|8 November 2010|
|KYOTO, JAPAN (Nov. 10, 2010) - Environmental agency leaders from 16 Asian nations, Australia, Jordan and the United States gathered today to strengthen enforcement of environmental laws at a meeting organised by USAID-supported Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) and Japan's Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).
AECEN is dedicated to strengthening the capabilities of environment agencies to better assure compliance with relevant laws. AECEN serves as a platform for enforcement authorities to informally share experiences and create innovative solutions at the national and regional levels.
Meeting through Friday, agency decision-makers and practitioners will develop an action plan for countries to join hands to overcome a complex array of environmental challenges, including water resource management, climate change and air pollution, by improving law enforcement.
"While most countries in Asia have enacted environmental laws, many lag behind in actual enforcement and implementation," said Dr. Supat Wangwongwatana, Director General of Thailand’s Pollution Control Department and Executive Committee Chair of AECEN. "Finding clever and efficient ways to enforce these laws is a top priority of Asian decision-makers."
Mr. Soichiro Seki, Deputy Director General, Environment Management Bureau, Ministry of Environment Japan and Mr. Tseming Yang, Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs, of the United States Environmental Protection Agency are also speaking at the meeting. The meeting’s theme is Promoting Replication of Best Practices in Environmental Compliance and Enforcement.
Japan's Ministry of Environment, the meeting's host, will showcase its experience and capabilities in addressing environmental pollution. Representatives from other countries will share experiences in collaborative bilateral "twinning" partnerships that facilitate the transfer of good practices and solutions via peer-to-peer exchange, leading to enhanced capacity to assure environmental compliance and improve environmental performance in participating countries.
AECEN will also present the AECEN Award for Commitment and Outstanding Service by a Woman to Ms. Yoko Maki, Senior Director of the Environment Bureau of Kawasaki City, Japan. The award recognises women who demonstrate outstanding leadership, commitment and service, and have distinguished themselves by making exemplary contributions to environmental compliance and enforcement.
AECEN's activities and this forum are principally funded by the United States Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
"Asia faces intensifying environmental challenges as the fastest-growing and most-populated region in the world," said Winston Bowman, Environment Director of USAID's Regional Development Mission for Asia. "Through networks like AECEN, environmental leaders can achieve real breakthroughs in new environmental policies and practices by sharing experience and information."
Representatives from Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Laos, Japan, South Korea, Maldives, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the U.S. and Vietnam are attending the forum.