Asia-Pacific nations call for ‘green’ economic growth strategies at UN forum

19 May 2010

More than 60 nations in Asia and the Pacific have underscored the urgent need for ‘green’ strategies to spur economic growth in the region, wrapping up a weeklong United Nations gathering.

The Incheon Declaration was adopted today in the Republic of Korea city at the end of the high-level segment of the annual session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

With the Declaration, “we are committing ourselves to a course taking the people of Asia and the Pacific forward with greater economic opportunities supported by the responsible use of the shared resources of the region,” Noeleen Heyzer, ESCAP Executive Secretary, said.

The agreement calls on countries to strengthen and adopt green growth strategies to respond to the global recession and to pursue sustainable development.

It also encourages governments to “incentivize” the private sector to assume more environmentally-friendly practices and to promote the creation of sustainable technologies, products and services.

“Now is the time to focus on green growth strategies. That means renewable energy sources, clean and low carbon technologies, mass transit, reforestation... and more,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message earlier this week to the meeting.

“We seek to foster cooperation and connectivity across borders, the sharing of technology and good practices, as well as resources,” Ms. Heyzer noted today.

The economies of the least developed countries, she said, will benefit both from stepped trade and capital flows as the region recovers from the recessions and from the longer-term increased flow of ideas and expertise.

Asia and the Pacific had been the fastest-growing region in the world in the past year, according to the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2010, a publication of ESCAP published earlier this month.

The annual growth rate of four per cent was driven by China and India, with the rest of Asia-Pacific’s developing economies contracting in 2009 by 0.6 per cent.

The report urged greater intra-regional trade and faster development of an Asia-Pacific consumer marker to develop all economies in the region in the long-run.

Ministers and diplomats from 62 Asia-Pacific nations – representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population – at the gathering which ended today also called for the adoption of a coordinated response to enhance the access to financial services by the region’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Next year’s ESCAP session in Bangkok will centre on long-term perspectives on social protection and development.

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Asia-Pacific leaders meet to revise steps towards regional economic recovery

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged leaders in Asia and the Pacific to cooperate and take bold action to seek ‘green’ solutions to their long-term economic recovery, as they gather in the Republic of Korea to review regional development policies.