UN MCED-6 Environmental Forum Continues in Astana; Kazakhstan, Pacific Island States, Civil Society Urge All-Asia Support for Green Growth Approach

Ministers from the Pacific Island states Tuesday expressed strong support for a green growth initiative during the debates of the MCED-6 about the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration and the Astana ‘Green Bridge’ Initiative.

Also on the second day of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) conference, representatives of civil society endorsed efforts to promote the green growth paradigm and to support rapid economic growth with environmental sustainability.

“Members of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) fully endorse the Green Growth Initiative including the Astana Green Bridge Initiative as a necessary response to continuing environmental degradation and climate change,” said Minister for Resources and Development Mattlan Zackhras of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, one of eight Pacific Island government ministers present for the regional conference. “We seek partnership and greater support from the international community to the Pacific Region and we hope that the MCED-6 will move us forward. For the Pacific, it’s not a matter of rapid economic growth, but of survival.”

Debate continued Tuesday between representatives of the more than 40 Asian and Pacific countries present over discussion of the proposed Astana ‘Green Bridge’ Initiative, which will promote an innovative partnership between Europe and Asia-Pacific in support of better and more innovative environmental practices in the region. Civil society and environmental non-governmental organization representatives added their voices to the discussion with numerous panel and side events at the Astana conference.

“Innovation in policy and technology and social mobilization are critical elements to achieving sustainable development in this region and the world,” said Hironori Hamanaka, chair of the Japan-based Institute for Global Environmental Strategies on behalf of the Asia Pacific Forum for Environment and Development.

The Conference comprises of two segments: a senior officials meeting from 27 September to 29 September and a ministerial segment on 1 and 2 October 2010, held at the Palace of Independence, in Astana. The senior officials segment consists of working-level sessions to review official documents concerning relevant issues on critical environment and development challenges and response strategies in the region, as well as draft outcome documents in preparation for the ministerial segment. Subsequently, high-level delegates including heads of states will deliberate on ways and means to achieve sustainable development through collaboration.

H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, and Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, will preside over the opening of the Ministerial Segment on 1 October and engage in a round table dialogue with other honorable guests in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 Summit) to be held in Brazil in 2012.

More detailed information about the events can be found in http://www.unescap.org/mced6.
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H.E. Nurgali Ashimov, Minister of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Dr. Noeleen Heyzer will brief members of the press on 30 September 2010 from 12:00 to 12:35 in the Conference location at the Palace of Independence, Astana.