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Tokyo conference lauds green growth in Asia, calls for Green Industry action under Rio+20

Tokyo conference lauds green growth in Asia, calls for Green Industry action under Rio+20

Participants from the Asia and Pacific region are gathered for a three day conference at the Tokyo Big Sight Conference and Exhibition Centre in Japan as they attend the Tokyo Green Industry Conference 2011 jointly organized by the Government of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).   (Photo: Tokyo 1: DG Yumkella and Japanese Eco-towns mayors Kitakiyushi Kamasaki and Kenji Kitahashi (right) & Vice Chairman Troung Van Bay of Vietnam.)

Green Industry widely considered to be central for achieving industrial growth in both developing and emerging economies, also resolves today’s most pressing environmental and resource challenges. These challenges include the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change; environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes; and security of supply of energy, water, materials and other natural resources. The application of such environmental and resource conservation techniques not only benefits businesses, but the environment and climate as well as aids in job creation.

Speaking to participants, UNIDO Director General, Kandeh Yumkella underscored that “despite the multiple development benefits, Green Industry is still not implemented widely enough. Calling on participants and panelists from over 60 countries represented, Yumkella underscored the importance of maintaining rigorous debates and discussions that will allow policy and business solutions to be formulated. “Today marks a defining moment when we can make a difference, while fostering international cooperation and partnerships that focus on practical solutions which can be replicated, scaled-up and mainstreamed, in Asia, and throughout the world,” he emphasized.

UNIDO NY Director & Representative to the UN, George Assaf moderates Tokyo Green Industry

Public Private Partnerships and government policies can encourage the growth of Green Industry in supporting technology transfer and for utilizing proven environment, energy and resource conservation techniques and for research and technology development.  For all to be able to see the benefits associated with green growth, one that will contribute to bringing about sustainable development for all “collaboration between businesses, academia, providers of technology, financial institutions and civil society must be a top priority,” said Yumkella.

Heinz Leuenberger - UNIDO Enviromental Management Director moderates a session

Noting that UNIDO launched its Green Industry strategy in Manila in 2009 as the sector strategy for achieving green growth and green economy in the manufacturing and associated sectors, DG Yumkella noted that the Green Industry consists of a two-pronged approach; Greening of Industry which ensures that all industries, regardless of sector, size, ownership, markets and location, continuously improves its environmental performance and resource productivity and the actual creation of Green Industries by stimulating the development and creation of industries that deliver environmental goods and services.

Atsutoshi Nishida and Takashi Shirishi, Board Chairman of the Toshiba Corporation and President of the Japan National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies respectively delivered keynote addresses emphasizing the need for business initiative to green products and operations. Keiro Kitagami, Vice Minister at the METI, emphasized the importance of Green Industry for achieving green growth and green economy in the region and worldwide, and the critical importance of transfer and deployment of technology.

Hopeful that the June 2012 Rio+20 Conference in Brazil will provide an opportunity to achieve renewed international commitment for the concepts of Green Economy and Green Industry as one of its main sector contributions, participants called on UNIDO and its partners to propose Green Industry actions, with policy goals and specific activities, recognizing the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders.  This same optimism was echoed in a message read on behalf of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

DG Yumkella and Vietnamese Minister of Trade & Industry Hoang Quoc Vuong

The mayors of Japanese eco-towns, Kitakyushu and Kawasaki, Kenji Kitahashi and Takao Abe, as well as the deputy mayor of Yokohama, Takashi Komatsuzaki, and the Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Hoi An (Viet Nam), Truong Van Bay, presented the achievements of their respective cities, which serve as a clear demonstration of the diversity of approaches local governments can take to promote Green Industry.

Reporting on a variety of initiatives on the country level since the Manila Green Industry Conference, senior government officials representing the Ministries of Industry, Trade, Economy and the Environment from Afghanistan, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, People’s Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam discussed the achievements made in the implementation of Green Industry and challenges faced in scaling up and mainstreaming Green Industry. The effective implementation of Green Industry initiatives was dependent on government leadership, including on political will, in tandem with enhanced business sector ownership, they noted.

In collaboration with the INCHEM 2011 environmental technology exhibition, the Tokyo Conference offered opportunities to match environmental technology needs of participating developing countries with the international supply of best available techniques and best environmental practices.

Photos by Mikhail Evstafyev/UNIDO
Mikhail Evstafyev contributed to this report.

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