26-27 May 1996
1. Congress Background
Amid growing interest in global environmental issues, the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), the world's largest ever high-level meeting in this area, took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992. The participants began putting their signatures to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Agreements was also reached on the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21, and Statement of Forest Principles. Since then, results have been achieved to an extent. For example, the implementation of each convention has proceeded, and an intergovernmental panel has been established to consider forest preservation and sustainable development.
In the Asia-Pacific region, however, as a consequence of such factors as rapid economic growth and population growth, pollution problems have intensified at the same time. Moreover, such rich but fragile environments as tropical forests, coral reefs, and wetlands are being lost. In addition, there is growing concern about environmental problems that have a global scale or go beyond national borders and span different regions, such as global warming and acid deposition. To realize sustainable development toward the twenty-first century, it will be necessary to tackle a large number of problems.
For this purpose, it will be important for countries concerned to engage in the close exchange of information and policy dialogue on environmental issues and to promote regional environmental cooperation. In the Asia-Pacific region in particular, because there are strong economic links and because many countries share common environments, the need for regional environmental cooperation is especially marked.
From this perspective, with the objective of contributing to the promotion of efforts in the Asia-Pacific region toward the realization of sustainable development through the further improvement of the region's cooperative structure in the environmental field, this conference has been convened on four previous occasions: 1991 (Tokyo), 1993 (Chiba), 1994 (Omiya), and 1995 (Shizuoka). Hopefully the results of discussions at these meeting will serve as input from the Asia-Pacific region toward the Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly, which will be held in June 1997 to assess the progress of implementation of Agenda 21.
[Session 1] Keynote Speeches
"Toward Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region"
This session provided background for discussions in the following sessions, with the first speaker offering views on economic growth and environmental protection in the Asia-Pacific region, and the second speaker elucidating the roles of international organizations in achieving sustainable development in the region.
[Session 2] Panel Discussion
"The State of the Environment and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region and Forms of Environmental Cooperation"
With the fastest growing economies in the world, the Asia-Pacific region is forecast to have major impact on the global environment, such as climate change. At the same time, while the region is rich in biological diversity, it is also inherently fragile and sensitive to changes in the global environment. For these reasons, the Asia-Pacific region has an important role to play in achievement of sustainable development in the world as a whole.
Individual countries and organizations can play important roles in achieving sustainable development, but regional cooperation can make these efforts even more efficient and effective.
This session encouraged an exchange of views on the following topics with the aim of clarifying issues for discussion in Sessions 3 and 4.
(a) the present state of environment and development in the Asia-Pacific region, and future prospects;
(b) priority efforts in individual countries and organizations; and
(c) measures for promoting environmental cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
"A Long-term Perspective on Environment and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region"
The "ECO ASIA Long-term Perspective Project" was created by agreement of participants at ECO ASIA '93, and developed further by three international workshops on the project in March 1994, February 1995 and March 1996. The draft report compiled for this congress forecasts the state of environment and development in the Asia-Pacific region in the year 2025, and stresses the importance of identifying and promoting environment-friendly lifestyles appropriate for the natural and socio-economic conditions in the region (Asia-Pacific Eco-Consciousness). It also proposes three concepts which could be used to achieve sustainable development: Eco-partnership, Eco-Technology and Eco-Investment, and Eco-Policy Linkages. Participants discussed the draft report and its follow-up.
"Asia-Pacific Regional Partnerships Toward the Realization of Sustainable Development"
The Environment Agency of Japan presented four proposals: (1) establishment of an International Institute for Strategic Study on the Global Environment, (2) development of the Environmental Information Network for Asia and the Pacific (ECO ASIA NET), which had been agreed at ECO ASIA '95, (3) an Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia, and (4) the Junior Eco-Club in Asia. Participants discussed the ways the proposals could be implemented most effectively.
Participants also discussed input to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting on sustainable development set for July 1996, to the Fifth Meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in April 1997, and to the Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly in June 1997. Input to these meetings would include the results of the ECO ASIA Long-term Perspective Project, and the perspective that partnerships between developed and developing countries and between public and private sectors are important to achieve sustainable development.
3. Opening Speeches
ECO ASIA Congress participants were welcomed by Hon. Mr. Sukio Iwatare (Minister of State, Director General of the Environment Agency of Japan), and Hon. Mr. Hiroyuki Kodera (Governor of Gunma Prefecture, Japan).
H.E. Mr. Iwatare pointed out the importance of environmental problems facing humanity, ranging from local to global issues, which could threaten the foundations of human livelihood of future generations. Many of these problems, such as urban pollution and global warming, are caused by increased environmental burdens from regular corporate activity and daily lifestyles. He said that in order to resolve these problems, "it is necessary to reconsider conventional lifestyles and the socio-economic system of mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal, and to build an environmentally sound society capable of sustainable development."
He stated that in order to fulfill its role as the world's second largest economy and a country with great impact on the global environment, Japan has undertaken various initiatives including the enactment of the Basic Environment Law, amendment of the Air Pollution Control Law (April 1996), and creation of a Basic Environment Plan (December 1994), an Action Plan for Greening Government Operations (June 1995), and a National Biodiversity Strategy (October 1995). In addition to these initiatives, H.E. Mr. Iwatare indicated that Japan was preparing to host the Third Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change planned for 1997.
H.E. Mr. Iwatare stated that we must face the current challenges, and "in order to realize sustainable development into the 21st century, countries must cooperate on environmental issues, even though their developmental stages may be different."
