Environment Congress
for Asia and the Pacific

(ECO ASIA '94)

21 June & 22 June, 1994

Congress Report

  1. Congress Background
  2. Sessions Overview
  3. Opening Speeches
  4. [Session 1] Keynote Speeches
  5. [Session 2] Panel Discussion
  6. [Session 3] Report
  7. [Session 4] Keynote Report and Discussion
  8. Suggestions
  9. Chairperson's Summary
  10. List of Participants

June 21 & 22,1994
Omiya Sonic City, and Palace Hotel Omiya
Saitama, Japan
Environment Agency, Government of Japan
Saitama Prefectural Government
Chiba Prefectural Government
<Co - organizers>
ĈON Group Environment Foundation
Environmental Information Center
<Supported by>
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Japan
Global Environment Forum
Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center
Earth Water and Green Foundation
The Japan Committee for Global Environment






  1. The Environment Congress for Asia and the Pacific (ECO ASIA'94) was held in Saitama, Japan, on 21 and 22 June, 1994. It was organized by the Environment Agency of Japan and the Saitama Prefectural Government,, with the participation of senior officials from 17 governments including 5 ministers, plus representatives form 10 international organizations and many other guests.

  2. The objectives of ECO ASIA '94 were to review global progress since UNCED in 1992, to discuss the roles and problems of the Asia Pacific region in its efforts to achieve sustainable development, and to identify the role of local governments. Intensive discussions were held over two days with the following results.

  3. Nearly two years have passed since the Rio Earth Summit,, and there has been a great deal of progress in the development of policies for sustainable development during that period. It is now necessary that more action be taken to implement these policies. The Commission on Sustainable Development, (CSD) considers that, attention should focus on the following three themes:

  4. The Asia-Pacific region has a stewardship role which can be used as an example for the rest of the world. Economic development in this region, though, must be a true reflection of sustainable development policies. There needs to be a clear shift from theoretical considerations to concerted political and practical actions, international cooperation, and sufficient institutional and capacity building. Actions are needed to break down global inequalities and tackle environmental problems at all levels.

  5. There is a great deal of biological, geographical, and cultural diversity within the Asia-Pacific region. Although the economic development of the region's countries varies, it is the most economically active region in the world. The efforts made in this region will be the testing ground for realizing the concept of sustainable development.

  6. Developed countries must change their mass consumption lifestyles, provide support for the realization of sustainable development in developing countries, and prevent the export of pollution. Solid waste disposal has become a critical issue in this region. Efforts should be made to develop and transfer cleaner production technologies that simultaneously reduce environmental burdens and improve production efficiency.

  7. In order to promote sustainable development in developing countries it is necessary for them to be financial cooperation, technology transfer, and the development of human resources. Alleviation of poverty and control of population growth are important objectives here. There should be promotion of financial cooperation between donor countries and international organizations. Also, it is necessary that environmentally sound technology is actively developed and transferred to developing countries.

  8. It is important that there is participation from all sectors, including local authorities, enterprises, and the general public in achieving sustainable development. The provision of information, increased education, and promotion of public awareness are necessary to improve individual understanding and to change lifestyle patterns. The role of local authorities in promoting local activities is extremely important. New forums for exchange of information between local governments would be useful. Improvement of environmental awareness and education will help encourage the diversion of resources to environmental concerns. The strength of NGOs and their involvement in sustainable development activities should be increased.

  9. There is a common understanding among the participants in regard to the necessity of the following:
  10. The region needs to move away from tackling symptoms to addressing the underlying causes of the environmental and social problems. These include environmentally-damaging export-led economic growth, rapid population growth, high per capita consumption, inefficient energy use plus market and policy failures.

  11. Consideration of the environment must be integrated into the basic thinking of governments on economic development, such as through the 'greening' of national accounts, and use of both environmental impact assessment and the 'polluter pays principle'. Trade and environment has become a major issue of concern, and 'North-South' discussions on this topic should lead to consensus building on policies relating to environmental conservation, economic development and trade liberalization.

  12. "A Long-term Perspective on Environment and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region" was proposed by the Environment Agency of Japan at ECO ASIA '93 and endorsed by the participants. In March 1994, a workshop attended by various international experts was held in Tokyo to discuss the Project and its workplan. It is expected that the aim of the Project will be further clarified from this point on and that it will contribute to the development of indicators for sustainability which are being worked on within the CSD.

  13. The participants in this congress recognized the necessity for continuation of ECO ASIA, and suggested;

  14. It is necessary that ECO ASIA be continued and even more detailed discussions be held. ECO ASIA in 1995 will be held at a high ranking official level, and the results of this conference will be reported to the ministerial level conference of ECO ASIA in 1996.