ORGANIZATION OF THE MEETING
The Subregional Consultation Meeting for Southeast Asia in Preparation for the
Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific,
was held at Manila from 3-4 July 2000. The Meeting was organized by the Asian
Development Bank (ADB) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific (ESCAP). The purpose of the meeting was to solicit and consider
substantive input from the subregion to be submitted at the forthcoming
Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific to
be held in Kitakyushu, Japan from 31 August to 5 September 2000.
2. The Meeting was attended by representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. It was also attended by the representatives of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the the World Health Organization (WHO), Partnerships in Environmental Management for Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), and the Bureau of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands..
3. The Meeting was opened by Mr. Kazi Jalal, Chief, Office of Environment and Social Development, ADB.. In his statement, Mr. Jalal noted ADB’s support in the holding of the second Ministerial Conference in 1990 and the Bank’s current co-sponsoring of the fourth Ministerial Conference to be held in September 2000. Dr. Jalal explained that an issue paper on sustainable development policy will be circulated during the conference in September and which should be read in conjunction with a document entitled Sustainable Development in Asia. Dr. Jalal summarized the results of the study on Sustainable Development in Asia which is a regional sustainable development study based on development activities carried out by governments, multilateral and bilateral agencies, the private sector, nongovernment organizations, and civil society in the Asia-Pacific region in the past decades.
4. Speaking on behalf of ESCAP, Mr. Cengiz Ertuna, Chief, Environment and Natural Resources Development Division, provided an overview of the documents that will be presented at the ministerial conference, noting in particular the importance of the paper that will be submitted for consideration. He also outlined the organizational aspects of the Ministerial Conference and noted the preparations undertaken in advance of the Conference, in particular the outcome of the regional preparatory meeting of the Ministerial Conference held in May 2000.
5. Mr. Nirmal Andrews, Director and Regional Representative, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in his statement, noted that the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference will be key to sustaining the momentum generated by other important outcomes of recent meeting such as the "Global Compact" from the World Economic Forum and the Malmö Declaration from the Global Ministerial Environment Forum. He also noted that these outcomes will be instrumental in the preparations for the 2002 review of UNCED.
6. Mr. Effendy Achmad Sumardja (Indonesia) was elected Chairperson. Ms. Hajah Rosnani Ibarahim (Malaysia) was elected Vice-Chairperson and Mr. Apichai Chvajarernpun (Thailand) was elected Rapporteur.
7. The Meeting adopted the following agenda:
III. discussion of documents TO BE CONSIDERED for ADOPTION AT the conference
(Item 4 of the agenda)
8. The meeting first considered the document titled "Review of Draft Conference Documents in the context of the Hanoi Plan of Action and ASEAN Environmental Priorities" which served as a basis for discussion for the documents reviewed at the meeting. In this connection, the secretariat stated that the comments on this paper would be extremely useful so that the regional action programme and action programmes of ASEAN such as the Hanoi Plan of Action, the ASEAN Strategic Environmental Plan and the ASEAN Regional Haze Action Plan can be supportive of each other. The meeting was also informed that the comments of this meeting could be included for consideration at the Ministerial Conference by issuing corrigendum or addendum. The meeting requested the representative of Thailand, as chairman of ASOEN, to take up the specific comments and concerns of the meeting at the Ministerial Conference as necessary, and individual delegates will also raise relevant matters as necessary.
9. The secretariat, under agenda item 4(a) introduced the document, E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(00)/1 titled "Regional Action Programme for Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development 2001- 2005". The Meeting agreed that an essential component of sustainable development, and a prerequisite for combating environmental degradation is poverty alleviation . In this connection, the Meeting agreed that the RAP should reflect the importance of poverty alleviation a cross-cutting issue, in the preamble of the RAP and in the tools for implementation. The meeting also noted that the poverty dimensions would be reflected in the implementation of other programme areas such as desertification and land degradation, and environmental quality and human health.