H.E. Mr. Kodera greeted ECO ASIA participants on behalf of the citizens of Gunma Prefecture, which is blessed with the natural environment of the Jomo mountain ranges, many streams and rivers including the Tonegawa River, and a verdant land. Gunma strives to endow its natural heritage upon future generations, with initiatives such as the recently-established Oze Conservation Foundation involving cooperation of three prefectures to protect the representative Oze alpine wetland, and production of a film "Sleeping Man" which proposes a society based on the coexistence of humans and nature, communities, and nations. Gunma Prefecture is also the first prefecture in Japan to set up a CFC decomposition center, and has formed a comprehensive 'Green Plan' for the 21st century to create a prefecture that is "resilient, heart-warming, resident-friendly and full of greenery, striving for harmony between development and environment."
He pointed out that in the past, environmental problems were often based on conflict between regional economic development and the resulting local pollution, but that now environmental problems require measures based on global perspectives beyond the boundaries of a single nation or region.
Both speakers emphasized the importance of this ECO ASIA '96 meeting four years after UNCED, in preparing input from the Asia-Pacific region for the Special Session of the United Nations to be held in 1997 on the fifth anniversary after UNCED, and expressed their wishes for productive discussions and the success of the conference.
4. [Session 1] Keynote Speeches
"Toward Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region"
Two keynote speeches were presented. The first was by Mr. Tomomitsu Oba, Chairperson of the Japan Center for International Finance, who spoke on "Economic Growth and Environmental Protection in the Asia-Pacific Region". The second was by Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), who spoke on "The Role of International Organizations Toward the Realization of Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region".
Mr. Oba's presentation gave congress participants an overview of the scale of environmental issues facing the Asia Pacific region, put them in the context of economic realities, and concluded with the view that official development assistance should shift its emphasis to environmental conservation.
Pointing out that the color of hydrangea flowers in his garden in May and June indicate the acidity of his soil, Mr. Oba used the example of acid rain to illustrate approaches to environmental issues. Remembering the time he was asked by a former Foreign Minister of China "Is the rain falling in your garden Japanese rain or Chinese rain," Mr. Oba pointed out that rain is both a local and an international phenomenon, and that to understand the mechanics of acid rain in an area, studies are first needed for air quality, long-distance transport and short distance transport of harmful emissions. He added the necessity of using cleaner fuels to minimize sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, as well as de-sulfurization and de-nitrification equipment. Countries like Japan that have technology to minimize acid rain can help east Asian countries deal with the problem through technology transfers and official development assistance.
Mr. Oba mentioned that a recent meeting in Japan of futurologists predicting long term conditions on earth confirmed that the biggest medium to long-term threats to humanity are deterioration of the environment and rapid population growth. At the end of the Cold War in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down, these threats to humanity replaced those of nuclear and conventional wars, which are more directly controlled by human activities. The scale of problems is vast. As an example, he reported the loss of 200 million hectares of tropical rainforest, and an increase of 120 million hectares of deserts worldwide since 1970, which together represent an area larger than India.
In the Asia Pacific region, the nature of environmental problems is changing. Industrialized countries in the past have seen environmental issues in the context of industry-caused problems such as emissions causing acid rain or global warming, and CFCs depleting the ozone layer, while developing countries have seen environmental problems from the context of the need to overcome poverty. However, in the Asia-Pacific region where some countries are experiencing rapid industrialization and economic growth, their problems are increasingly similar to those of industrialized countries.
Turning to the topic of finance and official development assistance, Mr. Oba pointed out that due to tight fiscal policies in the United States and the need for European countries to cut their deficits in order to qualify for currency unification, other major donor countries had been reducing their aid to developing countries. Japan has maintained its position as the top donor country, with 1.3 trillion yen in 1994, but may not be able to continue increasing its aid, because of domestic economic and political reasons and a decline in the value of the yen.
During this time of change, Mr. Oba suggested, aid budgets should shift their top priority from infrastructure development to global environmental conservation. The donor policies of Japan should also change to reflect these new priorities. Countries should certainly develop, but it must be in a way that the environment is not destroyed as it has been in the development model used until now. As much as possible, environmental issues should be considered together with development.
Ms. Dowdeswell started by adding that the path to sustainable development requires consideration of not only environmental issues, but also economic aspects of development, including eradication of poverty and improvement of social aspects of life.
She then commented on traditional attitudes in the region, saying, "Long before the modern environmental ethic had taken shape in the industrialized North, Asian environmental values had addressed the needs of the people, incorporated social and religious values and reflected upon the wisdom of the arts. Asian cultures emphasized the wholeness of society and nature, and the union of the forester and the forest, the scientist and the poet. Those who used and protected the environment were part of the local community, and they reminded us to approach nature with gratitude, with awareness of its immense unity, and with awe."
Ms. Dowdeswell expressed an optimism in the future of the Asia Pacific region based on two major trends: delineation of a separate identity by Asia driven by a sense of economic vitality and interdependence; and by the non-complacent view of its economy and environment in global terms. Economic development in Asia is premised on political stability, emphasis on education, infrastructure, agriculture and exports. "All along the Asia-Pacific, governments and the people have become progressively environmentally conscious."
She said that the experience of Asia-Pacific countries is in line with UNEP's experience that national actions to conserve the environment can only be reinforced by regional initiatives, since ecosystems are closely interlinked and the causes and consequences of environmental degradation are not confined to national boundaries.
"For effective conservation of the region's natural resource base, not only do we need to reinforce national action by regional cooperation but also endeavor to place both in the framework of global cooperation. This integrated approach extending across all three levels is the best course to achieve sustainable development."
She pointed out that in the process of translating the plans of Agenda 21 into action, the task of improving the global environment was harder and less clear-cut than at first thought, and that the battle for an improved human environment is still under way and far from being won. UNEP has recently adopted an integrated approach to programme formulation and implementation based on four major environmental themes: sustainable use and management of natural resources; sustainable production and consumption; better environment for human health and well-being; and globalization and the environment.
UNEP has recognized the need not only to integrate its environmental management programme but to cut out activities where it does not have a real comparative advantage and to focus on those where it does.
