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Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development Focuses on Green Growth

2 October 2010: The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6), which took place in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 27 September-2 October 2010, concluded with the endorsement of the Astana Declaration and regional implementation plan, and the Green Bridge Initiative to encourage cooperation between the European and Asian regions.

The Astana Declaration outlines the region's commitment for environmentally-sustainable economic growth to reduce poverty, through the stimulation of green growth and other sustainable initiatives including job creation in Asia's energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. According to Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Green Growth approach "commits our nations to investment in eco-efficient and clean technologies, and balanced development for shared prosperity, social progress and environmental sustainability."

The Astana Green Bridge Initiative, championed by the Government of Kazakhstan, represents the first international agreement between Europe and Asia and the Pacific for environmental cooperation in the ecological use of natural resources, low carbon development, sustainable urban development, and the promotion of green business and green technology. During the Conference, delegates, including representatives of small island developing States (SIDS) and mountainous States, emphasized that the poorest and least-developed countries are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and environmental degradation. The representative from Kiribati highlighted the impact of  climate change and sea-level rise on the sustainable development of SIDS. He called for "a draft roadmap to implement green growth in the Pacific." [UNESCAP Press Release] [Conference Website]