), to promote subregional environmental programmes, in particular for cooperation on transboundary environmental issues, and to enhance capacity-building at the subregional level for strategic environmental planning and management.
4. The Committee urged the donors to increase funding support for the implementation of projects under subregional environmental programmes. In particular, it requested the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank to enhance their support for the strengthening of regional and subregional environmental cooperation.
5. The Committee requested that the secretariat enhance its efforts towards regional and subregional environmental cooperation in order to meet the complex and new challenges for environmental issues in the twenty-first century. It suggested that the secretariat should conduct studies on global economic conditions and the related socio-environmental impact in the region.
6. The Committee recommended that the secretariat should undertake preparations for the fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, to be held in 2000, with closer involvement of the subregional organizations.
2. Transfer and adoption of environmentally sound technology
7. The Committee encouraged further efforts by developed countries to provide assistance to developing countries in acquiring privately owned environmentally sound technologies on concessional terms. It was also suggested that ESCAP, UNDP, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) should buy proprietary technologies and sell them on concessional terms to the developing countries.
8. The Committee stressed that the secretariat needed to devote greater resources to assisting developing members and associate members in building the requisite capacity to adopt cleaner technologies; to implement environmental management systems, such as ISO 14000; and to make life- cycle and environmental technology assessments.
9. The Committee recognized the importance of regional cooperative and partnership arrangements among member governments, donor agencies, and private and public sector enterprises with a view to promoting investment in cleaner production technologies. It also stressed the need for the secretariat to strengthen its regional coordinating role in the transfer of environmentally sound technologies and improve its cooperation with UNDP, UNEP, the World Bank, UNIDO, ADB and other relevant organizations.
10. The Committee stressed the need for further capacity-building initiatives related to information-sharing and human resources development on issues related to environmentally sound technologies by making full use of the services of the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) and other related technical bodies.
11. The Committee emphasized the need for the secretariat to undertake studies analysing the demand for environmentally sound technologies so as to facilitate the maximum use of resources from existing financial institutions.
12. The Committee suggested consideration of a separate research and development (R and D) fund to support R and D initiatives for the indigenous development of the technologies in selected areas. In addition, collaborative R and D efforts between industrial and academic laboratories of the developed countries with those of the developing ones should be promoted.
13. The Committee suggested consideration of the establishment of a special credit line to be made available to developing members and associate members so as to facilitate switching from polluting technologies to environmentally sound technologies. Loans for that purpose might be provided on the same terms as the soft loans of the World Bank and ADB.
3. Integrated development and management of water resources and economical use of water
14. The Committee recognized that the availability of water could become a major limiting factor in socio-economic development in the region, and that there was a need for the improved management and conservation of water. It identified the main policy issues required for improvement in the economical use of water as the following: water conservation management options; the creation of an organizational framework for improving water-use efficiency; public information and education; and international cooperation.
15. The Committee recognized the need to enhance national capacity to achieve rational water use in all sectors and to ensure effective coordination among agencies. It supported the recommendation that high priority should be accorded to the formulation and implementation of national water management policies. In that regard, it emphasized the need to adopt an integrated and holistic approach. It was also recommended that such policy options should be applied in a consistent manner, that institutional and legal frameworks should be streamlined, and that appropriate mechanisms should be established.
16. The Committee identified the importance of generating public support for policy action in water conservation, the creation of water conservation committees at various levels, and ensuring the adequate participation of the public, non-governmental organizations and the private sector in water-saving activities. The Committee also recognized the importance of the promotion of regional and subregional cooperation to strengthen national capacity. It directed the ESCAP secretariat and urged other United Nations agencies, and multilateral and bilateral organizations to support the wide dissemination of experience and information related to integrated water resources management and the rational use of water resources by organizing seminars, workshops and expert group meetings, preparing guidance materials and providing advisory services.
4. Promoting the development of remote-sensing and spatial information systems for evaluating, monitoring, forecasting and managing natural resources, natural disasters and the environment
17. The Committee stressed the important role played by remote-sensing and spatial information systems in natural resources, and environment and disaster management, particularly in the light of the emerging technology trends which indicated the convergence of space technologies into the information superhighway. It noted that those technological advances would provide multiple opportunities for decision makers to integrate those enhanced services into developmental planning in an appropriate manner.