Ms. Dowdeswell emphasized the importance UNEP places on this region, working through the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, and with strengthened links with governments and intergovernmental bodies such as the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme, ASEAN, the Northeast Asia Regional Environment Programme, and the South Pacific Environment Programme.
She stated that "education and public awareness are absolutely fundamental for achieving sustainable futures. The global community is facing the need to make changes that touch the very core of our value systems, involving shifts in attitude and perspective, in the way we view ourselves in relation to the environment, in the way we utilize and allocate resources, and in the structures and processes of our systems of governance. None of these changes will be accomplished unless the entire undertaking is approached as an enterprise of learning. The central task in this enterprise is to assist decision makers and even ordinary citizens to cultivate a new mindset with the goal of incorporating the imperatives of sustainable development into the decision-making process."
Ms. Dowdeswell closed by asking key questions: "What are the appropriate principles for sharing global responses equitably between countries and across generations? What will be the nature of policy instruments for implementing these principles? What will be the basis for financial and technology transfers to the developing countries?" She concluded by saying that our environmental realities cannot be reduced to a purely 'economic calculus', and that "it is profoundly in the interest of our future generations that environment becomes a bridge of cooperation between nations, rather than a catalyst for distrust and uncertainty."
5. [Session 2] Panel Discussion
"The State of the Environment and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region and Forms of Environmental Cooperation"
The coordinator of this session was Mr. Akio Nakajima, Parliamentary Vice Minister for the Environment Agency of Japan. Six panelists were Hon. Mrs. Srimani Athulathmudali (Cabinet Minister for Transport, Environment, and Women's Affairs, Sri Lanka), Hon. Mr. Victor O. Ramos (Cabinet Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines), Hon. Datuk Law Ding Hieng (Minister of Science, Technology, and the Environment, Malaysia), His Excellency Mr. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja (State Minister of Environment, Indonesia), Dr. Nay Htun (U.N. Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Bureau), and Ms. Seiko Takahashi (Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP).
The first of two reports on the state of environment and development in the Asia-Pacific Region was given by Dr. Nay Htun, expressing the views of the UNDP. He stated that the diversity in the Asia-Pacific region of biological, social, economic, and political systems means the indicators of sustainable development and actions to be taken must also be diverse.
In this context, Dr. Htun listed as examples five indicators that must be watched on the path to sustainable development: (1) freshwater shortages, (2) land loss (conversion of land to transport and industrial uses, etc.), (3) migration of populations to and concentration around coastal zones (by 2020, worldwide 80% of the world population could live 60 to 80 km from coastal zones); (4) elasticity gap of GNP to resource consumption; and (5) income gaps between regions such as rural and urban. For the elasticity gap he illustrated that normally as GNP increases energy consumption increases in parallel. In some northern countries the link of GNP growth and resources is beginning to lessen, while in Asia Pacific the two are closely coupled. He said that the challenge in Asia is to de-couple GNP and resource consumption using a range of measures such as technology, economic incentives, and normative measures such as education, trading, etc. To illustrate growing income gaps he said that growing incomes in cities while incomes in other parts of the country are not growing could lead to social tensions and other kinds of instability. He said that it is important to ensure that other parts of the region are included in income creation.
The second report was given by Ms. Seiko Takahashi expressing the views of ESCAP. She said that ECO ASIA had served the cause of the environment well, acting as a high-level think tank for sustainable development. Ms. Takahashi in her report focused on the outcomes of the Third Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development held in Bangkok in November 1995, a five-yearly event organized by ESCAP, ADB, UNEP, and UNDP. It brought together ministers and senior officials from 39 countries in ESCAP region and 29 organizations. The conference reviewed the state of environment and development in the region in "State of the Environment in Asia and the Pacific" (ESCAP and ADB) published in 1995. The Conference noted the rapidly deteriorating environment in massive resource depletion, rapid urbanization, severe land degradation with deforestation and desertification, worsening air and water pollution, solid waste overload, degradation of coastal environments, diminishing genetic diversity, and problems of hazardous waste.
Strong economic performance between 1980 and 1992 had not improved the poverty situation. Of 1.1 billion people living in absolute poverty in the world, three quarters are in Asia and the Pacific, with south Asia accounting for 520 million. Although due to improved health services, life expectancy in the region has improved, infectious and parasitic diseases still account for 44% of deaths, and diseases attributes to industrialization and changes in lifestyles have increased. Population in the region increased by 270 million people between 1990 and 1995, an increment larger than the current population of the United States. She reported that rapid and uncontrolled urbanization has posed another major challenge to the region. Today 14 of the world's largest cities are in Asia and the Pacific and 7 new mega-cities are projected for 2015, each with a population of 50 million. Land degradation is accelerating due to pressures, with Asia-Pacific region experiencing the fastest rate of deforestation in the world (1.2% per year), the world's fasted rate of commercial logging, the highest volume of fuelwood removal, and the fastest rate of species extinction. Deteriorating water quality is evident in accelerated siltation, toxic contamination, and increasing acidification. A recent survey shows that the percentage of lakes and reservoirs with eutrophication is highest in the world at 54%.
In the marine environment, the most serious problems are in the coastal areas. Of the seventy five largest areas in the world, half are in the Asia-Pacific and more than half of these are near the shore, being the largest source of land-based pollution. Specialized ecosystems such as mangroves, corals, sea-grasses and marine species are also under serious threat from pollution, in-filling, dredging, dumping and over-exploitation. Major threats to the atmosphere come from increasing intensity of urban air pollution, acid deposition and the ramifications of global warming and climate change. The impact of a diminishing ozone layer is already evident in the Pacific in the form of increasing of skin cancer and decreasing phyto-plankton activity, The 1995 Conference noted that what was needed was consensus among major players in sustainable development, and adopted a Ministerial Declaration on Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, and a Regional Action Programme from 1996 to 2000. It was recognized that implementation required that participation of regional governments, independent actors, regional and sub-regional organizations, as well as the political will of countries, funding, and related support.
