The third session of UN Environment’s Forum of Ministers & Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific, will take place from 23 to 25 January 2019 in Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in Singapore. The Forum will focus on UNEA-4 theme ‘Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production’. The Forum is an opportunity for Member States in Asia Pacific to bring an Asia Pacific perspective to discussions at the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment, the UN Environment Assembly, which will meet in March 2019 in Nairobi. The meeting will be jointly organized by Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and the UN Environment.
At the Forum, Member States will:
The Forum is also an occasion for UN Environment partners, UN agencies, private sector representatives, scientists, academia, and civil society to bring their perspectives and ideas to achieve the environmental dimension of the 2030 sustainable development agenda.
The 2nd Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) in May 2016 adopted Resolution No. 2/2 ‘Role and functions of the regional forums of ministers of environment and environment authorities’ in which it requested the Executive Director, within the mandate of UN Environment, to support and to facilitate convening and/or strengthening the existing regional forums of ministers of environment and environment authorities. In the first session of the Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific held in May 2015, Member States requested the Executive Director of UN Environment to hold regular sessions of the Forum, convening every two years. The second session of the Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities for Asia Pacific held in Sep 2017 in Bangkok under the theme ‘Towards a resource efficient and pollution free Asia-Pacific’ and provided regional inputs to 2017 UN Environment Assembly as a preparatory process.
2nd floor, United Nations Building, Rajadamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
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Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources
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Electrifying the transport sector to beat air pollution
The Asia Pacific region is at the center of a public health crisis, with over 4 million people dying prematurely each year due to exposure from outdoor and household air pollution. Even more worrying is its disproportionate impacts to women, children, the elderly and the poor, contributing further to health inequalities. Recent studies indicate adverse impact on cognitive development in children, further aggravating the impacts of air pollution especially for the poor who are more exposed. Besides health impacts, air pollution also poses a threat to the climate, food and water security, and economy, in terms of labor income and welfare losses.
The Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership and Climate and Clean Air Coalition together with partners have identified most effective 25 clean air measures that can bring the greatest benefits for health and the environment, whilst helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the measures identified is electrification of the transport sector.
Recent advancements in technology is paving the way for a renewed effort to mainstream electric mobility. Many developed countries have announced banning the sales of conventional cars by at least 2030 and are strongly promoting electric cars instead. These announcements were driven by efforts to further improve air quality in European cities, especially after the diesel emissions cheating scandal of some vehicle manufacturers.
Asia-Pacific is already a showcase for electric mobility – from trains, cars, buses, vans, scooters, and bicycles. Yet many countries and cities are not yet able to fully mainstream and benefits from electric mobility. This side-event aims to:
Empower women in renewable energy, technology transfer and climate action to #SolveDifferent in Asia Pacific
The Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals have galvanized political awareness and commitment to address climate change and disasters respectively. These frameworks also recognize that combating, adapting and responding to climate change and disasters cannot be achieved without the inclusion women being half the population.
Women and girls in the region, who constitute 80 per cent of all those living under USD 2 per day, are often on the frontiers of the fight against climate change. Rural women earn their livelihoods in the climate-sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and livestock, thereby increasing their vulnerability.
The capacities, skills and contribution of women, if supported, can effectively contribute to efforts to combat and adapt to climate change, and to reduce emissions, building climate resilience, and overall sustainable development.
Women need to be better positioned as leading innovative solutions in various sectors that contribute to sustainable living, environmental management and climate action. For example, investing in women’s entrepreneurship in renewable energy not only increases energy access and security but also brings socio-economic benefits.
For example, an electrified drinking water pump can reduce women’s labor time, or more efficient and affordable transportation can connect women to goods and services. As for the energy sector as a whole, gender diversity in the workforce can enhance innovation and creativity, which can lead to a more sustainable energy sector.
Renewable energy in combination with social schemes can improve access to electricity for lower income households and have a profound effect on poverty reduction, health and gender equality through less time spent by women collecting water and fuel. Some countries, like Indonesia, have had some success in reducing fuel subsidies and replacing them with more targeted financial support for low-income households.
Across Asia and the Pacific, there is a wealth of new knowledge, experiences and lessons to be shared in implementing interesting measures such as women as entrepreneurs in renewable energy businesses, leaders driving sustainable consumption solutions and governments giving attention to the role of gender in addressing climate change.
