Regional Forum Promotes 3Rs, Resource Efficiency to Achieve Multiple SDGs
Photo by Hermes Rivera
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The Eighth Forum focused on how the 3Rs, resource efficiency, and promoting the principles of a circular economy can contribute to achieving the SDGs.

A parallel Asian Mayors' Policy Dialogue culminated in the signing of the Indore 3R Declaration, in which Asia cities pledge collective action on the 3Rs and resource efficiency to achieve clean land, water and air.

A first regional assessment on the status of 3Rs in Asia and the Pacific was released.

16 April 2018: The Eighth Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific examined how using the 3Rs (reducing, reusing and recycling) can help achieve waste-related targets under SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), as well as other SDGs, including on health, water, land, climate, oceans and sustainable cities. Its outcomes will serve as a contribution to the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF).

The Eighth Regional 3R Forum convened from 9-12 April 2018, in Indore, India. Its outcomes include: a dialogue among Asian mayors and city authorities on how the 3Rs and resource efficiency can make their cities sustainable; a declaration by cities; the launch of a report on the state of 3Rs in the region; and awards recognizing Indian recipients for their contributions to the 3Rs in their country.

The Eighth Forum’s theme, ‘Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land and Clean Air through 3R and Resource Efficiency – A 21st Century Vision for Asia – Pacific Communities,’ focused on how the 3Rs, resource efficiency, and promoting the principles of a circular economy can contribute to achieving the targets of SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 15 (life on land). For example, a plenary session devoted to water noted how street cleaning, improved waste management infrastructure and practices, no open defecation, and basic sanitation services can reduce water pollution and water scarcity, improve the provision of clean drinking water, and reduce vector- and water-borne diseases, as well as improve resilience to natural disasters.

A plenary session on air examined how cleaner streets and the prevention of open trash burning reduces asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Participants also discussed ways to switch from the common practice in Asia of burning agricultural wastes such as rice straw, which reduces air quality, to recycling the wastes to produce bio-ethanol for use as fuel and chemical inputs.

Other plenary sessions addressed: how 3R principles and strategies can contribute to protecting coastal and marine ecosystems from land-based activities, particularly marine litter; how to “green” small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and get them involved in the circular economy; 3Rs technologies appropriate for addressing special waste issues, such as plastics, e-waste and medical wastes; and financing 3R infrastructure and programs. A parallel event examined strategies for addressing marine litter in the South Asia region.

During the Forum, a parallel Asian Mayors’ Policy Dialogue convened on the theme, ‘Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land and Clean Air through 3Rs and Resource Efficiency,’ co-chaired by the mayor and commissioner of the host city of Indore, respectively, Malini Laxman Singh Gaur and Manish Singh. The Dialogue discussed the contribution of the 3Rs to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda (NUA). Guar and Singh discussed Indore’s efforts to meet the seven targets of SDG 11 before the 2030 deadline, including efforts on housing, transport, participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning, municipal waste management, green and clean public spaces, and disaster and climate resilience. Special sessions of the Mayors’ Policy Dialogue addressed waste challenges specific to Asian cities such as plastics, chemical wastes, e-waste and medical wastes.

The Mayors’ Policy Dialogue concluded with the signing of the ‘Indore 3R Declaration on Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land and Clean Air in Cities’ by mayors and city authorities of 37 Asian cities. The declaration calls for collective efforts on 3R and resource efficiency and the signatory cities pledge to, inter alia:

  • Accelerate holistic waste management;
  • Implement local-level actions to make cities clean, safe, smart, resilient, resource efficient, inclusive and sustainable;
  • Partner with civil society organizations (CSOs), including integration of the informal recycling sector with the formal waste management chain;
  • Work towards a complete ban on the use of plastics in eco-sensitive or eco-fragile areas, including in tourist areas close to oceans, rivers, lakes, wetlands and other water bodies;
  • Work for wastewater treatment and reuse; and
  • Focus on effective management of special waste streams such as micro-plastics, chemical wastes, e-waste and medical waste.

Two more cities signed the Declaration before the close of the Forum, and it remains open to signature by other Asian cities through 2030.

The Forum also launched a report titled, ‘State of the 3Rs in Asia and the Pacific.’ Mandated by the sixth Forum in 2015, the report is envisioned as a regular assessment of Forum member State progress towards achieving the commitments in the Ha Noi 3R Declaration (2013-2023) adopted at the fourth meeting held in 2013 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. The 2018 report makes a series of recommendations, including: highlighting 3Rs as part of the global sustainability agenda, particularly SDG 12; continued prioritization of resource productivity, waste prevention and reduction activities; ensuring comparable and credible data across countries in Asia and the Pacific; and giving greater attention to e-waste, marine litter and coastal plastic waste, micro-plastics, food waste and food loss issues in the region.

The Eighth Regional 3R Forum was organized by the UN Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOEJ), and India’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). It was attended by delegates from 45 countries, including government representatives of 28 Forum participating countries.

Created by the East Asia Environment Ministers Meeting in 2008 based on a proposal by Japan, the Forum is intended as a framework for high-level policy dialogue on the 3Rs among central and local governments, international organizations, aid agencies, research bodies, NGOs and the private sector. As of the Fifth Forum held in Surabaya, Indonesia, the platform was extended to include participation by Pacific nations, particularly the Pacific small island developing States (P-SIDS). [IISD RS Coverage of the Eighth Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific] [UNCRD Website for the 8th Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific] [Host Country Website for the 8th Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific] [Chair’s Summary of the 8th Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific] [Indore 3R Declaration on Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land and Clean Air in Cities]


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