Largest Asia Pacific Environmental Forum kicks off in Colombo from 3rd to 6th October

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The fifth Asia Pacific Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities, the largest regional environmental event in the Asia Pacific region will convene in Colombo from October 3rd to October 6th. This forum is jointly organized by the Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

During an awareness press briefing held today (25) at the President’s Media Centre (PMC), Mr. Nazeer Ahamed, Minister of Environment, announced that this significant international event will witness the participation of 41 member countries of UNEP Asia Pacific, with 25 countries and 16 ministers already confirming their attendance, so far. Organizers expect more than 300 foreign delegates and 100 professionals to engage in discussions alongside stakeholders from Sri Lanka.

The primary objective of this ministerial forum is to provide regional inputs for the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), scheduled for February 24th to March 1st, 2024, in Nairobi.

Minister Ahamed also said that the opening of the forum on October 5th will be officiated by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, with the chairmanship being handed over to Sri Lanka during the event.

Throughout its duration, the forum will cover a wide range of topics, including side events and excursions for the delegates. Sri Lanka intends to propose the establishment of a Climate Justice Forum to address the debt burden faced by climate-vulnerable developing countries, a proposal expected to garner attention at COP28 in December 2023.

Hosting an event of this magnitude will strengthen international relations, facilitate access to foreign grants and allow Sri Lanka to showcase its environmental best practices. The United Nations Environment Programme has generously supported the event, recognizing Sri Lanka’s economic challenges, the Minister added.

Meanwhile speaking at the briefing Dr. Anil Jasinghe, the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment also said that in addition to the main forum, there will be several related events, including the Asia-Pacific Youth Environment Forum, Asia Pacific Major Groups and Stakeholder forum and Asia Pacific Science Policy Business Forum on the Environment.

This forum comes as part of the on-going efforts to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution with a focus on sustainable multilateral actions. The event will provide a platform for governments, intergovernmental organizations and stakeholders to discuss and prioritize environmental issues in the Asia-Pacific region, contributing to the global effort to combat these challenges.

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