The International Conference on Green Industry in Asia, entitled Managing the transition to resource efficient and low carbon industries, took place in Manila, the Philippines, from 9-11 September 2009. Co-organized by the Government of the Philippines, with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP), the conference provided an arena for high- level policy makers and other key stakeholders to discuss measures to achieve a smooth transition to resource-efficient and low-carbon industries in Asia.
This conference was welcomed by delegates from across the region as a significant step towards greening their economies. In a message delivered to the delegates Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, noted that reaching a deal at Copenhagen will drive Green Growth, protect forests and associated livelihoods, and create prosperity for those lacking basic services. He also stressed that green industry is at the “heart of our hopes for the future,” and that the Asia Pacific region can play a leading role in this. Peter Favila, Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippines, said the Conference provides an opportunity to address approaches for improving industries’ environmental performance. Kandeh Yumkella, Director- General, UNIDO, underscored the essential involvement of industry in addressing the world’s environmental challenges. He stressed that a new shift to clean manufacturing was needed to facilitate further development in the region.
During the conference, participants shared their knowledge and experience as well as their visions for a transition to a resource efficient and low carbon economy. During the High-Level Panel discussions delegates discussed low-carbon and resource efficient industrialization and policies and strategies for resource efficiency and low-carbon industries. During the Technical Session, delegates discussed the state of industrial resource efficiency and new opportunities in Asia. On the final day delegates discussed Eco-friendly Products and Energy and Environmental Services. In the afternoon, delegates participated in two more parallel technical sessions under the themes “Moving into the Future,” and “Green Decent Jobs for Green Growth” and “Financing Green Industries in Asia.”
The conference adopted the non-binding Manila Declaration on Green Industry in Asia, which contained a Framework of Action. Speaking on behalf of Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, ESCAP, Masakazu Ichimura, ESCAP, said a fundamental paradigm shift towards Green Growth was a requirement for the entire Asia- Pacific region, and noted this commitment is reflected in the draft Manila Declaration that would lead Green Growth from “talk, to action, to industry commitment.” Jose Atienza, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines stressed that the adoption of the draft Manila Declaration would signal the region’s commitment to pursue green industry and to manage the transition to low carbon and resource efficient economies.
The venue was built using natural, locally available materials and is an excellent case study of eco-tourism, sustainable consumption and green business. For example all the food waste is collected from the restaurant and then used to make organic pesticides, biogas for cooking and bio-fuels for running the vehicles of the eco-resort. The whole resort is powered by onsite biogas and a simple micro-hydro generator on the river. This low-tech equipment provides low cost renewable energy, reduces carbon emissions and is built using local materials while significantly reducing the resort’s running costs. The resort’s rooms have also been specially designed to maximize natural ventilation thus reducing the need for air conditioners. The biomass from the gardens is used for the production of compost and fertilizers while the fallen wood can be used as charcoal. These are then used to sustain the plants and crops which are also grown on-site. These organic agricultural practices supply organic, healthy food to the guests while preserving local traditional knowledge and livelihoods. This ensures that local knowledge and ingenuity are preserved while creating jobs and income from the sale of environmentally friendly products and services.