The Meeting of Ministers of the 5th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, held from 28 to 29 March 2005. The Meeting of Ministers of the 5th MCED was attended by more than 320 participants, including 29 Ministers and Deputy Ministers from 52 member and associate member states of ESCAP.
In reviewing state of the environment in the region, the Meeting of Ministers noted that rapid economic growth had exerted considerable pressure on environmental sustainability in the region. It underlined that long-term, effective poverty reduction that assured improved quality of life, would require protection of the natural environment. Environmentally sustainable economic growth or Green Growth approaches were therefore considered necessary. It emphasized that only through such approaches, which balance the three pillars of sustainable development, could the region address priorities and commitments relating to poverty reduction, and to environmental sustainability, one of the Millennium Development Goals.
In order to achieve Green Growth, the Meeting of Ministers called for integrating the environmental and economic policies, and crafting environmental protection as business opportunities. The conference also paid attention to the importance of strengthening inter-linkages between environmental protection and traditional culture in the context of the promotion of sustainable consumption pattern, in particular.
The Meeting of Ministers also considered that, in the interest of present and future generations, there is a need to shift the development orientation from a “Grow now and clean up later” approach to one of Green Growth, as a way of communicating environmentally sustainable growth into the broader community.
The Meeting of Ministers adopted the Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, 2005, which calls upon the ESCAP members and associate members to seek improvement of environmental sustainability, while addressing poverty by reducing the pressure of unsustainable economic growth on the environment, improving environmental performance, and recognizing that the environment is not an obstacle to economic growth, rather to make use of the numerous opportunities its protection provides for sustainable growth.
The Meeting of Ministers also adopted the Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific Region, 2006-2010. It also recommended that appropriate steps be taken to implement the Regional Implementation Plan to strengthen the capacity for environmentally sustainable economic growth at regional, subregional and national levels.
Finally the Meeting of Ministers adopted the Seoul Initiative on Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth Green Growth, which provides a regional cooperation framework for green growth and for achieving the Millennium Development Goals on poverty reduction and environmental sustainability in Asia and the Pacific, taking into account the economic, social, cultural and geographical features of the region. A Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth (SINGG) will be established as an operational modality to promote the exchange of information and strengthen policy support to the members and associate members of ESCAP.
The Meeting of Ministers recommended that a periodic review of progress in the implementation of the Regional Implementation Plan need to be undertaken.