Best of our wild blogs: 22 Jun 11

Sea Anemone Workshop 2011: "The Sea Anemone Public Lecture" by Dr Daphne from wild shores of singapore

Sea Anemones of Pulau Hantu
from Pulau Hantu

Butterfly Portraits - Club Silverline
from Butterflies of Singapore

Feeding Spotted Doves: 16. Two adults and a juvenile
from Bird Ecology Study Group

If you spot wild boars at Lower Peirce Reservoir, do not disturb them as they may attack from Lazy Lizard's Tales

Nature-related Blogs in the Singapore Blog Awards
from Lazy Lizard's Tales

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The Green Corridor: Not scrap metal, but a bridge to the past

Liew Kai Khiun Today Online 22 Jun 11;

For the past fortnight, along with Singaporeans from all walks of life, I have been joining the walks along the Malayan Railway tracks organised by the "We support the Green Corridor" group, comprising conservationists and nature experts who are promoting awareness of the need to conserve the line between Tanjong Pagar and Woodlands as a green lung, after it ceases operation at the end of the month.

Aside from the stretches of lush greenery along the train line, many visitors have been tremendously fascinated by the engineering structures. These include the levers in the control room of the Bukit Timah Station, the train tracks and the cast-iron Truss bridges on Dunearn Road and Railway Mall on the main line, and the smaller counterparts at Sungei Ulu Pandan and Sunset Way along the defunct Jurong-Bukit Timah line.

Visitors have been zealously photographing these structures down to the finest detail. Going by their questions and discussions, there is substantial interest in the design, history and function of these rail structures, which can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution and rail expansion in Europe and America in the 19th century. There is anxiety over what may happen to these structures when the last train departs for Malaysia.

The message from the Singapore Land Authority has been mixed, judging from its public tenders for works that include the "removal and storage of railway and ancillary structures from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands" and "proposed dimensional survey works and structural investigation works for the structural feasibility study of the disused railway bridge across Ulu Pandan".

The Nature Society of Singapore (NSS) has proposed a six-month moratorium on the development of the railway in order for public consultation and exploration, and for any decisions to be carefully deliberated. The SLA has yet to respond publicly to the NSS' proposal.

In this respect, while I understand Singapore's pressing land needs, I urge the authorities to consider retaining and creatively reusing these structures for the wider public. To date, the only historical bridges that have been conserved - like the Elgin Bridge at Boat Quay, the Cavenagh Bridge outside Fullerton Hotel as well as the Ord, Read and Crawford Bridges - are concentrated in the heart of the city.

While the bridges along the railway line may not be as aesthetically outstanding, they have nevertheless been significant in Singapore's transport history, apart from giving the entire Bukit Timah area a distinctive local identity.

While the Bukit Timah Station has been gazetted for conservation, its presence may be rendered meaningless without the railway tracks and the nearby truss bridge (near King Albert Road) cutting across Dunearn Road.

If the bridges at Rail Mall, Sungei Ulu Pandan and Sunset Way are also conserved, they can collectively act as a crucial park link stretching from Clementi and Sunset Way estates to the Dairy Farm Park Connector.

In addition, various government bodies like the National Parks Board and Singapore Tourism Board can consider the using the line to start eco-heritage trains like that of the famous Sagano Romantic Train ride along the scenic canyons of the Honzu River at Arashiyma, near Kyoto in Japan.

In Singapore, this eco-vintage ride could stretch from Rail Mall to the land close to Buona Vista Station. And instead of merely another cafe overshadowed by condominiums, the Bukit Timah Station can be redeveloped into a transportation museum.

This eco-heritage line, I believe, would revitalise the entire area while preserving its natural beauty and historical significance that will benefit Singaporeans more substantially in the long term.

Singaporeans would be the biggest losers if we regard the structures of the Malayan Railway as merely potential scrap metal from next month.

Rather than carelessly scrapping our heritage, we should look at these rail tracks and bridges as the souls of our identity and as connectors that link our collective past more meaningfully with the future of Singapore.

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Buy more local produce, it's fresher: AVA

Huang Lijie Straits Times 22 Jun 11;

CONSUMERS are being urged to buy more local produce by the food safety watchdog.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said farms in Singapore have to meet its stringent quality and production rules.

And their food is fresher because it does not take as long to get the produce to customers.

