21 Nations Back Industry Greening


Twenty-one countries in the Asia-Pacific Region signed on Wednesday the Manila Declaration and Framework for Action to address the adverse impacts of climate change through adaptation and mitigation measures, particularly the greening of industries in these nations.

The Declaration was signed by ministers and senior officials of the Asia-Pacific region at the opening of the three-day International Conference on Green Industry in Asia being held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

These countries are the Philippines, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor Leste, Nepal, and Fiji.

“Today, there is a need to go beyond greenhouse gas emissions. There’s a need to pursue the present demand by going green,” Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Jose Atienza Jr. said.

The conference is hosted by the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and United Nations Economic and Social Commission (UNESCAP). It is the first-ever event that was initiated and hosted by the Philippine government.

More than 1,200 delegates and members participated in the event.

Atienza said the conference is intended to address two major challenges of “global financial crisis that has led to economic slowdowns, and global warming, which is causing climate change.”

“Our countries have been divided because of issues on industrialization and climate change. We have been voiceless before this conference but now we have bigger voice. We have now a common stand that we will present in the New York Summit and Copenhagen Convention this year,” Atienza pointed out.

He said “we need to address the economic slowdown by developing an economy that produces less carbon.

This requires the use of more renewable energy sources and more efficient production process that will entail less energy and use of natural resources.”

The adoption of the Manila Declaration indicated the intention of the Asia-Pacific region to pursue the path of green industry and a framework of action to manage the transition to resource-efficient and low-carbon industries.

“This transition is critical for Asia. Our region is the home of many of the fastest-growing economies in the world. This indicates that greenhouse gases may also be growing faster in our region. At the same time, the impact of climate change will threaten this growth and bring miseries to our people,” Atienza explained.

“Going green is not impossible. It is doable if we are able to develop cost-effective implementation strategies, mobilize resources and ensure their efficient allocation, create a strong incentive system and eliminate market distortions, and undertake public awareness,” he said.

He added that the government should provide the regulatory and promotion framework while the private sector should assume the engine of green growth.

The Framework indicated the periodical review and assessment of progress of countries towards more resource-efficient and low-carbon industrial production.

It also cited the establishment of an expert group in the Asia-Pacific Region to help promote the sharing of knowledge, expertise and know-how on Green Industry, through meetings, networking and other appropriate activities.

Atienza said the Declaration will be presented in the discussion at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change in New York in September, UNIDO General Conference on the theme “Green Industry” in December, and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark also in December.

“We plan to do this every year to present solutions in Asia,” UNIDO Director-General Kandeh Yumkella said.