Ministers and senior officials from 52 Asian and Pacific countries meeting under United Nations auspices today pledged to alter current patterns of production, consumption and distribution to promote cleaner, environmentally sustainable growth as they fight to eradicate poverty.
“Environmentally sustainable economic growth or ‘Green Growth’ should be promoted as a basis for improving environmental sustainability and attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the region,” they declared in a Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, 2005, at the end of the two-day meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
The MDGs, adopted by the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, seek to slash a host of socio-economic ills, such as extreme poverty, hunger, maternal and infant mortality and lack of access to education and health care, by 2015.
“The Seoul Initiative will help us in taking immediate action in implementing the commitments made within the framework of regional cooperation,” UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Executive Secretary Kim Hak-Su said.
“The conference has given us several strong messages that we should move away from ‘business as usual’ policies and programmes,” he added of the Regional Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific (2006-2010) and the Seoul Initiative on Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth, adopted by the ministers.
“I believe that this conference was an outstanding achievement to promote our efforts towards a synergy between the environment and the economy to not only the Asia-Pacific region but also to the entire world,” said Kwak Kul-Ho, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Korea, host of the meeting.
The Implementation Plan includes numerous activities such as promoting partnerships and economic tools to improve ecological efficiency, mobilizing technical and donor support, reviewing national laws and identifying, assessing, monitoring and building capacity to manage disaster risks.
The Seoul Initiative contains three targets: improving environmental sustainability of economic growth, enhancing environmental performance in pollution control and ecosystem management, and promoting the environment as a driver of economic growth and development.