30 June & 1 July 1993
1. CONGRESS BACKGROUND
There are many important issues relating to environment and development for
which effective common measures could be conducted within the region (particularly for
implementing UNCED resolutions). Governments, industry and business, the scientific
and technological community, NGOs, and ordinary citizens all have a crucial role to
play. In order to facilitate such regional cooperation, it is essential to build a common
recognition based on a long - term perspective of the environment and development which
can provide a scientific basis for policy formation and implementation.
ECO ASIA '93 acted as a forum for the presentation of ideas, enhancement of
perceptions, and promotion of cooperative activities. Participants were senior officials
from 17 governments, including 9 ministers, plus the representatives of 7 international
organizations and many other distinguished guests, such as members of nongovernmental
organizations, academics and business people.
2. SESSIONS OVERVIEW
The second and third sessions took the form of a round - table conference.
The objectives of Session I, "Perspectives on Environment and Development in
Asia and the Pacific", were to:
Session II, "The Challenge of Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific -
Efforts in the UNCED Follow - up", was expected to:
In Session IV, the Chairman of the Conference presented his concluding remarks.
Both speakers introduced the theme of cooperation, which was reiterated time
and again throughout the Congress, as participants expressed the need for, and their
willingness to cooperate on a wide variety of issues.
Mr. Hayashi stated his "strong conviction that the basic principle in dealing
with environmental problems is respect for life. We share the earth with all living
things. In our region, the belief in our symbiotic relationship with nature has taken root
since ancient times. I believe that the importance of this concept will increase ever more
in our attempts to achieve sustainable development. I am determined to cooperate with
all participants, with a long term outlook in mind, to hand over the global environment
to our children and the generations to come."
He also noted some of Japan's efforts in carrying forward the momentum of
UNCED such as the preparation of a bill for a Basic Law on the Environment which
incorporates the concepts of sustainable development and international cooperation to
cope with global environmental issues, and the national action plan to implement
AGENDA 21 which is to be published by the end of this year.
Mr. Numata was particularly pleased that this congress was being held in
Chiba, for as part of the greater Tokyo metropolitan area, Chiba, he said, "has a long
experience in dealing with the wide range of environmental issues which result when
there is rapid and concentrated development of industry and population growth."
"In order to overcome the many environmental problems which we have faced,
the people of Chiba Prefecture, businesses and the Prefectural Government have worked
He saw that international cooperation among local authorities is necessary for solving environmental problems. While seeking solutions to environmental problems in this region, "we must create a framework which goes beyond local, prefectural and national borders as we bear in mind the importance of conserving the environment throughout the world."
Dr. Ichikawa outlined the major issues and problems facing the Asia - Pacific
region over the next 30 years, so providing participants with a factual context within
which to base their discussions. Because of the implications of this overview, he stressed
the importance of promoting proper environmental policies in a well-coordinated
manner amongst the countries of the region, and conducting the necessary scientific
research that will provide reliable information on which to base sound policies. The
major features of Dr. Ichikawa's paper were as follows:
H.E. Ms. San Sung Whang, Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea stated that "the only effective way to prevent this outcome is for all countries to actively seek out solutions to domestic environmental problems and cooperate with neighboring countries to resolve common problems."
She recognized "the contributions of the Asian - Pacific countries to the process of global environmental protection", and described some of her country's activities that followed on from UNCED in Brazil and seek to "complement the work of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development". They include plans to revise the 'Basic Law on Environmental Policy' in 1993 with a view to promoting international collaboration in global environmental protection" and the decision "to join the major international conventions on the environment."
Like the other Keynote Speakers, Ms. Whang expressed the desire of her country to make substantial efforts for environmental protection. "Despite the additional liability and regulatory burdens on our economy and industry assumed by joining these international environmental conventions, Korea will actively participate in the global effort for environmental protection as a responsible member of the international community. "
Hon. Mr. Peter Chin Fah Kui, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment, Malaysia, discussed the relationships between cooperation, economic development and environmental protection. He stated, "the fact that Asia has been recognised worldwide as having the most dynamic economic activities calls for all Asian nations, big or small, to cooperate and to have closer links in order to keep up the momentum of the existing economic dynamism."
He felt that Asia with its "population of diverse cultures, beliefs and languages "requires a leader to obtain greater economic and environmental cooperation, and like many participants looked to Japan.