Given the commonality of our environmental goals, ECO ASIA can provide important inputs to the implementation of the Regional Action Programme, Ms Takahashi said.
During the brief discussion that followed, Dr. Htun replied to a question that he felt there was reason for cautious optimism, noting that there was a growing political will at the decision-making level to deal with environmental problems; and that youth of today are showing greater concern about the environment. H.E. Mrs. Athulathmudali suggested that some form of ongoing exhibition was needed to keep industrialists in developing countries thinking about the environment. Pakistan mentioned that the Chamber of Commerce in Pakistan had program for industry to evaluate environment-friendly technologies.
Next, panelists reported on initiatives in each of their countries.
H.E. Mrs. Athulathumudali of Sri Lanka reported that key problems facing her country included poverty, loss of forests, land degradation, desertification, pollution, loss of biodiversity. Sri Lanka is trying to integrate environmental issues into policies, and has demonstrated its commitment to the global environment by signing the international conventions on biodiversity, climate change, desertification, and the Montreal Protocol. The country is trying to avoid mistakes made by developed countries. Education is considered very important. "We need to find alternative employment for the poor. Our experience is that sustainable development entails fundamental changes affecting industrial competitiveness and the lives of people. Alternatives are needed to get the support of government, industry and the people.
H.E. Mr. Victor Ramos of the Philippines reported on important themes and initiatives in his country. A survey conducted by his Department last year found that people were concerned about urban problems including air pollution, garbage, water shortages, and pollution. His Department is now trying to pay more attention to those issues in a new way, (1) be a catalyst rather than trying to do all work, (2) monitor progress, and (3) be a window for multilateral assistance. In the Philippines, an emphasis is placed on involvement of local communities, moving initiatives from central to local governments and regional offices, and defining accountable agencies to deal with environmental problems on the ground closest to where the problems are.
H.E. Mr. Law Hieng Ding of Malaysia emphasized the need to deal with environmental problems arising from urbanization, by taking measures to limit urbanization. Poverty is also an important area to pay attention to. He outlines some initiatives of Malaysia including new regulations for pollution from vehicles, privatizing of sewerage and solid waste management. Malaysia is one of the twelve mega-diversity countries of the world, and the country is now developing a biodiversity action plan.
H.E. Mr. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja of Indonesia introduced an effective Programme for Pollution Control Evaluation and Rating (PROPER) to make industries comply to wasterwater environmental regulations, in which rating are made and released to government agencies and the general public. He said that attention should be paid to sustainable production and consumption. And that the participatory approach to solving environmental problems is better than the top-down approach.
During the ensuing discussion, participants shared views on measured that can be taken to encourage cooperation in environmental fields.
Mrs. Athulathmudali of Sri Lanka expressed the view that transfer of environment-friendly technologies is most important, and that a technology transfer fund was needed to help small industrialists who do not have the means to comply to new strict environmental regulations. If they were forced to close, it would hurt employment.
Mr. Kusumaatmadja of Indonesia described a method to deal with polluting industries in which factories were encouraged to sell their land in the cities for high prices move outside town into related industrial clusters, creating the funds and opportunity to invest more into environmental measures.
Ms. Takahashi of ESCAP was less optimistic about creating funds for technology transfer, saying there had been examples of failure in the past. The key is to collect wisdom from ministries, NGOs, individual citizens, not just financial resources.
On the other hand, Mr, Ramos of the Philippines felt that the multilateral fund relating to the Montreal Protocol was an example of a successful fund. Also, creating charges to control pollution was one option to control pollution without taking money from the treasury.
Turning the discussion to the importance of education, Dr. Htun of UNDP quoting a saying from the region, "To plan for one year, plan rice, for ten years plant a tree, for 100 years, educate the people".
Mr. Law Ding Hieng of Malaysia reminded all that there is much difference in the stages of development and in environmental problems of countries in the region.
From the floor, Mr. Shunsuke Iwasaki representing People's Forum 2001, Japan, pointed out that there were many challenges and contradictions that must be addressed, such as the fact that households in Japan were collecting paper for recycling but that since virgin pulp imported from overseas was cheap, recycling was not economically viable in Japan. And efforts to stop golf course construction in Japan had resulted in more golf courses being built in Thailand and the transfer of environmental problems overseas. Environmental impacts of trade should be more seriously considered in free trade discussions. And NGOs need help to develop their capacity to deal with problems. Japan is a difficult country for NGOs to exist, he said.
Mr. Mahdi Ali Imam of Bangladesh felt that environmental awareness is important, and suggested common slogans in the region that can be easily understood, and the use of modern communications such as satellites to disseminate the messages.
Mr. Syed Muhammad Ismail of Pakistan reinforced the idea that to deal with environmental issues in the Asia Pacific, technology transfer was needed, and that it should be done at affordable costs, so some form of assistance was needed.
In all, the session provided a useful opportunity for the exchange of views and initiatives of countries in the region on environment and development, which were reflected in discussions on the second day.
6. [Session 3]
"A Long-term Perspective on Environment and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region"
This session was chaired by H.E. Mr. Sukio Iwatare, Minister of State, Director General of the Environment Agency of Japan, and Minister in charge of Global Environment Problems.
During this session, speakers presented their reports on the ECO ASIA Long-term Perspective Project and its Sub-Project on Land Degradation and Sustainable Rural Development in Tropical Asia, which were then discussed by all participants.