2019 presents an opportune moment for change with the United Nations Environment Assembly, the Secretary General’s Climate Summit as well as the Beijing +25 conference, to bring greater nuance to the discussion of gender, technology transfer and climate action. There is an increased understanding that private sector, civil society, governments and regional need to come together to identify innovative solutions that women can lead.
Without such visibility, collaboration, research and analysis, there is a significant chance that transboundary climate risks will remain ‘un-governed’, and opportunities to build on the momentum of the Paris Agreement will be missed.
The session will aim to:
Making the money flow: Policy levers, financing vehicles, and circular and green economy
PAGE was conceived at Rio+ 20 in 2012 to promote the transition to green economy. With a focus on achieving SDG 8 (inclusive and sustainable economic growth) and 17 (global partnership for sustainable development), PAGE and other partnerships can help unlock the flows of finance needed to make the 2030 Agenda a reality.
To this end, the session will explore best practices and raise awareness in the Asia Pacific region about innovative financing and how it is being used to tackle environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production. In particular, it will showcase successful PAGE projects and other initiatives to promote spill-over effect around the region. The side event will also provide opportunities to exchange different policies and enabling conditions already in place to promote the transition to green economy, for example, by mobilizing both public and private finance for infrastructure, technology and productive capacity needed to make economies greener and more circular.
The event will open with general welcome remarks and the introduction to PAGE that will set the stage. This will be followed by a panel discussion which will touch upon several areas in which countries and the international community have created the conditions in the Asia Pacific region for financial institutions to leverage new and additional finance for innovative solutions underpinning the shift towards more sustainable patterns of production and consumption – the bedrock of a circular economy.
Incentivizing action to beat plastic pollution
An environmental threat that has attracted unprecedented level of attention in 2018 is plastic pollution. In June 2017, UN Environment launched the Clean Seas campaign to clean up the world’s oceans and forge global commitments against marine litter and plastic pollution. After two years of successful campaigning, we have turned awareness into action, with commitments from 51 nations covering 62 per cent of the world’s coastlines, to reduce marine litter and ban single-use plastics. The Call for Action adopted at the 2017 high-level UN Ocean Conference - to address marine plastic litter through partnerships and leveraging action by all stakeholders – continue spreading across Asia and the Pacific.
As stakeholders’ attention shift from “pledges” to “implementation”, incentivizing the society – including individuals, businesses, local governments, civil society groups – to plough ahead to beat plastic pollution has become crucial. This side event will bring together representatives from different sectors to 1) share experience of stakeholders who are taking actions to beat plastic pollution and 2) introduce debates on what more it will take for Asia and the Pacific to become Plastic Pollution Free.
Catalyzing a global agenda on adaptation to climate change: exploring transboundary risks and opportunities in the Asia Pacific region
The concept of adaptation as a ‘global challenge’ – as recognized by and articulated in the Paris Agreement – is not getting the attention it warrants in international climate negotiations. Until recently, adaptation has been framed almost exclusively as a national-to-local concern, while the broader international dimension of climate risk has received very little attention in negotiations and pragmatic planning for adaptation. Yet the costs and benefits of successful – and unsuccessful – adaptation are likely to be shared across borders. Countries may rely on natural resources that cross-national boundaries, while global supply and value chains mean one country’s adaptation efforts can affect another country’s resilience many thousands of miles away. The potential for various climate change impacts to undermine human security and possibly contribute to increased migration, regional tensions and conflict also raises concerns about changing transboundary risks that need to be addressed through international cooperation. In an increasingly globalized world, we need to understand how climate change and adaptation will affect our interdependent relationships and discuss appropriate measures and responses.
2018 presents an opportune moment for change. As developing countries request support to develop and implement National Adaptation Plans, and Parties are tasked with tracking their adaptation progress under the Global Stocktake, there is a need for a clear and unified approach that includes adequate provisions for adaptation in the face of transboundary risks. Further research and analysis of cross-border risks is urgently required to inform the development of the Adaptation Communications and the adaptation framework under the Convention. There are also opportunities to ensure the guidance on National Adaptation Plans includes references to transboundary impacts, while countries could be encouraged to articulate requirements for multilateral cooperation within their Nationally Determined Contributions to address transboundary issues.
Without such visibility, collaboration, research and analysis, there is a significant chance that transboundary climate risks will remain ‘un-governed’, and opportunities to build on the momentum of the Paris Agreement – in order to achieve the global goal on adaptation – will be missed.