"Japan, being the obvious leader and the only Asian nation in the G7, has a vital role to play in realising this aspiration. Japan should play a more active and aggressive role. Aggressive not through military might, but, through initiating initiatives that could help strengthen relationships amongst countries in this region. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Probably this ECO ASIA '93 could be that very first important and historic step."
Prof. Qu Ge Ping, Chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee, the People's Congress, China, pointed out that "because different countries have their own special circumstances and face complicated environmental problems, it is difficult for any single country to depend solely on its own efforts for economic development and environmental control. It is only possible for us to address the issue of environment and development in this region through effective international cooperation and concerted efforts of all countries and regions."
Because so many of the countries share "common interests in ecological safety", he felt that developed countries should not only help developing countries promote their economies, but help them improve their environment.
He suggested the creation of 'environmental partnerships' to achieve these objectives. These partnerships would be open to all countries, be cooperative in that they respect state sovereignty, environmental and developmental rights, and not contradictory to existing bilateral or multilateral cooperation in the region.
The feelings of the three Keynote Speakers towards the future were probably best grasped by Prof. Qu, when he said, "We are convinced that there will be a brilliant future for the environment and development in the Asian - Pacific region thanks to the practical cooperation and concerted efforts by various countries and regions".
The three Keynote Speakers made a variety of other comments and suggestions on different topics, and these are contained below in the Sessions Summary.
There was significant overlap between the presentations and discussions in all sessions, so in summarizing the proceedings, main points and relevant quotes have been grouped into categories that relate to the objectives of the Congress.
(1) Assessments of the year since the Earth Summit
The overwhelming feeling expressed at the Congress was that the overall progress in implementing the Earth Summit's Agenda 21 was, to say the least, not good.
Many Congress participants had recently attended the first session of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) which has responsibility for reviewing the implementation of Agenda 21, and the outcomes of UNCED.
Hon. Mr. P. Chin Fah Kui of Malaysia informed participants of the feelings of the members of the CSD and others over the progress made in implementing Earth Summit commitments. His comments were supported by other speakers.
"By now some, if not all, who attended the Earth Summit may have realized that commitments made at Rio were by and large mere rhetoric and that progress has been slow despite a whole year having passed since then. The dissatisfaction expressed by those attending the recently concluded 1st Session of CSD in New York testifies to this lack of achievement."
The cause of this lack of action was said to be the worldwide economic recession which prevented many countries from tackling their environmental problems. It was also explained that developing countries are often unable to utilize domestic resources to fund sustainable economic development because of foreign debt-servicing requirements. "They are trapped in a never-ending cycle, without predictable flow of resources for the implementation of Agenda 21."
Nevertheless, because of various efforts in the East Asian region, particularly those emanating from Japan, not all participants viewed recent efforts so pessimistically.
Hon. Mr. Kui considered that Asia - Pacific countries need to "take stock of our own capabilities and not bank on too much outside assistance as it is evident that cooperation that is asked for, be it in technology transfer or financial resources, may not be forthcoming as was hoped in the resolutions at Rio."
Despite the many problems, H.E. Ms. San Sung Whang of Korea noted that "the CSD meeting put us well on the road toward the implementation of (The Earth Summit' s) Agenda 21" by "directing a more concrete and progressive discussion on technology transfer, financial support, and the facilitation of information exchange among countries toward true sustainable development." However, she wanted to leave "no doubt that there remains much work ahead".
In relation to future action, the participant from Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, felt that, "internationally, it has to be realized that the implementation of Agenda 21 and other decisions of the Rio Summit will have to go through a 'time lag' between adoption of decisions and implementation. Tireless and consistent international cooperation through the UN, through regional bodies such as ASEAN as well as through bilateral actions are necessary in order to shorten the 'time lag'."
"Hurdles to the implementation of the Rio Summit decisions exist in the forms of differences of perception, conflicts of interest, institutional lethargy and sometimes valid reasons for skepticism."
"In order to overcome these impediments, decision makers will have to employ holistic thinking... "
These comments serve as a reminder of the links between politics, economic activities and environmental protection that will need to be analyzed and acted on through regional cooperation if the objective of creating sustainable societies is to be achieved.
