Asean environment ministers, representatives from Asean centres, and key players from the governments of China, Japan, Korea, and the USA, gathered in the 17th Asean Ministerial Meeting On Environment (AMME) and Related Meetings held from 22 to 24 August 2023 to discuss the Asean’s progress and ways forward in addressing the triple planetary crises—pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss.
Key outcomes of the 17th AMME included the declaration of two new Asean Heritage Parks from Thailand; the establishment of the Asean Centre for Climate Change and the Asean Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control; adoption of the regional action plan on invasive alien species; the awarding of Asean Eco-schools and Youth Eco-champions; to name a few.
The Ministers likewise recognised the accomplishments of the Asean Senior Officials on the Environment (ASOEN) on nature conservation and biodiversity, coastal and marine environment, water resources management, environmentally sustainable cities, climate change, environmental education and sustainable consumption and production, key cross-cutting and emerging environmental issues, and cooperation with dialogue and development partners. The Asean Member States lauded the efforts of the Governing Board of the Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), highlighting the value of regional cooperation and coordination for biodiversity being facilitated by the ACB.
Dr Theresa Mundita Lim, executive director of the ACB expressed her gratitude to the Asean leaders who have been including biodiversity in their national development agenda. “The Joint Communique of the 56th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in July 2023 in Jakarta expressed continued support to the ACB in assisting Asean Member States in mainstreaming biodiversity into various development sectors, promoting nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approach to enhance the region’s resilience against zoonotic diseases, addressing climate change, and facilitating Asean’s contributions to the KM GBF,” said Lim.
“In this 17th AMME, the Centre’s efforts as Asean’s focal point for biodiversity conservation were once again recognised. We have taken note of the priorities and needs articulated by the AMS in this crucial dialogue. We stand ready to collaborate closely with the AMS, as well as our dialogue and development partners, to create a more resilient and sustainable Asean,” she added.
As the next Asean Chair, Lao PDR, led by Dr Bounkham Vorachit, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, opened the 17th AMME. She highlighted the need for strong cooperation and collaboration to address environmental challenges such as biodiversity loss, transboundary haze pollution, and unsustainable production and consumption. “These challenges require collective actions, not only by individual member countries, but effective cooperation among Asean Member States and our dialogue partners, as well as other stakeholders such as the private sector, civil society, academe, media, and others,” said the lady minister.
The next AMME will be hosted by Malaysia in 2025.