Some 1,000 participants kicked off a United Nations-backed conference in Manila today focusing on the transition of Asian economies to a more resource-efficient and low-carbon pattern of industrial development.
The gathering is hosted by the Government of the Philippines in cooperation with the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
“This conference should shed new light on how economies in Asia can achieve a smooth and speedy transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon pattern of industrial development… and in the process, help create new jobs, build the industries of the 21st century, maintain the momentum of growth and protect our planet,” said UNIDO Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella.
He noted that UNIDO and UNEP were jointly contributing to improving resource efficiency in the region through cleaner production centres in Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Republic of Korea and Viet Nam.
Participants at the gathering noted that while there have been significant gains in resource efficiency in Asia over the last few years, much more needs to be done, especially since resource use in the region continues to increase with economic growth.
The three-day event is expected to endorse a ministerial declaration and plan of action that will outline the steps needed to reduce the resource intensity and greenhouse gas emissions of industries in Asia and track progress towards a low-carbon industrial future.
UNIDO is among the UN agencies that have been calling for greater investment and robust government policies to allow a shift towards a low-carbon, environmentally friendly economy with “green industry” at its core.
Meanwhile, in the Republic of Korea, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang today noted the importance of supporting developing countries’ active participation in green growth.
“Developing countries need to continue growing strongly to lift their people out of poverty and, at the same time, to redirect growth along a greener path,” he told participants at the Green Korea 2009 Conference in Seoul.
He said that to make this happen, large investments will be needed in the next few decades – financed in no small part by developed countries – in energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies and infrastructure, and public transport.
The gathering, co-organized by the UN, the Presidential Committee on Green Growth and the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences, will explore how cooperation between government and industry can help translate low-carbon growth into reality.