(2) Country and Organization Activities and Initiatives
Despite the feelings about the inadequacy of actions since the Earth Summit, it was quite clear from the papers and speeches given at the Congress, that participating countries have, since before and after the UNCED Earth Summit, been acting in various ways and at different levels to improve environmental protection measures in their respective countries. These include new legislation, policy formation, land - use planning and implementation of Environment Impact Assessment procedures, scientific research, capacity building, ratification of international conventions, plus encouragement of community environment education and activity programmes. International organizations, such as the World Bank and UNEP, are also conducting relevant projects and programmes.
A few examples of these activities and initiatives will be provided.
Mongolia plans to use the UNCED principles to direct future environmental and development decisions, and by law its National Strategy for Development must comply with UNCED's Agenda 21.
In conjunction with Russia and China, it has prepared a tri - lateral agreement to establish a network of protected areas for the conservation of migratory birds, and also this year, it will begin a major biodiversity preservation project facilitated by the GEF through the UNDP.
Because of the need for accurate information and sound planning to tackle the problems facing the region, Japan will launch a new project, "Long Term Perspective on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific". The objectives of this project are to analyze the economic development trends in the Asia - Pacific region and their environmental impacts, and then make recommendations for the orientation of sustainable development and the policy options that will support it. It may also consider possible methods for international cooperation to promote these policy options.
The project is expected to be an extremely important exercise for the region and will be conducted over several years, in cooperation with the governments of countries in the region, as well as relevant organizations such as research institutes. It will serve to establish shared perceptions of problems amongst policy makers, and promote regional cooperation.
The World Resources Institute, the Brookings Institution, and, the Santa Fe Institute (all based in America) have begun a major cooperative research effort, "The 2050 Project", to explore how humanity can achieve a sustainable existence on the earth by the year 2050. It will include examinations of the concepts of sustainability, desirable future conditions, and the actions necessary to reach them. The project is similar to Japan's Long Term Perspectives project in that it will develop policy recommendations and action plans for the next decade to help achieve sustainability.
In February 1993, ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) held the ESCAP/UNDP High-level Meeting on Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development. As well, it produced a framework of regional action for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, characterized by the twin themes of regional cooperation and capacity - building.
ESCAP recently developed a framework for joint action to protect the environment in North-East Asia involving China, Japan, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation. This is likely to be the first intercountry cooperative programme of its kind to depend entirely on its own internal resources.
(3) Perspectives and Useful Experiences
The concept of "sustainable development" has been promoted for a number of years. It was pointed out that although the world's nations seek to achieve "sustainable development", various definitions of the term exist. It can have many meanings depending on one's value system and perspective.
This fact underscores the need to establish clear objectives for developmental programmes, and for openness and community involvement in all stages of environmental and industrial planning and implementation. Policies and projects must be able to be shown to be really environmentally sustainable, economically sound and in the best interests of the country concerned and its people. The integration of environmental and economic policies should occur at an early stage, with environmental philosophy in place before developmental projects proceed.
When preparing "sustainable development" plans consideration needs to be given to the various uses of the term, and countries need to be constantly reassessing what the term means for them in their own particular circumstances.
(2)Poverty and Population
Many participants felt that alleviation of poverty to be the most important issue facing the region in its efforts to achieve sustainable development.
H.E. Mr. U Ohn Gyaw of Myanmar pointed out that for many countries "the path to sustainable development could only be achieved through. an integrated programme of development which alleviates poverty and provides the basic needs of the population. People who are too poor and have to struggle for the basic needs will generally find it difficult to think in terms of 'long term benefits of protecting and conserving the environment'." It was also noted that this equally applies to industries who choose technologies that are relatively cheap but out- of- date in developed countries, so resulting in backward production processes, low efficiency and serious pollution.
The link between poverty, population growth, and environmental degradation was often stressed, with poverty being both a cause and effect of environmental destruction.
China's participant observed that a mutually intensifying relationship had formed between the region's huge population, its rapid economic growth and environmental destruction. He pointed out that many environmental problems are directly related to the size and growth rate of the population, and for this reason considered that "education and family planning must be made an important part of our environmental policies in the Asian -- Pacific region so as to reduce the birth rate, control population growth and to improve the quality of (life of) the population."
Countries such as Nepal and Myanmar are trying to alleviate rural poverty by agricultural development. This kind of development will assist in alleviating urban problems if it can help stem the flow of people to the cities. Nepal, for example, is also attempting to curb its population growth by decreasing the birth rate. To improve its people's quality of life it wants to provide clean water and adequate sanitation, plus satisfy the unmet demand for family planning services.
