Conference explores building green economies

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Conchita SN Taitano, Guam EPA air and land division administrator and conference chair. (Photo by PNC)

Guam – The island is gearing up for a conference focusing on the urgency of building a green economy for Guam and the Pacific region.

The 30th Pacific Islands Environment Conference (PIEC) will be held on June 23 to 28 at the Hyatt Regency Guam.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Greening Growth in the Pacific.”

“We borrowed this theme from the Asian Development Bank’s report. Their report is on greening growth in Asia and the Pacific. What ADB found out – what they determined in the report – was economic growth was occurring in alarming rates in various parts of Asia and the Pacific,” Conchita SN Taitano, Guam EPA air and land division administrator and conference chair said

Taitano added, “But with development comes impacts and one of the effects, obviously, is in the environment.”

According to the ADB report, the region is “experiencing an increasingly resource-intensive growth due to rapid urbanization, increasing consumption by a fast rising middle class, expanding production patterns, and the need to provide new infrastructure.

With development comes challenges – from air and water pollution, degraded natural resources and threatened ecosystems, to increased generation of wastes, according to the report.

The concept of greening growth in the Pacific, according to Taitano, is to find that middle ground where economies can grow without compromising the environment, without compromising the social aspects of development.

A key focus of the conference will be learning more about zero waste principles and strategies. Zero waste is one of the quickest, most cost-effective short-term climate change solutions. Communities large and small around the world are investing in Zero Waste as an urgent climate action.

The conference is expected to draw hundreds of delegates from the environmental protection professions, including managers, field representatives, environmental governance officials, international, and national leaders, as well as diplomats, concerned business owners, a visionary NASA scientist, and indigenous global activist, and non-profit groups from around the world.

The bi-annual conference comes seven years after the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, where nations, including small island developing states, gathered to reaffirm their commitment to safeguarding the environment for future generations.