The 8thInternational Workshop for ECO ASIA Long-term Perspective Project

27-28 February 2001
Tokyo, Japan


I Opening

1. The Eighth International Workshop on ECO ASIA Long-term Perspective Project (LTPP) took place at Keio Plaza Hotel, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, from 27 to 28 February 2001. This workshop was organized by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and attended by 46 participants from 12 countries and 7 international organizations (refer to the Participants List attached). The Opening address was made by Mr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Counselor of the Minister's Secretariat of Ministry of the Environment of Japan on behalf of Mr. Hironori Hamanaka, Director General of the Global Environment Bureau of the Ministry. In his address, he emphasized the importance of the possible outcome of LTPP Phase II and its follow-up activities for ECO ASIA and Eminent Persons Forum (EPF) to fully implement their expected role. 

2. The objectives of the workshop were:
* To receive input from participants on each research activity of LTPP/ECO ASIA,
* To consider the contribution of LTPP/ECO ASIA 2001 to Rio+10, 
* To discuss the future development of ECO ASIA activities,
* To share information for the preparation of the Eminent Persons Forum,

II Election of the Officers and Adoption of Agenda

3. The Secretariat recommended Mr. Saburo Kato as the Chairperson and Mr. Heng Keng Lee as the Rapporteur and it was unanimously agreed by the participants. The proposed provisional agenda was also adopted by the participants.

III Review of LTPP-related activities

4. Mr. Kazuaki Hoshino, Special Advisor to Director-General of Global Environmental Bureau, Ministry of the Environment of Japan, reported on the discussions and outcome of the previous workshop and ECO ASIA 2000 held in 2000. Referring to three topics of the previous workshop, including ways of contribution by the Long-Term Perspective Project to the 4th ESCAP Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development, he reported that discussions were useful for furthering LTPP. He also mentioned the results of ECO ASIA 2000 with special mention to the Minister Kawaguchi's proposal of establishing an Asia-Pacific Eminent Persons Forum on Environment and Development.

5. Ms. Doerte Ziegler of ESCAP, made a briefing on the results of the 4th ESCAP Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development (MCED 2000). She illustrated four results of the conference; Ministerial Declaration, Regional Message to Rio+10, Regional Action Programme and Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment. She stressed that the Kitakyushu Initiative was adopted as a concrete measure for achieving urban management goals set forth by Regional Action Program. Some participants expressed their interest in the Kitakyushu Initiative and they were briefed on preparation for the Initiative.

6. Mr. Kazuo Matsushita, Acting Vice-President of Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), outlined the contribution of Long-Term Perspective Project to MCED 2000 and ECO ASIA 2000. He informed participants that a policy recommendation paper prepared by IGES which incorporated comments from the workshop members, was submitted to MCED 2000 as an official information document, and a scientific background information document of IGES was distributed to participants at MCED 2000. He stressed that recommendations in the policy recommendation paper would constitute a basis for the inputs to the final report with further elaboration. 

IV Possible Key Messages of LTPP Phase II

7. Mr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Counselor of Minister's Secretariat, the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, made a presentation on ECO ASIA Long-Term Perspective Project. As expected outcomes of Phase II of LTPP, he indicated elements such as action-oriented, participation, implementation of 4 Eco-Concepts and development of scientific knowledge. He identified the next steps as a) further information and database for policy development and b) infrastructure for information, database and modeling. The Asia Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy was suggested as a project that meets future needs for ECO ASIA activity and replaces LTPP. Mr. Takemoto also mentioned that the final report of Phase II of LTPP will be submitted to ECO ASIA 2001 for input to Rio+10 process. An idea of establishing a forum of senior officials was raised as a possible replacement of the international workshop. He suggested that its terms of reference would include policy proposals to ECO ASIA, guidance to Asia Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy and input to the Eminent Persons Forum.

8. Many points were made on future activities of ECO ASIA. The importance of a technical level exercise was stressed with a special focus on the involvement of young professionals/leaders. It was also stressed that ECO ASIA should collaborate with existing research programmes and play a role in integrating scientific knowledge with policy development. Caution was made over the institutional duplication of official forums dealing with global environmental issues in relation to characteristics of the forum of senior officials, as they might be too rigid. The unique features of the present International Workshop in terms of flexibility and participation were appreciated. 