Buying more of their produce will spur them on to increase production and ensure the country has a buffer against any potential shortages of imported food items such as eggs, fish and vegetables.

Yesterday, the AVA said it was tightening the guidelines for its quality assurance scheme for locally farmed eggs in a bid to boost consumer confidence.

Egg farms under the Singapore Quality Egg Scheme now have to implement a system that will allow them to trace and recall produce quickly.

This involves stamping the farm's code and the production date on eggs.

The farms also have to put in place a system that will enable them to immediately recall and remove eggs from retail outlets when necessary.

At the launch of the revised scheme yesterday, AVA chief executive officer Tan Poh Hong said: 'If consumers were to get an egg with a code on it, they get the confidence that the farm is prepared to vouch for its quality and freshness.'

Farms under the scheme are also subject to rigorous checks by the AVA, such as monthly inspections on egg quality and freshness.

Those which fulfil the requirements of the revised scheme can label their products with the scheme's new logo.

All three egg farms here - Chew's Agriculture, Seng Choon Farm and N & N Agriculture - are in the revised scheme.

Last year, 93,600 tonnes of eggs were consumed in Singapore. More than 70 per cent were imported from countries such as Malaysia, New Zealand, the United States and Japan.

Seng Choon Farm's managing director Koh Yeow Koon, 35, said it has increased egg production from 300,000 eggs to 400,000 a day since moving into a larger farm in 2009.

He added: 'We can still expand our production but it will depend on whether Singaporeans support us and buy local eggs.'

Price-conscious consumers may pass on local eggs because they are at least 30 per cent more expensive than eggs from countries such as Malaysia. These local eggs, however, boast benefits such as lower cholesterol or added vitamins.

Housewife Chua Lee Kor, 66, said: 'I could never tell the difference between local and Malaysian eggs and I would buy whichever was cheaper.

'But the new logo for local eggs helps me spot them easily and I would like to try them soon to see if they live up to their claim.'

The AVA aims to raise local egg production from the current 23 per cent of Singapore's total egg supply to 30 per cent in a few years.

It has already been working to raise local fish production from 4 per cent to 15 per cent of the total fish supply and local leafy vegetable production from 7 per cent to 10 per cent of the total supply, by helping local fish and vegetable farms increase production capacity.

Singaporeans urged to buy local produce
Mustafa Shafawi / Alvina Soh Channel NewsAsia 21 Jun 11;

SINGAPORE: The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has urged consumers to complement the government's efforts and support the local farming industry by buying local produce.

AVA's CEO Tan Poh Hong said support from consumers for local produce, such as eggs, will help spur local farms to increase their production to meet bigger demand. This she said will in turn ensure the sustainability of local farms.

AVA said consumers are assured of the quality and freshness of local produce, a result of the stringent production and quality control procedures local farms adhere to, as well as the short delivery time from farm to retail outlets.

Ms Tan said: "While we have been looking at the supply side, helping farmers to increase their productivity through technology and extension services and so, we feel that it is also important to get our consumers to support the local produce as well."

About 23 per cent of eggs consumed in Singapore are produced locally and AVA's aim is to increase that to 30 per cent. AVA said local production is an important secondary strategy in ensuring food supply resilience for Singapore.

To this end, the government will continue to promote local farming, with the aim to raise self-sufficiency levels for eggs, fish and leafy vegetables to 30 per cent, 15 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

The quality of eggs produced by local chicken layer farms is assured under AVA's Singapore Quality Egg Scheme (SQES).

This voluntary quality assurance scheme was first introduced in 1999. All three local chicken layer farms are currently registered under this scheme.

Under SQES, local poultry layer farms are required to ensure that their facilities are hygienic and quality control monitoring systems are well maintained at all times.

The eggs produced undergo monthly inspection and freshness tests by AVA to verify their quality. The date of production and farm code are also stamped on every egg to ensure traceability.

AVA, which has recently revised the Singapore Quality Egg Scheme logo to increase its visibility and highlight the quality of local eggs, is urging customers to look out for the logo. And it seems to be working, with retail outlets here saying the revised logo has helped.

Mui-Kok Kah Wei, Purchasing and Merchandising Director with NTUC FairPrice, said: "Our local household consumers who shop in supermarkets have a very high acceptance for local eggs, and they value the quality and the safety assurance from AVA and they value the freshness as well, and probably they put a lot of premium on it being produced by local producers."

