Japan Offspring Fund International Project
The Seoul Statement
of MCED Civil Society Forum 2005
Seoul, Korea, March 23-24, 2005
We, representatives of CSOs and NGOs from 14 countries in Asia and the
Pacific region gathered in UNESCAP MCED 2005 Civil Society Forum, held
in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 23 and 24 March 2005, thank Civil Society
Forum Korea Committee, Citizens Consumers Korea and the Ministry of
Environment of the Government of Republic of Korea, for successfully
hosting the Forum on “Sustainable Consumption and Production and
the Role of Civil Society: Achieving Environmentally Sustainable Economic
We express deep concern about the current unsustainable production
and consumption patterns prevailing in the majority of the countries
in Asia and the Pacific, as the region has limited environmental carrying
capacity and its rapid economic growth is placing increasing pressure
on environmental sustainability.
The serious challenge for Asia and the Pacific region is how to pursue
equitable economic growth and genuine development that primarily meets
the basic needs of the urban and rural poor, and simultaneously to achieve
sustainable production and consumption of the present generation while
maintaining environmental sustainability for future generations.
We believe the region has to turn away from the conventional “Grow
first, clean up later” paradigm and move towards a new “Green
Development” paradigm which harmonizes “equitable economic
growth” with “environmental sustainability.” Environmental
sustainability requires fundamental change of the way society currently
sees nature as an infinite source of raw materials and an endless dump
for waste. We believe it encompasses the need for inclusive social development
and equity, food sovereignty, zero waste, clean renewable energy, eco-efficiency
and elimination of toxic substances from the environment. Local communities’
access to productive resources, genuine public participation and people’s
empowerment are paramount to achieve this “Green Development”
We are confident that civil society in our region will play a crucial
role in formulating development policies and programmes and their implementation,
supporting and strengthening “Green Development” in partnerships
with respective governments, the business sector and international community
who are committed to sustainable production and consumption.
Civil Society is to be engaged in international activities, too. In
promoting sustainable consumption and development, the main bulk of
activities will have undoubtedly to be taken at the national level.
However, the positive role of international organizations such as UNEP
and ESCAP is significant in developing certain coordination and facilitation
mechanisms at the regional level.
We see the role of civil society’s engagement in all aspects of
promoting sustainable consumption including satisfaction of basic needs,
improving efficiency in resource use, achieving zero waste, preventing
pollution, promoting consumption levels and patterns that do not jeopardize
the needs of the current and future generations, and promoting equity
in consumption within and between countries.
Civil society is to play a leading role in moving the public and consumers
towards eco-efficiency and sustainable consumption patterns because
a change in consumption patterns and lifestyles can be effectively promoted
only with the informed and authentic participation of the citizenry.
After all the meaningful discussions and exchange of the information
towards environmentally sustainable consumption and production, we call
upon all the stakeholders in Asia and the Pacific, to undertake a sectored
approach to increase the eco-efficiency of the consumption and production
systems by :
- Enhancing the sustainable development in sectors such as
agriculture, tourism and other ecosystem-based products and services.
The focus should be promoting sustainable practices, products and
community-based development approaches. In the agricultural sector,
priority should be given to replacing present systems of agriculture
with its use of agrochemicals and monocultures, which contaminate
and deplete the environment and cause human health problems, with
cleaner, sustainable and agro-ecological viable models of food and
fibre production that includes organic agriculture, low external input
sustainable agriculture and community IPM. While civil society is
at the forefront of such efforts, more government policy support and
business sector participation are required.
- Applying precautionary principle in the GMO issue
While there are concerns that genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
have serious human health and environmental impacts, there are also
contrary viewpoints. Therefore we urge the application of precautionary
principle in dealing with the release of GMOs and that a ban is instituted
until these concerns are fully addressed with public participation.
- Advancing food sovereignty to realize sustainable
production and consumption, to provide safe and nutritious food, empowering
communities and enhancing the environment. Food Sovereignty encompasses
the RIGHT of peoples, communities, and countries to define their own
food and agricultural policies. It includes the right to food-producing
resources and the ability to sustain all societies. We call on governments,
business and the international agencies to recognize, protect and
institute the principles of food sovereignty as the policy framework
for addressing food and agriculture.
