16 March 2005

“Green Growth” Focus of Seoul Ministerial Conference 24-29 March

(Reissued as received.)

BANGKOK, 15 March (UN Information Services) -- The first high-level major environmental conference since the tsunami last December will be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, 24-29 March 2005.

More than forty countries, prominent environmentalists and institutions are expected to attend the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and Pacific.  The Bangkok-based United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is organizing the meeting in partnership with other international organizations.  The Conference is hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea.

“The theme of the Ministerial Conference, ‘Achieving environmentally sustainable economic growth in Asia and the Pacific’, will position national leaders to make concrete and strategic commitments towards green growth across the region”, said UNESCAP’s Executive Secretary Mr. Kim Hak-Su. 

“Green growth focuses on reducing the increasing environmental pressure arising from economic growth.  Economic growth is necessary to reduce poverty, but we have to introduce conceptual and system change to create a ‘win-win’ synergy between protecting the environment and the economy”, said Mr. Kim.

Industrial production in the region increased by almost 40 per cent, as compared with a global increase of 23 per cent from 1995-2002. The increasing economic growth itself is placing enormous pressure on the region’s environmental carrying-capacity. In order to grow without jeopardizing environmental sustainability, not only pollution control but improvement of eco-efficiency of production and consumption are necessary.

The Conference, held once in every five years in the region, will review the Implementation of the  World Summit on Sustainable Development including the Phnom Penh Regional Platform on Sustainable Development for Asia and the Pacific, recommendations of the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development 2000, and the Kitakyushu initiative for a clean environment.  The tsunami catastrophe will also be discussed.

Also on the agenda are eight side events.  Eminent Environmental Scientist Symposium (24-25 March), Eminent Environmental Economists Symposium (26 March), Civil Society Forum (23-24 March), Water Management for Food and the Environment (27 March); Briefing on North-East Asia Regional Cooperation for the Prevention and Control of Sandstorms (25 March), Private Sector Forum (25-26 March), Multi-Stakeholder Forum conducted by Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED) and an Environmental Technology Exhibition (24-25 March).

The Conference is expected to adopt a Regional Implementation Plan; the Seoul initiative on environmental sustainable economic growth, “Green Growth”; and a Ministerial Declaration which will reaffirm the countries’ commitment to sustainable development.

For further information, please contact:  in Bangkok, David Lazarus, Chief, UN Information Services, United Nations Building, Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok, tel.:  +(66-2) 288-1861-66 or +(66-1) 849-2554, fax:  +(66-2) 288-1052, e-mail:; in Seoul, Alice Kim, Taskforce on MCED2005, Ministry of Environment, 10F, Samick Laviedor Bldg., 720-2 Yeoksam 2-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-920, Republic of Korea, tel.:  +(82-2) 568-3208 or 568-9340, fax:  +(82-2) 565-2434, e-mail:

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