10. The Meeting noted that the commonality between the ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on the Environment and the regional action programme 2001 – 2005 is the lack of funding sources. There is a need to bridge the gap between intention and action. In this connection, the Malmö Conference was noted to provide a new spirit. The meeting further noted that poverty issues related to basic needs were not mentioned in the regional action programme and recognized the need for the aspects of environment related poverty alleviation efforts to be included therein.
11. The meeting further recommended minor insertions into the texts including adding PEMSEA in Section IIC of the RAP titled Coastal and Marine Environment and RAMSAR in paragraph 4 of the preamble of the Ministerial Declaration.
12. The meeting then considered, under agenda item 4(b), document E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(00)/2 titled "Vision for the 21st Century: Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific 2000" and expressed the following comments. In response to the financial constraints experienced by many countries in the region, the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" should be highlighted. The meeting considered that the Declaration has reflected sustainable development issues adequately, but there is a need to mention the particular concerns of ASEAN including the haze phenomenon and ASEAN collaboration on transboundary environmental problems.
13. The meeting also recommended that there be further elaboration on capacity building including the strengthening of institutions and providing adequate legal and administrative provisions for environmental management.
14. The meeting noted that the representative from Japan requested that the comments submitted before the meeting by the Government of Japan to the secretariat be included.
15. The meeting then considered, under agenda item 4(c), document E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(00)/8 titled "Regional Message for the 10 year review of the implementation of the outcome of UNCED". The attention of the meeting was drawn to the follow-up of the decision of CSD 8 and the regional preparation for the ‘Rio + 10’ review of the outcome of UNCED. Through the document under this agenda item, the Ministers would be invited to endorse the substantive issues that were raised and develop a "regional platform" through discussions at regional and subregional levels. The meeting also noted the need for the mobilization of a wide spectrum of intellectual potential in the region, through multistakeholder consultation, to further the process of the regional implementation of Agenda 21.
16. The meeting welcomed the proposal for the regional preparatory process through the convening of regional and subregional roundtable discussions with the involvement of eminent experts from the region as well as the holding of the regional preparatory meeting prior to CSD 10 in January 2002.
17. Under Agenda item 4(d), the meeting considered document E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(00)/9 titled "Draft Kitakyushu initiative for clean environment" which was presented by the Secretariat and the representative of the City of Kitakyushu. The meeting commended the excellent presentation of the paper and urged the involvement of local government officials, if possible, in the discussion of this initiative. In this connection, the meeting noted that, soon after the Ministerial Conference, there will be a meeting of the concerned authorities and experts including local government representatives to develop a project elaborating the operational mechanism of this initiative. The meeting considered that the Kitakyushu initiative could be used as a catalyst for the implementation of the regional action programme.
18. The meeting also made some specific comments on the initiative including the need to highlight the transfer of clean production technology in the work programme of the initiative. The Meeting expressed deep appreciation to the City of Kitakyushu for the initiative for regional cooperation for dealing with urban environmental issues. It supported the ideas of the initiative and urged ASEAN member countries to strongly endorse it at the Ministerial Conference.
IV. DOCUMENTS TO BE CONSIDERED AT THE CONFERENCE
(Item 5 of the Agenda)
19. The meeting considered, under agenda item 5(a), document E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(00)/1 titled "State of the Environment in Asia and the Pacific." This document was presented as a highlight of the assessment of the state of the environment elaborated in the 22 chapters of the State of the Environment Report in Asia and the Pacific 2000 which was being finalised for publication. That assessment is intended to prioritize the environment and development issues for inclusion in the regional action programme that was considered under agenda item 4(a) of the meeting.
20. The meeting noted the findings presented in the paper and felt it was important to include environmental infrastructure such as sewage and waste treatment facilities. In that connection, it noted the background information paper giving, in detail, the status of waste treatment facilities, as well as policies regarding air and water quality management. The meeting suggested that one or two paragraphs outlining the assessment contained in the background paper would be useful for deliberations at the Ministerial Conference.