9. Geographical coverage of ECO ASIA was questioned. Participants shared the view of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan that vague geographical coverage is a feature of ECO ASIA, an informal forum of Ministers for policy dialogue.

10. In relation to the finalization of LTTP Phase II report and the input from ECO ASIA to Rio+10, following important points were raised. The resource recycling-oriented society should be included in key concepts of the final report. Although the importance of inclusion of desertification in the final report is pointed out, it was felt difficult at this stage to start new research and analysis on desertification. The final report should have comprehensive policy recommendations. The implementation of recommendations should be taken into account and followed up. Final report should be carefully presented to preparatory process as well as the meeting of World Summit on Sustainable Development. In this context, IGES was expected to play a role as focal point for presentation and to widely disseminate final report of LTTP.

11. Mr. Takashi Otsuka, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) presented the draft structure and the working schedule of ECO ASIA LTPP Phase II final report. Taking into consideration of the mandate of LTPP Phase II, i.e. materialization of 4 key concepts and providing regional environmental strategies, the draft structure consists of an introduction and 5 chapters. These chapters are: 1) four key concepts, 2) current status and future perspectives of the environment and socio-economic issues in the region, 3) outcomes of sectoral studies on critical issues including recommendable countermeasures to be taken, 4) regional and sub-regional cooperative initiatives, and 5) conclusions and recommendations. In chapter three, each critical issue will be analyzed using 4 key concepts to respond to the mandate of materializing them.

12. Participants made suggestions to improve the readability and potential efficacy of the report, bearing in mind decision-makers are the major readers. The suggestions include; restructuring of the report by having executive summary, which should begin with a chapter on conclusions and recommendations (draft Chapter 5) in which crosscutting issues are highlighted; use of boxes to effectively show countermeasures to be taken, etc. Some participants also inquired if additional critical issues, such as land degradation, could be included in the draft of Chapter 3. The editorial team of the report responded that they can be mentioned in the section which reviews the current status of the environment in the region.

V Progress of the Project

13. Presentations on Eco-consciousness were made by Mr. Saburo Kato, Chairperson of the workshop and President of Research Institute for Environment and Society, and Dr. A. Terry Rambo, Professor of Human Environment, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. Mr. Kato used a deductive inference method and presented the importance of the eco-consciousness as the foundation of environmental ethics, that might change our current lifestyle to a sustainable one. Dr. Rambo used an inductive method, i.e. empirical studies based on an anthropological approach, and presented the findings and policy implications of comparative studies of Japan, China (Hong Kong), Vietnam and Thailand.

14. The participants actively discussed and welcomed the two presentations on eco-consciousness, which took different approaches. 

15. The 'Current Status and Future Perspectives of Asian and the Pacific Environment' was presented by Dr. Mikiko Kainuma, Head of Global Warming Response Team of National Institute for Environmental Studies. Using the Asian Pacific Integrated Model (AIM), she introduced the 4 scenarios, as well as regional classification and time horizon. She then showed the results of the projection in terms of population, GDP, energy supply and consumption, land use, water availability and pollutant emission such as CO2, SO2, amongst others. Some examples of eco-policy linkages were also shown.

16. Participants welcomed the recent development of the projection which was clearly represented. Some recommendations were made for clarifying the terminology on regional classification. A participant encouraged the team to look for the possibility of the application of the AIM as a tool for training and facilitating the stakeholder debate.

17. A presentation on climate change was made by Dr. Tae Yong Jung, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). Recognizing the increased weight of the Asian region in terms of global CO2 emissions, he explained that measures should be called climate policy directions rather than climate policy recommendations. Furthermore, he emphasized that many issues are still under discussion. He underlined that without changing our lifestyles it is very difficult to tackle climate change issues, and concluded the presentation by raising the question of what the real barriers to implementation of climate policies are.

