"Synergies for Sustainable Asia" -- IUCN forum in Nepal
4th Asia Regional Conservation Forum
The 4th Asia Regional Conservation Forum, an international conference on environment and sustainable development focusing on the Asia region, was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 10-14 September 2007 with the theme "Synergies for Sustainable Asia".
The meeting was organized by The World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the government of Nepal. It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr Girija Prasad Koirala, and the Minister of Forests and Soil Conservation Mr Dev Gurung, followed by a welcome note by Mr Tirtha Raj Sharma, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, and opening remarks by IUCN General Director Ms Julia Marton-Lefevre as well as the IUCN Asia Regional Director, Ms Aban Marker Kabraji. Mr Surendra Shrestha, UNEP-Regional Director for Asia Pacific, presented keynote address.
The main aim of the forum was to generate a platform for meaningful dialogue on approaches towards critical conservation and development issues in the Asia region, as well as potential solutions, and also to share and foster partnership with different stakeholders. Special emphasis was given to the impact of emerging socio-economic trends in the region, addressing key regional issues such as climate change, environmental security, and energy. The forum focused on and discussed three thematic priority areas: "Conserving biodiversity for life: Integrated biodiversity conservation -beyond the rhetoric"; "Climate change and energy: Asia's predicament, options and challenges" and "Poverty, environment, and greening the economy: the potential in Asia". Furthermore, the forum provided an opportunity to present innovative ideas on sustainable development and approaches available for ensuring sustainability as well as thriving initiatives with private sectors. The sessions covered under this area were: Future of Sustainability; Alternative Models of Development; and Role of Private Sector in Ensuring Sustainability.
The forum was able to integrate the views and essential approaches at the regional level, ensuring that the conservation and development issues of Asia are represented. As an overview of Asia region, it encompasses 55% of world's biodiversity, supports over 50% of global human population, among which 70% live in poverty, and harbors 40% of world economy. Increasing demands for energy and water, unsustainable use of natural resources, poverty, and rapidly growing economies have caused adverse stress on the environment, creating challenges for Asia. Thus, there is a greater need for countries as well as conservation communities to work towards innovative approaches to environment sustainability. The outcomes from this meeting will be incorporated into the next IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, October 2008.
The meeting brought together over 400 participants from IUCN's membership, commission, secretariat, donor agencies, private sector, council in Asia and partners, which includes representative from Ramsar Convention. The forum was particularly fruitful for Ramsar representative in fostering partnership and collaboration with various organizations and stakeholders.
Further information and details are available in the following link. http://iucn.org/places/asia/asiarcf/.
From left to right: Ms Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Asia Regional Director; Mr Tirtha Raj Sharma, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation; Mr Dev Gurung, Minister of Forest and Soil Conservation; Mr Girija Prasad Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal; Ms Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN General Director; Mr Surendra Shrestha, UNEP-Regional Director for Asia Pacific; Mr Prabhu Budhathoki, IUCN Nepal Country Rep and Mr Ukesh Raj Bhuju, Chair of the National Committee of Nepal
From left to right: Ms Pragati Tuladhar and Mr Shyam Bajimaya, Head of the Administrative Authority of Nepal for Ramsar Convention
Participants in the forum
Art gallery at the forum on environmental issues
Report by Pragati Tuladhar, Assistant Advisor for Asia-Pacific
Photographs by Pragati Tuladhar and Shahzad