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Asia-Pacific nations adopt platform for UN summit on sustainable development

Asia-Pacific nations adopt platform for UN summit on sustainable development

Following high-level talks in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, delegates from around Asia and the Pacific today adopted a regional platform statement on sustainable development that will feed into the global preparatory process for next year’s United Nations summit on this issue.

The document, which was approved after three days of meetings and negotiations involving nearly 500 government and civil society representatives, will contribute to preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002.

In its assessment of the implementation of Agenda 21 -- the blueprint for sustainable development adopted at the landmark UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 -- the Phnom Penh platform states that while significant achievements have been made in many sectors, the environment continues to deteriorate and the number of poor in the region continues to increase.

The statement highlights several critical environmental issues for the region, such as land and biodiversity, oceans and coastal resources, freshwater resources and atmosphere and climate change. On the economic and social front it points to chronic and persistent poverty, the impacts of globalization, sustainable energy development, human settlements development, unsustainable consumption and production and natural disasters as key areas of concern.

To address these issues, the platform underscores the need for policy and institutional reform and identifies follow-up actions to achieve international development goals developed through the UN. It also outlines several regional initiatives, including those aimed at poverty reduction, cleaner production and sustainable energy, land management and biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development of small island states.

To encourage greater financing for sustainable development in the region the platform emphasizes the need for strengthening the Global Environment Facility as well as the use of economic instruments and strategic alliances with civil society, in the framework of a “new global partnership.”

The meeting was organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).