Economic growth must be harmonized with natural environment: UN conference

23 January 2006 – Representatives of Asian and Pacific governments meeting at a United Nations-sponsored conference in Bangkok today pledged to harmonize economic growth with environmental sustainability in addressing climate change, air pollution, industrial development and energy issues.

”We need to change to environmentally sustainable economic growth if we want to continue the economic growth necessary for poverty eradication,” said Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Stresses from climate-related events are already being felt by most countries through extreme weather and natural disasters in the region, as shown for example by the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

Adaptation in agriculture, forests and terrestrial ecosystems are considered high priority measures for most Asian countries, while the top priority for small island developing States is adapting water resources and coping with rising sea levels. According to ESCAP, participants noted that sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region

The meeting was organized by several UN agencies and attended by 29 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as by representatives from UN bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society. Its conclusions will be submitted to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, which meets in May.

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