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GEO-5 Regional Consultation for Asia and the Pacific Identifies Priority Issues

17 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Asia and the Pacific took place in Bangkok, Thailand, on 16-17 September 2010.

This regional consultation was the fourth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5). The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each regional consultation, containing the outcomes of the meeting including all key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and key target audiences. The Asia and the Pacific regional consultation focused on: the priority environmental issues and challenges to be the focus of the regional chapter of GEO-5; associated internationally agreed goals for these regional environmental priorities; and policy gaps related to these environmental priorities. The consultations resulted, inter alia, in agreement on regional priority environmental issues and challenges as follows: climate change, environmental governance, biodiversity, freshwater, and chemicals and waste.

During the discussion and selection of internationally agreed goals for the region related to the environmental priorities selected, most participants emphasized that all aspects of climate change, including mitigation, adaptation, capacity building and finance, are important. By voting, participants selected Article 3, paragraphs 1-3, of the UNFCCC as the regional goal for climate change for GEO-5. This Article requires countries to protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. It further requires developed countries to take the lead in combating climate change, and provides that the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries should be given full consideration. Finally, it requires countries to take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Participants also recognized the importance of: the goals contained in Article 2 of the UNFCCC (stabilization of greenhouse (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system); the Bali Action Plan; and the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. [IISD RS Summary][GEO-5 Regional Consultations Website]