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International Conference on Opportunities & Challenges in Sustainable Urban Living [14 March 2013, Singapore]

by Ryuichiro Yamazaki
APO Secretary-General


Distinguished Delegates, and
Ladies and Gentlemen:

A very good afternoon to you all.

It is a great pleasure for me to be at this prestigious event here in Singapore. We were deeply honored and grateful that Her Excellency Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, was able to attend the opening ceremony earlier today. At the outset, I would also like to express my gratitude to the Government of Singapore for hosting this Eco-products International Fair (EPIF) for the second time.

The EPIF started in 2004 with the unwavering support of APO member countries and the Green Productivity Advisory Committee (GPAC) to address the challenges of achieving sustainable economic growth through the promotion of Green Productivity (GP). After a total of more than 700 exhibitors and some 370,000 visitors later, APO member countries are reaping the rewards of the past seven EPIFs held in locations across the region which showcased cutting-edge products and services in the sustainability industries. Notable among those rewards was the establishment of green purchasing networks and policies in many member countries, initiatives to host national green exhibitions, and here in Singapore, the development of the eco-city model that promotes a sustainable urban environment for achieving green growth.

The APO recognizes the necessity of promoting sustainable socioeconomic growth by developing innovative solutions to minimize energy and water consumption, reduce waste generation, and tackle air and other forms of environmental pollution. This year, the EPIF returns to Singapore with the theme One Environment, One Future: Towards a Greener & Sustainable Asia, and with a new B2B (business-to-business) focus rather than the previous B2C (business-to-consumer) focus. This fair will cater to sophisticated businesses that are demanding eco-friendly goods and services; it will also accelerate the general embrace of a green culture and economy, which was one of the main themes of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012.

The areas of focus at this EPIF are Green Buildings, Waste Management & Recycling, Green Energy, Smart Grids, and Green Finance, offering visitors a comprehensive view of up-to-date eco-innovations, eco-technologies, sustainable consumption and production models, green procurement, and eco-lifestyles to achieve sustainable urban living. I am also pleased to note that prominent international speakers will feature in today’s parallel conference, such as representatives of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, World Waternet, and Mr. Teisuke Kitayama, Chairman of the Board, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation who also chairs the APO’s GPAC. They will stimulate the sharing of ideas and visions that contribute to the creation of sustainable societies in the region.

Ladies and gentlemen, I call upon you from governments, businesses, the private sector, and general consumers to capitalize on the many activities offered during this EPIF. They have been designed to create and expand business opportunities that will not only benefit the immediate stakeholders but also accelerate the diffusion of eco-knowledge and the expansion of green markets in the APO region and ultimately worldwide to help create a sustainable global society.

Furthermore, allow me to say a few words about Singapore, our gracious host. Energy resources such as oil, natural gas, etc. are not unlimited and will ultimately be depleted. However, Singapore’s most important resource will never be depleted. Singapore will continue to set an example to the rest of the world in the area of energy efficiency, water management efficiency, and GP innovation. I say this because Singapore has the most important resource for any country, which is a nationwide human resources base that is well educated and trained. This is underpinned by the excellent work ethic and discipline of its people. Singapore has been manifesting to the world how its excellent human resources base also can promote GP, and we all look forward to Singapore’s continued success in this crucial area for all mankind.

In closing, I once again am deeply grateful to the Government of Singapore for hosting the EPIF 2013, as well as to the Waste Management & Recycling Association of Singapore and SPRING Singapore for co-organizing this event. My sincere appreciation also goes to the Government of Japan for its commitment to and support for the EPIF; to all governments that are hosting national pavilions; to Chairperson of the GPAC Teisuke Kitayama; to Chairperson of the Preparatory Committee for the EPIF Kazuyuki Sakai, and all other Vice-Chairpersons and members of the GPAC for their strong support and participation. Last but not least, I sincerely thank all stakeholders and those attending this event from Singapore and abroad.

Thank you very much.


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