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Climate Change
 Asia Pacific is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change and impacts are likely to become more intense in future. Rising temperatures and extreme weather events have contributed to loss of crop yield in many countries. Crop yields are projected to decline by a further 10 percent by 2020. More

Disasters and Conflicts
Nearly half of the world's natural disasters occur in the Asia and the Pacific region. In 2008 alone, the region accounted for more than half of the 220 major disasters that took place, which affected more than 55 million people and resulted in 7,000 deaths and US$15 billion in damages. More

Ecosystem Management
The Asia Pacific region boasts a high level of biological and cultural diversity which has greatly shaped its history and economic activities. While the region occupies less than 10 per cent of the planet's total surface, it is home to more than half of the world's human population and some of the most diverse plant and animal species in the world. More

Environmental Governance
While there has been significant progress in the last decade in the development of environmental institutions and legislation, the region's burgeoning economic growth and growing population have taken a toll on its natural resource base and the environment. More

Chemicals and Waste
In Asia Pacific, harmful and hazardous waste threatens millions of people. Left unchecked, these wastes could pose severe hazards. Asia's high population density and often tropical climate put it especially at risk for contamination. Regulations have increased but enforcement remains inadequate. More

Resource Efficiency
Most of the global growth in resource use has occurred in high-income Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, but recently the Asia and the Pacific region has emerged as a major global resource consumer and has surpassed the rest of world in material use. More

Environment Under Review

Rapid economic growth in recent years in Asia and the Pacific region has come at an enormous environmental cost. Appropriate environmental safeguards are urgently needed to contain this trend. Decision-making that promotes sustainable development requires a sound understanding of the complex relationship between the environment and social and economic development. More

Regional News
 
UNEP Chief, Philippines Environment Secretary Explore Cooperation on Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Other Issues

Manila, 2 March 2015 - Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and H.E. Ramon J. P. Paje, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines, have explored how UNEP can support the nation in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and the management of ecosystems.

Mr. Steiner was in the Philippines as part of the delegation of French President François Hollande to promote greater attention and action on climate change.

Secretary Paje underlined the actions already underway in the Philippines to mitigate and adapt to climate change, with a focus on increasing the country's resilience to the impacts of climate change. Recovering from Super Typhoon Yolanda has cost the country over US $40 billion already.

Among the actions being taken is the inclusion of climate change as one of the five major components of the Philippines national budget. Mr. Steiner applauded the leadership of the Philippines within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the innovation it has demonstrated at the national level.

Among the main areas of cooperation discussed by the two were the following:

Support to the Philippines to increase investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, including the development and implementation of green energy policies, and promoting greater access to financing, including through addressing financial market and central bank regulations.

Support for the early ratification and signature of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and its rapid implementation in order to phase down the toxic metal, which poses high risks to human health, particularly in the artisanal gold mining sector.

Cooperation on the valuation and integrated management of ecosystems, including through the Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) programme, as well as work in the marine and coastal ecosystems, through for example the Coral Triangle and other programmes.

In this context, the two discussed ways to strengthen the collaboration between UNEP and the Philippines, including through scaling up joint work under the Global Environment Facility's next funding cycle, and the possible establishment of a presence from UNEP with the UN Country Team. They also discussed the strategic partnerships to help support the broader Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region in partnership with the Philippines.

The Secretary plans to attend the Forum of Ministers and Environmental Authorities of Asia Pacific in Bangkok in May in order to share his country's progress with the rest of the region and to help shape the regional voice in the global environmental sustainability discussions, including on the Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, please contact: UNEP News Desk; Email;unepnewsdesk@unep.org


UNEP-lites.asia workshop on Regional Lighting Policy Bangkok, Thailand, 3-4 February, 2015

Over 70 government officials, leading industry representatives, laboratories and technical institutions from 20 Asia and the Pacific countries met from 3 to 4 February 2015 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss opportunities for ensuring adequate market surveillance and harmonized policy for efficient lighting.

Participants resolved that 2015 presents a unique window of opportunity to accelerate the rapid deployment of efficient lighting technologies in Asia and the Pacific. The UN Secretary General’s SE4ALL initiative identified lighting as a priority to promote energy efficiency and mitigate climate change. Advanced lighting solutions are critical to reduce electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security, and trade balances. Furthermore, the global transition to advanced lighting constitutes an inspiring example to promote a globally accepted agreement on climate change by the end of this year in Paris. Lighting is responsible for more than 15% of electricity consumption in Asia.

The political commitment from the Association of South East Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) leaders to develop a single market for goods and services by 2015 provides a perfect opportunity to develop regional lighting standards harmonization, improve consumer confidence and foster regional trade of high-quality lighting products in this 600 million consumers’ market. Countries requested UNEP to gather the conclusions and options identified at the meeting and present them to ASEAN authorities, to facilitate discussion towards regional lighting policy harmonization in ASEAN, while seeking coordination with other Asian nations.

