Asian trade and environment ministers signed and adopted the Manila Declaration on Resource Efficient and Green Industry at the International Conference on Green Industry in Asia (ICGIA), setting a clear framework for better Asian cooperation to encourage industries adopt low-carbon business systems and operations.
The conference was jointly organized by the Philippine Government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP).
The declaration may be labeled as the successor of the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols which committed countries to mitigate production of greenhouse gases (GHGs) as well as ozone-depleting substances. Montreal Protocol addresses the phasing out of ozone-depleting chemicals while the Kyoto Protocol implements firmer sanctions for the emission of GHGs into the atmosphere. All these seek to minimize the effects of climate change.
Today, there is a need to go beyond greenhouse gases. In September 2000, the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the most comprehensive framework for collective action was enacted. World leaders pledged to eliminate abject and dehumanizing poverty. MDG No. 7 aims to ensure environmental protection. It emphasizes that sustainable development is key to securing future resources.
The declaration also emphasizes that government trade and industry ministries need to work with private industries, the academe, non-government organizations as well as research and development institutions to be able to adopt the green development measures outlined in the declaration.
It further states that the adoption of green growth strategies is a non-negotiable move for Asian nations and, as such, concrete steps towards it must be undertaken. These range from installing better regulatory policies to encouraging individuals to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles.
Recognizing the need for adequate funding and technologies is another aspect covered by the declaration. It espouses the accelerated transfer of clean technologies among developing nations of Asia.
Asia is a region with billions of people still living in poverty despite its exponential economic growth. Rapid urbanization and industrialization has depleted much of the region’s resources, further degrading its ecosystems.
The Manila Declaration seeks to address more than environmental hazards. It looks at the need for development at its macrocosm. It recognizes the need to keep economic development in stride with environmental concerns as crucial to regional and international survival.
The Manila Declaration is the region’s commitment to mitigate the effects on climate change. It seeks to effectively manage the region’s water, land and mineral resources while bolstering its economic growth. The policies it will enforce is in line with next year’s 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit set on June in Singapore.
It is also Asia’s preparation for the Copenhagen Conference set later this year. The UN Climate Change Conference expects 192 UN member states to seal the deal on climate change in December. The conference will be setting an international climate agreement which is expected to be the benchmark for environmental management beyond 2012.