Related to this, Malaysia "perceives sewage treatment and consequently health protection as the most effective act to see real environmental improvement in the region towards protection of surface and marine environments."
With some 800 million people (particularly in poorer rural areas) dependent on fuelwood for energy, meeting energy needs in an environmentally-benign way must also form part of poverty alleviation programmes.<>
(3)Mass Production and Consumption
While poverty is directly related to environmental deterioration in developing countries, extremely high rates of personal consumption and the attendant mass production systems in wealthy developed countries are responsible for serious social and environmental problems in those countries (e.g. domestic and industrial waste disposal) and the countries and oceans from which they obtain resources (e.g. resource overexploitation).
It was realized that such economies should not be promoted as ideals for developing countries. Some participants felt that while Japan is often used as a model for economic growth and development, this should not be the case as Japan gives its own environment a low priority and continues to degrade the environment of Asian countries. Another speaker said that developing countries are now being advised not to follow the developmental model of the wealthy countries, but are having difficulties in handling the change in development logic.
A new value system was needed to radically change lifestyles in societies based on mass production and consumption. Prof. Iwasaki of the Japan International Volunteer Center considered that there is insufficient examination of, and debate on, the political economy of such societies. If simpler lifestyles are to be achieved, thought needs to be given as to how to change the financial system which is a basic cause of much destruction. Prof. Hirono of Seikei University said appropriate pricing policies that reflect the actual costs of commodities and energy, particularly petroleum, are important for changing lifestyles and reducing artificially created demands. Another speaker said that environmental education and increasing human/nature interactions could contribute to this process.
(4)Trade and Environment
Two aspects of this challenging issue were raised during discussions.
The first was the trade in goods and materials that are themselves environmentally destructive. These include old automobile engines, which are contributing to the pollution of many urban areas in developing countries, and hazardous wastes. Participants' attention was drawn to recent developments in the trade of hazardous recyclables, which it was felt could go against the interests of the region.
The second was the reliance of developing countries on international trade in raw materials and low-processed goods to earn export income. As was pointed out by several speakers, the world market can, and often does, require that developing countries increase imports and exports through intensive exploitation of resources in order to earn foreign exchange to pay back their debts. For example, biodiversity in some tropical forests and the use of their genetic resources, are threatened by logging of tropical timber for export.
The interactions between trade policies (such as those of GATT) and environmental protection need to be thoroughly understood so that coherent and sensible trade and environment policies can be established. The World Bank is currently conducting a review of the impact of trade on the environment.
There was great concern about the future of the region's oceans, not only because of the heavy dependency on them for food and transport, but because of their importance in maintaining global biodiversity. It was pointed out that there will be potential for serious accidents and oil spills as marine traffic expands with increased economic activity, and that suitable mechanisms are needed to deal with this, navigational safety and illegal discharges.
Mr. Buckhingham of Australia noted that small island states have responsibility for much of the world's biodiversity, but there is a limit to what they can do themselves, even though they have shown a willingness to implement sustainable development. He also pointed out that there are countries in the region that have the technology and experience required to implement sustainable development on islands, and encouraged them to give appropriate attention to these islands' needs. He emphasized that support should be given to The Barbados Convention on Small Island States.
The Executive Director of UNEP, Ms. Dowdeswell, pointed to the UNEP's Regional Seas Programme as an example of a cooperative mechanism which has produced harmonious and sustainable management in several ocean areas. Also, a regional coordinating unit was recently established for the East Asian seas, and she considered these serve as good models for ensuring sound cooperative management of marine environments in this region.
Mr. Buckingham also referred to the Australian Marine Strategy, which, he said, contains many elements and is very comprehensive. This too, could be of use to countries in the region.
It was recognized that there is a need to increase the ability of members of the general community and NGOs to be directly involved in relevant policy formation and implementation relevant to sustainable development. Prof. Iwasaki noted that NGOs have a diversity of skills and perspectives which are of value in tackling environment/ development issues. Prof. Kihara of Chiba University explained that the influence of local people on local governments can in turn produce profound changes at the national level, which is contrary to the traditional top -- down approach of policy formation and implementation.