18. The Committee expressed satisfaction in regard to the benefits accrued by the developing countries in the region through the effective implementation of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development (RESAP), and emphasized the need for its continuance, with enhanced activities, in the coming years.
19. The Committee expressed satisfaction with the progress in implementation of the programme of work during the period January to June 1998. It requested that improvements be made in the quality of analysis of reports, based on the new United Nations evaluation method. The Committee noted with appreciation the efforts of the secretariat to promote activities in environmental cooperation and sustainable development, from which many members had benefited and positive results had been achieved. It was noted that the secretariat had achieved those results despite reduced resources.
20. The Committee acknowledged that significant progress had been made since the launching of RESAP in 1994. It agreed on the issues identified by the secretariat for action under the planned Minimum Common Programme under phase II of RESAP, in particular human resources development, private sector involvement and technology transfer-related issues.
21. The Committee recognized the potential importance of the second Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific in further consolidating the gains achieved through the RESAP network, and urged the secretariat to allocate the necessary resources to ensure the success of the Conference. In that regard, the secretariat was requested to keep members and associate members informed of the progress of the preparatory activities for the Conference.
22. Regarding the proposed outline of the programme of work, 2000-2001, the Committee requested the secretariat to prioritize its proposed activities in response to the needs of ESCAP members and associate members, and to allocate its resources accordingly. It expressed concern about the decline in funding support, especially from UNDP. The Committee recommended that action to improve cooperation with UNDP should be pursued jointly by the secretariat and ESCAP member governments.
1. Subregional cooperation for environmental programmes
23. The Committee had before it document E/ESCAP/ENRD/1. It noted that there was a need for enhanced modalities for regional and subregional environmental cooperation to help prepare the countries in the region, particularly developing countries, to meet the complex and new challenges for the twenty-first century.
24. The Committee expressed concern over the economic difficulties in the region and noted that the current priorities on economic policies would not hinder environmental policy planning and the implementation of environmental action programmes and projects in the region.
25. The Committee recognized that the scale and complexity of the regional environmental problems required coordinated participation and collaborative efforts through subregional environmental programmes, especially under the economic difficulties being faced by some members and associate members. In that connection, the Committee generally supported the activities of the secretariat in enhancing the subregional environmental programmes and acknowledged the ongoing efforts made by members and associate members to strengthen regional, subregional and inter-subregional cooperation for environmental conservation and management.
26. The Committee emphasized the need for developing effective means of cooperation between subregional and regional activities for combating regional transboundary environmental issues, such as forest fire and haze in South-East Asia.
27. The Committee emphasized the need for increasing cooperation among subregional environmental programmes for enhancing capacity-building in members and associate members for environmental management, especially in the field of environmental policy planning, legal and regulatory frameworks, market-based and economic instruments, integrated environmental and economic accounting, environmental impact assessment, national state-of-the-environment reports and environmentally sound technologies, such as those for renewable energy and clean production. In that respect, the Committee noted that the Internet would be an effective means for the exchange of information on environmental management in the region.
28. The Committee noted with appreciation the support of the secretariat for NEASPEC, which addressed common environmental problems such as transboundary movements of air pollutants in the North-East Asian region. It noted the positive results of the Third and Fourth Meetings of Senior Officials, and welcomed the offer of the Government of Japan to host its Fifth Meeting, to be held at Kobe, Japan, in February 1999.
29. The Committee noted with appreciation that the report on the state of the environment prepared by the secretariat every five years described wide-ranging environmental issues at the regional level. It welcomed the generous funding assistance from the Government of Japan for the preparation of the next report, to be issued in 2000, which would include comprehensive reviews and analysis on environmental issues in the region, in order to provide inputs into the fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific.
30. The Committee was briefed on several subregional and other environmental initiatives undertaken by the members and associate members. It took note of the programmes of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia, and the Asia-Pacific Network on Climate Change. It also welcomed the suggestions with regard to technical assistance and the sharing of experience, expertise and information, and stressed that those and similar programmes should be strengthened.