Currently about 45 per cent of eggs at NTUC FairPrice, are locally sourced, and the supermarket giant is hoping to increase this. However, FairPrice said it would still offer eggs from other sources to diversify and to ensure stability of supplies.

Ms Mui-Kok said: "We would always like to support our local producers and if consumers accept these eggs, and the local suppliers can cope with it, we certainly hope to increase the supply.

"But having said that, we are in line with our diversification strategies to ensure stability of supplies, we would still want to balance the sources of supply for eggs."

Suppliers here are also stepping up production, with the help of AVA's S$10 million Food Farm grant last year.

Local chicken farm Seng Choon Farm said it has increased egg production from 300,000 to 400,000 since the grant.

Koh Yeow Koon, MD of Seng Choon Farm, said: "For local eggs, because the production is in Singapore, so definitely its faster to get to the market, so in terms of freshness, its definitely a very fresh egg. With freshness and quality, I think it is a good choice for consumers to pick eggs from Singapore."

- CNA/cc/ac

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A mega-city taking shape in Johor, Malaysia

New Straits Times 22 Jun 11;

IT is believed that those who visited Johor Baru five years ago might get lost at the southern gateway if they were to visit it today.

This second biggest city in the peninsula after Kuala Lumpur has undergone a metamorphosis in the past five years. It is probably like Singapore, another red dot city.

Works on the new Coastal Highway connecting Danga Bay and Nusajaya is under way. Once completed, the highway will enhance accessibility to the southwestern part of Johor.

For city folk, the anticipated Eastern Dispersal Link will help ease travel woes from Pandan to the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine checkpoint at the Sultan Iskandar Building.

An EduCity has been planned in Nusajaya and several institutions of higher learning are poised to set up their campus in Iskandar Malaysia.

The Legoland in Nusajaya is scheduled to open next year, while the first Premium Outlet in Southeast Asia will open its door in Kulaijaya by the last quarter of this year.

The Iskandar Malaysia project, launched in 2006, has sparked off many vibrant changes.

"Next year is important in the calendar of this region's growth as many infrastructure projects are scheduled for completion," said Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

Johor Baru member of parliament Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad is confident that more investors, expatriates and Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme participants will move to Johor Baru-Iskandar Malaysia.

Skudai assemblyman and Johor DAP chairman Dr Boo Cheng Hau believes there are vast business opportunities for foreigners, too.

Based on the statistics from the Immigration Department, there are 5,289 expatriates living in Johor as of June 15, of whom 4,456 are residing in Johor Baru.

Singaporeans, Japanese, Indians and Filipinos make up the bulk of the expatriates, who are mainly employed in the manufacturing and services sectors.

Most of the MM2H participants favour Johor Baru to Singapore as the cost of living in the southern city is deemed more affordable.

A survey by the London-based ECA International on annual cost of living recently placed Johor Baru as the 37th most expensive city in Asia for expatriates this year, as compared with 41st last year. It is slightly behind Kuala Lumpur, which ranked 33rd, and ahead of George Town, which placed 40th in the ranking.

Johor Baru's immediate neighbour, Singapore, is in sixth position. The republic's ballooning property market and food bills, coupled with inflation and higher currency values, are bitter pills which even the locals find hard to swallow. Some have opted to stay or shop in Johor Baru to cushion the impact.

The Singapore factor has, therefore, raised the competitive edge of Johor Baru. Johoreans know well that the Singapore factor is also the cause of their "suffering", which started when the Singapore dollar started to appreciate in the late 1970s. One had to pay RM1.05 for every S$1.

Most Singaporeans cross the Causeway to spend their money, just like the northerners who like to lavish themselves across the border during the weekends.

On average, about 100,000 people use the Causeway daily, making it the busiest land entry point in the world.

With all the changes taking place, it makes sense that Johor Baru has been re-branded "Iskandar Malaysia". Will there be a name change?

MP Shahrir firmly said: "No way."

Johor Baru was founded in 1855 when the sovereign ruler of Johor, Temenggong Daing Ibrahim, established his administrative headquarters there. It was then known as Tanjung Puteri. His son and successor Temenggong Abu Bakar renamed it Johor Baru in 1866

"History shows that Johor Baru is a royal town and state capital. It is a name that cannot simply be changed or replaced," stressed Shahrir.

