ESCAP Member Countries Progress to Roadmap for Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific

Government officials from 23 countries in Asia and the Pacific ended two days of discussions here today, agreeing on three draft regional environment and sustainable development initiatives for endorsement by the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6) to be held from 27 September to 2 October 2010 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The 8-9 July 2010 Regional Preparatory Meeting for the (MCED-6), organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), reviewed the draft Regional Implementation Plan for Asia and the Pacific, the draft Ministerial Declaration and the draft Astana “Green Bridge” Initiative to be brought forward for endorsement at MCED-6.

Held every five years, the MCED brings together policy and decision-makers in the field of environment and sustainable development to review action taken and chart a strategic blueprint for the next five years. The MCED-5, held in Seoul in 2005, had adopted a course of action for environmentally sustainable economic growth.

“This preparatory meeting has done the homework necessary to lead to a consensus at the MCED-6 on the structural changes needed in the current invisible and physical infrastructure of the economy to foster and promote low-carbon sustainable economic growth model,” said Mr. Rae Kwon Chung, the top UN official responsible for coordinating environment and developmental policies in the Asia–Pacific region.

“The government officials have reviewed and agreed on several key messages and proposed action areas during the past two days that will be tabled at the MCED-6, including the proposed Astana “Green Bridge” Initiative by the Government of Kazakhstan, the host of the Conference. The participants also agreed to work towards formulating one Asian and Pacific Voice for a green growth development path in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20),” he added.

Government officials noted that the green growth approach endorsed in 2005 at the MCED-5 had spilled over to other regions of the world. They underlined that a number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region had responded to the triple crises with “green” stimulus packages and strategies, as well as investments in natural and human capital, green technologies and eco-efficiency, which emerge as new growth and job creation engines. They also emphasized that while many initiatives were underway, there was no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and that countries were tailoring green growth to national priorities.

“Traditional green livelihood is an important contributor to green growth, and a viable local community input to developing national strategies, reiterated Mr. Aparup Chowdhury, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Bangladesh.

The preparatory meeting was preceded by the Fifth Policy Consultation Forum of the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth (SINGG) held from 5 to 7 July. The meeting provided an opportunity to review SINGG achievements and integrated the lessons learned in the key messages for the MCED-6 deliberations.