18. Participants were interested in the possible causes of the barriers to implementation of climate policy, as suggested by Dr. Jung. To remove the barriers participants emphasized the following points such as; a) better communication between scientists and policy makers; b) consideration of longtime span issues; c) relaying analytical output to policy making and its further exercise; and d) leadership of developed countries.

19. Prof. Hidefumi Imura, Graduate School of Engineering of Nagoya University, made a presentation on Urbanization and Urban Environmental Management. He first explained that the urbanization will be proceed in Asia and the Pacific region, and that the cities that are expected to expand in the region will have to tackle environmental issues in three dimensions simultaneously. They are issues related to poverty, production and consumption. While he suggested several recommendations to tackle such urban environmental issues, he showed high expectations of the future implementation of the Kitakyushu Initiative. The Initiative was adopted by ESCAP/MCED meeting in 2000 with the intention of enhancing inter-city cooperation regarding environmental issues in Asia and the Pacific region and its network is expected to start in late 2001.

20. Participants were informed of the recent and future trends of urbanization in the region, and were impressed that new approaches such as Kitakyushu Initiative could contribute to solve some urban environmental problems. A discussion on the development of waste disposal method was made and participants argued that costly and energy intensive disposal method should be reversed.

21. Fresh Water issues were presented by Mr. Masato Toyama, Vice Secretary General For Technical Affairs, Secretariat of the 3rd World Water Forum. He first touched upon the history of international movement of fresh water issues, starting from Mar Del Plata Conference in 1977, resulting in the international decade of freshwater in 1980s and developing to the initiation of World Water Forum in 1997. He then provided an overview of the fresh water issues in Asia and the Pacific region, explaining the anticipated increase of water demand in the region. Looking back at the failure of past sectoral approaches to water management, he emphasized the importance of integrated water resource management, incorporating public participation as well as the promotion of research and development.

22. Participants appreciated the concise picture of fresh water issues made by Mr. Toyama. During the discussion, the issue of water pricing policy was pointed out in the context of to what extent water is defined as an economic resource, with its high relevance to poverty eradication issues.

23. Forest Conservation issues were presented by Prof. Hiroji Isozaki, Iwate University. He first introduced the causes of forest loss, highlighting the lack of legal administrative bases, and political and economic instabilities. Drawing on case studies of several Asian countries, he stressed that the introduction of participatory forestry management would be the key factor for conserving forests in a sustainable way. This approach would be supported by a) appropriate laws of administrative programs; b) benefit sharing of forestation activities, c) Educational/Training programs, and d) Dispute settlement systems including an informal mechanism.

24. Participants raised the point that migration of people from urban to rural areas, growing population and lack of delineation of forestland are major factors in forest degradation. The point was raised that forests play a crucial role in environmental management. The participants agreed that the problems of salinization and rise in sea-level are threats to the conservation of coastal forests and eco-systems, and should be tackled by the international community. It was also noted that Prof. Isozaki's paper focused on sustainable participatory management.

25. The bio-diversity issue was presented by Mr. Shunji Usui, Japan Wildlife Research Center. He first summarized the current status of biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific region by ecosystem type, as well as problems relating to habitat degradation, over exploitation and species invasion. He suggested some possible countermeasures to alleviate the loss of biodiversity by applying the 4 Eco-concepts. Finally he highlighted the three areas for action oriented recommendation of the project. They are: a) promotion of eco-consciousness through smooth communication amongst countries, comprehensive environmental education adapted in each cultural and social structure and involvement of people including local people; b) a sub-regional framework for enhancing the cooperative measures with the shared consciousness on certain natural resources; and c) compilation of basic information as an infrastructure for the development of conservation policy.

26. Participants agreed that rivers are essential for biodiversity and conservation of biodiversity in agriculture and forest areas is very important. It was suggested that reference be given to the coastal and marine eco-system. The point was stressed that there should be clear recommendations to ensure that protected areas are effectively protected and managed so that they do not become non-viable islands in a sea of agriculture. Eco-technology and eco-investment in genetic resources, and their intellectual property rights were stressed as important issues.