"Moreover, Iskandar Malaysia encompasses areas beyond Johor Baru, such as Senai, Pasir Gudang, Nusajaya and parts of Pontian."

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Indonesia mining rules threaten forest protection efforts - experts

Veby Megah Indah Reuters AlertNet 21 Jun 11;

JAKARTA (AlertNet) - On the eve of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s approval of a landmark, two-year moratorium on forest and peatland clearing under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway last month, the Indonesian leader issued another ruling that sparked criticism he cares more about protecting industry than saving what is left of Indonesia’s forests.

The decision - to allow underground mining in protected forest areas - seemed to contradict the order he signed the very next day in support of a $1 billion anti-logging project with Norway, under a U.N.-backed program called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

Under the deal, Norway has given Indonesia $37 million in reward for preparatory work and promised to deliver the rest of its $1 billion commitment to forest protection by the end of next year, once it is satisfied Indonesia is in fact protecting its forest and peatlands.

At first glance, the two laws seem contradictory, with one literally undermining the other.

“Both of these regulations allow business as usual practices,” complained Avi Mahaningtvas, who heads the economic and environmental section of a non-profit group called the Partnership for Governance Reform and who acts as civil society representative on climate issues and REDD in Indonesia.

“We need to look deeper at the new products of government regulations that affect the fate of our forests: the presidential regulation on underground mining in protected forests and the moratorium,” she added in email interview.


Even the moratorium on logging permits presents problems for forest preservation in Indonesia, experts say. While it imposes a general ban on the issuance of logging permits, it also allows for “exceptions” for projects considered vital for development such as those related to geothermal power - an area where Indonesia holds great potential – as well as rice and sugarcane agriculture, electricity development, and ecosystem restoration.

Companies with pre-existing authorization for logging – known in government parlance as “permits in principle” also will be offered the exemptions - a move that flies in the face of the moratorium and is expected to allow logging to continue.

No less threatening is the new presidential regulation that allows companies to do underground mining in a conservation area if they give land in restitution - a move known as a “land swap”. For territories with less than 30 percent forest cover, the company hands over twice as much land as the forested area it destroys. But if the territory being logged has greater than 30 percent forest cover, the company must forfeit land equivalent to the entire area being logged, even that without trees on it.

The new presidential regulation at first glance appears an even-handed attempt to conserve protected forests while allowing for economic growth, particularly since it only allows for underground mining and not more destructive open pit mining.

But environmental experts say that while tunneling underground for hard rock minerals may not look as damaging as mining done from the surface, that does not mean it does no damage at all.

Greenpeace International says underground mining can have several negative consequences, apart from producing greenhouse gas emissions, including the potential for mine collapses and land sinks, and problems around disposal of mined rocks and soil.

The new Indonesian ruling builds on an earlier law the government passed in 2010 that allowed underground mining inside protected forest lands. That law said the issue would be managed in more detail in this subsequent presidential regulation.


Elfian Effendi, executive director of Greenomics, a non-governmental organization that analyses environmental issues and economic growth, said the president’s decision amounted to an olive branch to the mining industry and was designed to lessen the pain of the logging moratorium.

“The Indonesian government is more focused on minimizing the negative impact on the economy than on maximizing protection of the forest,” he said in an interview.

The mining industry has reason to be happy about the new law, which opens the door to starting many projects that have been on hold for years, subject to government approval. The forestry ministry says it placed holds on 577 mining permits between 2005 and 2010, including 187 that are awaiting exploration permits and another 390 directed at mining in protected forest areas and so are subject to the moratorium.

For just one of the activities potentially subject to exceptions from the logging moratorium – geothermal power – 70 percent of the exploration is set to take place in protected forests.

The mining industry welcomed both the moratorium and the new presidential regulation.

“The presidential regulation which supports conditional underground mining in the protected forest areas is a huge improvement” for Indonesia’s mining industry, said Kenneth Farrell, chief executive officer of Bumi Resouces Mineral Tbk (BUMI), one of the country’s biggest mining companies, in a press release issued three days after President Yudhoyono approved the moratorium.

BUMI plans to take advantage of the law to start zinc mining in a conservation area in Dairi, North Sumatra- a project that had been on hold because of the uncertainty around the new logging moratorium.

