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1997 APEC Environment Ministerial Meeting on Sustainable Development

Toronto, Canada | 09 - 11 June 1997
Across borders we have managed to build a common vision on sustainable development. The time for action is now. We want to help you build our future.
APEC Environmental Youth Caucus - June 1997
... Sustainable cities of the 21st century will be built on partnerships between governments, the voluntary sector and private enterprise.
APEC Business Leaders / Local Authorities Forum - June 1997
We, the Ministers responsible for Environment and Sustainable Development from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region commit to sustainable development as a fundamental objective to achieve human prosperity and a healthy environment. Specifically, we:
take up ... APEC Leaders' call for a work program for sustainable development in APEC that includes the themes of the sustainability of the marine environment, cleaner production, and sustainable cities;
highlight ... our determination to make cities in the region more sustainable, and commend our Program of Action to Leaders;
challenge ... all orders of government, the private sector, local communities, and individuals to join with us in transforming sustainable development principles into meaningful practices and visible results;
commit ... to improving integration of sustainable development considerations into all activities and decision making within APEC; and
agree ... that APEC economies must do their part to implement regional and global commitments with full consideration of domestic priorities and conditions.
Governments do not have all the answers. To ensure balanced policy development and results, governments must engage broader society as partners.
From young people, we have heard a call for empowerment, inclusion and a recognized role in APEC. We have also heard their willingness and enthusiasm to help us develop and implement solutions for sustainable development. We are committed to drawing on the creativity and energy of the future leaders of our region.
From the private sector and local authorities, we have heard about opportunities for collaboration and areas where we must do more to spur economic and technical cooperation. We recognize that delivery on our agenda for sustainable development requires the ingenuity and capability of the private sector and local authorities.
From other APEC fora, we have heard testimony of their strong resolve to address environment considerations as an integral and mutually reinforcing component of their activities. Sustainable development in APEC requires a multi-disciplinary approach that emphasizes the need to care for people and the environment. To this end, we commend the results of our discussions to our colleagues participating in other APEC Ministerial meetings, in preparation for the Leaders' meeting in November.
Sustainable Cities
Sustainable development in the APEC region is fundamentally linked to the sustainability of cities. Given that the proportion of people in the region living in cities is expected to increase by 20% between now and 2015, addressing the environmental impact of urban activities is a major objective for overall quality of life and well-being. All aspects of urban planning and development must therefore be people-centered and take into account environmental protection and economic and social considerations . Special emphasis should be placed on pollution prevention and control, and environmentally sustainable infrastructure development, addressing the needs of urban poor settlements, and promoting their economic well-being.
To improve the quality of urban environments while promoting sustainable growth, we are implementing a Program of Action on Sustainable Cities which identifies specific measures to:
  • bridge the knowledge gap;
  • encourage investment;
  • integrate the agendas of the public and private sectors;
  • engage stakeholders and draw on their creativity and knowledge especially at the community level; and
  • enhance human well-being and quality of life.
In this respect, we commit to working with others to double by the year 2003 the current number of 170 APEC communities with Local Agenda 21 plans.
We will also continue to share APEC best practices for sustainable urbanization through a compendium of member economies' examples of success.
Sustainability of the Marine Environment
The health of the marine environment is crucial to the economic and social well-being of people in the region. Our oceans and seas link APEC economies to one another and to the world. We commit to take action to protect this collective resource, as we pursue our commitment to make dramatic progress toward clean oceans and seas in the APEC region. APEC action can contribute to the 1998 Global Year of the Oceans Agenda.
APEC has established goals and performance measures, in collaboration with the private sector and other fora within and outside APEC, to achieve three objectives:
  • integrated approaches to coastal management;
  • prevention, reduction and control of marine pollution; and
  • sustainable management of marine resources.
We congratulate the Marine Resource Conservation Working Group for completing in May the Action Plan for Sustainability of the Marine Environment in the APEC region. We endorse this action plan, and commend it to Leaders.
Cleaner Production
New investment in industrial capacity in the Asia-Pacific region offers an opportunity to incorporate flexible and cost-effective environmental management techniques to achieve more sustainable industrial development. APEC will promote cleaner production in industrial sectors, by identifying and expanding best practices and establishing a cooperative agenda for technology diffusion with particular attention to the needs of small and medium enterprises. We have identified the agricultural sector as an area of importance for implementation and invite relevant fora to adapt the Cleaner Production Strategy for this sector. APEC will promote the broader adoption of cross-cutting policies and methods for cleaner production through institutional, professional, and public and private sector partnerships.
To encourage the application of technologies, policies and practices that are environmentally sustainable and economically efficient, APEC has agreed to encourage:
  • development and use of tools to facilitate cleaner production;
  • involvement and enhancement of science, technology and research networks;
  • development of capacity and mechanisms for sharing technical and policy information, in areas such as application of environmentally sound management systems including ISO 14000;
  • development of industrial environmental performance indicators;
  • wider dissemination of information electronically including through the APEC Virtual Centre for Environmental Technology Exchange, and through the APEC Center for Technology Exchange and Training for Small and Medium Enterprises;
  • accelerated flow of technology within the APEC region; and
  • promotion of demonstration projects in specific sectors.
We congratulate the Industrial Science and Technology Working Group for completing the Cleaner Production Strategy in April. We will report to Leaders in Vancouver that the challenge now is to implement the strategy successfully over the next two years so that significant environmental progress can be achieved across all APEC member economies.
Towards Environmentally Sustainable Growth
We call for improved coordination to link and integrate the many sustainable development initiatives within APEC. This should be done by building on the existing structure, linking APEC fora, minimizing incremental administrative burdens, and maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency with which APEC initiatives are implemented. We direct our officials to work with other APEC fora to develop appropriate means of furthering such cooperation.
In recognition of the priority attached by Leaders to examine the interrelated issues of food, energy, environment, economic growth and population (FEEEP), we urge that environmental considerations continue to be addressed as an important cross-cutting element of this initiative. We direct our officials to continue to be actively involved in the FEEEP process.
We recognize that 1997 is an eventful year for the advancement of the global sustainable development. Recognizing the responsibility of APEC members to do their part in the implementation of global environmental commitments, we emphasize our strong support for the success of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Environment and Development, which will be held in New York later this month. We call on UNGASS to re-affirm the commitments made at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and to endorse a meaningful program of work to bring us closer to our common objectives for sustainable development.
Ministers recognize the adverse impact of Climate Change on APEC economies. We therefore stress the importance of the Third Conference of the Parties for the Framework Convention on Climate Change which will be held in Kyoto, Japan in December. All APEC economies agree to take steps to meaningfully address the adverse impact of climate change. We recommend that our Leaders send a strong message of support to ensure the success of the Conference of Parties and achieve the objective of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
We agree to meet again to review and ensure meaningful progress and further the cooperation within APEC.