27. Dr. Bishnu Bhandari, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, made a presentation on education for sustainable development. Overall status, trends and major problems of environmental education in the region were reviewed and recommendations were raised. On the basis of a series of participating exercises, IGES in collaboration with its national partners, environmental educators and facilitators from the Asia-Pacific region has formulated a comprehensive document titled "Regional Strategy on Environmental Education in Asia-Pacific Region" which has identified five action agenda for regional cooperation. They are 1) to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders, 2) to develop partnership for collaboration, 3) to improve curriculum and program development, 4) to improve the governance for environment education, 5) and to mobilize external assistance.

28. Participants shared the view of the importance of further promoting environmental education in the region and also discussed its close relationship with eco-consciousness issues discussed the day before. The point was emphasized that in many countries environmental education is hindered as much of the population is illiterate, therefore there should be external aid for making them aware of environmental education, such as through the mass media. In order to raise eco-consciousness, governments should try to incorporate environmental education into the main education system. The point was made that even in developed countries with a high rate of literacy, there is still a strong need for environmental education.

29. Ms. Wakana Takahashi, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, made a presentation on regional and sub-regional cooperative initiatives. In the presentation, the current status in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia was reviewed and recommendations for furthering regional/sub-regional cooperation were raised; i.e. improving the problems with parallel institutions, multi-layer structure, different membership, and weak institutional/financial structure. Based on the presentation by Ms. Takahashi, Prof. Hisakazu Kato, Nagoya University, suggested the future role for ECO ASIA, to emphasize and maintain openness and flexibility as an informal forum for policy dialogue, and countries and de-emphasize the role of Japan.

30. Participants agreed with the points raised, and said that this section will form one of the key messages in the final report which emphasizes the need to tackle global/regional/sub-regional and domestic environmental problems through developing further partnerships among nations. It was the view of the meeting that the activities of SPREP, ESCAP, SACEP and other line agencies should not be limited to study projects only but the follow up activities based on the recommendations of country specific study projects initiated by them, must be continued for better enhancement of environmental improvement in the region. It was noted that mention should be given to the activities of SPREP, ESCAP, and others in enhancing regional cooperation. It was also suggested that ECO ASIA provide an opportunity for exchange of opinions between stakeholders, such as business and NGOs, and government leaders. The need for common incentives and vision, which could be summarized in a catch phrase, was stressed.

VI Discussion on Future Development

31. Having taken into account of proposals and views expressed by participants, the Chairperson summarized the discussions. There is a strong support on the continuity of ECO ASIA activities. The participants also supported the idea of transformation of this workshop into a panel with mandate in particular: a) providing policy option proposal for ECO ASIA Ministerial discussions b) guidance to a new project "Asia Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy" and c) providing possible input to the Eminent Persons Forum. The panel may have a working group(s), if necessary. The new panel will try to call for further inputs from each participating country. Concrete proposal in this regard will be submitted to ECO ASIA held in October.

VII Preparation of the Eminent Persons Forum (EPF)

32. Mr. Kazuaki Hoshino, the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, briefed on the preparation of the Asia-Pacific Eminent Persons Forum. He explained that preparatory work had been carefully conducted in cooperation with UNEP and ESCAP. He also stressed the importance of consultation with relevant countries, in particular though this workshop. Participants expressed their views on his presentation particularly on the status of the Eminent Persons Forum vis-a-vis the ECO ASIA Ministerial Conference and also the composition of the forum. These views will be taken into account in the process of the preparation for the Eminent Persons Forum.

VIII Adoption of Chair's Summary

33. Having had the active discussion above summarized, Participants considered the draft chair's Summary, introduced by Mr. Heng Keng Lee, of Malaysia. The chairperson asked the participants to further submit comments and suggestions by 7th of March 2001 to the Secretariat. Participants generally agreed with the contents of the chair's summary. Amendments would be conducted after the workshop and the final version of the summary would be sent to the participants as soon as possible.

34. Participants expressed their appreciation to the Ministry of the Environment of Japan for hosting the Workshop and to Mr. Kato for his excellent chairmanship.