Mr. Jalal of the Asian Development Bank explained that "in formulating and implementing its environmental activities, the Bank will promote public participation of local authorities and NGOs to more successfully reconcile the often conflicting calls for more economic growth, environmental protection and poverty alleviation." Many participants told of their governments intentions to increase such participation in different ways.
Participants agreed with Hon. Mr. Numata of Chiba Prefecture that local governments, being closest to people's daily lives, have a crucial role to play in increasing community involvement, as well as promoting such important activities as environmental education. International exchanges of information between local governments were also considered to be important.
Mr. Ritchie of the World Bank said that in its estimation, the circumstances and experiences of the region offer some promise for dealing with the more critical environmental issues in systematic and pragmatic way. However, funding is the main problem.
Separate estimates have been made by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, of the additional cost of potential investments in environmental rehabilitation and protection in Asia to the year 2000. They range from U.S.$13 - 70 billion per year depending on the assumptions. Mr. Ritchie stated that such amounts will have to primarily come from domestic resources, as there are insufficient funds in other sources.
Mr. Jalal of the Asian Development Bank reminded participants that sustainable development" cannot be dependent on continuing monetary inputs from external sources, and suggested some potential sources of funds. These were direct fund procurement, through domestic resource mobilization and establishment of market- based instruments, and demand management, through policy reforms and capacity building. Their implementation would help reduce the requirement for funds from external funding.
Pricing policies are clearly relevant to developing countries dependent on the export of raw materials, as well as affluent countries with high levels of consumption.
Mr. Ritchie of the World Bank told the Congress that the average price of power generated in the Asian region is only about 50% of the average long - term marginal cost of producing that power. This is "producing all sorts of perverse consequences. So getting the prices right on energy - as well as timber, and other products - I think, is one of the major policy issues remaining to be addressed in the region".
"Green Accounting" was mentioned several times as being necessary for the operation of sustainable economies. This is a system of national accounting that includes an economic value for a country's natural resource stocks, so that changes in these resources can be monitored as development proceeds. This is not done at present. With the current reliance on measuring development by GNP figures, a country can log out its forests, erode its soils, pollute its waterways and overexploit its wildlife and fisheries, but its measured income is not affected as these assets disappear.
(10)National Sustainable Development Strategies
Agenda 21 requires that countries adopt a national strategy for sustainable development, and some countries have already begun this process.
In this region, Australia has a particularly long record in this kind of activity. Over a couple of years it produced a National Strategy on Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD). This was a major consultative process, which brought together a wide range of interest groups, including unions, industry, State and Commonwealth Governments, conservation groups, and various community interests.
The Australian strategy is now in place, and according to Mr. Buckingham, "it fundamentally changed the attitudes of the parties to their interests and needs."
Clearly, Australia has a wealth of experience with, and information on, the preparation of such strategies which it could share with interested countries in the region.
(4) Regional Cooperation and Coordination
As Prof. Qu Ge Ping of China stated, the need for increased regional and global action on environmental issues is being realized at the end of the "cold war", when confrontation is being replaced by relaxation. Cooperation on these issues could help build and strengthen valuable links across different cultures, races, and social systems so reducing the potential for global tension.
The comment of Hon. Dr. Dang Huu from Vietnam is pertinent in this regard: "A prosperous Vietnam with a healthy environment will be a contributive factor to peace, stability and security in the world." In fact, this could be applied to countries throughout the region and the globe.
Because of the huge amount of work to be done in implementing Agenda 21 in the region and the limited resources available, many speakers considered that there is a great need to establish priorities for issue implementation at all levels. Discussions should take place on the mechanisms to be used to establish priorities, synchronize efforts and avoid duplication at all levels. Cooperation in tackling shared issues and tasks is important here. For example, regional or sub - regional reporting to CSD could provide considerable benefits.
Bilateral and multilateral cooperation needs to be further expanded. It was felt there was a need for coordination of international organizations, plus the utilization of existing aid structures and commercial opportunities to create appropriate environmental infrastructure. The Asian Development Bank announced that it intends to work more closely with the World Bank, UNDP, UNEP and other relevant groups on matters relevant to sustainable development. The view was expressed that the Global Environment Facility was too conservative, but that its performance will be further improved by its reform.
Programmes need to aim at enlarging human and institutional capabilities to strengthen the capacity for policy formation, implementation and enforcement. It was noted that many institutions are not yet required or designed to meet the logic of sustainability.
