Today, our planet’s land, seas and skies are shared by over seven billion inhabitants. Striking the right balance between our economic ambitions and the earth’s finite resources is the key to sustainable development.Through innovative programmes, ASEF and EUC hope to raise environmental awareness so that we can all do our part to protect, preserve, replenish and enhance humanity’s most precious assets. The pursuit of economic growth can – and must – respond to the environment in which we live.
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According to the public opinion survey of 6,155 European citizens across 8 countries, undertaken through the ASEF-led “Asia in the Eyes of Europe” study, the main areas for cooperation with Asia were Trade (34.6%), followed by Environment & Sustainable Development (16.1%), with Human Rights and Governance (15.6%) in 3rd position and Anti-Terrorism in 4th (12.3%).
Similarly, in a survey of 10,000 respondents across Asia, conducted for the ASEF- and EU Centre-partnered study, “EU through the Eyes of Asia”, the main issue for cooperation with the EU was Trade and Economy, followed by Political Cooperation and Security, with Science and Research cooperation and the Environment in 3rd and 4th positions, respectively.
- Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ENVforum) Since 2003, the Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ENVforum) has brought together stakeholders from Asia and Europe through insightful dialogues and invaluable exchanges. The aim is for participants to explore different points of view and seek new perspectives on issues pertaining to environmental changes that impact modern societies.
- ASEF Public Health Network The ASEF Public Health Network is a participatory platform for public health dialogue between the health and non-health sectors in Asia and Europe. It promotes bi-regional collaboration on a wide range of public health issues. Activities include strengthening public health policies, enhancing multi-sector pandemic preparedness and responses, and addressing public health issues of vulnerable groups. The main actors are drawn from diverse fields, including sociology, epidemiology, and medical practice, as well as corporate and regional bodies.
- Conference on EU and Asian Policy Responses to Climate Change and Energy Security, Post Copenhagen Aimed at facilitating exchange of views on climate change policies and issues, this conference drew participants from Asia and Europe from a variety of disciplinary and industrial backgrounds to discuss the challenges that confronted policymakers following the COP 15 held in Copenhagen in December 2009, and their subsequent impact on policies formulated for the COP 16, which was held in Mexico in end-2010.
- Impact of the Crisis on regional Economic and Financial Integration in Asia and Europe With the global economic crisis as its backdrop, the workshop reacted to increasing calls for more effective global and regional economic governance. The dialogue focussed on the need for greater integration and analysed possible coping mechanisms for future crises.
Scenarios Strengthen Strategies: ASEF-ASAP project (Asia-Europe Foundation – Accurate Scenarios Active Preparedness)
The recent H5N1 and H1N1 influenza outbreaks reminded the world that global pandemics are not myths of a distant past. Similarly, the E. Coli (EHEC) outbreak in Europe in 2011 underlined how a lack of government anticipation can prove dangerous and costly. Pandemics are a reality. If not well-managed, they pose a threat to business continuity, well-being and survival. Given the uncertainties and complexities arising from global health emergencies, how can businesses, civil society and the public sector in Asia and Europe best prepare themselves?
To address this, ASEF embarked on an ambitious project, known as the Asia-Europe Foundation – Accurate Scenarios Active Preparedness (ASEF-ASAP). The organisation depicted a full range of possible global future scenarios and consequences by engaging a panel of high-level stakeholders from Asia and Europe.
With these scenarios, ASEF was able to develop concrete strategies in anticipation of public health emergencies for various businesses and across all levels of civil society, ranging from the health, environment and food sectors, to the passenger air transport sector.
Workshop l: Identify factors, driving forces, uncertainties, discontinuities, systemic links
(23-25 March 2010 / Siem Reap, Cambodia)
Workshop II: Develop and test scenario logics & first generation scenarios (21-23 June 2010 / Shanghai, China)
Workshop III: Specify, refine and finalise scenarios, analyse consequences (28-30 September 2010 / Brussels, Belgium)
- Strategy development
Workshop l: Strategic options per scenario and across scenarios, proposals for action, prioritisation for the areas of human security (health, environment and food)
(9-10 June 2011 / Bangkok, Thailand) Workshop ll:Sector specific strategy development with recommendations to strengthen the current business continuity planning and cooperation mechanisms
(15-16 December 2011 / Budapest, Hungary)
Public launch of ASEF-ASAP scenarios, recommendations on scenarios and strategies on future pandemics
(Asia: 13 June 2011 / Bangkok, Thailand)
(Europe: 2 February 2012 / Brussels, Belgium)
“This [ASEF-ASAP] is a meaningful starting point to trust that collaboration and network can happen and contribute to reach the better life.”- Hasnah Widayani, IFRC Indonesia
“Pandemics are a medical problem that requires a social response. Through mixing doctors with artists and politicians, ASEF may just have helped us overcome the first hurdle in preparing for pandemics by getting us to work together.”- Martin Watson, Consultant at Prospex in Belgium
Sustainable Development in motion: looking for governing architecture model: Asia-Europe Strategies for the Earth Summit 2012 project
The Earth Summit in June 2012 will be a defining moment in international dialogue on green economy and the Institutional Framework on Sustainable Development (known as Rio+20). To crystallise the different perspectives and diverse voices that will be heard at the conference, the Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ENVforum) has facilitated interregional consultation under the Asia-Europe Strategies for the Earth Summit 2012 programme – to provide meaningful perspectives from both regions.
The programme aims to offer solution-oriented contributions at international dialogues prior to the Rio+20 Earth Summit. To date, almost 70 experts from Asia and Europe contributed to this dialogue over a period of 18 months. To complement discussions, the ENVforum has also undertaken research focused on assessing international, regional and national sustainable governance mechanisms, as well as proposing best practices that can be recommended for implementation by ASEM countries.
“The current 'business as usual' development strategies should be seriously reconsidered in response to the climate change threats that are increasingly taking place”- Prof Rachmat Witoelar, Indonesia Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Change.
“Leaders stressed the need to focus on development needs and environmental sustainability in the energy sector. They emphasised the need for Asia-Europe cooperation to ensure the availability of environmentally sound energy at a reasonable price to support economic growth and that the latest technology should be intended to increase energy efficiency. Leaders recognised the need to develop regional and sub-regional projects amongst ASEM partners to promote low-carbon economy. Leaders acknowledged the key message on sustainable energy from the 6th Asia-Europe Environment Forum.”- ASEM7 Chairman’s Statement, Beijing, 2008
Impact of the Crisis on regional Economic and Financial Integration in Asia and Europe
The global financial crisis of 2008/2009 has not only led to unprecedented policy responses from under fire governments, but also elicited many questions over the nature of economic governance and controls.
This dialogue was established as a response to calls for more effective economic governance through greater integration. Conducted using a future-oriented approach, the workshop brought together experts and economists to create strategies to find a path through the crisis and prevent future crises.
The aim was to identify the most valuable lessons learnt by Asia and Europe from the financial turmoil. Special attention was paid to exploring regulation and coping mechanisms that would last until 2030, in order to alleviate future shocks on both regions, as well as on the rest of the world. The workshop was officially opened by Slovenian Foreign Minister, H.E. Samuel Žbogar.
“...There is an urgent need to close gaps in global economic governance which cause economic instability and are obstacles to investment... Excessive dependence on one national currency for global reserves and the absence of a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism will need to be resolved urgently.”- Dr. Manuel Montes, Chief of Development Strategy and Policy Analysis at
the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.