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The World Summit on 
Sustainable Development
Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting

 27-29 November 2001, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

WEB ARCHIVES: Tuesday 27 November Wednesday 28 November


ENB Final Summary

Mon 03

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On Thursday, 29 November, delegates adopted the Phnom Penh Regional Platform on Sustainable Development for Asia and the Pacific after negotiations on the document continued all night on Wednesday until early Thursday morning. Delegates also continued to hear statements from governments, UN agencies, international organizations and civil society. The Regional Platform on Sustainable Development for Asia and the Pacific includes sections on the regional assessment of the implementation of Agenda 21. It also includes a section on key issues and priorities for sustainable development, which includes subsections on: economic and social issues (chronic and persistent poverty, impact of globalization, sustainable energy development, human settlements development, unsustainable consumption and production patterns, human development, coping with natural disasters, and sustainable agriculture for food security); environmental and natural resources (land and biodiversity, oceans and coastal resources, freshwater resources, energy and mineral resources, atmosphere and climate change, and island vulnerability); and cross-cutting issues (policy challenges for sustainable development, institutional reform and governance, capacity-building, enabling informed decision-making, technology transfer, promoting participation of and partnership with major groups, and ensuring gender equality and gender justice). The Platform also outlines follow-up actions including subsections on goals and targets, Asia-Pacific initiatives and implementation mechanisms. Asia-Pacific initiatives address: capacity-building for sustainable development; poverty reduction for sustainable development; cleaner production and sustainable energy; land management and biodiversity conservation; protection and management of and access to freshwater resources; oceans, coastal and marine resources and sustainable development of small island States; and action on atmosphere and climate change. Implementation mechanisms are addressed at the national, regional/subregional and global levels. In addition, the Platform addresses the issue of financing sustainable development. Photo: Kim Hak-Su, ESCAP Executive Secretary (left) with Chair Mareth Mok, Cambodian Environment Minister

Chair Mareth Mok presents the Chairman's Summary Report, outlining the main emergent points, inter alia, the diversity in composition of and issues facing the region and the need for stakeholder involvement in the decision-making process. In his closing remarks, he expressed his deep gratitude to the Royal Government of Cambodia and the meeting organizers and thanked participants for their excellent input, valuable comments and suggestions, stating he is confident that the meeting's dialogue will be helpful to the WSSD.

In his closing statement, Kim Hak-Su, ESCAP Executive Secretary expressed his pleasure with the meeting's successful decisions and noted that the regional message and program adopted at Kitakyushu provide a roadmap for sustainable development for the next decade, urging the development of concrete programs for funding and implementation.

Statements by governments, UN agencies, international organizations and civil society

The Republic of Korea suggested priority areas for sustainable development activities, inter alia: developing a policy framework for stakeholder participation; addressing transboundary air pollution issues and desertification; and promoting the use of information and communication technology.

Malaysia noted that intellectual property regimes have made technology transfer more costly, stressed that the increase of speculative and short-term financial flows has introduced more instability into the global financial system, and maintained that domestic resource mobilization does not fill resource gaps in the region.

China outlined progress made in, and positive results arising from, its implementation of Agenda 21, which is China's development framework, and acknowledged poverty and inequity as key challenges. She noted the unfulfilled international commitments that undermined the attainment of sustainable development and, expressing hope that the WSSD could revitalize the Rio spirit, proposed ways to do so.

Japan (above) called for: the use of science and technology to reduce environmental impacts and manage natural disasters; full implementation of the Kitakyushu Declaration and the Kyoto Protocol; technology transfer and capacity building; South-South cooperation; addressing forest crimes such as illegal logging; development of trade rules for sustainable utilization; and improvement of environmental education programs.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea highlighted efforts made towards implementation of Agenda 21, noting that the region had not made remarkable achievements despite regional action plans and meetings and that poverty is still prevalent, as well as natural disasters due to climate change and unequal distribution of wealth. He highlighted the importance of financing and technology transfer and called for, inter alia, the IMF to provide unconditional development financing.

Bhutan noted that the Asia Pacific subregional conferences show Rio commitments remain unfulfilled and stated that regional poverty is alarming. He endorsed the core principle of development, and the concept of "gross national happiness." He also noted that Bhutan has drafted a national environmental strategy and established an environmental trust fund.
Nepal described commitments to: transboundary regional conservation; experimental reserves; ecotourism and service sector contributions to poverty alleviation; and tax incentives for cleaner vehicles. He expounded on reliance on and vulnerability of mountain ecosystems, and the need for their sensitive management.

Reminding delegates that the Asia-Pacific region has more than half the world's population, India said the region has a responsibility to ensure the WSSD process is more action-oriented and meaningful. He highlighted: the eradication of poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease; appropriate pricing for fuels and proper valuation of natural resources; cost-effective technologies related to recycling and waste minimization; and the North's ecological debt.