21. Under agenda item 5(b), document E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(00)/1 titled "Sustainable Development Policy" was presented by the secretariat with supplementary information provided by the ADB. The meeting commended this paper which was very stimulating and addressed the issue of poverty in a very candid way. The meeting also considered that the analysis of this paper could be used in adding the issue of poverty to the regional action programme discussed under agenda item 4(a).
22. The meeting noted the targeted approach of the poverty dimension in the Malmö Declaration which states that, by the year 2015, it would be possible to eradicate poverty by half and to realise a world without slums.
23. The discussions on this paper also included the treatment of the environmental dimension of poverty at the Conference and noted that poverty reduction should be based on sustainable development. The meeting further noted that poverty reduction requires good governance and planning for which institutional aspects are important. The financial needs for the pursuit of poverty alleviation was recognized as the most important consideration.
24. Under agenda item 5(c) the secretariat presented document E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(00)/3 which reviews the implementation of Agenda 21. The meeting put forth the following comments to be brought to the attention of the preparatory meeting of senior officials. The main areas of importance in reviewing the implementation of Agenda 21 for the ASEAN region are capacity building, information networking and cleaner production. Furthermore, market based instruments and economic instruments such as pollution charges should be mentioned in the review. Overall, the meeting commended the analysis provided in the paper, in particular the section on constraints and lessons learned. In this regard, the meeting further noted the promising flow of private sector funding which remains largely untapped.
25. Under agenda item 5(d), the secretariat presented documents E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(00)/5 titled "Critical environment and sustainable development issues including partnership with the private sector and civil society groups." The meeting expressed satisfaction with the analysis provided in the presentation. The meeting suggested that technology transfer, capacity building and institutional matters should also be considered as critical sustainable development issues. The meeting however expressed satisfaction for raising the issues such as financing and improvement of governance for consideration at the Conference. It also noted the mention of the need for increasing the role of the private sector and civil society and the decentralization of management functions which are crucial to sustainable development in the region.
26. Under agenda item 5(e) the meeting reviewed document E/ESCAP/SO/MCED(00)/INF. titled "Policy Implications in Addressing Critical Environment and Sustainable Development Issues of the Region." The meeting expressed its satisfaction with the analysis of the policy issues presented in this paper. The meeting also commented that this paper was supportive the paper presented under agenda item 5(d) and helped in explaining the underlying policy implications.
V. OTHER MATTERS
27. In the concluding discussion on the papers, the meeting expressed concern regarding the financing needs of the countries in the pursuit of sustainable development. The meeting noted the difficulty of sourcing available funds and in this regard, it requested the assistance of the ADB and urged its close involvement in the implementation of the regional action programme.
28. The issue of funding the regional action programme was raised seeking ADB’s assistance. The meeting was informed about the various global initiatives including those by the OCED countries. The meeting also noted the ADB’s studies on financing sustainable development and measurement of environmental performances.
29. The meeting also recognized that the regional action programme is a viable document and could support the subregional action programmes. The targets and timeframes were not explicitly mentioned, but the actions proposed would respond to alleviate the deteriorating environmental situation.
30. The meeting felt there is a need to assess the financing needs of the regional action programme in concrete terms through the development of projects. In that regard, it was pleased to note the ADB’s offer to consider supporting the organization of a meeting with the participation of the donors soliciting their support as well as to discuss the ways of implementation of the regional action programme. The participants expressed their full support to the initiative of the ADB and offered to work closely with the full participation of ESCAP and UNEP. In this respect, the meeting was pleased with the offer of UNEP of its financial and technical assistance to follow-up activities at the subregional level. The meeting also agreed that these suggestions will be presented to the Minister’s Conference for their consideration and support.
VI. ADOPTION OF THE REPORT
31. The meeting adopted its report on 4 July 2000.