ECO ASIA Long-term Perspective Project:
The Draft Final Report on ECO ASIA Long-term Perspective Project was presented by Mr. Saburo Kato of the Research Institute for Environment and Society, Japan, and the Chairperson of the Project Steering Committee. He explained the history of the project including the series of three workshops (March 1994, February/March 1995, March 1996, Tokyo) and the Steering Committee meetings which developed key concepts. Member of the Project Steering Committee included Mr. John Gilbert of New Zealand, Mr. Xia Kunbao of China, Dr. Saksit Tridech of Thailand and Mr. Saburo Kato of Japan. The Draft Final Report consists of four chapters: Current Situation and Future perspective, Asia-Pacific Eco-Consciousness, Future Regional Action, and Conclusion and Recommendations. Four key concepts were introduced: Asia-Pacific Eco-Consciousness, Eco-Partnership, Eco-Technology and Eco-Investment, and Eco-Policy Linkages.
Dr. Shuzo Nishioka of the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan, made a presentation on the Asia Pacific Integrated Model (AIM) and the Environmental Framework model used in this Project. The project aims to provide decision makers with a scientific basis for policy formation needed to achieve sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region, and to identify the actions needed within one generation, by the year 2025. It identifies major current and future environmental issues, examines their links with socio-economic issues, and provides models for regional actions. Forecasts included more than a doubling of urban populations in the region, a more than five-fold increase of passenger car ownership, a 50% increase in seafood demand in developed countries and doubling in developing countries, an increase of 2.3 to 3.8 times (by 2050) of primary energy consumption, three or four-fold increases of SOx and NOx emissions (by 2050), and an increase to 36% of the region's contribution to global CO2 emissions (2025).
The Project also proposes the concept of Asia-Pacific Eco-Consciousness which included frugal lifestyles, coexistence with nature and other elements of traditional Asian societies which should be encouraged. Three other concepts were proposed as foundations of actions. Eco-Partnership suggests extensive exchanging of experience between countries, private sector, local authorities and NGOs. Eco-Technology and Eco-Investment involves the localization of environment-friendly industry, promotion of investment in energy conservation. Eco-Policy Linkage connects domestic environmental policies with global policies to achieve local and global environmental conservation, and include five "linked strategy" proposals: air pollution prevention, natural resource recovery, recycling promotion, biodiversity protection, and water pollution prevention. The report closes with recommendations such as to develop and disseminate the four concepts and AIM and Environmental Framework forecasting models further (software was distributed on diskette to participants), to follow-up on topics in the report on land degradation, to establish ECO ASIA focal points in countries, to establish ECO ASIA NET, and to report to the UNCSD and/or to the Special Session of UN General Assembly.
Mr. Kato asked for endorsement of the Report of the Long-term Perspective Project and continuation of the work. The meeting later endorsed it in Chairperson's Summary.
Project on Land Degradation:
Dr. A. Terry Rambo of the East-West Center in Hawaii reported on the Project on Land Degradation and Sustainable Rural Development in Tropical Asia, a joint ECO ASIA sub-project with the participation of researchers in China, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and the East-West Center. The major conclusion of the study was that "land degradation is a threat to the sustainability of all agro-ecosystem in tropical Asia. "Problems ranged from agricultural land being on the verge of collapse to continuing another 20 to 30 years before deterioration becomes serious. A second finding was that "the transport of soil nutrients across system boundaries is an important aspect of land degradation", with the macro-level illustration that exports of cash crops to national and international markets result in the depletion of nutrients in the source fields. For example, cassava grown on rain-fed upland fields in northeastern Thailand is exported to Europe for use as livestock feed; but with the very low price paid for cassava chips, the income received by the Thain farmers may not even equal the value of the nutrients exported in the cassava (if the farmers were to try to replace these nutrients with chemical fertilizer at current market prices). In addition, massive trans-boundary movement of nutrients occurs at the landscape level such as from upland swiddens to lowland wet rice fields.
Recommended actions included policy changes needed to reduce the rate of land degradation to enhance the sustainability of tropical Asian agro-ecosystems" with the key point which make up three quarters of farmers in the region. Finally, a method of pricing agricultural commodities is needed which r that land tenure systems and policies must be changes to ensure that individual farmers feel a strong in the long-term health and productivity of the soil they are exploiting. Also, methods are needed to ensure that research and dissemination of sustainable agricultural practices reaches farmers in remote or marginal areas, effects the true cost of production; current market prices do not fully incorporate the costs of land degradation. Dr. Rambo closed by saying that this project is a useful model to demonstrate the kind of cooperative studies that can happen in the region.
Prof. Ryokichi Hirono of Japan emphasized the need to provide rich and accurate information about all aspects of eco-system management, and environment-friendly management. Not only the public, but also governments often are not aware of what information is available to assist policy making. A number of other speakers agreed that methods are needed to provide accurate and timely information in the region to guide policies.
Mr. Ramos of the Philippines noted that in relation to agriculture, the Philippine have had successful experiences in community organizing, with 1000 communities of farmers as conduits of information about good agricultural practices.
Mr. Bill Long of the OECD mentioned that though they have been collecting data for 30 years, they find it hard to get good information. They feel they are 'data rich but information poor'. The 27-country OECD is now doing an economic study for the year 2020 considering two driving forces: changing production and consumption patterns in OECD countries, and global liberalization of trade and investment.
Prof. Hidefumi Imura of Japan agreed that obtaining macro economic data is possible, but getting regional environmental data was difficult such as local consumption patterns, lifestyles, and waste handling. Dr. Nishioka added that cooperation is needed to fill the data-information gap.
Dr. Mok Mareth of Cambodia emphasized that donations or investment should concentrate on rural areas or rural development, and investment in environmental protection in developing countries.
Mr. John Gilbert of New Zealand praised the Long-term Project report, saying it is a real example of partnership and that it fulfills the requests made at UNCED for development of regional perspectives about sustainable development. He emphasized that there is a lot of work to do by every country to achieve sustainable development and that it must be addressed quickly; 25 years can pass very rapidly. Much work should be done in collaboration between countries at the same stage of development in some cases, and at different stages in other. "We should put considerable effort into educating children," he said.
