International conference on sustainable development

Kathmandu, June 18: An international conference on sustainable production and consumption in Asia began here today.

Minister for Science, Technology and Environment, Umakanta Jha, inaugurated the three-day conference organized by SWITCH-Asia Programme with support from the European Union (EU).

Speaking on the occasion, Minister Jha opined that the unsustainable and over harnessing of natural resources has made solution of the environmental problems more challenging.

He said that the government has attached high priority to sustainable economic development, green construction practices and protection of biodiversity. Speacial emphasis has been laid on the implementation of the related policy, he added.

The Minister for Environment also stressed on collective and concerted efforts for addressing problems resulting from energy use, environmental degradation and climate change.

"The support provided by the EU for Nepal's socio-economic development as well as for environmental protection, the peace process, promotion of human rights and the development of renewable energy have been result-oriented," he said, adding that the Union's assistance has helped take the development programmes to the villages, besides the alleviation of poverty.

Vice Chairman of the National; Planning Commission Rabindra Kumar Shakya said that  sustainable development could not be achieved until the food, water resources and energy security were ensured. He added that the NPC has formulated a three-year action plan on sustainable development and was working as per that plan.

Secretary at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment Keshav Prasad Bhattarai said that the ministry has always been committed to make a switch to a sustainable green economy.

The ministry will therefore look closely into the projects implemented in Nepal and will make the necessary policy level interventions in order to improve the environment, he added.

Ambassador of the EU Delegation in Kathmandu, Alexander Spachis said that the SWITCH –Asia programme supported by the Union for promoting sustainable consumption and production was the most successful and effective.

One hundred and sixty policy makers and representatives of the stakeholders including project experts from 10 European countries and 17 Asian

ones are attending the conference organized with the objective of facilitating exchange of views and experience among SWITCH-Asia projects regarding effective replication of sustainable production and consumption, and fostering synergies.

The SWITCH-Asia programme was launched in 2007, and it is the single largest EU-funded regional programme to support the implementation and scaling-up of sustainable consumption and production practices in Asia. It aims to contribute towards sustainable growth and poverty reduction. The programme provides funding opportunitiesof 150 million Euros over the period 2007-2013. RSS

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