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Press Release

Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED) Fifth Substantive Meeting

May 27, 2004

The Fifth Substantive Meeting of Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED) was held in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan, on May 25 and 26, to deliberate on the first draft for the Final Report.

The Forum, chaired by Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto, former Prime Minister of Japan, was established at ECO Asia, a meeting of environmental ministers in the Asia-Pacific region, in October 2001 with the objective to formulate a new and long-term development framework that will lead to greater equitability and sustainability in Asia and the Pacific region by the end of 2004. Previously, substantive meetings were held in Bangkok, Jakarta, Guilin, and Ulaanbaatar.

The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Kazakhstan. The meeting discussed the following topics.

1.   Environmental Issues in Central Asia
   Issues in the Aral Sea, desertification, impending water resources shortage, deterioration of vulnerable ecosystem were introduced and discussion was made. It was noted that the exchange of the experiences of this region and those of other Asian regions is essential.

2.   First Draft for the APFED Final Report
  Participants discussed the first draft of the Final Report documents which consist of the final report, an action plan and an executive summary. The discussion was made from the perspective of diversities in Asia and Pacific regions, priority issues unique to this region, feasibility for the final report. It was pointed out that a new development model must be formulated to allow various parties to participate for the action plan. It was also pointed out that the description in the executive summary should be made so that it will catch the interests of policy makers.

3.   Implementation of APFED Recommendation
  It was confirmed crucial to keep APFED members taking initiatives for the implementation of APFED Recommendations made in the APFED Message to the WSSD in 2002.

4.   APFED Commitments
  A progress report was made on the implementation of the following three commitments made by the APFED, two years ago, at the Johannesburg Summit.
(i)   Collection and analysis of best policy practices
(ii)   Preparation of an inventory of capacity building programs
(iii)   Development of a network of researchers and research institutes (NetRes)

Next and the last substantive meeting will be held on December 2 and 3 in Japan. In this meeting, the Final Report of APFED is scheduled to be adopted.

* List of Participants
* APFED Message to the World Summit on Sustainable Development
* APFED (Please click "Activities.")

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