31. The Committee noted that there were many areas of environmental management in which countries of the region could benefit by close cooperation, such as legislation, training, and enforcement and compliance. It also noted that exchange of information could be initiated in some common areas, such as air-quality monitoring, vehicle emissions, waste management, the promotion of energy conservation and renewable energy technologies, and afforestation. The Committee noted with appreciation the willingness of countries to share their experience in that regard.
32. Statements were made by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme on their related activities and collaboration with ESCAP. The Committee took note of the offer of ECO for closer linkages in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by ESCAP and ECO.
2. Transfer and adoption of environmentally sound technology
33. The Committee had before it documents E/ESCAP/ENRD/2 and ENRD/INF.1. It generally endorsed the views and ideas contained in document E/ESCAP/ENRD/2. It further expressed its appreciation of the organization of a panel discussion on the following topics:
(d) Technological partnerships and networking between holders of environmentally sound technologies and potential users.
34. The Committee observed that, while assistance was provided to developing countries in areas such as technical information exchange, training, and capacity-building related to the transfer, development and adoption of environmentally sound technologies, less than adequate funds had been made available for the actual transfer of cleaner technologies. In that regard, the Committee stressed that greater financial resources should be made available to developing countries so that they could acquire technology to implement measures for the promotion of sustainable development, and that developed countries should take more steps to enhance the access of developing countries to and transfer of patent-protected as well as non-proprietary environmentally sound technologies on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms.
35. The Committee recognized the importance of government-enacted legislation, policies and incentives for investment, as key factors in creating a market for environmentally sound technologies. It further felt that technical assistance to developing countries might be increased in those areas as well as in upgrading national capacity for information-sharing and dissemination; technology selection and assessment; and transferring clean technology to various sectors.
36. The Committee acknowledged the necessity for examining the issue of the transfer and adoption of environmentally sound technologies from a holistic perspective and the need to ensure the multisectoral integration of policies, planning and programming in that regard. That should include developing links among the various stakeholders in society to maximize their efficiency in understanding, disseminating and implementing technologies for sustainable development.
37. The Committee noted the importance of cleaner production and the diffusion of environmental management systems, such as ISO 14000, and that those two concepts were related and mutually supportive. Notwithstanding the recent economic crisis, it felt that the improvement of production systems through technologies and processes that utilized resources more efficiently and produced less waste was an important pathway towards the sustainability and competitiveness of both private and public sector industries in the region.
38. The Committee held the view that regional cooperative programmes in the areas of dissemination of information related to environmentally sound technologies, research and development, preparation of environmental impact and life-cycle assessments, and ISO 14000, needed to be developed urgently and substantially supported. It was noted that some countries of the region had already developed methodologies to assess the societal and long-term environmental impact of technologies.
39. The Committee stated that more attention needed to be given to common heritage technologies in critical areas of sustainable economic development, which could lead to greater cooperation and partnerships between developed and developing countries in the promotion and use of environmentally sound indigenous technologies and the related knowledge that existed in both developed and developing countries. The Committee observed that joint ventures or other forms of foreign direct investment in developing countries that combined the high-tech industrial knowledge of developed country companies with the low-tech indigenous knowledge of the host country enterprises could become effective mechanisms for stimulating the demand for environmentally sound technologies, thus promoting their transfer to developing countries in the region.
40. The Committee noted with interest the achievements of some developing members and associate members in upgrading their capacity as well as enhancing their resources to facilitate the transfer and adoption of environmentally sound technologies since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in 1992. Through the establishment of national Agenda 21 offices or their equivalent, the capability required to assess, develop, manage and apply new technologies had been significantly strengthened.
41. The Committee noted with appreciation the ongoing work of APCTT in the promotion of environmentally sound technologies, and its efficient networking and capacity-building efforts with national institutions in that area. The Centre was requested to further intensify its efforts to promote the transfer to and adoption of those technologies by small and medium enterprises.