Such Cooperation should assist developing countries with the preparation of sustainable development strategies, implementation of U.N. conventions such as those on climate change and biological diversity, the transfer of environmentally sound technologies, and capacity building.
In relation to technological transfer, the view was expressed that it should be seen as a practical exercise in identifying problems, the technology required, and the location of that technology. The establishment of networks of relevant experts would help this process.
A major feature of the kind of cooperation envisaged by participants was the transfer of funds and technical assistance from the developed countries to the developing countries. The participant from China suggested the establishment of 'environmental partnerships' to cooperatively tackle specific issues, and this idea was received well by Congress participants.
ESCAP informed participants that the Inter - agency Committee on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (which is chaired by ESCAP and consists of regional heads of the United Nations bodies and agencies, representatives of governmental organizations, bilateral donors and other international organizations in the region) has been discussing how best to coordinate action on the regional follow - up of Agenda 21. It will also convene a ministerial - level conference on environment and development in 1995.
Mr. Buckingham suggested that Asian-Pacific countries may find useful models and ideas for cooperation and coordination of activities in the Environmental Action Programme recently agreed to by European countries, which will consider the integration of environmental issues into economic development, restructuring and investment.
Because of its economic position in the region and the world, Japan was seen by many participants as being a leader that could initiate moves to strengthen relationships amongst the region's countries, and to assist them in tackling their environmental problems. This continued the thinking expressed at the previous ECO ASIA Conference by Mr. Maurice Strong, then Secretary - General of the UNCED, when he said, "Japan's role as the most dynamic economic superpower must be accompanied by a similarly leading role in protecting the environment and resources of our planet."
The Congress was told of Japan's increasing contributions to development projects in the region, but criticisms were also made that some of this assistance is environmentally damaging and does not meet sustainable development objectives.
Participants welcomed the two Japanese proposals to convene regular ECO
ASIA meetings, and to conduct its project "Long Term Perspective on Environment and
Development in Asia and the Pacific". They looked forward to participating in both of
them. However, concerns were expressed that if the project becomes too ambitious it
may be less practical and useful. Also, it should not duplicate, but rather reinforce,
efforts currently being made by countries to meet the requirements of the Commission
on Sustainable Development and UNCED Conventions.
(5) ECO ASIA Congress
There was great support from Congress participants for regular ECO ASIA meetings. It was felt that informal meetings of this kind provide an excellent opportunity for the development of a clear regional focus on global environmental issues, and could act as a mechanism to coordinate regional cooperation of sustainable development activities. As such there needs to be a clear statement of ECO ASIA's role and objectives, as well as a programme of work to be conducted between meetings.
Ambassador McDowell of New Zealand suggested that because of the informal nature of ECO ASIA, there should be a much greater involvement of NGOs and academics who can often contribute different perspectives plus new and valuable ideas. He also hoped that there would be wider participation of island states in the future.
Many people expressed the desire that Japan continue to act as the secretariat
for ECO ASIA. The Environment Agency of Japan indicated its willingness to carry on
(6) Recommendations and Suggestions
- Korea suggested the establishment of an "Asia - Pacific Recycling Network" that would enable countries in the region to share their experiences in recycling, conduct joint research, and perhaps even transfer relevant technologies. This proposal received the support of participants, and was considered should be expanded to include hazardous and toxic wastes. Participants sought action for its early establishment.
- Participants endorsed the convening of ECO ASIA on a regular basis, and many hoped that Japan would continue to act as Secretariat.
- The Congress supported Japan's initiation of the major study, "The Long - term Perspective on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific".
Other ideas advanced at the Congress were:
- Development of a databank which contains information on such things as the needs of the region, the state of the environment in all Asia- Pacific countries, progress made on particular issues. It should clearly show the action that needs to be taken.
- Establishment of a regional mechanism to handle oil spills and improve navigational safety and speed up detection of illegal discharges. It could be funded by voluntary and mandatory contributions.
- Creation of consultative centers and a special fund to assist in the transfer of clean technologies to developing countries.
- Formation of networks of experts to facilitate technological transfer.
- Establishment of training centers for environmentalists to impart knowledge on environmental monitoring, impact assessment, environmental law, etc.
- Begin 'environmental partnerships' between countries to jointly tackle environment /development problems.
