Ministers of Environment and Development as well as some Heads of State and Government in the Asia-Pacific region, will meet in Astana, Kazakhstan at the sixth session of the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development (MCED-6) in Asia and the Pacific scheduled from 27 September to 2 October. Held every five years since 1985, the MCED is a forum to review and chart an agenda for inclusive and sustainable development in the region based on past experiences. The 2010 MCED is expected to unveil a sustainable development action plan for the region based on lessons learned from the recent global financial, food and fuel crises. The Ministerial Segment of the Conference on 1 and 2 October will be preceded by a Senior Officials Meeting from 27 to 29 September to discuss sustainable development challenges and priorities in the region, review the implementation of MCED-5 recommendations and to finalize documents to be endorsed by the Ministers. MCED-6 is expected to issue an Astana Ministerial Declaration affirming national commitments to international development goals and setting out regional sustainable development priorities, and finalize the Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development 2011-15 mapping a sustainable development agenda for the region for the next five years. The Meeting is also expected to launch the Astana Green Bridge Initiative to promote cooperation on sustainable development issues between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Representatives of civil society and the business sector which are key stakeholders in a regional inclusive and sustainable development agenda will have the opportunity to put their concerns before the Ministers at a Ministerial Round Table on 1 October.
H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan is expected to inaugurate the Ministerial Conference. UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Noeleen Heyzer will preside over the sessions.
The following side events will be organized during MCED-6:
a) Promoting Sustainable Urban Development in Asia-Pacific: Achievements and Lessons Learned from the Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment (2000 - 2010) on 27 September: The side event to be attended by senior national and local government officials from the region as well as regional partners will present successful urban management practices supported by the Kitakyushu Initiative, and discuss national mechanisms to support local initiatives. Future regional cooperation needed to promote the sustainable urban agenda will also be discussed.
b) Development of Eco-efficient Water Infrastructure for Green Growth in Asia on 28 September: This side event will be a unique opportunity for various stakeholders to exchange knowledge and experiences in shaping greener future by developing an eco-efficient water infrastructure through public-private partnership, including wastewater management and integrated stormwater management in the region. A related exhibition will give participants the opportunity of gathering an in-depth knowledge on different models of membrane filter, green filter and manual wastewater treatment facility.
c) Regional Workshop on ICT Applications for Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Economic Development, 28 to 30 September: The capacity building workshop being organized for members of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) will be an inception meeting for the regional ESCAP project ‘Strengthening capacity to forecast extreme weather events in Asia’. The Workshop objectives include raising awareness of participating SPECA member countries in effective disaster risk reduction practices, especially for floods, using space-based ICT, and
formulating strategies for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into sustainable development through sharing of good practices. It also aims to promote regional cooperation for improved flood-related disaster risk management in the context of climate change. Attended by SPECA members, its neighbouring countries and relevant international/regional organizations, the workshop is also expected to deliberate on setting up a subregional network to improve flood disaster risk reduction for environmentally sound and sustainable economic development in the Central Asian subregion.
d) International Energy Efficiency Forum on 28 to 30 September: The Forum is organized jointly by the Government of Kazakhstan, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Participants in the Forum are expected to come not only from Central Asia, but Eastern Europe, Asia and further abroad. The Forum will combine an assessment of energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) policy and legislative frameworks with the analysis of international best practices in EE and RE. Status and potential of EE and RE in various economic sectors (industry, fuel and energy, housing and communal services, public buildings, construction, transport, etc.) will also be reviewed. Emphasis will be given to energy efficiency in the residential and municipal sector, as one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions with large potential for improvements in energy efficiency. The main focus of the Forum will be on ways and means of financing EE and RE investments.
e) Eco-Efficient Water Infrastructure Development Forum on 29 September: To be held back-to-back with the annual meeting of the Project Working Group (PWG) on Water and Energy of the UN SPECA and jointly organized by ESCAP, UNECE and the Government of Kazakhstan, the Forum aims to showcase the strong linkage between intra-regional co-operation and future directions in water resources management infrastructure development in the context of the Green Growth approach. Anticipated outcomes include priority actions for the development of eco-efficient water infrastructure in the region with a focus on Central Asia, as well as recommendations for new water and energy programme activities.
f) Business Forum ‘Green and Competitive’ on 30 September: Private business leaders will explore the latest green business strategies and opportunities to improve competitiveness and profitability. Key speakers from Asia and the Pacific region will showcase successful examples of green business, discuss governments’ role in speeding policy reform through incentives to improveresource use efficiency and explain current financial mechanisms to meet up-front costs of green investments.
g) The third session of the Project Working Group (PWG) on Knowledge-based Development (KBD) on 30 September: To be jointly organized by ESCAP and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) within the framework of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA), the session will review progress towards implementation of the PWG on KBD within its framework and planned
activities for 2010; discuss and agree on the work plan for 2011; and decide the venue and tentative date of the next session.
For additional information, please visit www.unescap.org/mced6 and www.mced6.org.