Fighting fires, growing food, saving forests: How can a ‘green economy’ help SE Asia?


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11 April 2014 — Ministers will join CEOs, civil society leaders and the world’s top scientists at the Forests Asia Summit in Jakarta’s Shangri-La Hotel on May 5-6 to share insights on how the region’s forests and landscapes can be better managed in the pursuit of green-growth development. It will be the biggest debate on the future of Southeast Asia’s forests, landscapes and other natural resources in years. More than 1,200 participants are expected and 120 speakers, including:

  • 10 Ministers and Deputy Ministers from across Southeast Asia
  • Executives from 25+ companies, including Golden Agri-Resources, APP, Nestle, Cargill
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri
  • Leading civil society, NGOs and indigenous groups
  • Top donors, including the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Norway

The conference will focus on several pressing environmental and economic issues in the region:

Quick fact: Peat fires in Southeast Asia annually emit more greenhouse gas than 89 million cars.
Fires in Indonesia affect millions of people and cost billions of dollars. But who or what is behind the fires? How to stop the fires? The groups involved — plantation companies, civil society, governments — will be represented at the Summit. Singapore’s Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Indonesia’s Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan will speak.

Climate change and food security
Quick fact: Each month in Southeast Asia, an area of forest 3 times the size of Jakarta is stripped of its trees.
Southeast Asia is vulnerable to climate change, and clearing forests for agriculture is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the region. How can countries cut emissions and achieve development? How will the growing population cope with climate change? How will climate change affect food supplies? IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri will give a keynote speech.

Oil palm and forests
Quick fact: Oil palm production in Indonesia is expected to nearly double by 2020. That is enough new palms to cover Singapore 56 times.
While the booming palm oil sector is great for the economy in the short-term, it brings forest degradation/loss and conflicts between businesses, communities and governments. How to find the balance between food, fuel, forests and people? NGOs and executives will share insights.

Investments and risk management
Quick fact: One global activist NGO’s recent campaign against environmentally unsustainable practices cost a Southeast Asian corporation five multimillion-dollar contracts.
Banks and businesses must think differently to achieve sustainability and manage new risks. What should investors do? What are some innovative ideas for financing? Mark Burrows, Global Vice Chairman, Credit Suisse, will give a keynote speech.

Fighting poverty
Quick fact: By 2030, Southeast Asia is expected to have 84 million more people. That’s like adding another Vietnam — but without any extra land.
How will demographic and economic changes affect Southeast Asia’s forests and the communities that depend on them? How can a ‘green economy’ support sustainable and equitable development for poor and indigenous communities? Joan Carling, Secretary-General of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, and Win Myo Thu, Director of EcoDev Myanmar, will join the discussion.

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