While the regional market is experiencing an increasing penetration of light emitting diode (LED) technologies, participants showed concerns that low quality LED lamps and erroneous performance claims will undermine consumer confidence in the technologies. Standardization and market surveillance is fundamental to eliminate uncertainty and ensure that the promises of this Nobel Prize awarded technology are met.

Government and industry participants put forth innovative solutions to ensure compliance with lighting standards, such as product registries and uniform customs codes. Complying with standards ensures that the billions of lamps sold in Asia are safe, do not put citizens’ heath and livelihood at risk, ensure that energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions are kept low, and meet the consumer expectations.

The Governments of Australia and the United States launched lites.asia in 2009 to facilitate the exchange of technical information on lighting between policy makers in Asia-Pacific. The UNEP-GEF en.lighten initiative, with funding from the Government of Australia, supports countries to build capacities in monitoring, verification and enforcement of lighting standards.

Convened by the United Nations Environment Programme, lites.asia brings together a community of regulators, policy makers, industry representatives and experts and serves as a network for information exchange and discussion on efficient lighting policy and regulation. Through meetings, webinars, technical resources and reports, lites.asia supports the development of national initiatives, regional cooperation and harmonization in Asia.


Thematic Meeting of South Asia Network Ozone Officers, Customs Officers and Partners

Bangkok, 20 December 2014 - National Ozone Officers (NOOs) and Customs Officers gathered for the “Thematic Meeting of the South Asia Network of Ozone Officers”. This meeting was organized by UNEP ROAP OzonAction at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, from 17-19 December 2014.

Apart from the South Asia NOOs as the key participants, representatives from Customs Administration or ministries (e.g. Ministry of Commerce) that are implementing national ODS licensing/ quota systems were also invited and participated in the discussions.  Among the agencies that took part in the meeting in presence or via virtual platforms were: the European Commission, the Multilateral Fund Secretariat, UNDP, UNIDO, World Bank, World Customs Organisation’s Regional Office for Capacity Building – Asia Pacific (WCO ROCB A/P), and Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).  

The meeting focused on policy and enforcement as the key tools for achieving HCFC phase-out.  For the first time during the HCFC phase-out, both ozone and customs officers of South Asia countries came together to strengthen their cooperation to remain in compliance with the control measures under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This multilateral environmental agreement includes time-bound and measurable deadlines to phase-out ozone depleting substances (ODS).

The main objective was to carry out an in-depth, trans-boundary analysis of the control policies and enforcement issues for HCFCs as identified by the South Asian ozone officers at the last Regional Network meeting in Colombo in May 2014. The meeting also generated a set of concrete actions to be implemented in 2015 by each participating country based on the discussions and information exchanged.

During the three-day meeting, some key policy issues were discussed such as enforcing quota systems for HCFC control, trans-boundary dialogues, combatting ODS smuggling, trade data and reporting of imports and exports. For those who were less familiar with the Montreal Protocol, some sessions were offered to inform them of current issues concerning its enforcement.

The agenda also covered updates on the key decisions from the last Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol and the Executive Committee Meeting (both held in November 2014);  the reviews of the progress made within the South Asia Network, as well as the work plan for 2015.

The meeting resulted in customs officers agreeing to have an informal network amongst them for more effective cross-border enforcement. The meeting also provided an opportunity to explore new partnership with the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU), International Labour Organization (ILO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). These partnerships are hoped to assist countries in strengthen their capability to meet the Montreal Protocol obligations.

Managed by UNEP’s OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP), The South Asia Network includes 13 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Iran, Democratic Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  Japan is the developed country partner of the network.  The network receives financial support from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol.

For further information:

Mr. Atul Bagai

Senior Regional Network Coordinator

UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Tel: +66 2288 1662

Email: atul.bagai@unep.org

 

 


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Events

Capacity Building on Sustainable Consumption and Production, 26-28 February, Colombo

UNEP, together with the South-Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) is organizing a three-day event that includes a preparatory meeting for the South Asia Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and training on “Building the knowledge of National Focal Points on SCP” in Colombo, Sri Lanka. During the event, participants will learn how SCP policies can underscore South Asia’s sustainable development and expand consumer and producer base, including through the establishment of an annual policy platform, knowledge sharing, and networks.


Joint Thematic Meeting of Southeast Asia Pacific and South Asia Networks of Ozone Officers, 10-13 March 2015, Goyang

Organized by UNEP OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy and the government of the Republic of Korea, this joint meeting will be held along with the "Ozone2Climate Technology Roadshow and Industry Roundtable" and the “Green Public Procurement Workshop to Promote Climate Friendly Alternatives" under the United States Environment Protection Agency grant partnership with UNEP. These meetings aim to build capacity and strengthen coordination with key decision makers on latest ozone and climate friendly alternatives to hydrochlorofluorocarbons and initiate the 2015 work plan of the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan.
UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: +662 288 2314, Fax: +66-2-2803829


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