Pollution-free planet the focus of Asia-Pacific Ministerial Forum on the Environment

4 September 2017, Bangkok, Thailand - Eight Pacific countries are presenting Pacific environmental management opportunities at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Forum on the Environment in Bangkok this week.

The Conference brings together two UN ministerial-level gatherings for the first time under the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment to grow a regional approach, share best practices, and create partnerships to support sound environmental management for healthier communities.

The Second UN Environment's Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific and the Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific are meeting under the theme 'Towards a resource efficient and pollution free Asia-Pacific.

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A group photo of heads of delegations after the morning session. Photo by IISD/END | Sean Wu

"Our goal is a Pollution-Free Planet, and the recent Pacific actions banning or controlling single-use plastic bags are a great step on that path," said Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, Head of the UN Environment Pacific office.

"Pacific leaders are champions for sound environmental management, with policies supporting the sustainable decisions that our people want to make."

The First Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment is jointly organised by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN Environment. It brings together over 50 countries from 5 to 8 September 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.

"We are supporting our Pacific members to develop integrated island planning and management," said Mr Jope Davetanivalu, Planning and Capacity Development Adviser at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

"Healthier environments support sustainable development, and the benefits of addressing a challenge like pollution also create a broad range of economic, social and environmental benefits."

Pacific countries are taking action on pollution under the framework of a regional strategy, called Cleaner Pacific 2025, implemented with the Cleaner Pacific Roundtable and partners including SPREP and UN Environment.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and Vanuatu are the latest to join the fight against single-use plastic. American Samoa, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Yap in Federated States of Micronesia have already banned single-use plastic bags. Other countries are using levies, like Fiji's new 10 Fijian cent charge per bag, which came into effect in August.

"The desire for good environmental practice is already strong in the Pacific region, and we can support countries to create policies and legal frameworks that enforce those good practices," said Nawadra.

SPREP and UN Environment partner closely in the Pacific region to link Pacific countries with global partners and with global funds for environmental management and resilience-building, such as the Green Climate Fund and Global Environment Facility.

The Pacific islands are represented by Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment now underway in Bangkok, Thailand.

For more information please visit: http://www.apministerialenv.org/
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