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The Eleventh Environment Congress for Asia and the Pacific (ECO ASIA 2003)

The Eleventh Environment Congress for Asia and the Pacific (ECO ASIA 2003) was held in Shonan Village, Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan on 7 June 2003, hosted by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan. The Congress was attended by national delegates from 20 countries, including five Ministers, representatives from 12 international organisations, and a wide range of other participants. IGES co-organised this congress with Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokosuka City and Hayama Town and took a major part of both logistic and substance works.

The Congress aimed to assess the region's efforts toward sustainable development since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and to discuss the future direction of cooperation in the region by recognising ECO ASIA as one of the fora to address opinions on sustainable development at the ministerial level in Asia and the Pacific.

In the Congress, participants had candid exchanges of views about efforts toward the establishment of a sustainable society in Asia and the Pacific Region.
As a result, the following points were endorsed in order to clarify further the direction for ECO ASIA to take in the future:

- To recognise ECO ASIA as a forum which addresses at the ministerial level views concerning the implementation of the outcomes emerging from the WSSD in Asia and the Pacific region and which will contribute to the new programme of work of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), with a view to strengthening its regional perspectives.
- To make use of ECO ASIA as a means for enhancing cooperation at regional conferences, such as at ESCAP and the ASEAN+3 Environment Ministers Meeting.

[ Summary of the Congress ]
The Congress was chaired by H.E. Mr. Shunichi Suzuki, Minister of the Environment, Japan, and vice-chaired by H.E. Dato' Seri Law Hieng Ding, Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment, Malaysia, and H.E. Prof. Dr. Bountiem Phissamay, Minister to the Prime Minister's Office, Chairman of Science, Technology, and Environment Agency, Lao PDR.

In Session 1 "Efforts toward the Establishment of a Sustainable Society", Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokosuka City and Hayama town provided the Congress with a host of concrete examples of local actions which are shifting Japanese society toward greater sustainability. Congress participants then cited examples of similar measures in their home countries.

In Session 2 "Specific Implementation of World Summit on Sustainable Development Outcomes", speakers presented the progress and future prospects for two of ECO ASIA's key projects, namely the Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED) and the Asia-Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy Project (APEIS).

In this session, Prof. Akio Morishima, Chair of the Board of Directors of IGES gave the presentation entitled "Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED): WSSD and Future Plans" [PDF:76KB] .Then Mr. Yoshihiro Natori, Project Leader of IGES Long-Term Perspective and Policy Integration Project, presented "Progress and prospects of Asia-Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy Project (APEIS) and Research on Innovative and Strategic Policy Options (RISPO)" [PDF:744KB]

In the free discussion, participants expressed expectations regarding both projects and mentioned various obstacles and potential solutions to the complex issues involved in implementing WSSD outcomes. Recurring themes included the importance of strengthening regional cooperation and the importance of ECO ASIA's projects in helping to achieve WSSD outcomes.

[ For more information about ECO ASIA 2003 ]
ECO ASIA Net Website: http://www.env.go.jp/en/earth/ecoasia/index.html

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