PEI Asia Pacific showcases experiences of poverty-environment mainstreaming
Bringing together country delegations from Bangladesh, Nepal and Indonesia, UN agencies, partner organizations, bilateral donors and civil society, Poverty-Environment Initiative Asia Pacific hosted a Showcase Event on 6 November 2014 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Bangkok. The event was held to commemorate and share with key collaborators from the government and development partners, successes from the region and challenges in promoting pro-poor environmentally friendly growth among countries. Officials from the ministries of Planning, Finance, Environment and Local Government shared experiences from their countries of helping vulnerable communities meet the harsh effects of climate change and environmental degradation.
The session was opened by Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, Regional Director and Representative for the Asia-Pacific, UN Environment who highlighted the rising economic and social costs due to climate change that countries in the region have to bear. This was followed by Mr. Nicholas Rosellini, Deputy Regional Director, UNDP APRC who emphasized the need for strengthening policies in natural resource-based sectors. Sharing experiences documented in the Asia-Pacific regional publication, “Building Inclusive Green Economies: Stories of Change”, the scene was set for representatives from each of the countries to share their interventions and their vision for the future.
Dr. Gopi Khanal from the Government of Nepal presented the country’s flagship environmental governance programme, the Environment Friendly Local Governance framework, and emphasized the need for environmental sustainability to be practiced at all levels, beginning from households. Ms. Syamsidar Thamrin, representing the Government of Indonesia had interesting anecdotes to share about protecting the welfare of small farmers and fishermen and balancing the demands of private sector giants. “Thinking small is effective but thinking big is also necessary,” she stressed.
Mr. Iftikhar Hossein, from the Government of Bangladesh, was the final speaker, who shed light on financing adaptation initiatives and building resilience among communities in Bangladesh. The open discussion soon after witnessed engaging and thought provoking comments and enquiry from the audience, questioning larger ideas about shifting development paradigms to the nitty-gritties of bringing technology and innovation to the environmental sustainability discussion. Through the session, speakers and audiences alike were witness to a range of perspectives and possibilities for the future, right from what individuals can do to what countries and high level unions must strive to do.
The evening’s closing remarks were given by Ms. Shalina Miah, Regional Office Manager, UNCDF who framed the evening’s discussion against the backdrop of PEI, its services and its highly collaborative nature bringing together UN agencies to respond to the needs of governments and stressing the collective commitment towards empowering countries to eradicate poverty and protect the environment in the region.
The Showcase Event also offered the opportunity for PEI Asia Pacific to screen videos from various countries and release the regional publication titled “Building Inclusive Green Economies” that documents stories of change from PEI’s endeavours in nine countries in the region.