About 100 international workers and academics from more than 20 countries are attending the 10th Asia-Pacific Non-Governmental Organization’s (NGO) Environmental Conference, which opened in Taipei yesterday.
Almost 600 other participants also joined in discussions.
The conference’s inaugural meeting was in Bangkok in 1991 and it has been held every one to two years since.
It is now one of the most important international environmental forums to be held in the Asia--Pacific region.
This year, the conference is being hosted by a Taiwanese group, the Society of Wilderness, with topics such as environmental trusts, habitat conservation, high-tech pollution, green economies, environmental education, renewable energy and sustainable ecotourism up for discussion.
Ando Toshiko, a professor at Japan’s Saitama University and president of the Totoro Foundation, was invited to talk about his experiences establishing an environmental trust at Sayama Hills in metropolitan Tokyo.
Also invited was Ted Smith, coordinator of the International Campaign for Responsible Technology in the US, to discuss environmental and occupational health challenges in the global electronics industry.
During the opening ceremony, Asia-Pacific Environmental Council chairperson Isono Yayoi said the conference gave NGOs from different countries the opportunity to cooperate, but “there are still problems to be solved, such as serious water pollution, the shift to renewable energy and the need for an international framework to enhance environmental governance in Asia-Pacific countries.”
Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) said “the environmental NGOs are probably the most active NGOs in Taiwan, of which there are more than 500. They not only draw attention to environmental issues and increase the public’s environmental awareness, but they also put pressure on the EPA and local environmental bureaus, and these pressures are certainly one of the major driving forces behind Taiwan’s environmental protections.”
New Public Construction Commission Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) talked about ways to deal with global climate change.
“Global climate change is not a simple problem with a simple answer, so a strategy for dealing with climate change through sustainable development needs good science, clear policies and good communication,” Lee said
He added that public awareness and public engagement were very important.
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