3. Integrated development and management of water resources and economical use of water
42. The Committee endorsed the recommendations contained in secretariat document E/ESCAP/ENRD/3 on the integrated development and management of water resources and economical use of water, and noted with deep concern that, unless timely action was taken, water could become a major limiting factor in the socio-economic development of the region in view of the growing demand and the deteriorating water quality.
43. The Committee recognized the urgent need for improved water resources management and conservation, particularly in view of the diminishing availability, expanding scarcity and increasing use of water. The Committee was particularly concerned that pollution of rivers, lakes, coastal waters and groundwater caused by disposal of untreated or partially treated domestic sewage, industrial pollution and agricultural run-offs not only caused environmental degradation but also limited the availability of much-needed freshwater resources.
44. The Committee urged the implementation of legal, institutional and economic measures, placing emphasis on water demand management, as well as water supply management, and reduction of losses from urban water supply systems; conservation of domestic water supplies by the application of water-saving devices as well as by other water conservation measures; industrial water usage minimization by introducing water-saving technologies, recycling techniques and reuse of waste water; and increasing the efficiency of agricultural practices and irrigation systems to realize water savings to enable reallocation of the water saved.
45. The Committee recognized the importance of the formulation and implementation of policies and of having an adequate organizational framework for improving water-use efficiency, adequate public information and education, particularly through improved institutional cooperation arrangements between the large number of the agencies involved; the formulation and/or enforcement of water laws addressing various related problems; and developing adequate and appropriate economic instruments and stronger international cooperation. In that respect, it was stated that the socio-economic value of water should be recognized, rather than regarding it purely as an economic good, and that appropriate measures should be taken so that safe water could be made accessible to all to meet at least their basic needs.
46. The Committee urged increased levels of international cooperation, in both technical support and fund allocation, towards meeting the requirements for providing safe drinking water and ensuring water security; assisting in water conservation and pollution control; and tackling water-related natural disasters, including flooding, waterlogging and drought.
47. The Committee noted with interest the results of the recent ESCAP survey on the integration of water resources management into economic and social development plans.
48. Many delegations presented an account of recent developments in their respective countries on various aspects of the integrated development and management of water resources and economical use of water, and offered to share their experience with other countries. It was recognized that further efforts were required to ensure wide acceptance of the integrated water resources development and management concept.
49. The Committee expressed appreciation the contribution of the donor countries, particularly China, Japan and the Netherlands, which had been providing generous support to the secretariat in the field of water resources. The representative of Japan indicated that his country attached great importance to the issue of the economical use of water in the region, and expressed his Government's intention to continue to support the follow-up activities on that issue, upon request from the secretariat.
50. The Committee noted with interest the statements by the representatives of ECO and the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction Secretariat on the work being undertaken by their respective organizations in the fields of freshwater resources and water-related natural disaster reduction.
4. Promoting the development of remote-sensing and spatial information systems for evaluating, monitoring, forecasting and managing natural resources, natural disasters and the environment
51. The Committee reviewed document E/ESCAP/ENRD/4 and noted that remote-sensing and spatial information systems had proved very valuable in addressing the information needs relating to the environment and sustainable development. The promotion of those technologies had highlighted the essential role that such technologies could play in evaluating, monitoring, forecasting and managing natural resources and disasters in the Asian and Pacific region.
52. The Committee noted with satisfaction that many developing countries in the region had carried out national activities using remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) and other spatial information technologies for a variety of applications, such as natural resource surveys and mapping, as well as in the monitoring and forecasting of disasters such as forest fires, typhoons, flooding and desertification. Various initiatives and programmes at both the national and regional levels had made the region the most dynamic in the world in terms of space technology applications.
53. It was recognized that countries needed to enhance coordination and information-sharing among agencies and to improve their national capacity through comprehensive human resources development activities. The development of human capability, particularly in countries affected by disasters, should ensure that people understood space technology and could use it effectively. In that regard, the Committee acknowledged the offers made by some countries to share their training and education facilities as well as their data and resources. It also noted the important role that regional institutions such as the Asian Institute of Technology could play in education, training and technology transfer in the field of space technology applications, particularly remote sensing and GIS.