The session will aim to:
The session will form part of a larger work programme which aims to build a common agenda between researchers, adaptation experts and policy advisors that will ultimately strengthen analysis, ambition and alignment on global adaptation within the UNFCCC policy process and beyond, catalysing action ahead of and during COP24, and promoting cooperation and coherence on transboundary risk across countries, sectors and frameworks.
Unleash the Power of Youth in Asia Pacific for Sustainable Development Goals
The Global Environment Outlook series of publications are produced every 5-years by UN Environment to implement its mandate on “keeping the global environment under review ……”. The 6th edition of Global Environment Outlook is currently under preparation, and to be released in March 2019 during the Fourth Session of UN Environment Assembly.
The Global Environment Outlook-6 for Youth in Asia Pacific is a member of the Global Environment Outlook-6 product family. It is authored by a group of young scholars nominated by regional partner institutions, and will be delivered as dynamic and interactive e-book in English, Chinese and other regional languages.
The first meeting of the Global Environment Outlook-6 for Youth in Asia Pacific was held in parallel to the Fourth and final Global Authors Meeting of the Sixth Global Environment Outlook from 19 - 23 February 2018 in Singapore, co-organized and hosted by UN Environment and Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources of Singapore. Other partners for the development of the e-book include Elion Foundation of China, Tongji University of China, Korea University, Korea Environment Institute, and Institute for Global Environment Strategies of Japan.
The Global Environment Outlook-6 for Youth in Asia Pacific targets youth from high school students to young professionals from diverse backgrounds. Its aim is to serve as both educational and inspirational material that would empower youth to initiate and support actions for integrating environmental consideration in their own behaviors and actions, in their occupational disciplines and professional practices, and in broader political and policy processes. The Global Environment Outlook-6 for Youth in Asia Pacific should, therefore, resonate with the mindset of youth in general and stimulate their interest, in-terms of substance, presentation and delivery.
The objective of this launch event is to disseminate the conclusions of the Global Environment Outlook-6 for Youth in Asia Pacific to young professionals, the public and stakeholders, and to inspire the audience to take the concept of the sustainability into practice, and to mobilize the network of partnerships to contribute towards Sustainable Development Goals.
Participants of the Third Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific and associated events (from 23-25 January 2019, Singapore) from member countries, civil society organizations and partner institutions, representatives from local organizations like Singapore Environment Council, WWF Singapore, and Singapore National Youth Achievement Award Council, etc.
Wide attention and broad discussion by the audience and public on the Global Environment Outlook-6 for Youth in Asia Pacific and its outreach activities in 2019, and enhanced awareness of the Global Environment Outlook-6.
Major Groups and Stakeholders’ Forum on the Environment
The Third Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of the Asia Pacific will take place from 24th to 25th of January 2019 in Singapore, with a one-day Major Group and Stakeholders’ Forum on 23rd January 2019. The meeting is jointly organized by Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) Asia and the Pacific Office. The meeting also serves as a platform for Member States and Major Groups and Stakeholders to contribute regional perspectives to the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) that will be held in March 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. It will carry the theme: “Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production.” The proposed focus areas are:
The Major Group and Stakeholders’ Forum is intended to provide a platform for major groups and stakeholders and social movements to organize their positions and strategic inputs, and ensure that voices of marginalized sectors and grassroots are included in the Third Forum of Ministers. The outcome of the Major Group and Stakeholders’ Forum will present a collective Major Group and Stakeholders’ input to the Forum of Ministers and a regional Major Group and Stakeholders’ input to UNEA-4 in 2019.
The Major Group and Stakeholders’ Forum will aim to:
The format of the one-day Major Group and Stakeholders’ Forum will also enable active participation and productive deliberation among the participants. Plenary sessions will involve interactive processes while illuminating issues on the agenda, and offer contributions based on on-the-ground experiences and lessons from across Asia-Pacific. Workshops/group discussions will also be organized to allow opportunities for participants to focus on specific topics that will contribute to achieving the objectives of the Major Group and Stakeholders’ Forum. A collective Statement from Major Group and Stakeholders summarizing the key inputs and positions of the participants on the agenda of the Third Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of the Asia Pacific will be adopted as main outcome document.
To apply please fill in this application form. The deadline for application is no later than 30 October 2018 00:00 hrs (+07:00 UTC).
Note: The geographical coverage of the UN Environment Asia-Pacific office includes 41 Member States: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Kiribati, Korea (Democratic People's Republic of), Korea (the Republic of), Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.