Closing Statement at Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment

Delivered at MCED Closing Remarks in Bangkok, Thailand

Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have reached the conclusion of the Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development. This has been organized by ESCAP and UNEP in conjunction with the second Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific under the umbrella of the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment. Our collaborative approach to this Summit has contributed to richer discussions and broader perspectives than each agency could have achieved by itself. It marks a clear departure from business as usual for our two agencies. I greatly value the appreciation you expressed in your country statements for the joint organization of this Ministerial Summit.

Discussions during the Summit underlined that Asia-Pacific region’s rapid economic growth has come at the cost of resource depletion and environmental degradation. There were calls to address the threats facing our region from climate change, and the pollution of our air, fresh water and oceans, so that we do not squander hard-won economic gains and hold back human development.

But the Summit also provided for a fascinating opportunity to hear about best practices and policy initiatives underway to mainstream environment into policy planning, budgeting processes and implementation, and to learn about green technologies and eco-innovation applied in sectors such as agriculture, transport, water, energy and waste management. Clearly, the region has tremendous strengths and opportunities to draw from. I call on all of you to embrace a more resource efficient and pollution free growth path that supports and promotes healthy environments in Asia and the Pacific.

I commend you for adopting the Ministerial Declaration on environment and development for Asia and the Pacific. The Declaration is an important cornerstone of regional collaboration on sustainable management of natural resources in Asia and the Pacific. It underpins the agreement reached earlier this year on the regional roadmap for sustainable development and brings together the vision of our member States on future collaboration, particularly for the management of natural resources.

ESCAP will continue to play its role in facilitating regional cooperation to promote sustainable management of natural resources through our analytical, normative and technical cooperation work. The Ministerial Declaration offers clear direction on thematic areas for ESCAP to focus on.

We will continue to engage in this work in collaboration with other agencies. The Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism, through the Thematic Working Group on Resource-Efficient Growth, provides an opportunity to improve the capacity of governments and other stakeholders to use resource efficiency approaches and tools in the development, planning and implementation process, to ensure that economic growth is achieved alongside social protection and environmental conservation.

To conclude, your deliberations have laid the foundation for a concerted and effective response to address resource efficiency and pollution in our region and I would like to thank all Delegates for this important achievement.

My thanks also go to our Chair, the Vice-Chairs, and member State delegates, colleagues from United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, as well as our excellent moderators, speakers and discussants. I would also like to thank the team of our secretariat, from both agencies, for their hard work.

I thank you and wish you all a safe journey home.