- Initiation of moves to strengthen the economic relationships among Asian
nations, that could lead to the creation of something like an Asian Economic
(1) The Environment Congress for Asia and the Pacific (ECO ASIA '93) was held in Chiba, Japan, on 30 June and 1 July, 1993, one year after the 1992 'United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). It was organized by the Environment Agency of Japan and the Chiba Prefectural Government, with participation of senior officials from 17 governments including 9 ministers plus representatives of 7 international organizations and many other distinguished guests.
(2) The objectives of ECO ASIA '93 were to extend the understanding of the present
state and perspectives on environment and development in Asia and the Pacific, to assess
the progress made during the year following the Earth Summit and to examine possible
methods of fostering regional cooperation, in particular high level cooperation including
ministerial meetings. Intensive discussions held over two days produced the following
Perspectives on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific
(3) The Asia - Pacific region which has more than half of the world's population, is blessed with diverse and abundant natural resources and currently its economy is extremely active. A large number of mega-cities have developed, mainly due to the movement of people from rural areas to the cities, and it is predicted that this trend will continue in the future. It was pointed out that there were many issues to be tackled, including the alleviation of poverty, promotion of appropriate demographic policies, and altering unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.
(4) The region's economy is expected to become the world's most dynamic as the 21st century approaches. Consequently, interdependence among countries will deepen and the flow of people and commodities will expand. It is predicted that the region's use of energy and natural resources will increase sharply because of rapid industrialization and improvements in living standards. Without proper policies and management, air pollutants such as SOx, NOx and C02, water pollutants such as organic compounds and toxic substances, as well as hazardous wastes will increase while natural resources including forests, land, freshwater and biological diversity will deteriorate. The impacts of such environmental degradation will probably not be limited to national or local environments, but will extend beyond regional boundaries to a global level.
(5) The Asia - Pacific region is in a crucial era in terms of steering development in a sustainable direction, pursuing socio - economic development while safeguarding the environment. Therefore, it is imperative for each nation to strengthen its own efforts to achieve these goals, as well as to promote regional cooperation and establish new environmental partnerships to tackle common problems. Such endeavors in the region could act as models for other regions, especially developing regions. The importance of Japanese initiatives in promoting such actions in Asia and the Pacific was emphasised.
The Challenge of Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific
(6) A variety of efforts are being made to implement the outcomes of the Earth Summit. Agenda 21 calls for each country to adopt a national strategy for sustainable development, and now many governments in the region are trying to prepare such plans. Endeavors for institution building and strengthening of legislation are found in quite a few nations. It was pointed out that the development of local government environmental policies, such as the promotion of environmental education and the formation of local agendas that encourage close collaboration with local citizens, are effective in helping to achieve sustainable development. The contribution of business, NGOs and the media were also considered to be essential.
(7) In promoting the above efforts, the following points were emphasized:
Environmental Cooperation in the Region based on Long - term Perspectives on Environment and Development
(9) It is necessary to have a long - term view, beyond the present generation, in order to satisfactorily cope with the issues of environment and development as well as to achieve sustainable development. Accurate and adequate information, not only on the present state of the environment but also on trends and future prospects for environment and development can provide decision makers with a scientific basis for policy formulation. Drawing up such perspectives would also contribute to the establishment of shared perceptions among policy makers in the region, and to the promotion of regional cooperation. Participants welcomed the initiative of the Environment Agency of Japan on its new project "The Long-term Perspective on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific". It is hoped that this project will be conducted with the active cooperation of other governments in the region, relevant international organizations and research institutes.
(10) Many participants hoped that Japan will continue to act as the secretariat for ECO ASIA. Projects were proposed such as the development of a databank on the state of the environment in all Asia-Pacific countries. It was also recommended that a special study should be conducted on the potential for establishing an Asia-Pacific network on waste recycling, treatment and disposal.
(11) Interdepency in the Asia-Pacific Region will deepen and there are many issues that need to be tackled cooperatively to achieve sustainable development, so a new mechanism to facilitate regional cooperation should be established. In this context, the participants endorsed the convening of ECO ASIA at appropriate intervals as a high- level meeting for dialogue among distinguished participants including ministers of environment. The outcomes of ECO ASIA are expected to have positive influences on policies of each participating country as well as regional policies, and to contribute to the formation of partnerships to tackle common environmental problems.
