Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development, Sixth Session

27 Sep 2010 to 2 Oct 2010
Astana, Kazakhstan

The Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED) has been held every five years since 1985. This gathering of ministers of environment and of development has been an agenda-setting forum to assess the state of sustainable development, identify regional perspectives and priorities and decide concerted actions in response to imperatives posed by global and regional environment challenges. The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6) will be hosted by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan from 27 September to 2 October 2010 in Astana.

As the second decade of the twenty first century unfolds, the Asian and Pacific region continues to face persistent development challenges in terms of poverty alleviation, access to basic services, sustainable use of natural resources and enhanced social inclusiveness. This situation is exacerbated by emerging risks and uncertainties including the food, energy and financial crises as well as the threat of climate change. The region remains particularly susceptible to natural disasters, which are likely to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change. All of these severe challenges threaten to slow down, and even reverse, developmental gains that the region has made over the past few decades.

It is increasingly being realized and accepted by policy makers, business leaders and society as a whole that pursuing sustained economic growth that is crucial to poverty reduction and social progress must be undertaken in an environmentally responsible and socially equitable manner. More and more countries have adopted Green Growth and other synergistic development strategies that boost healthy economic development, ensure environmental sustainability and strengthen socio-economic resilience.

The purpose of MCED-6, through a broad-based and interactive discussion, is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, while assessing the progress to date and remaining developmental gaps in the implementation of the internationally agreed development goals and MCED-5 outcomes, including the Green Growth strategy. MCED-6 also aims to define the priorities and cooperative actions that should have been implemented by relevant government and non-government partners. To achieve this purpose, MCED-6 is expected to provide:

• A regional platform to assess persistent and emerging challenges in the context of environment and development in Asia and the Pacific and discuss concerted strategies and actions to tackle these challenges;

• An important opportunity to review regional progress in achieving the internationally-agreed development goals and the Regional Implementation Plan (RIP) for Sustainable Development 2006-2010 adopted by the MCED-5, including Green Growth and associated initiatives;

• A high-level forum to provide guidance and identify priorities for actions to be undertaken at the regional, subregional and national levels for the next five years under a major regional programme of work, the Regional Implementation Plan 2011-2015;

• A channel for robust policy dialogue between the Asian and Pacific region and Europe on environment and development issues through recommending appropriate linkages and synergy between the outcomes of MCED-6 and the European Environmental Ministerial Conference to be held by ECE in 2011 in Kazakhstan; and

• An occasion to start forging an Asia-Pacific regional perspective and voice for upcoming global forums, including the Rio+20 to be held in mid-2012 in Brazil.

Substantively, MCED-6 will focus the regional attention on issues related to further promoting Green Growth as a sustainable development strategy for Asia and the Pacific through, inter alia, sustainable use of resources, low carbon development and sustainable urban development.

Objectives

The key outcomes of the conference are expected to be:

• The Astana Ministerial Declaration, affirming the commitment of countries in the Asian and Pacific region to the internationally-agreed development goals, presenting regional perspectives and priorities in pursuit of sustainable development, and endorsing concrete programmes and actions at the national, subregional and regional levels.

• The Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development 2011-2015, specifying regional priorities, mapping out the way forward and launching specific thematic and programmatic initiatives, such as “Zhasyl Damu: Green Development”; and

• New partnerships for sustainable development: MCED serving as a unique regional forum for constructive dialogues between all stakeholders in pursuit of sustainable development, providing opportunities for governments, international organizations and NGOs to showcase their successful programmes and practices, strengthen existing cooperation and build up new partnerships.

Objectives

A series of roundtables and side events will be organized during MCED-6 for interaction between national and local governments, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector. The key features of these events may include:

• An open, participatory and constructive dialogues and interactions among multi-stakeholders;

• A showcase of successful programmes/projects and initiatives undertaken by governments, international and regional organizations and other stakeholders;

• Side-events and roundtables organized by multi-stakeholders: NGOs, the business community, the media, national and local Governments, international and regional organizations, etc.;

These events may cover the co-benefit and synergy between environment and development, the contribution and relevance of sound environmental policy to achieving the MDGs, investment in ecological systems and supportive fiscal policy, urban development, climate change, technology development and transfer, capacity-building and innovative financing, etc.

Side events and roundtables will be held in parallel with the Senior Officials’ Meeting, with the key outcomes reported to the Ministerial Segment. The organizers of individual side events should assume organizational and financial responsibility for the respective events with the logistical assistance of the Regional Environment Center for Central Asia (CAREC), Kazakhstan.

In addition, a clean technology exhibition will be organized by CAREC under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment of Kazakhstan.