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Environment ministers from 42 countries have decided to evolve new strategies and approaches for regional co-operation to protect the environment of Asia and the Pacific region. This was decided during 'The Ministerial Conference on Environment Development in Asia and the Pacific, 2000,' organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific .
The conference discussed adoption of a regional action programme for environmentally sound and sustainable development. It felt the need for adoption of a programme which will focus on strategies to meet environmental challenges in eight priority areas: environmental quality and human health, biodiversity, coastal and marine environments, freshwater resources, desertification and land degradation; globalisation and policy integration; climate change and sustainable energy development. The plan proposes action in each of these areas at the national, sub-regional and regional levels. Underlying causes of environmental degradation, namely poverty and rapid population growth were also discussed. "We estimate that a minimum of US $13 billion will be required annually to maintain the present status of the environment in Asia and the Pacific. Multiples of that amount will be needed additionally to improve the environment significantly," said Asian Development Bank president Tadao Chino. The conference was the largest regional gathering of environment ministers.
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