South Asia Cooperative Environment programme (SACEP) being an intergovernmental agency for eight South Asian countries, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka was established in 1982. Five of these eight countries i.e Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are maritime countries. South Asia is a unique region of the world where societies still follow traditional norms and mostly rely on sustainable consumption and production in agriculture, livestock, fisheries and other sectors of their livelihood. The fact that South Asia has got strong social institutions, deep rooted social enterprise and inherited relgio-cultural respect for environment, the society can easily adapt to the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) paradigm.
The concept of sustainable consumption and production was recognized in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation adopted in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Since then, a number of global, regional, and sub-regional high profile meetings has acknowledged that sustainable consumption and production forms one of the three overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for, sustainable development, together with poverty eradication and the management of natural resources in order to foster economic and social development. It was recognized that fundamental changes in the way societies produce and consume are indispensable for achieving global sustainable development.
South Asia, home to a quarter of the world’s middle-class consumers, has experienced a long period of robust economic growth, averaging 6 per cent over the past 20 years. South Asia is a diverse region home to about 1.64 billion people (24% of the world’s population) experiencing a demographic dividend. While the sub-region is expected to reach its population peak by 2030, continued population growth, paired with increases in production and household consumption from increasing economic prosperity will also place increased pressure on the environment, making the need to shift towards resource efficiency and SCP an imperative for South Asia’s Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda (SADA). Today, the region is at a crossroads, poised to integrate sustainability to ensure a more resource efficient growth path for its countries.
SACEP in partnership with the United Nations Environment programme (UNEP) is currently implementing the Asia Pacific road map of Rio+ and the 10 year framework of programme of Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP)in line with the 2013 SACEP Governing Council Decision 10.2.2 to promote SCP within policymaking mechanisms of South Asian countries. SACEP with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), serving as the Secretariat of the Rio+20 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) and the EU funded and UNEP managed SWITCH-Asia Regional Policy Support Component organized a “Preparatory Meeting for the Establishment of the South Asia Forum on SCP” on 26 – 27 February 2015 in Negombo, Sri Lanka. Senior government officials nominated by SACEP member countries and Switch-Asia Focal Points together with other partners attending the meeting agreed to establish the South Asia Forum on SCP and asked SACEP to come up with the proposal on modalities of the Forum and possible priority based on the suggestions discussion in the meeting. SACEP, thereafter obtained a decision from its Consultative Committee which represents the Colombo based diplomatic missions of SACEP member countries to establish the South Asia Forum on SCP at its 125th meeting held on held on 17 July 2015 in Colombo. SACEP conveyed the decision of establishment of the South Asia Forum on SCP to UNEP in early August 2015. Further, SACEP has sent an official communication to all member countries requesting them to nominate their members to the South Asia Forum on SCP.
Objectives of the South Asia Forum on SCP
The broad objectives of the South Asia Forum on SCP is to provide a platform for the sub – regional network and partnership in providing leadership and develop synergies to stimulate the promotion and implementation of sustainable consumption and production policies, strategies and technologies in the region. The specific objectives are:
Broad Principles of the Forum
The Governing Council of SACEP adopted the decision to come up with SCP principles in the region and the South Asia SCP forum will serve as a platform to achieve this task.
The broad principles and mechanisms of the South Asia Forum on SCP are as follows: