I am urging all Asian countries to “go green” since greening our industries presents numerous opportunities like generation of jobs for the people while increasing the region’s competitiveness in the world market. Countries that are able to go green earlier and faster will have the market advantage and achieve global competitiveness over those who come later.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is spearheading the International Conference on Green Industry in Asia, which opened the other day at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila.
The 3-day conference is jointly implemented by the Philippine government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
During my speech, I took note of the world’s most pressing problems – the global financial crisis and global warming.While both problems arose independently from each other, they cannot be solved separately. Green growth should be the common solution, and this 3-day conference provides an opportunity for Asian leaders to work out a strategy to start and go faster for a green growth.Business and environment are not contradictory. Environment makes good business sense and business can be good for the environment.
I appealed to Asian leaders against the temptation of holding on to the conventional attitude of “grow now, clean later” in the region’s effort to come out of the global financial crisis. We need to grow and solve our economic problems in an environmentally-sustainable manner. We also need to protect our environment in ways that will create jobs, income, and economic growth.
The transition to a green growth is critical for Asia on two grounds. First, the region is home to many of the fastest-growing economies, which indicates that greenhouse gases may also be growing faster. Second, the impact of climate change threatens the region’s economic growth and may bring miseries to the people.
A 2009 study of the World Bank which indicated that many countries in the region are among those most at risk in the world on the impact of climate change, such as Bangladesh, China, India, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam on flooding; the Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and Fiji on storms; India on drought; and Indonesia, China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and other low-lying islands on sea level rise.
Citing the country’s unique and important biodiversity, it goes without saying that the Filipino nation cannot allow climate change to destroy our natural resources and heritage … and negate our desire to give a better life for our people.
The government has passed laws to promote green industry, among which are in the areas of clean air and hazardous wastes, the Biofuels Act and the Renewable Energy Act.
The Philippines is also active in the development of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects which are intended to reduce or prevent greenhouse gases. We now have 39 CDM projects, making the Philippines rank no. 6 in the world in terms of the number of projects registered with the CDM Executive Board in Germany.