Asia Pacific Report: Cut Emissions & Invest Sustainably

Asia Pacific Report: Cut Emissions & Invest Sustainably

Three Asia Pacific countries, among those most threatened by rising sea levels, have vowed to cut their carbon emissions as a gesture of their commitment to fight global warming. Australian NGOs are calling on the Government to ban imports of illegal timber from Indonesia. The Asia Development Bank calls for proposals from venture capital fund and project managers to invest in climatech-related projects.  National Sustainability Conference in Singapore 29 & 30 July is focusing on the latest sustainable developments in the Asia pacific region.


AFP report in Sydney Morning Herald (19 July 2010):

Three Asia Pacific Countries – Maldives, Samoa and the Marshall Islands – which are among six countries seen as most threatened by rising sea levels, have vowed to cut their carbon emissions as a gesture of their commitment to fight global warming, the Maldivian government says.

The countries, mostly low-lying nations, met at the weekend in the Maldives and pledged to drastically cut their emissions while pressing others to follow suit.

“Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the Maldives, the Marshall Islands and Samoa all pledged to slash greenhouse gas emissions and pursue green growth and development,” the government said in a statement.

The Maldives, which wants to be carbon-neutral by 2020, is one of the most vulnerable countries to a rise in sea levels because its low-lying islands and atolls would be submerged.

Ethiopia hopes to be carbon neutral by 2025, while the Marshall Islands has pledged to cut emissions by 40 per cent by 2020, and Antigua and Barbuda by 25 per cent.

Costa Rica plans to go carbon neutral by 2021.

Being carbon neutral means offsetting emissions against other measures that help to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“When those with the least start doing the most, it shows that everyone’s ambitions can be raised,” Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed said in the statement after the weekend meeting.

Smaller nations are trying to hammer out a common position before a UN climate meeting in Mexico scheduled to open on November 29.

The 10-day meeting is set to revisit the issues of global warming after talks at December’s Copenhagen summit fell short of a binding international treaty.


21 July 2010


Australian and Indonesian groups call for illegal timber ban

Social justice, environment and international development organisations have echoed an Indonesian call on the Australia Government to fulfil its 2007 election promise to ban imports of illegal timber.

Key civil society organisations in Indonesia, led by the country’s peak environment group WALHI (Indonesian Environmental Forum) and including members of the Indonesian Coalition Against Forestry Mafia, have delivered a letter (attached) to the Australian Embassy in Jakarta asking PM Julia Gillard to stop allowing illegally logged timber into Australia.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has classified illegal logging as an organised crime and commissioned Indonesia’s Anti-Mafia Taskforce to tackle the problem.

“The most effective way for Australia to help stamp out illegal logging in Indonesia is by banning the import and sale of timber products that cannot be independently certified as legally and sustainably sourced,” said ACF executive director Don Henry. “Australia is lagging behind other OECD countries in acting on this issue,” he said.

In May 2008, the US instituted a ban by amending the Lacey Act.  And early this month the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to ban illegal timber. 

World Vision Australia CEO Rev Tim Costello said: “World Vision works with poor communities who are dependent on forest resources to get by. Forest degradation and illegal logging destroy livelihoods and food sources making it harder for poor families to survive,” World Vision CEO Rev Tim Costello said.

“If the Australian Government banned illegal timber imports into the country, poor communities in our region would have a better chance at establishing decent livelihoods and Australian consumers could be sure they were buying sustainable products,” Rev Costello said.

Dr Mark Zirnsak, spokesperson for the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania, said: “The Australian Government needs to take regulatory action to address illegal logging to send a clear signal that it is committed to the fight against corruption globally and that as a country we do not seek to profit from corruption through the lower prices it delivers to consumers.”

Every year around $452 million worth of illegal timber is imported into Australia.  

Michael Kennedy of Humane Society International said: “With a federal election looming, the Government is running out of time to implement its 2007 election promise.  A ban is urgently needed to help save rainforest species like the orangutan and curb deforestation, a major contributor to climate change.” 


Asian Development Bank report:

To address the challenges of climate change and secure a low-carbon and sustainable energy future, accelerated and substantial investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies (“climatech”) are required. Asian Development Bank (ADB) seeks to significantly increase its investments in climatech in Asia through specialized venture capital funds .

ADB calls for proposals from venture capital fund  and project managers (‘Fund Managers’) to invest in climatech-related projects  and companies located within ADB’s developing member counties (DMCs).

This Call for Proposals does not constitute a commitment by ADB to provide the financial assistance described therein. Any such financial assistance will be contingent upon approval by the management and the Board of Directors of ADB, satisfactory due diligence, the no-objection of the Host Countries, prevailing market conditions and the execution of documentation in form and substance satisfactory to ADB.

Indonesia is a founding member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) since 1966 and, by the end of 2009, had received 303 loans amounting to $25.7 billion and 504 technical assistance (TA) projects amounting to $282.9 million. Measured by loan approvals, Indonesia is ADB’s largest client, and its second largest recipient of TA support


The National Sustainability Conference 2010 - Leading Singapore to a Sustainable Future

Are you interested in a sustainable Singapore?

Government, educational institutions, not for profit organisations, Business representatives and students will gather together at the 2nd National Sustainability Conference, 29th & 30th of July to discuss the latest sustainable developments in the Asia pacific region.

The theme of this year’s conference is Sustainable Strategies for Singapore and the Asia Pacific Region with a focus on the sustainable workplace.

So what is Singapore doing to mitigate climate change and how is this filtering down to our major corporations and enterprises? These are some of the questions that will be answered at this year’s conference. Business Leaders and Policy Makers from both Asia and Australia will be presenting on topics such as Sustainable Leadership, Achieving Sustainable Business Practices, the Economics of Climate Change, Green jobs and the future of the Sustainable Development in the Asia Pacific Region.  

Some of the major speakers include Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs and former Chair of the National Environment Agency, the country’s major agency for environmental protection as well as Dr. John Buchanan, Director of the Workplace Research Centre, University of Sydney and Mr. John Person, Head of the UK Regional Climate Change Network in Southeast Asia.

The conference is being organised by The Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES), National University of Singapore and the Workplace Research Centre (WRC), University of Sydney and they are very excited about exchange of ideas that will take place on the two days. The conference organisers are very pleased to have Guest of Honour, Dr Amy Khor, Mayor, South West District, and Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, opening the conference on 29 July at 0915. 

The National Sustainability Conference will take place in the Amara Hotel, 165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088539. It will be a great insight into Singapore’s present responses to Climate Change and the emerging opportunities in the area as well as an excellent networking opportunity for anyone who is passionate about achieving a more sustainable Singapore.

ABC Carbon Director Ken Hickson, who initiated the involvement of the Workplace Research Centre in this Singapore Sustainability event, will be a speaker at the conference on the subject Investing in a Low Carbon Economy to Create Green Jobs”. His book “The ABC of Carbon” will be launched in Singapore and a copy given to all delegates at the conference.


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