Japan Offspring Fund(JOF) is a consumer group and environmental NGO established in 1984. We have researched issues involving the safety of daily life, including chemical residues, endocrine disruptors, and genetically engineered food.

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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 Growth”.

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 :

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 corporate accountability.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 and consumption.

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
164 participants

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 Of Korea
TEL) 82-2-739-5441 FAX) 82-2-6230-9479



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