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IGES Project Office in Bangkok and its Inaugural Symposium

Establishment of IGES Project Office in Bangkok:
to further promote regional activities of IGES with better partnership

Established in 1998, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) has grown into a dynamic policy research institute, whose geographical outlook is global complemented by a deep-rooted regional focus.

As one of the regional activities, IGES conducts a research project, i.e. APEIS/RISPO1 and contributes to the GEF-Project on the National Environmental Performance Assessment and Sub-regional Strategic Environment Framework in the Greater Mekong Sub-region that is led by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The IGES Project Office in Bangkok is established in April 2003 at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) as a project office to strongly promote these activities.

IGES has enjoyed a close and fruitful relationship with Thailand, Thai-based experts and organisations such as Thailand Environment Institute (TEI). IGES had opportunities to work closely with the international organisations such as UNEP, UN ESCAP and ADB. The new office in Bangkok is also expected to further enhance linkages and partnerships between IGES and its partners.

Inaugural Symposium:
To commemorate the establishment of its Project Office in Bangkok, IGES will organise an inaugural symposium, entitled; "Environmental Challenges, Opportunities and Regional Cooperation in South East Asia" at AIT Conference Center Auditorium of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand on 30 May 2003.

Despite substantive efforts made at national, sub-regional, regional and global levels, environmental deterioration and degradation of natural resources continue to threaten sustainable development in the region. South East Asia is no exception. Rather, considering the socio-economic perspectives such as rapid population growth, accelerating migration into urban areas, and dynamic economic growth, environmental conditions and natural resources such as freshwater will be even worse without effective and timely actions.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002, sought to overcome the obstacles to achieving sustainable development and to generate initiatives that would deliver results and improve people's lives while protecting the environment. The symposium has been organised to provide an opportunity to exchange views on a future path from Johannesburg toward sustainable development.

At the symposium, Dr. Tongroj Onchan, a long partner for IGES and a leading expert in Thailand, will give a keynote address that identifies major obstacles to achieving sustainable development and provide brief assessment of WSSD in the context of South East Asia. His presentation will form a foundation of the overall discussions at the symposium.

The symposium will include a panel discussion. Prof. Akio Morishima, Chair, the Board of Directors, IGES will serve as a coordinator. A wide variety of stakeholders such as government, academia, non-governmental think-tank, and international organizations will attend as the discussants. They will present their views on major threats facing South East Asia and/or introduce their own initiatives to break through obstacles. Those discussants include: Dr. Chaiyod Bunyagidj, Vice President, Thailand Environment Institute; Dr. Monthip Sriratana Tabucanon, Director General, Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Thailand; Mr. Warren Evans, Director, Environment and Social Safeguard Division, ADB; Mr. Ravi Sawhney, Director, Environment and Sustainable Development Division, UN ESCAP; and Mr. Surendra Shrestha, Regional Director and Representative, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

Inspiring views from those speakers and active dialogue with the floor will certainly create a new ground for post-WSSD actions and suggest expected future contributions by IGES including IGES Project Office in Bangkok to sustainable development in the region.

1 APEIS/RISPO: Research on Innovative and Strategic Policy Options under the framework of the Asia-Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy Project. The APEIS is a region-wide project initiated by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan in collaboration with numbers of governments in the region, as well as research institutes in the field of environment and development and key international organisations. For detailed information of APEIS/RISPO, please refer //www.iges.or.jp/APEIS/RISPO/index.html

Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
2108-11, Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa, 240-0115 Japan
TEL: +81-46-855-3700 / FAX: +81-46-855-3709
URL: http://www.iges.or.jp
E-mail

IGES Project Office in Bangkok
c/o AIT/UNEP RRC.AP, Outreach Building
Asian Institute of Technology
P.O. Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, THAILAND
TEL: +66-2-524-6440/1 / FAX: 66-2-516-2125/2-524-6233
E-mail (Ms. Takahashi)

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