54. The Committee considered the need to enhance regional cooperation in space technology applications among countries of the region. It was noted that national efforts, particularly the participation of countries in the regional working groups as part of the RESAP three-tiered network mechanism, were contributing towards that end.
55. The Committee expressed appreciation of the support which ESCAP had been providing to developing countries through RESAP, and recommended that such programmes should be continued for the benefit of countries in the region.
56. The Committee expressed satisfaction with the progress in implementation of the programme of work during the period January to June 1998 reported in E/ESCAP/ENRD/5 and Corr.1. It noted the proposed programme changes and also the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development at its fourth session (E/ESCAP/ENRD/6).
57. The Committee also noted the efforts of the secretariat in providing an analytical report on the implementation of the programme of work. However, it requested the secretariat to include more analysis of the impact of its activities in future reports, in particular in the formulation of national policies and in building national capacity.
58. Owing to the broad scope of the work involved, the secretariat was requested to prioritize its activities in response to the needs of ESCAP members and associate members, and to allocate its resources accordingly. In that regard, the Committee reiterated their request that more resources be reallocated from publications to operational activities, such as group training.
59. The Committee expressed concern over the discontinued support of funding from UNDP in the areas of environment and natural resources management, and recommended that the members of the Executive Board of UNDP from the region raise the issue at an appropriate UNDP forum.
60. The Committee reviewed the preparations for the second Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific contained in E/ESCAP/ENRD/7; it noted the arrangements made by the host country, India, for organizing the Conference and the importance it attached to the event.
61. The Committee was informed that holding the second Ministerial Conference immediately after the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) would bring the global recommendations into the regional context. Further, in view of the fact that not all countries in the region were members of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the second Ministerial Conference would provide those countries with the opportunity to participate in an important ministerial-level event. In that connection, the Committee was informed of the necessity for the secretariat to participate in UNISPACE III.
62. The Committee also supported the various steps identified by the secretariat to further the RESAP activities through the planned Minimum Common Programme under phase II of RESAP. It was suggested that phase II be more focused to address specific applications of direct relevance to the region, encourage the participation of private industries and support human resources development.
63. One delegation expressed concern about holding two ministerial conferences in the next two years, given the Division's resource constraints, and suggested the inclusion of space technology as an agenda item under the fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific scheduled for 2000. However, many delegations expressed support for holding the second Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific in India in December 1999 as scheduled, and conveyed appreciation of the preparatory activities initiated by the secretariat. Suggestions were also made on the need for clearly focused objectives, an agenda with practical outcomes, and effective use of resources in planning and executing the activities. There were queries regarding the possibility of reducing the duration of the second Ministerial Conference from the point of view of economy and the convenience of participants, as well as concerning the final agenda of the Conference. The Committee requested the secretariat to consider the suggestions. It took note that two delegations had expressed the view that it would be premature to include in the agenda of the Conference the proposed idea of the establishment of a regional space agency.
64. The Committee reviewed document E/ESCAP/ENRD/8, on the proposed outline of the programme of work, 2000-2001.
65. The priorities indicated by some countries included the integration of environmental considerations into social and economic decision-making; the promotion of regional and subregional cooperation on the environment; the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation; and integrated water resources development and management. It emphasized the importance of adopting a holistic approach in the field of integrated water resources development and management, such as by incorporating the knowledge and expertise of the geoscience community.
66. The secretariat took note of the proposals by various delegations for additions to the programme of work under the relevant programme elements, including the following activities: national training workshops on strategic environmental management; subregional training workshops on pollution control and environmental management of aquaculture; advisory services on policy and guidelines concerning the impact of climate change on water resources, agriculture and biodiversity; national seminars on how to promote water-user groups; assistance with guidelines, strategy and awareness-building on the efficiency of water utilization; advisory services on economic mineral resources exploration and exploitation; training on technical and economic considerations relating to mineral exploration, evaluation, and trend analysis; training on guidelines for sustainable natural resources policies; group training on mitigation of the environmental impact of mining; workshops on the integration of geosciences in land-use planning in coastal zones; and support for national programmes on policies and strategies on environmentally sound technologies.