Dr. Maritta Koch-Weser of IBRD said the Long-term Project report was 'impressive', not just the resulting report, but also the process which involved many countries in the region. She indicated an interest in having work done on hotspot maps identifying future water problems in the region, which could guide actions to prevent them from becoming problems. She added that the concept of biodiversity hotspot in the past has helped focus IBRD investments on priority areas.
Some participants supported the idea that mechanism or task forces be created to deal with massive environmental disasters in countries in the region, which could be considered global concerns. Prof. Hirono raised the example of the extensive forest fires in Mongolia. Dr. Zambyn Batjargal of Mongolia reported that 33,000 sq km of forests and 50,000 sq km of agricultural land had been devastated in the fires and much damaged had occurred. He expressed the appreciation of his government for international assistance Mongolia had received to fight the fires.
The need for 'resource mobilization' in the form of financial and technical transfers to help developing countries on the path of environmentally sound sustainable development was highlighted and supported a number of times by participants. Malaysia stated that Japan should provide technology to fight greenhouse gases at concessionary terms. Technologies to be transferred to developing countries must be clean technologies.
Mr. Hironori Hamanaka, Director General of the Global Environment Department of the Environment Agency of Japan, concluded the session, highlighting the need for promoting accessibility of information, addressing the data-information gap, dealing with consumption and production patterns, increasing investment in environmental areas. He advanced a proposal to have a fourth International Workshop in the fall of 1996 to finalize the Draft Report of the ECO ASIA Long-term Perspective Project, which was accepted by the participants.
The session was chaired by Mr. Prakash Man Singh, Minister of Population and Environment of Nepal and Mr. Victor O. Ramos, Cabinet Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines, both were Vice-Chairpersons of ECO ASIA '96.
During this session, four proposals were made based on materials distributed: Mr. Hamanaka on "Environmental Information Network for Asia and the Pacific (ECO ASIA NET)", Mr. Masaharu Yagishita on an "Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia", Mr. Hamanaka on expansion of the Junior ECO-Club in Asia; and Mr. Tsuneo Takeuchi on establishment an "International Institute for Strategic Study on the Global Environment".
ECO ASIA NET: This proposal, based on comments made at past ECO ASIA meetings, is to create a databank of environmental conditions in the Asia-Pacific region. Information offered will include data which could provide an important basis for developing environmental policy; information on the environmental characteristics of each country; information to match support with needs in the policy and project development of each country; and a directory of agencies providing detailed information in their possession. Information providers would include ECO ASIA NET members such as administrative, international, and research agencies in each country. A secretariat agency would manage the data and provide user services. Access would be open to anybody through the Internet computer network. Samples of information screens were shown. A phased development was proposed. The next step proposed the holding of the first International Workshop in late 1996, to be followed by one 1997 and again in 1998.
Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia: Mr. Yagishita of the Environment Agency of Japan explained that expert meetings held Toyama in June 1993, Tokyo in March 1995, and Niigata in November 1995 agreed that the adverse effects of acid deposition would become a critical problem in the Asia Pacific region; acid deposition is observed in most countries, but monitoring methods vary by country, so it is difficult to assess the state of acid deposition; and there is a need to develop common guidelines suitable for East Asia. The most recent meeting agreed that the network should be established as soon as possible, but no later than the year 2000. The meetings agreed on guidelines for monitoring, and on the conceptual design of a network covering Northeast and Southeast Asia. The network will involve the following elements: monitoring of acid deposition in each country; quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) of monitoring systems; data reporting and information exchange systems; central compilation and analysis of monitoring data; promotion of technical cooperation in the field of acid deposition. An Acid Deposition Monitoring Network Center was proposed to be established in Japan. Participating countries are invited to establish national centers, a national monitoring strategy or plan, a network of monitoring stations, and implement an acid deposition monitoring programme. Participating countries include China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam; organizations which are hoped to support the Network include ESCAP, UNEP, World Bank, EMEP, NAPAP (USA), CSIRO (Australia). The next meeting for this network was proposed for February 1997 in Hiroshima. Future work could include emission inventories of precursor substances of acid deposition, and research of the mechanism of acid deposition in long and medium term ranges. Support of international institutions such as the Asian Development Bank was invited.
Junior ECO Club: Mr. Hamanaka introduced this topic. The Environment Agency of Japan launched Junior Eco Clubs in Japan in June 1995. Children who participate voluntarily carry out environmental conservation activities, along with an adult 'supporter' who advised the children; activities include surveys of aquatic creatures, observation of natural habitats and historical venues, environmental consciousness budget planning and recording, investigation of insect distribution, preparation of vegetarian maps of local areas, recycling, etc. As of May 1996 2,500 Junior ECO Clubs had a total membership of 36,000 in Japan. Japan proposed that similar activities be encouraged in Asia, with the first Junior ECO Club Asia Conference to be held in Niigata Prefecture, Japan on November 2 and 3. Financial assistance and know-how may be offered from Japan for participating countries.
International Institute for Strategic Study on the Global Environment: Mr. Tsuneo Takeuchi of the Environment Agency of Japan explained that the idea for this Institute came about in a proposal of an advisory group to the Prime Minister of Japan. A document explaining the proposal was distributed to participants. The Institute's aim will be to create new social systems for sustainable development. It will be policy-related practical institute to realize results in policy and corporate behavior. The proposed Institute will have four functions: (1) conducting strategic studies on the global environment; (2) applying strategic studies results to policy decisions and actions taken by corporations, NGOs, and others; (3) education and training through participation in strategic studies; (4) serving as an information center on policies and action. Specific themes would include reconsidering the modern materialistic culture and trying to establish a paradigm for a new civilization; new socio-economic systems energy, land-use, urban design, and consensus-building, etc. In ten years the Institute may have 200 to 300 staff, and a budget of $50 million. The current priority would be to start as soon as possible, and grow step by step. The proposed Institute would be an independent organization, sited in Japan.