(12) The results of the project of the Environment Agency of Japan on long-term perspectives will be distributed to each nation through ECO ASIA, as well as other opportunities such as workshops for this project. It is hoped that a new development of regional cooperation based on this perspective will be forthcoming. Such activities could be input to the special session of the UN Assembly which will be held not later than 1997 for the overall review and appraisal of Agenda 21.
(13) The participants expressed their appreciation to the Environment Agency of
Japan and the Chiba Prefectural Government for organizing the Congress, the people of
the prefecture for their warm hospitality, and the Earth Water and Green Foundation
and the AEON Group Environment Foundation for supporting the Congress.
Opening Session (13:30-13:45)
1. Opening Addresses
Session I (13:45-18:00)
Theme: "Perspective on Environment and Development in Asia and the
1. Introductory Speech (13:45 - 14:05)"
- Coffee Break (15:05-15:20) -
3. Panel Discussion (15;20-18:00)
(1) Part I (15;20-16:35)
1 July. 1993
Session II (9:30-12:00)
- Luncheon (12:00-13:30)
Session III (13:30-15:30)
Theme : "Environmental Cooperation in the Region based on the
Long - term Perspective on Environment and Development"
- Coffee Break (15:30-16:00) -
Session IV: Concluding Remarks of the Chairman (16:00-16:30)
Closure of the Congress (16:30)
Closure of the Congress (16:30)
10. Participants List
H.E. Mr. Abdullah Al - Noman
Minister of Environment and Forest, Fisheries and
Prof. Qu Ge Ping
Chairman of the Environmental Protection
Committee, the People's Congress
Mr. Vinay Shankar
Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment and
H.E. Mr. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja
Minister of State for Environment
H.E. Mr. Taikan Hayashi
Minister of State,
Director -- General of the Environment Agency,
Minister in charge of Global Environmental
Mr. Saburo Kato
Director -- General, Global Environment
Department, Environment Agency
Mr. Masao Kawai
Deputy Director - General, United Nations Bureau,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
H.E. Ms. San Sung Whang
Minister of Environment
Hon. Mr. Peter Chin Fah Kui
Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and
Hon. Dr. Zambyn Batjargal
Minister of Nature and Environment
H.E. Mr. U Ohn Gyaw
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Hon. Dr. Ram Prakash Yadav
Honorable member of the National Planning
H.E. Mr. David Keith McDowell
Ambassador to Japan
Mr. Iamo liar
Deputy Minister for Environment and Conservation
Papua New Guinea
H.E. Mr. Angel C. Alcala
Secretary, Department of Environment and
H.E. Dr. Wimal Wickramasinghe
Cabinet Minister of Environment and
Mr. Kasem Snidvongs
Permanent Secretary, Office of the Permanent
Secretary, Ministry of Science,
Technology and Environment
Hon. Dr. Dang Huu
Minister of Science, Technology and Environment
H.E. Mr. Takeshi Numata
Mr. Kazi F. Jalal
Chief, Office of the Environment,
Asia Development Bank
Ms. Seiko Takahashi
Deputy Executive Secretary,
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
Mr. Daniel Ritchie,
Director, Asia Technical Department,
The World Bank
Dr. B. C. Y. Freezailah
International Tropical Timber Organization
Dr. Hideki Kaji
United Nations Centre for Regional Development
Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell
United Nations Environment Programme
Prof. Maung Nay Htun
Regional Director and Representative
for Asia and the Pacific,
United Nations Environment Programme
Dr. Fu -- chen Lo
Senior Academic Officer
United Nations University
Dr. Robert A. Coppock
Director, 2050 Project,
World Resources Institute
Mr. Takeshi Abiru
Chairman, Subcommittee on Global Environment,
Mr. Kunio Anzai
Chairman, Committee on Environment and Energy,
Prof. Dr. Michio Hashimoto
Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center
Mr. Tadashi Yasuhara
Environmental Information Center
Mr. Saburo Kawai
International Development Center of Japan
Mr. Hiroshi Okazaki
Global Environment Forum
Mr. Shunsuke Iwasaki
Japan International Volunteer Center
Mr. Yukio Mori
Earth Water & Green Foundation
Dr. Atsunobu Ichikawa
Director General, National Institute for
Environmental Studies, Environment Agency
Prof. Hidefumi Imura
Prof. Keikichi Kihara
Hon. Prof. Dr. Makoto Numata
Prof. Ryokichi Hirono
Prof. Akio Morishima
Prof. Kuniko Inoguchi