67. The Committee expressed deep appreciation of the excellent services rendered byMr Guangchang Shi, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Development Division, during his tenure at ESCAP, and wished him happiness in his retirement.
68. The first session of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Development was held at Bangkok from 21 to 23 October 1998.
69. In his opening statement, Mr Sunthad Somchevita, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of the Government of Thailand, emphasized the importance of the current session of the Committee, particularly in view of the financial crisis faced by many countries of the region. He stressed that the countries of the region needed to maintain their activities on environmental protection because of a possible shift in priorities towards meeting immediate needs which might result in environmental issues being neglected.
70. The Permanent Secretary acknowledged that under the recent economic difficulties and increasing global competition, the Thai Government had had to balance its social and economic development efforts with the conservation of its natural resources and fragile environment, and was determined to achieve balanced and sustainable growth and to narrow income disparities among various sectors in the society. He emphasized the importance of regional and subregional cooperation for combating transboundary environmental issues such as forest fire and haze, making reference to the ASEAN Regional Haze Action Plan. Moreover, he strongly supported the implementation of the Regional Action Programme for Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development, 1996-2000, adopted at the third Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, held in 1995, which needed to be reviewed at the fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific scheduled for 2000.
71. In her statement, the Deputy Executive Secretary and Officer-in-Charge, a.i. of the Commission, recalled that at its fifty-third session in April 1997, the Commission had adopted resolution 53/1 on restructuring its conference structure, under which the Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development would be replaced by the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Development as of 1 January 1998.
72. The Deputy Executive Secretary expressed deep concern that national policies had not been successful in invoking stringent measures for the protection of the environment and natural resources and that the situation might deteriorate further under the current fragile growth perspective. She therefore invited planners and decision makers to focus their attention on that aspect, in particular to promote strategic environmental planning, which was especially relevant in the current economic situation. She also emphasized the need for regional and subregional cooperation to deal with the natural calamities faced by the region which were beyond the capacity of individual countries in the region.
73. Finally, the Deputy Executive Secretary expressed appreciation to both bilateral and multilateral donors for their generous support of the secretariat's activities on the environment and natural resources development.
74. The session was attended by the following members and associate members of ESCAP: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, France, Guam, Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Viet Nam.
75. Representatives of Germany, Italy and Romania also attended the session, in accordance with paragraph 9 of the terms of reference of the Commission.
76. The following United Nations bodies and specialized agencies were represented: Department of Economic and Social Affairs of United Nations Headquarters, Economic Commission for Africa, International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction Secretariat, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Meteorological Organization and International Atomic Energy Agency.
77. Observers from the following intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and other agencies also attended: Asian Development Bank, Economic Cooperation Organization, South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme, WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones, International Organization for Standardization, Asian Institute of Technology and Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements.
78. The Committee elected Vishwanath Anand (India) Chairperson, Jin Xiaoming (China), Surna Tjahja Djajadiningrat (Indonesia), Suphavit Piamphongsant (Thailand) Vice-Chairpersons, and Mahshid Agir (Islamic Republic of Iran) Rapporteur.
79. The Meeting adopted the following agenda as contained in document E/ESCAP/ENRD/L.1:
1. Opening of the session.
2. Election of officers.
3. Adoption of the agenda.
4. Selected issues with reference to the work of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Development:
(a) Subregional cooperation for environmental programmes;
(b) Transfer and adoption of environmentally sound technology;
(c) Integrated development and management of water resources and economical use of water;
(d) Promoting the development of remote-sensing and spatial information systems for evaluating, monitoring, forecasting and managing natural resources, natural disasters and the environment.
5. Programme planning and implementation:
(a) Implementation of the programme of work and priorities, 1998-1999, and proposed programme changes: subprogramme on environment and sustainable development;
(b) Implementation of the recommendations of the Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development at its fourth session;
(c) Preparations for the Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, 1999;
(d) Outline of the programme of work, 2000-2001: subprogramme on environment and natural resources development.
6. Other matters.
7. Adoption of the report.
80. The Committee adopted the report on 23 October 1998.