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WLC Singapore Statement

WLC Singapore Statement

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Published by: media8949 on Aug 18, 2011
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Eco-Singapore / WLC StatementTable of Contents
1.Green Economy to Eradicate Poverty 12.Energy for Low Carbon Future 73.Institutional Framework of SustainableDevelopment 12
1. Green Economy to Eradicate Poverty
1. The UNEP defines a green economy to be “one that results in improvedhuman well-beingand social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks andecological scarcities.”In line with this definition, we, the Asia Pacific youth call for a recognition of ourcurrentunsustainable way of life and for priority to be placed in the social andenvironmental fronts of development, while at the same time incorporatingdevelopment needs of the region, givingfocus to poverty eradication.2. The Asia Pacific countries traditionally have economies deeply rooted in thecommercialextraction and use of raw materials, which have provided the region with rapideconomicgrowth, essential to the betterment of lives of the people. There is no doubtthat economicgrowth is necessary, but it should not be seen as the only way to eradicatepoverty, and neither should it be detrimental to the environment that it isbased on.3. The rapid economic growth in the region, although unequally concentrated,has resulted inconvergence to a wasteful one-use global economy ethos, in whichunsustainable consumption and production patterns have become mainstreamin our way of living. There needs to be a decoupling of economic growth andenvironmental degradation, especially in this region where the bulk of people’slivelihoods rely heavily on natural resources and ecosystem services. A balancebetween the region’s exponential growth and sensitive environmentalmeasures that protect their communities, especially in the rural areas, must befound. As such, more green jobs have to be created or formalised to increasethe economic and social well-being of the people in Asia Pacific.4. Poverty, however, still remains a very prevalent problem in this region dueto uneven rapideconomic growth in the recent years. It is also the poor that bear the brunt of 1
environmentalconsequences, especially women and children. Development of a system thatcannot ensurethe well being of all the citizens does not have capability to sustain itself. Weneed to reflect onthe current trickle-down approach to alleviating poverty and focus on actualaction to eradicate poverty, particularly after the global financial crisis. Suchcan be achieved in tandem with a green economy, in which ethical andsustainable workplaces can be created, environmental consequences of uncontrolled exploitation can be mitigated, and natural capital can be built andharnessed.5. While it is tempting to think that achieving a green economy is tantamountto achievingsustainable development, we are of the opinion that a green economy willreinforce sustainable development but not substitute it.6. In Asia Pacific, the biggest impediment to achieving a green economy lieswith the lack of financial resources to kick-start the process, but there is sentiment in theregion that the initial cost of investing in the transition to a green economy willbe well offset by the benefits and long-term survivability, and increasingly,such a notion is becoming more a necessity than an option.
7. Key components of a green economy for the Asia Pacific:7 a) Sustainable agriculture: A large sector of Asia Pacific country economies isagriculture, usually accounting for most of Gross Domestic Product figuresand/or employing the most people out of all other industries. There isextensive research that indicates strong correlation between agriculturalgrowth and poverty reduction in such countries whose primary resource isarable land, including Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and Philippines. As aresult of the boom in the agriculture industry due to the Green Revolution,lavish, unplanned and indiscriminate land clearing for agricultural use andheavy use of chemical pesticides resulted in many other problems such asdevelopment of insect resistance to pesticides and consequent use of stronger chemicals; destruction of primary rainforest; environmentalpollution (soil, water, air) due to surface run-off; loss of land fertility;damage to wild life and loss to biodiversity have emerged. Hence, it isimperative that agriculture be made sustainable to firstly, feed the hungryin the world and prevent food crises, secondly, to protect natural forestsby maintaining fertility for agricultural land, and thirdly, to reduceaccumulation of harmful chemical substances in nature and in our foods.7 b) Restoration of natural resources, including fisheries: Being at the tropicalbelt of the world, Asia Pacific countries have unparalleled biodiversity andnatural resources which are have been, and are currently being exploitedfor raw materials. As part of the achievement of a green economy, naturallandscapes made barren by industrialization, including unsustainableagricultural practices and uncontrolled fishing, have to be restored andprotected. Remaining plots of primary land have to be conserved byplacing economic worth on seeming invisible ecosystem services.7 c) Sustainable freshwater supply2
7(d) Sound solid and hazardous (chemical and nuclear) waste management:As a rapidly growing region, more and more waste is being produced atthe individual and corporate level. Such wastes, especially chemical andhazardous waste substances, have to be treated properly before disposal.Increase in recycling rates and waste-to-energy initiatives also have to beencouraged to reduce waste volumes and lessen strain on need for newraw materials.7 e) Ensuring ecological integrity throughout design and production of commodities7 f) Increasing resource efficiency through R&D7 g) Clean energy and technology: It is particularly pertinent in fast-pacedgrowing economies such as China and other Asia Pacific countries toinvest in clean energy and technology so that economic developmentneed not be at the demise of the environment.7 h) Green urban development: As more of Asia Pacific develops to form cities,there is an increasing need for sustainable buildings and transportsystems.8. Climate change and natural disasters in Asia PacificMuch attention has been placed on the recent natural disasters in the AsiaPacific region, inparticular the flooding of over two thirds of Pakistan in summer 2010. Thefloods left more than 1750 people dead and affected more than 20 millionpeople, ravaging their homes, crops and livestock. It is estimated that it willtake at least 3 -5 years to rebuild the lost infrastructure and rehabilitate theaffected people. It is believed that global warming has had some effect on theflooding, and a slight increase in temperature will also affect agricultural yieldand disrupt the seasonal growth pattern of crops. This will adversely affect theAsia Pacific region which is heavily reliant on agriculture for survival.9. Tackling Poverty The first Millennium Development Goal is to end poverty and hunger. This goalcan beachieved alongside a green economy; in fact, both are are intertwined sincesuccess of either is dependent on the achievements of the objectives of each.In the Asia Pacific countries, poverty remains a top national concern, and themost vulnerable are usually the women and children. Urban poverty is also anemerging issue with the rapid growth of cities in the region, attracting largenumbers of people from the rural areas. In this regard, one aspect is thecreation of green jobs to protect livelihoods of people and also theenvironment, helping stimulate the economy and increasing the well-being of people.10. Quality of LifeIt is commonly agreed that there will have to be a new paradigm of measuringsuccess indevelopment instead of relying traditionally on economic growth. In a greeneconomy, the social and environmental aspects of life have to be given equalweight. Less pollution in a greener world means cleaner air and rivers,decreasing pollution-related health effects. Less harmful chemical use in theproduction of commodities will also lead to healthier work places andenvironmentally friendly products. Holistic indicators like the Gross NationalHappiness Index can be used to evaluate the quality of life in a country, which3

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