Recently global environmental issues, in particular climate change, have been gaining so much attention worldwide that they have become the main issues at the G8 summit conferences. In the light of economic development and population growth, greenhouse gas emissions look set to increase in the region headed by China and India. Overcoming serious poverty and attaining economic growth while at the same time limiting and then reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as achieving sustainable development, requires enormous effort. On the other hand, we have to deal with issues that threaten the survival of nations such as flooding of land due to rising sea levels, and the decline of food production because of climate change.
IGES, responding to these global challenges and the needs of the Asia Pacific region, considers it an important mission to propose strategies and policies that contribute to realising a sustainable society.
IGES celebrated the 10th anniversary of its establishment in April 2008, and organised a symposium in June of the same year, focusing on the theme of reuniting climate change and sustainable development for the Asia Pacific region. Experts in this field from Japan and overseas were invited to the symposium which attracted an audience of more than 300.
We learned various keywords from the speakers at the symposium. An example would be low-carbon economy. It is becoming a common perception as one form of sustainable society that we should be aiming at. However, we face a great many challenges that need to be overcome first. These involve issues such as conflicting views held by developed and developing countries, and integration of climate policies into national development plans and sectoral economic policies. There is also the problem of how to meet both the needs of current and future generations.
How are we to overcome these challenges? On 21 June 2008, the day of the symposium, IGES launched its White Paper focusing on climate change policies in the Asia Pacific region. The title of this publication is "Re-uniting Climate Change and Sustainable Development". We must consider how best to unite and harmonise various views, opinions and interests, which is the path to take in the future.
With the increasing sense of uncertainly in the global economy, it will not be easy to promote sustainable development and encourage the transition to a low-carbon society. IGES hopes to enhance collaboration with broad range of stakeholders such as international organisations, national and local governments, businesses, NGOs, citizens and experts that it has built up over the past 10 years, and try its best to achieve its mission.