The Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on Environment was jointly organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN Environment from 5 to 8 September 2017 in Bangkok.
The Summit was inaugurated by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, and Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UNEP. Dr. Akhtar briefed on resource efficiency challenges for the region, highlighting that 32% of the world’s GDP is produced in the Asia-Pacific region, where 60% of the world’s resources are consumed. She highlighted the need for profound change in resource efficiency encouraging countries to take their own policy measures, notably integrating resource efficiency targets into national development agendas, and introducing resource efficiency standards. Mr. Solheim focused on health implications of pollution and observed that pollution is the biggest killer of humanity. He emphasized that changing the world will require citizen action, political leadership and business dynamism. He also mentioned that despite lagging behind the rest of the world, Asia-Pacific made the fastest bid towards progress in tackling these challenges.
ECO Secretariat was represented in both senior officials and the ministerial segments of the Summit by Mr. Fuad Farzalibeyov, Director of Energy, Minerals and Environment. He made an intervention in the senior officials segment emphasizing the need to duly reflect the role of regional and sub-regional organizations and entities in tackling environmental challenges in the Ministerial Summit Declaration and other proceedings of the Event. He also expressed ECO’s readiness to contribute to maximization of UN impact and coherence and to act as a regional platform for mobilizing relevant stakeholders across the region for developing programmes on sustainable management of natural resources. In the Ministerial segment, Mr. Farzalibeyov delivered a statement on behalf of the ECO, in which he briefed the audience on ECO’s increasing environmental profile and focused on its intention to shift in paradigm towards identification of common applicable approaches on climate change and mobilizing resources for adaptation and mitigation related actions. He highlighted the need to work towards development of environmentally sound mechanisms and innovative solutions for prevailing common challenges at the regional and sub-regional levels. He also expressed confidence that ECO would play an important role in advancement of global and regional coherence for environmental resiliency and would facilitate the UN agencies in pragmatic implementation process of their global climate change agenda in the ECO Region.
The Summit adopted several outcome documents, namely the Report of the Senior Officials and a Chair’s Summary of the Second UN Environment Programme Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific; and the Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development for Asia and the Pacific. The Summit also adopted the Report of the 7th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific. The Summit agreed that the report would also entail a reference on the Rio Principles, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).