September 30, 2010 11:49

Press Conference





Good afternoon.  Thank you, Deputy Minister Eldana Sadvakassova for your warm words.

I have come to Kazakhstan to open the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific.  Attending this Conference are Ministers and representatives of over 40 countries in Asia and the Pacific.

This Conference is of immense importance. It is the only inter-governmental gathering where Ministers of environment and of development, collectively address sustainable development issues.  Other stakeholders, in particular the civil society, private businesses, and academics have also contributed by sharing their perspectives at the other stakeholder forums.

Since 1985, Ministerial Conferences have reviewed and set the regional environment and development agenda for Asia and the Pacific, keeping the global agendas in view.  In 2005, the assembled delegates in Seoul first endorsed Green Growth as a key development approach in the region.

I am grateful to the Government of Kazakhstan for leading and supporting the “Astana Green Bridge Initiative”, a bold endeavor underscoring the critical need for partnership between Europe and Asia-Pacific in promoting ecological sustainability as a new opportunity for economic growth and job creation.   I would like to compliment H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan for personally championing the Astana Green Bridge Initiative.

This joint endeavor bridging Europe and Asia Pacific is a “first ever” in inter-regional cooperation.  Kazakhstan — I am sure – is proud of this unique achievement.

I have just come from meeting with the Prime Minister H.E. Karim Kazhimkanovich Masimov, where I was warmly received.  I am honored that the Prime Minister will be joining me tomorrow in opening the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the President and the Government of Kazakhstan for generously hosting this critical conference on the environment and development.

I appreciate their generous hospitality in preparing for this event.  This welcome achievement on the part of Kazakhstan emphasizes the country’s growing political commitment and leadership in the United Nations and in the region.

It is my hope that the outcomes of this Ministerial Conference will form the basis of the regional preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, scheduled to be held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2012.

This Conference will result in a concrete implementation plan and initiatives that will help address the opportunities and challenges that we collectively face in promoting sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

I am confident that this Conference will result in a strong declaration underscoring the critical importance of balancing economic development with ecological sustainability.  The Astana Initiative will be the powerful endorsement of the Green Growth initiative for achieving sustainable and inclusive development not only in Asia, but in the entire world.

With that I thank you for your attention and now I am happy to answer your questions.