Farrell said BUMI was optimistic it would start production by 2013.

Jatam, a non-government group that advocates for local rights in mining areas, said in a press release that two-thirds of the mining would take in place a 37-hectare area of conservation forest.


Fitrian Ardiansyah, a former program coordinator for World Wildlife Fund Indonesia and now working at the Australian National University in Canberra, said there is a grey area in the presidential regulation that could allow any company to mine in protected forests, without decent waste management or ecosystem rehabilitation.

That could be a step backwards from the days of President Megawati, whose administration in 2004 allowed only 13 mining companies to work in protected forest lands.

“That is why we must have a very technical law about this so we can manage the impacts, instead of having a general law that is open to many interpretations,” Fitrian said in an interview.

While the new presidential regulation only allows underground mining by companies that hold environmental permits, Fitrian said the permit approval process was open to manipulation.

He said both the permit from the Environment Ministry, called an AMDAL permit, and the permit from the Forestry Ministry that allows for logging in protected areas, were based on scientific data that could be slanted through selective use of data and the way it is interpreted.

“Let’s be honest,” he said. “Looking back over our nation’s history, how many AMDAL environmental permits or forestry ministry permits in principle really successfully manage the negative impacts of development on the environment?”

“None, unfortunately,” he said.

Veby Mega Indah is a Jakarta-based freelance journalist who specializes in environmental and climate change issues.

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Japan's tsunami debris set for 10-year Pacific tour

Yahoo News 21 Jun 11;

PARIS (AFP) – Debris sucked from the shoreline of Japan by the March 11 tsunami has embarked on a 10-year circuit of the North Pacific, posing an enduring threat to shipping and wildlife, a French green group says.

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami created an estimated 25 million tonnes of waste, "countless quantities" of which swept out to sea when the wave receded, Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) said.

The debris includes dense forms as diverse as planes, ships, cars and chemical tanks, which after sinking will become an inshore hazard for trawlers and the environment by leaking oil, fuel and industrial fluids, it said.

Thick mats of floating wood and plastic will take between one and two years to cross the Pacific and then split into two large patches, the group said in a report dated May 31.

One will head northwards parallel to the eastern Pacific coast, drifting on the Alaskan Current.

The other will head southwards, floating on the California Current.

Part of this southerly debris will split off, joining a gentle vortex of well-documented waste in the eastern Pacific that is called the Eastern Garbage Patch.

The rest of the southern branch will then head back across the Pacific under the North Equatorial Current, which will take it to the so-called Western Garbage Patch.

"The entire voyage around the North Pacific could take around 10 years," Robin des Bois said.

It pointed to many hazards for the environment, including the breakup of plastic into tiny particles called "plastic plankton" which accumulates in the food chain.

In March, a computer model devised by researchers at the International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii predicted Hawaiian beaches would see the first pieces of debris washing up around a year after the disaster.

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Glimmers of green hope for Asian cities

Karl Malakunas (AFP) Google News 21 Jun 11;

MANILA — The air in most Asian cities is getting more polluted and the rivers filthier, but experts say there are many reasons to believe in a green vision for the region as urbanisation powers ahead.

From the putrid, ever-expanding slums in megalopolises such as Manila to the new Chinese industrial boomtowns, examples of environmental anarchy appear to be exploding across the region.

Air pollution, already above World Health Organization standards in most cities, is worsening as car ownership surges, while factories required to drive unprecedented economic growth pump increasing amounts of waste into waterways.

Meanwhile, the carbon and resource footprints of Asian cities are ballooning as hundreds of millions of people grow richer, consume more and depend largely on fossil-fuel driven economies to drive wealth creation.

Nevertheless, urban planners and green activists point to many environmental success stories throughout Asia, as well as a growing awareness about the need to develop sustainably, as justification for hope.

"Many big picture trends in regards to the environment are getting worse but I also see the trends that are offering solutions," said Red Constantino, head of the Manila-based Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities.

"Those (positive) trends are picking up steam. And you have to start somewhere. So I don't think doom and gloom scenarios are very helpful right now. It doesn't factor in the positive drivers that are out there."

Constantino cited the stunning expansion of China's urban rail network as one of the most obvious examples of Asia beginning to move along a path of sustainable development.

Professor Yeung Yue-man, emeritus professor of geography at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who has conducted in-depth research on Asian urbanisation, was even more upbeat.