Participants shared their views on the proposals, which were later reflected in the Chairperson's Summary.
Ms. Lilia Casanova of UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre in Osaka recommended that care be taken to avoid duplication of efforts. The IETC exists to promote transfer of environmental technologies both hardware and software. They focus more on the latter, including management procedures and practices. Many of their reports are available on Internet. She also expresses support of the ECO ASIA NET.
Dr. Kazi F. Jalal, of the Asian Development Bank in his presentation stated that "the priority should be to find ways and means to mobilize additional concessional external financing, to support policy reforms and environmental investment programs in the developing countries of the region." He also highlighted existing sub-regional inter-governmental bodies that are promoting partnerships including Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP), South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), as well as committees working on organizational partnerships such as IACED, Committee of International Development Institutions on the Environment (CIDIEs) and the meeting of multilateral financing institutions (MFIs) on Environment organized by the World Bank every year. In addition he listed sub-regional cooperation of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, China (Yunan Province); Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines - East Asia Growth Triangle (BMIP-EAGA);
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand - Growth Triangle (IMT-GT); and sub-regional environmental cooperation among countries in North-East Asia involving People's Republic of China, Japan, Russian Federation, and Democratic People's Republic of Korea. While the ADB supports the general thrust of ECO ASIA, Dr. Jalal emphasized that programs need a coordinated effort at the international level. He mentioned the "Emerging Asia" study which will be presented to the 30th anniversary of the ADB next year in Fukuoka.
Mrs. Srimani Athulathmudali of Sri Lanka pointed out that in low-income countries many people do not have access to computers and computer networks such as Internet. This fact should be kept in mind when discussing computer networks. Perhaps in-country training would be helpful. Speakers from Australia, Malaysia mentioned that already environmental computer networks exist and could link with the proposed ECO ASIA NET.
Participants from Malaysia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka mentioned that they had successful youth clubs in their countries, and that they were interested in participating in the Junior Eco Club Asia Conference.
During the discussion, a number of participants including those from ADB, DPCSD and ESCAP highlighted the need for coordination of activities. Ms. Takahashi of ESCAP in particular expressed concern about the ECO ASIA NET, and Acid Deposition Monitoring Network: "There are very many, perhaps too many networks. My concern is about the duplication of information to be collected, an most importantly on the burden that those networks might impose on countries in their activities of data collection. Sometimes data are not available. But often, data are available but not in the form requested. And it takes efforts, time and national resources on the part of host national centers to do this." She recommended that secretariat organizations of the various networks get together to exchange information, and to discuss their policies, coverage and methods of data collection. At the national levels, environment agencies or environment-related agencies could help to streamline work. "Otherwise, everyone becomes too busy in providing data and could have no time to do action on which the data is based."
Participants discussed and supported the idea of reporting the ECO ASIA Long-term Perspective Project to the Ministerial Meeting on Sustainable Development by APEC ministers in July 1996 in Manila, to the Fifth Meeting of UN Commission on Sustainable Development in April 1997, and to the Special Session of U.N. General Assembly in 1997. General agreement was reached that ECO ASIA would try to make arrangements to make half-day seminars at the events during UNCSD in 1997. Discussion included proper methods to make the arrangements.
Prof. Hirono of Japan said a lot of participants mentioned resource mobilization for developing countries as a major item that must be addressed. In addition to attracting funds for the environment, countries need to reconsider their priorities and reorient their own expenditures for environment, such as by reconsidering military expenditures. Donor countries need to be reminded to make efforts to maintain their support. Developed and developing countries both have a responsibility to proceed with resource mobilization for the environment.
Mr. Kazuo Takahashi of Japan said that it is important for ECO ASIA to provide inputs to the CSD or the Special Session of UN General Assembly next year, but simply having a half-day seminar on products of the project will not contribute to the process. The question is how to include two major actors in global societies: business and civil society. He said that for this reason, we need to find a way to get business and civil society representatives (NGOs) involved in the presentation scheme.
The Chairperson noted some comments of this session, including the proposal for a half-day seminars at the CSD or the Special Session of UN General Assembly; the recommendation to have the ECO ASIA report submitted to these meetings; and the suggestion to try to involve industry and civil society in the presentations.
8. [Session 5] Adoption of the Chairperson's Summary
The final session of the day, chaired by H.E. Mr. Sukio Iwatare, clarified the draft Chairperson's Summary and approved the final version.
9. Chairperson's Summary
The meeting discussed the following themes:
(State of environment and development and forms of environmental cooperation)
(Long-term perspectives on environment and development)
(Asia-Pacific regional partnerships toward sustainable development)
- to establish an International Institute for Strategic Study on Global Environment, noting that this Institute can play an important role in formulating strategies for sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region and can serve as a think-tank of ECO ASIA and should be open to researchers from any countries, and expressing the willingness to cooperate with the Japanese initiative for its earliest possible establishment;
- to promote the "Environmental Information Network for Asia and the Pacific" (ECO ASIA NET) project, proposed at ECO ASIA '95, noting that the first International Workshop will be held this autumn to discuss how to develop the project, and that existing networks should be fully considered in order to avoid duplication; and
- to hold the Asian Conference of the Junior Eco Club in November 1996 in Niigata, noting that the establishment of Junior Eco Club in the Asia-Pacific region could contribute to raising environmental awareness among children.
