UNEP - Regional Office for Asia Pacific - Supporting Policy Development and Enabling Environment for Sustainable Consumption and Production

Building Country Capacity for Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Consumption and Production

Recognizing the impediments to and negative side effects of existing economic growth strategies, governments in Asia-Pacific adopted environmentally sustainable economic growth (green growth) as a regional strategy in March 2005 at the 5th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development. This strategy has five tracks – sustainable infrastructure, sustainable consumption and production, greening of business and markets, green tax and budget reform and eco-efficiency indicators. It provides further impetus to UNEP and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s efforts to develop and help governments, enterprises, financial institutions and related agencies agree on and apply policies and investments on resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production. This also represents an emerging market, presenting business opportunities for exporting nations and companies.

SWITCH-Asia: Shifting to Resource Efficient and Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

UNEP, through the SWITCH-Asia initiative promotes and supports sustainable consumption and production in developing countries in Asia Pacific. SWITCH-Asia aims to strengthen national and regional policy support frameworks to promote the shift towards more sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns and resource efficiency. This in turn contributes to green growth and poverty reduction in the region and will help countries meet the Millennium Development Goals.

SWITCH-Asia builds the capacities of national authorities to mainstream SCP and resource efficiency in regional, sub-regional and national development programmes through targeted awareness-raising, development of action plans on SCP, mainstreaming SCP and resource efficiency policies and tools in economic and development policies, and capacity building for design and application of policies and tools for SCP and resource efficiency implementation.

Under SWITCH-Asia, UNEP has developed a regional network of policy makers, experts and other stakeholders working on SCP.  A review of SCP policy gaps and needs resulted in the SCP Handbook for policy makers, which was used to train over 150 stakeholders in the region. This European Union funded project accelerated implementation in 2013 with national level support to China on carbon certification and SCP indicators, organized a national roundtable on SCP in Viet Nam and established an SCP centre in Pakistan. In 2014, the focus will shift to policy dialogue and national level policy support.

ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production

Together with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), UNEP organizes the ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) to improve the capacity of mid-level public and private sector professionals to design and implement SCP policies and practices. UNEP also works with ASEAN to further policy dialogue and cooperation on SCP through ASEAN Forum, a voluntary and informal forum on SCP, resource efficiency and green economy in Southeast Asia. Other activities undertaken include the annual ASEAN+3 Capacity Strengthening workshop, the SCP Policy Dialogue and thematic workshop

Indicators for a Resource Efficient Green Asia

Under the SWITCH-Asia programme, UNEP together with the Asia Pacific Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation have coordinated a framework of indicators for Sustainable Consumption and Production. These indicators will assist countries in monitoring the impact of regional policies, highlight changes in resource efficiency and enable countries to compare country level data.  Progress is currently underway to collect and publish country level data for 22 countries in the region. 

Regional Roadmap for Sustainable Consumption and Production in Asia Pacific

The 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10-FYP) roadmap for Asia and the Pacific was developed through consultations that began in 2013. More than 100 Government officials, civil society, academia and businesses along with experts from 25 countries in the region contributed to the roadmap.

Asia Pacific is the first region in the world to develop such a roadmap. The roadmap comes with indicators and comprehensive outputs to mainstream Sustainable Consumption and Production in different sectors such tourism, buildings and construction, public procurement, product sustainability information, lifestyles and education for sustainable consumption.

Green Economy Initiative – Partnership for Action for a Green Economy

The Green Economy Initiative (GEI) is designed to assist governments to “green” their economies by reshaping and refocusing policies, investments and spending in a range of sectors, such as clean technologies, renewable energy, water services, green transportation, waste management, green buildings and sustainable agriculture and forests. Activities in GEI include advisory services to interested countries, research products, and engaging partners to promote and implement green economy strategies.

In Asia Pacific, UNEP works on national green economy initiatives in Indonesia, South Korea, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. UNEP is working with the Government of the Republic of Korea to support the development of the country’s green economy strategy. This support has resulted in an interim report entitled, Overview of the South Korean Green Growth National Vision.  This independent review of the country's Green Growth National Vision and five-year Green Growth Plan is the first in a series of national and regional initiatives.

Integrating Green Economy into Development Processes

UNEP works with UN agencies to provide technical assistance to countries to integrate green economy in their development plans. A series of capacity building seminars entitled “Sustainable Ventures for Green Economies” are planned for countries in the region that have expressed an interest. These include Cambodia, Lao PDR, Viet Nam, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Consumption and Production

UNEP is a permanent and non-voting member of the Asia Pacific Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production and hosts the Secretariat. This roundtable is a multi-stakeholder dialogue that enhances and strengthens regional cooperation on sustainable consumption and production strategies. It promotes best practices, programs, local initiatives, and lessons learned on sustainable consumption and production in the region.

Sustainable Public Procurement and Ecolabeling

Countries across the Asia Pacific region are starting to take an interest in catalyzing sustainable consumption and production through sustainable public procurement and eco-labelling. The Sustainable Public Procurement and Ecolabelling project supports developing countries in the implementation of sustainable public procurement and ecolabelling through capacity building and technical assistance to public and private sectors.  The project started in April 2013 and builds on the foundation laid by UNEP’s work on ecolabelling and sustainable public procurement. The project is supported by the European Commission, China and the Republic of Korea.