"It doesn't look bad for cities in Asia," said Yeung, who is also an adviser to the Hong Kong government.

"In terms of what is needed for infrastructure and looking after their people, in many Asian cities, especially ones that are better off economically, they have embraced the concept of sustainable development."

Yeung said Singapore, Taipei, Seoul and Hong Kong in particular offered many lessons to other Asian cities on how to develop sustainably as they expanded and their populations grew more wealthy.

A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit released in February assessing the green credentials of 22 major cities in Asia similarly highlighted many positive environmental trends and models around the region.

China's world-leading ambitions for renewable energy were praised, specifically the nation's biggest off-shore wind farms near Shanghai that are expected to provide electricity for four million households by 2020.

On a more showcase level, it pointed to the 71-storey Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, southern China, which is due for completion this year and intended to be one of the most environmentally friendly skyscrapers in the world.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's Asian Green City Index report also highlighted the Tokyo government's implementation last year of Asia's first cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the scheme, the Japanese capital is aiming to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming by 25 percent by 2020 from 2000 levels, as well as spur similar measures by the national government.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, the city-state's chronic water shortages are being addressed by region-pioneering recycling technologies.

Three litres of water out of every 100 that Singaporeans drink now comes from wastewater that has been filtered and purified.

Nevertheless, the scale of environmental damage caused by fast-expanding cities cannot be glossed over, the Asian Development Bank warned in a major report on Asian urbanisation.

It said the economic, health and other costs of environmental degradation were more than $2 billion a year in Bangkok and $1 billion annually in Jakarta.

"Costs in Asia's other large cities are comparable. They are rising as safety thresholds for a large number of pollutants and poisons are exceeded in increasingly large geographic areas," it said.

And while recognising many positive trends, the ADB also emphasised that more needed to be done to convince authorities that caring for the environment would benefit their economies.

"City administrators need to believe in sustainable growth and reject the notion that they must choose between protecting the environment and promoting prosperity," the report said.

"There is a direct connection between environmental protection and wealth creation."

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Green growth key to Asia-Pacific food, energy security

Antara 21 Jun 11;

Tehran (ANTARA News/IRNA-OANA) - Asia-Pacific countries can cushion themselves against food and fuel price shocks and natural disasters by more efficient use of resources and energy, the United Nations economic body, ESCAP, told a forum of world leaders in Seoul on Monday.

"Green growth remains an essential and urgent task for enhancing the energy and food security of each country (in the Asia-Pacific region)," UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Dr. Noeleen Heyzer told the Global Green Growth Summit organized by the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The one-day summit marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of OECD brought together 800 participants from 25 countries, a press release issued by the UN Information Center (UNIC) said here on Tuesday.

The current energy, resource and carbon intensive development pattern must give way to Green Growth -- to reduce wasteful use of resources and energy, Dr. Heyzer said, adding that this was particularly important at a time when the Asia-Pacific region faces triple threats from recurring climate-related natural disasters and soaring food and fuel prices. Latest ESCAP estimates show that rising food and oil prices can keep an additional 42 million people in the region in poverty in 2011.

The region is also the world's most vulnerable to natural disasters, with its people four times more likely to be affected by nature's wrath than those in Africa and 25 times more likely than those in Europe or North America.

"Green Growth, as one of the strategies to achieve sustainable development by improving the efficiency of the way we use our energy, resources, and in particular carbon, is no longer only an ecological conditionality but also an imperative to improve resilience of our economy against energy, food and resource price volatility," Dr. Heyzer told the summit.

"For Asia and the Pacific, a region whose efficiency in using energy and resources still remains low, improving the efficiency of our production and consumption will provide us with a new engine of growth," the ESCAP chief pointed out.

Green growth needs to be linked to inclusive and equitable economic initiatives and can be part of regional, subregional and bilateral development initiatives and partnerships. ESCAP has been pioneering green growth in the region, an example being the 2010 Astana Green Bridge Initiative linking Europe with Asia and the Pacific which will promote inter-regional cooperation in pro-poor, pro-environment growth. ESCAP is also developing a Low Carbon Green Growth Roadmap for the region funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea.

The world will have the chance at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil to commit itself to a global green economic growth model based on a partnership between rich and poor nations, Dr.Heyzer said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

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