Thailand described domestic activities toward implementation of Agenda 21, and identified remaining challenges, such as addressing sustainable development in the midst of globalization. He emphasized poverty reduction and job creation at the grassroots level, and called for creation of a compensation mechanism for damages to the environment and to quality of life.

Kyrgyzstan emphasized the vulnerable and unstable nature of mountainous habitats, which is manifested in natural disasters such as floods and mudslides. He said problems associated with desertification and land degradation are the most important concern for the Central Asian countries, and called for debt-for-nature swaps in the region. He suggested that one factor feeding terrorism networks is failure to implement concepts from the Rio conference.

The Islamic Republic of Iran detailed his country's sustainable development achievements, including the Iranian National Committee on Sustainable Development (INCSD), a comprehensive air pollution abatement plan for Tehran, environment impact assessment legislation to avoid unsustainable policies, and the role of civil society. He emphasized the importance of dialogue between civilizations to achieve sustainable development, and noted the need to address the root causes of poverty, including wars and armed conflict that also lead to environment degradation.

Armenia highlighted transboundary issues of regional and global consequence, urging cooperation, and noted that 2003 is the year of freshwater, urging the development of a regional strategy particularly addressing transboundary waterways. He highlighted his government's action program for poverty reduction and called for: market reforms; technical assistance to post-industrial countries; external debt relief in return for program development; and the redistribution of globalization benefits.

Azerbaijan stressed the social, environment, and economic consequences of armed conflicts in his country, which has over one million refugees living in camps. He called for: poverty reduction; food security; regional infrastructure development that minimizes environmental impacts; and for national administrative reform involving government capacity-building and civil society participation for good governance.

The Marshall Islands cogitated whether WSSD will produce another blueprint for failure; stressed that sustainable development is not only environment, but includes economic, social and cultural dimensions; and noted commitment to avoiding the adverse effects of sea level rise from global warming.

Bradnee Chambers, United Nations University, highlighted UNU's role as providing a forum for informal dialogue among UN member states and key stakeholders, and described the "Interlinkages" research initiative and their work on urban centers.

The Third World Network urged renewed internationalism on financing for development, and called for: the untying of aid; donor coordination and accountability; responsible lending by multilateral financing institutions; and the continued provision of basic services to citizens by governments. He called on developing countries to pull together to drive the WSSD agenda at the UN level.

The Asia-Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development stated that research findings indicate women bear the worst effects from activities such as industrial logging, commercial fishing, intensive use of pesticides in agriculture, toxic waste dumping and nuclear testing. She discussed the domestic burdens of women, threats to food security and urban migration for employment.

Kanta Kumari, Global Environment Facility (GEF), elaborated on their financial situation, and said that new responsibilities and funding for the GEF provide expanded opportunities for work in the Asia-Pacific region toward overcoming environmental challenges. She highlighted new work in the region on integrated ecosystem management, and expressed hope that the GEF will serve as a catalyst in forging partnerships among, inter alia, governments, NGOs, the private sector and indigenous peoples.

Adelina D. Ekawati, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted ASEAN's mandate to coordinate all regional activities implemented by other organizations in the region and highlighted the ASEAN vision 20/20, which envisions a Clean and Green ASEAN. She also pointed to constraints in terms of financial, technical, capacity and human resources in implementing Agenda 21, but also pointed to achievements made in the area of environmental protection.

Yukiko Oda, Kitakyushu Forum on Asian Women (KFAW) noted that the integration of gender equality is considered by this region as a separate, crosscutting issue, and emphasized that sustainable development issues affect women differently, for example, the disproportionate loss of jobs as a result of disasters. She urged that integration and mainstreaming of gender is crucial for the achievement of sustainable development.

Steve Iddings, World Health Organization described various initiatives that focus on integrating health and environmental concerns into national planning for sustainable development, such as the Healthy Cities Movement and environmental health impact assessment projects. Along with Bangladesh, he expressed great concern regarding dangerous levels of arsenic in groundwater in the Asian and Southeast Asian region.

Miscellaneous photos

Banners outside the conference center: one welcoming delegates to Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting; the other, welcoming WTO Director-General Michael Moore, who was in town for bilateral trade talks between Vietnam and Cambodia
ENB Managing Editor speaks with Herman Sips of the Netherlands (left) and with Hans Peter Dejgaard Kristensen and René Karottki of Denmark
ENB writer Alison Ormsby speaks with Herman Sips of the Netherlands (left) and ENB writer speaks with Christo Van Noordwyk (right)
Delegates look over the final document

Linkage's Portal to the Johannesburg Summit 2002
ENB Coverage of the First Preparatory Session of the World Summit on Sustainable Development
ENB Coverage of the UNECE Regional Ministerial Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development
ENB Coverage of the African Regional Preparatory Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development
ENB Coverage of the West Asia Regional Preparatory Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development
ENB Coverage of the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Preparatory Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development

UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
Asia Pacific Regional Preparatory Process
Stakeholder Segment at the Asia-Pacific Regional PrepCom

South Africa Summit Site
UN Official Summit Website

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