A UN-sponsored regional meeting begins today at the Hotel Inter-Continental to articulate Asia’s point of view in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The three-day event will be a 10-year reassessment of the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, also known as the Earth Summit.
The Phnom Penh conference was organized by the UN Development Program, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the UN Environment Program, as well as the Asian Development Bank. The UN expects 400 participants from 48 countries to attend. Prime Minister Hun Sen will give the inaugural address.
Minister of Environment Mok Mareth, the scheduled keynote speaker, sees the regional meeting as an opportunity to express Cambodia’s concerns: Degradation of the country’s forests, fisheries, bio-diversity, international cooperation and, above all, poverty.
“All of these issues relate closely to the poverty issue,” Mok Mareth said. “We must insist on poverty alleviation. It is the pillar of the issue and good governance is the key to success.”
The Earth Summit was lauded for the scope of issues it sought to address, including wasteful and polluting forms of industrial production, alternative energy sources and scarcity of natural resources.
The result of that summit was passage of a comprehensive plan of action, called Agenda 21, to address environmental and developmental issues worldwide.