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Wednesday, 09 September 2009

Manila Conference flags challenges for transition to low-carbon industrial development in Asia

MANILA, 9 September 2009 – Ways for Asian economies to achieve a transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon pattern of industrial development is the focus of an international conference that opened in Manila today.

The three-day event, under the theme “Managing the Transition to Resource-Efficient and Low-Carbon Industries”, brought together some 1,000 decision makers, business leaders and experts. It is hosted by the Philippines Government in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

“This conference should shed new light on how economies in Asia can achieve a smooth and speedy transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon pattern of industrial development. And in the process, help create new jobs, build the industries of the 21st century, maintain the momentum of growth and protect our planet,” said UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella.

He noted that UNIDO and UNEP were jointly contributing to improving resource efficiency in the region through cleaner production centres in Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Viet Nam.

Secretary Lito Atienza of the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources said: “The shift to a low-carbon economy will change how industries operate, the products we use, and our lifestyles. Business and consumers can benefit from significant savings and resource efficiency measures that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and make climate safer for all and more conducive to growth.”

Participants noted that there have been significant gains in resource efficiency in Asia over the last years. But this is an unfinished agenda, much more needs to be done – especially since resource use in the region continues to increase in absolute terms with continuing economic growth. Significant scope still exists for further improving resource efficiency in Asia.

“Developing countries are well positioned to take the lead in this second technological revolution because their infrastructures and mentalities do not yet reflect the clumsy and resource intensive modes of production and consumption,” said Ernst Ulrich Von Weizäcker, the Co-Chair of the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management.

The conference will endorse a Ministerial Declaration and Plan of Action that will outline the steps needed to reduce the resource intensity and greenhouse gas emissions of industries in Asia and track progress towards a low-carbon industrial future.

The President of the Republic of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will speak at the closing session of the conference on Friday.

For more information, please contact:

George Assaf
UNIDO Spokesperson
Tel.(43-1)-26026-3849

or go to the Manila Conference website.

Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General, UNIDO, in interview by CNBC