Side events

Republic of Kazakhstan is the host country for the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6), 2010, which is the regional forum for dialogue and decision making organized every five years by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) to review challenges and pertinent issues related to environment and development in the region. With its strategic location at the confluence of Asia and Europe, Kazakhstan is well placed to provide opportunities to harmonize policies and approaches and serve as a bridge between the European and Asian regions.

While hosting the MCED-6, Kazakhstan is offering this year from 27 September to 3 October 2010 an excellent platform for such important meeting place for over 1,500 participants, including private sector, NGOs and academia to meet with policy makers and share ideas and needs for partnership-building and joint actions on the implementation of regional, sub regional and national initiatives and programmes on advancing the environment and green growth agendas.

By harnessing and linking best practices, scientific understanding, policy insight and decision-making, the program aims to transcend rhetoric and provide innovative solutions and opportunities for multi-stakeholder action on a regional level to myriad of environment and sustainable development problems. In addition to the main MCED-6 deliberations a clean technologies exhibition and side events are being planned provide an abundance of opportunities for the professional networking.

These events are being championed and supported by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia with the intention to provide opportunities to showcase applications of the Green Growth concept through wider stakeholder involvement and public-private partnerships.

For many participants and convening organizations, these are the singular features that bring them to Astana on this year. Please plan to join us.

The sixth UN-ESCAP Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development will be held under the theme of “Zhasyl Damu”, i.e. “Green Development in Kazakh language.

The ministerial conference will be accompanied by a Business Forum, a Civil Society Forum, side-events and exhibition.

Both the anticipated side events and the planed exhibition are intended to address the concept of Green Growth, i.e. eco-efficiency and environmental sustainability of economic growth, thus highlighting the involvement and support of all government agencies, the private sector and civil society.

The following six major themes provide a structural framework for the anticipated side-events and exhibition during MCED-6:

1. GREEN AND COMPETITIVE

Ending the stalemate — the belief that environmental regulations erode competitiveness has resulted in a stalemate: One side pushes for tougher standards, the other tries to roll standards back. Tougher environmental standards actually can enhance competitiveness by pushing companies to use resources more productively. The private sector starts to recognize environmental improvement as an economic and competitive opportunity, not as an annoying cost or an inevitable threat. Environmental progress demands that companies innovate to raise resource productivity--precisely the new challenge of global competition. It is time to build on the underlying economic logic that links environment, resource productivity, innovation, and competitiveness.

2. GLOCAL GREEN GROWTH

Inspiration. Innovation. Leadership — local governments are the key!

With performance-oriented action, campaigns, programmes and projects on selected strategic themes, local governments and NGOs can accelerate green growth in the Asian and Pacific region.

Local entities provide information, deliver training, organize conferences, facilitate networking and city-to-city exchanges, carry out research and pilot projects, and offer technical services and consultancy. Policy and advocacy are also important components of local entities. Locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global (GloCal) sustainability objectives.

3. SUSTAINABLE ECOSYSTEMS

The Asian and Pacific region is experiencing the fastest economic growth among the regions of the world. However, this rapid economic growth is placing increasing pressure upon the environmental carrying capacity of the region. The challenge for the region lies in pursuing the economic growth that is acutely needed in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals related to poverty reduction and environmental sustainability for the current generation without jeopardizing the environmental carrying capacity for future generations.

2010 is the UN Year of the Biodiversity and BD COP-10 will take a place in Japan on October of 2010 right after the Astana-2010. Both conservation and sustainable management of ecosystems are vital globally and within the Asian-Pacific Region.  The specific focus of side-events could be on ecosystem and environment services contributing towards the Green Development agenda of the Conference as well as on transboundary conservation and management of ecosystems, a Sub-global Ecosystem Assessment and its practical implications.

4. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

Modern life is in many ways bound to the consumption of energy and resources. Improvement of our life standard means in most times also increased consumption of resources. Alternatives e.g. in construction of buildings, organization of public transport, and the use of energy efficient technical facilities are a way to enjoy higher standards of living without depleting our resources.

5. GREEN DECISION MAKING

This leadership theme is addressing the issue of leadership and action that is needed to tackle environmental problems. Society has significantly underestimated the scale of the environmental challenges — actions are lagging behind what science tells us is needed. Failure to act within the next decade will result in profound consequences for the region’s well-being. Leadership at all levels will determine whether we succeed or fail.

Good practices of green decision making at the global, regional and national levels as well effective decision making techniques will be presented during those side-events. Achieving consensus, good will, transparence and tolerance, multistakeholder cooperation will be a key towards environmental sustainability and a green agenda.

6. CIVIL SOCIETY and GREEN GROWTH

Civil society will be a proactive partner for promoting green growth. While governments are playing the leading role in introducing regulations and policies, it is increasingly important to secure the acceptance of the public.

While pollution can be reduced through government regulation, identifying the elements of cultural values and traditional lifestyles that respect harmony with nature and linking them with changing consumption patterns will be an effective way to promote environmentally sustainable choices among consumers.

However, improving the eco-efficiency of consumption patterns is not the job of the government. Therefore, civil society could play an important role as a proactive partner of governments in promoting the “Green Growth” paradigm. In particular, non-governmental organizations and consumer organizations could play a leading role in moving the public and consumers towards eco-efficiency and sustainable consumption patterns.