2nd Regional Session of the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum (UN-SPBF) for Asia and the Pacific Region

3 October 2023 | Colombo, Sri Lanka


This one day meeting, bringing over 150 private sector leaders together with government and civil society, saw lively exchanges on how to advance a green structural transformation in a way that leaves no nation behind. Topics included financing for green infrastructure, coherent policies, circular economy opportunities and digital infrastructure.

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Photo by the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment (UN-SPBF)

The Asia-Pacific Forum was the first regional chapter of the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum (SPBF), launched by the UN Environment Programme in December 2017. Focusing on technology, partnerships and integrated solutions for nature, the SPBF brings together top scientists, policymakers, citizen science groups, and the business sector to identify and promote opportunities for green investment driven by advances in science and technology, empowering policies, and innovative financing.

The Asia-Pacific region is home to the world’s fastest growing economies and some of its most biodiverse habitats; it is also the current leader in renewable energy employment and plays a key role in the international supply chain. As such, it is critically positioned to turn the challenges brought about by climate change and unchecked growth into opportunities for sustainable development that have a worldwide impact. Much will depend on how the region addresses environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations.

The inaugural session of the AP-SPBF took place online on 5 October 2021, hosted by the Republic of Korea. Held in conjunction with the fourth session of the Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia-Pacific region under the theme “Towards a Healthy Rebound for People, Nature and Economies,” the event examined pathways for a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate-related disasters. Delegates also addressed marine plastic pollution and the mitigation of zoonotic diseases.

The second session of AP-SPBF, was held on October 3, 2023 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and was organized around two key streams:

  • Stream One, entitled “Putting Environmental and Social Governance into Gear in the Asia Pacific Region,” addressed, among other things: regulatory and voluntary frameworks for decarbonization; a focus on biodiversity; integrating ESG considerations into supply chain management; and building trust through ESG reporting.
  • Stream Two, “Future-proofing Economies, People, and the Planet,” took up sustainable infrastructure investment and its potential for employment generation, health benefits and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Discussions focused on meeting the financial challenges; empowering policies and regulatory frameworks; bridging technological gaps; and opportunities and challenges in Public-Private Partnerships.

The fifth Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific, held from 3-6 October, also in Sri Lanka, considered the outcome of the AP-SPBF, and in turn, will inform the sixth UN Environment Assembly, which is taking place in late February 2024 under the theme “Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.”

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) writers for this meeting were María Gutiérrez, Ph.D., and Anna Dubrova. The Digital Editor was Diego Noguera. The Editor was Nienke Beintema.

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