ASEAN Secretariat, 24 January 2011
Your Excellency Dr. Alex Retraubun, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry of Indonesia;
Your Excellency Mr. I Wayan Dipta, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises of Indonesia;
Mrs. Romana Konigsbrun, Deputy Chief of Mission to the Embassy of Austria to Indonesia;
Mr. Imran Farroque, Representative of the United Nations on Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to Indonesia;
Mr. Stefanos Fotiou, Regional Industry Officer of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);
Mr. Mostafa Benlamlih, United Nations Resident Coordinator;
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome all of you to this important seminar.
At the outset, I wish to extend my deep appreciation to our co-organizers of the Seminar, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of Austria for their generous financial support and for making this informative and interactive session possible.
I also wish to thank all of you for giving me an opportunity to share with you my thoughts on the ‘Resource Efficient and Clean Production (RECP) program in the ASEAN Member States’ as well as to underscore the importance of environmental sustainability as ASEAN builds its dynamic and integrated Single Market and Production Base under its ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.
Environmental protection has been perceived by many as a “threat” to a thriving company or a flourishing economy. Environmental protection measures such as the utilization of clean energy and the reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide requirements are seen as limiting production, profits, and ultimately the growth of an enterprise at the micro-economic level or a nation’s economy at the macro-economic level.
But, the truth is that environmental degradation at the height of economic development poses serious risks and challenges to both the developed and developing countries. Concerns on industrial wastes and emissions and unsustainable use of scarce resources is on the rise. Indeed, Environment and the Economy go hand-in-hand and Nature often times speaks louder as we have witnessed in Southeast Asia increasingly in terms of natural disasters. Factors such as the scarcity of fossil energy and raw materials, fluctuation in oil prices and natural disasters due to global warming have pushed enterprises to adopt and implement green industries and to seek new ways to ensure environmental sustainability for survival. We don’t have an option now.
Recently, there has been an upward trend among enterprises across all industries implementing good corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR involves corporate self-regulation where enterprises take responsibility for their actions and the interest of its stakeholders by eliminating practices that harm the public sphere regardless of its legality. CSR-compliant enterprises believe that by demonstrating concern for the environment, human rights, community development and the welfare of their employees, they will become more profitable through the building-up of good reputation as well as ensuring sustained and long-term operational viability. Reputation, which takes decades to build, can be damaged instantly through incidents such as environmental accidents, such as in the recent case of Deep Water Horizon oil spill of British Petroleum is testimony to this fact.
ASEAN has long recognized the importance of environmental cooperation for sustainable development and regional integration. ASEAN has since 1977 cooperated closely in promoting environmental cooperation among its Member States. Priority areas for environmental cooperation are reflected in the Blueprint for the ASEAN Socio Cultural Community (ASCC Blueprint), which include addressing global environmental issues; promoting sustainable environment through environmental education and public participation; promoting environmentally-sound technology; promoting quality living standards in ASEAN Cities/ urban areas; harmonizing the environmental policies and databases; promoting sustainable management and natural resources and biodiversity; and responding to climate change and addressing its impacts.
In the recent ASEAN Leaders Statement on Joint Response to Climate Change in Ha Noi on 9 April 2010, the Leaders recognized the adverse impact of climate change to the livelihood and development options for the future. They, sharing a vision for an ASEAN Community resilient to climate change and supporting national and global efforts to combat climate change, agreed to enhance ASEAN participation towards strengthening international cooperation to address climate change and to commit to inculcate habits towards a low emission society by raising domestic awareness on climate change. They further agreed to collaborate on environmentally sound technologies, towards a low carbon and green economy.
In this regard, UNIDO has been playing an important role in supporting developing and transition countries on Cleaner Production through their flagship National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs). The NCPCs, in particular, place cleaner production on the agenda of businesses and governments; train professional cleaner production auditors; and promote several policy change and technology transfer. UNIDO has now 47 Centers in developing countries including 4 in ASEAN countries namely; Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam.
The Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) program is an effort to enhance the application and benefits of the cleaner production to the ASEAN region by addressing three sustainable development dimensions namely, production efficiency, environmental management, and human development. RECP emphasizes knowledge sharing, peer learning and regional cooperation on areas and sectors of common interests.
In closing, I hope all participants from ASEAN Member States and our Development Partners will use this forum to appreciate, understand, and exchange information and knowledge about Green industry initiatives in an effort to further enhance the RECP Programme in the region.
I wish all of you a fruitful meeting.