- Promoting green consumption in all aspects of economic and
social development. In Asia and the Pacific region, governments
have an indispensable role in providing infrastructure and enabling
social structure to meet the basic needs of people, which has significant
impacts on consumption patterns. Existing good practices, such as
sustainable public purchasing, regulations on product specifications
regarding environmental performances, should be widely adopted. New
and country specific approaches in urban and human development, such
as demand-based, or need-based management, should be developed and
practiced. While civil society feels the needs to better network and
cooperate to improve the knowledge sharing, governments and intergovernmental
organizations should provide a framework for stakeholder partnership.
- Increasing the resource circulation with the application
of zero waste, a holistic approach that reduces the volume and toxicity
of discards and in which valuable materials are cycled back to nature
or the market, thereby conserving resources, and creating jobs and
enterprises, should be pursued. While government should provide the
adequate infrastructure support and policy guidance, civil society
should continue to be active and play a special role in promoting
traditional and cultural value based practices that are environmentally
friendly and socially sustainable. The informal sector, particularly
the waste pickers, who are especially vulnerable, should be included
in recognized and formalized partnerships in the ecological management
of discards notably in Asian-Pacific mega-cities.
- Supporting the eco-design of products to avoid
hazardous inputs and excessive use of materials to minimize waste
and make recycling safe and easy, thereby preventing or reducing risks
to humans and the environment. We call upon the government and industry
to phase out toxic chemicals and processes, and phase in clean production
principles, including strategies that cut wastes, as well as encouraging
- Eliminating toxic pollution. We urge the governments
to stop the destructive and health-threatening practice of incinerating
waste and to keep the promise of the Stockholm Convention to eliminate
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), while giving priority consideration
to non-POPs producing alternatives such as materials substitution,
toxics use reduction, clean production and zero waste. We call upon
all governments to implement the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed
Consent, Basel Convention and other intergovernmental chemical agreements.
We also urge governments to implement policies and programs for a
pesticide use reduction with the immediate elimination of the WHO
Class 1 pesticides and those causing endocrine disruption.
- Greening the energy production and consumption. Renewable
energy use needs to be further promoted along side with energy use
efficiency efforts, such as green product labeling and energy efficiency
labeling. Enhance capacity building among Asia and Pacific countries
is needed to disseminate and exchange information and technologies
by all stakeholders.
- Recognizing Information and Communication Technologies are
fundamental to achieve sustainable production and consumption,
we call upon all stakeholders to set up and use integral
environment information system, and to narrow the digital divide so
that we can communicate without any limits or restrictions worldwide.
- Raising awareness and strengthening communication on sustainable
consumption and production. Modern information and communication
technologies should be used for raising awareness and facilitating
consumer/community actions. Governments in partnership with civil
society should develop awareness and communication campaigns for all
stakeholders and incorporate sustainable consumption and production
issues into formal and informal education systems. Civil society should
focus in particular on integrating lifestyles of health and sustainability
which may be rooted in some cultures into modern society with support
from other stakeholders. Government and the local communities need
to mobilize and facilitate the flow of indigenous formats of experiential
knowledge to empower the urban and the rural poor towards self sufficiency
in food and livelihood.
We will work towards the achievement of these principles and goals through
empowering consumers to strengthen the shift to sustainable production
We urge our governments and international community to work with us,
with full participation of affected communities and CSOs and NGOs in
realizing these recommendations.
We request potential counterparts to commit and provide financial,
human resources and technical support to achieve sustainable production
and consumption goals.
24, March, 2005
UNESCAP MCED 2005 Civil Society Forum
UNESCAP MCED 2005 Civil Society Forum Korea Committee
Citizen Consumers Korea (former CACPK)
#601, Pieoson Bldg.,Shinmunro 2 Ga, Hongro Gu, Seoul, 110-761, Republic
TEL) 82-2-739-5441 FAX) 82-2-6230-9479