YOGYAKARTA, November 11, 2014 – Asian countries can spur economic growth and improve people's lives while cutting greenhouse gas emissions through green growth strategies, said government leaders and experts at the third annual Asia Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) Forum in Yogyakarta, Indonesia today.
More than 250 officials from Asian governments, experts, and representatives of international organizations, civil society groups, and businesses are meeting this week at to identity policies and actions for achieving economic growth, job creation, and other priority goals of countries in Asia through a low-carbon, green growth approach.
Participants discussed how smart ‘green’ policy and investment choices for cities, land use and energy can reduce poverty, make urban areas more economically competitive and socially inclusive, increase industrial and agricultural productivity, protect natural environments and strengthen energy security.
“The green economy and associated investments require a transformation, but one that presents a huge opportunity for developing countries like Indonesia to achieve a higher rate of economic growth while addressing important environmental and social challenges,” said Indonesia’s Ir. Rachmat Witoelar, Executive Chairman of Indonesia’s National Council on Climate Change.
While fast economic growth in Asia has helped lift millions out of poverty, rapid urbanization and industrialization, rising consumption, and population growth have put huge pressures on natural resources. Economic progress is increasingly threatened by the risks of environmental degradation and rising resource scarcity, inequality, and the impacts of global climate change.
Low-carbon, green growth strategies address these challenges and actually create opportunities to accelerate economic development and increase employment, and do so more sustainably. Many emerging economies including Indonesia, China, India, and Thailand have already started the transition toward this new development model.
““Many countries are modernizing their cities, land management, and energy systems by adopting more efficient and cleaner alternatives, and helping businesses tap into expanding markets in low-carbon technologies, products and services,” said Orestes Anastasia, Senior Regional Climate Change Advisor with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Bangkok, Thailand, and Co-Chair of the Asia LEDS Partnership. The Partnership, which organized the event, is a regional network of governments, civil society organizations, and businesses collaborating on green growth.
Dr. Endah Murniningtyas, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environment of the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) of Indonesia, noted that, “The Government of Indonesia, through various technical ministries and in cooperation with communities and the private sector, is working to mainstream low emission programs and activities into development plans at the national and subnational levels, following our voluntary commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The importance of green growth was highlighted at the forum by the launch of the two new reports: Toward Green Growth in Southeast Asia by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED), which reviews the key economic, social, and environmental trends in the last decade in ASEAN economies and provides policy recommendations for leaders to design their own paths to green growth; and the regional launch of the Fifth Assessment Report Synthesis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which offers an up to date view of the current scientific knowledge relevant to climate change and the actions are needed to address it.
Mr. Rintaro Tamaki, OCED Deputy Secretary-General, introduced the new OCED report on Southeast Asia by emphasizing the importance of policy and investment choices made today in emerging Asian economies.
“The region has a window of opportunity now to sustain the region’s natural wealth, to lock in clean and resilient infrastructure, and to become a hub for green investment,” he said.
Referring to the latest IPCC report on the science and risks of climate change, launched in cooperation with the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), Mr. Ali Sheikh, Asia Director for CDKN, stressed the importance of addressing climate change.
“The Fifth Assessment Report summarizes the knowledge needed to build a more climate compatible future, and enhances our vital understanding of the rationale for action and the serious implications of inaction. The window of opportunity for action is narrowing for those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.” said Mr. Sheikh at an IPCC side event on November 10.
The significance of agriculture and forests in addressing climate change was a key topic of discussion at the event. Participants emphasized the need for local communities in the Asia-Pacific region to play a central role in ensuring the forests and farms upon which they depend are effectively managed, both to mitigate emissions and to adapt to changing climate conditions.
The growing importance of cities in Asia was also stressed. Unsustainable urban development makes cities particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, elevated health risks due to air pollution, and social inequities in access to basic services. Good policies that support investment and innovation can support the growth of cities so that they contribute – rather than undermine – to sustainable economic growth and social stability.
Participants in the Asia LEDS Forum will identify new regional priorities for action and collaboration, based on common needs and challenges expressed by countries represented.
USAID is sponsoring the Asia LEDS Forum 2014, taking place during November 11-13, in cooperation with the Indonesia National Council on Climate Change, Indonesia’s State Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), OECD, World Bank, and numerous other collaborating organizations.
For more information about the Asia LEDS Forum, please visit: http://forum2014.asialeds.org/
About the Asia LEDS Partnership
The Asia LEDS Partnership is a voluntary regional network comprised of individuals and organizations from the public, private, and non-governmental sectors active in designing, promoting, and/or implementing LEDS and green growth in Asia. It is one of three regional platforms of the LEDS Global Partnership, an initiative of more than 140 countries and international programs launched in 2011. For more information, visit: http://asialeds.org/about-us
About the Indonesia National Council on Climate Change (DNPI)
The main function of the Council is to coordinate, facilitate, and synergize the climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, measures, and analysis undertaken by relevant line ministries and/or agencies, private sector, scientists, and other key stakeholders. One of DNPI’s mandates is to be the focal point for climate change negotiation under the UNFCCC, thus strengthening the position of Indonesia in international climate change-related forums. The Government of Indonesia established DNPI in 2008. Supported by five Divisions, the Council is comprised of six working groups that focus on different aspects of climate change: adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, finance, land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), and post-Kyoto aims. The members of the working groups come from both government institutions and non-government entities including universities and the private sector. For more information, visit http://dnpi.go.id/portal/en/.