Sunday, May 26
** Symposium ** 12:00-16:40
12:30 Welcome Concert (Gunma Symphony Orchestra)
13:00 Opening Session
Theme : Toward Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region
Theme : The State of the Environment and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region and Forms of Environmental Cooperation
** Reception ** 18:30-20:00
Thursday, June 22
** Round Table Discussion ** 9:00-16:30
9:00 Session 3
** Press Conference ** 17:00-17:30
** Farewell Party ** 18:00-19:30
Mr. Ung Seng
Director of Cabinet to Minister of Environment
Mr. Ken Macartny
Counsellor, Embassy of Canada
Mr. Xia Kunbao
Director General, Department of International Cooperation, National Environment Protection Agency
No.115, Xizhimennei Nanxiaojie, Beijing 100035, CHINA
Mr. Bhaskaran Nair
Acting Permanent Secretary for Local Government and Environment P. O. BOX 2131, Government Buildings, Suva, FIJI
Mr. Robyn Yarrow
Ambassador, Embassy of Fiji
Mr. Akio Nakajima
Parliamentary Vice Minister, Environment Agency of Japan 1-2-2, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, 100 Japan
Mr. Hironori Hamanaka
Director General, Global Environment Department, Environment Agency of Japan 1-2-2, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, 100 Japan
Mr. Kazuyoshi Okazawa
Director, Planning Division, Global Environment Department, Environment Agency of Japan
1-2-2, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, 100 Japan
Mr. Masaharu Yagishita
Director, Air Pollution Control Division, Air Quality Buearu, Environment Agency of Japan
1-2-2, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, 100 Japan
Mr. Tsuneo Takeuchi
Director, Office of Environmental Activities, Planning and Coordination Bureau, Environment Agency of Japan
1-2-2, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, 100 Japan
Mr. Yong-Sung Park
Duputy Director of International Affairs Division, Ministry of Environment
Mr. Somphone Phanousith
Deputy Director of Cabinet, Science Technology and Environment Organization
Mr. Lee Heng Keng
Director of Assessment, Department of Environment, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment
13th Floor, Wisma Sime Darby, Jalan Raja Laut, 50662 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
U. Thaung Tun
Secretary of the National Commission
U. Zaw Myint
Personal Assistant to the Minister
U. Kyaw Tint
Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Myanmar, Tokyo
Mr. Poorna Bhadra Adiga
Joint Secretary and Chief of Environment Division, Ministry
of Population and Environment
Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, NEPAL
Mr. John Gilbert
Deputy Secretary for the Environment
P.O.Box 10362, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
Mrs. Chandra Amerasekera
Addtional Secretary, Environment and Women's Affairs
No.1 D¥R Wijewardane Mawatha, Colombo 10 Sri Lanka
Mr. Hareen de Saram
Private Secretary, Environment and Women's Affairs
No.1 D¥R Wijewardane Mawatha, Colombo 10 Sri Lanka
Dr. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Bao Tam
Senior Officer, Ministry for Science, Technology and
Environment 39 Tran Hung Dao Hanoi, VIETNAM
Dr. Rezaul Karim
Chief, Environment Section, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
Mr. Ryo Fujikura
Associate Professor, Institute of Environmental Systems,Kyushu Univ
Institute of Environmental Systems, Fac. Engn., Kyushu University,6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku Fukuoka<
Mr. Susumu Gunji
Secretary General, Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center
201-Kitamura 65kan 5-16-2, Hiroo, Shibuya-ku Tokyo,150
Prof. Ryokichi Hirono
Professor, Seikei University
1-10-9 Kichijoji-Kitamachi, Musasino-shi, Tokyo 180 Japan
Mr. Senro Imai
Development Speci alist-Environmental Management, JICA
10-5 Honmura-cho, Ichigaya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162, Japan
Prof. Hidefumi Imura
Professor, Institute of Environmental Systems, Kyushu Univ
Institute of Environmental Systems, Fac. Engn., Kyushu University,6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku Fukuoka, Japan
Prof. Shunsuke Iwasaki
Co-Chair, People's Forum 2001, Japan
Maruko Bldg. 5F, Higashi-Ueno 1-20-6 Taito-ku, Tokyo 110, Japan
Mr. Saburo Kato
President, Research Institute for Environment and Society
3-24-25 Yako, Tsurumi- ku, Yokohama, Japan
Prof. Keikichi Kihara
Professor, Edogawa University
9-22-8 Seijo, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157 Japan
Mr. Toshio Kinoshita
Director, Environment, WID and Other Global Issue Division, Planning Dep, JICA
2-1-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151 Japan
Mr. Kazuo Matsushita
Director General, Department of the Japan Fund for Global Environment
1-4-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku 100 Japan
Prof. Akio Morishima
Professor, Sophia University, Faculty of Law
7-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102, Japan
Mr. Takaaki Moroto
General Manager, Corporate Security & Environment Division, ITOCHU Corporation
5-1,Kita-Aoyama 2-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-77, Japan
Mr. Yasuharu Nakajima
Senior Research Fellow, KEIZAI DOYUKAI
5F Nihonkougyou-kurabu, 1-4-6 Marunouchi, Chiyoda- ku, Tokyo, Japan
Dr. Shuzo Nishioka
Director, National Institute for Environmental Studies
16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba 30S, Japan
Mr. Michitoshi Oide
NGO Support Programme Division Department of the Japan Fund for Global Environment
1-4-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan
Mr. Kouichi Oda
Senior Adviser,Global Environment Centre Foundation
2-110 Ryokuchikoen, Tsurumi-ku, Osaka 538, Japan
Mr. Masaaki Sakurai
Managing Director, Environmental Information Center
Office Toranomon No.1 Bldg. 8F, 1-5-8 Toranomon, Minato- ku, Tokyo 105, Japan
Mr. Masahito Sakurai
Japan Environment Corporation
1-4-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100, Japan
Mr. Hiroshi Shimizu
President, Global Environmental Forum
1-9-7 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106, Japan
Mr. Kazuo Takahashi
Special Counsellor, Sasagawa Peace Foundation
3-12-12 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108, Japan