The environmentally sound practices of “reduce, reuse and recycle,” or “3R,” will be promoted in the Asia-Pacific region through a knowledge hub that was signed into existence 7 August 2006 by AIT and three international organizations.
The 3R Knowledge Hub is a joint initiative of AIT, the Asian Development Bank, the the United Nations Environment Programme Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Its aim is to strengthen capacity to generate innovative concepts and technologies and to promote networking among regional, national, international and civil society organizations, the private sector and research institutions dealing with 3R.
A ceremony took place with AIT President Said Irandoust, Dr. Bindu Lohani, director general, Regional and Sustainable Development Department of the ADB, Mr. Surendra Shrestha, regional director and representative, UNEP, and Mr. Rae Kwon Chung, director of Environment and Sustainable Development Division, UNESCAP signing the letter of intent.
Prof. Irandoust and Mr. Shrestha also signed an agreement between AIT and the UNEP, establishing AIT as a partner in the UNEP Asia-Pacific Regional University Consortium. The consortium is meant to be a network of universities that foster multi-disciplinary academics and research through activities in the environment, sustainable development and allied fields.
“Current trends in population growth, industrialization and natural resources consumption have seen waste and pollutants released faster than the Earth can absorb them and be restored,” Prof. Irandoust said. “Urban and industrial areas are affected by water and air pollution that endangers public health. The public and private sectors must respond to increasing economic pressures, global competition and environmental awareness. Additionally, their long-term sustainability is challenged by higher prices for raw materials, energy, labor, capital outlays and operational costs. Measures to improve the efficiency of services by carrying out 3R are therefore imperative now to lead the world toward a sustainable future.”
The 3R Knowledge Hub will have three major functions: to generate 3R knowledge; to transfer and apply 3R knowledge; and to disseminate 3R knowledge to others in the region. The project is initially funded through December 2007 at an estimate of US$350,000, of which the ADB will provide US$200,000 through a regional assistance grant. The other organizations will fund the difference. At the end of the project, it is expected that the knowledge hub will secure funding to maintain the hub for the benefit of 3R promotion in Asian region.
Mr. Chung said “green growth” is a goal of UNESCAP. To achieve this, he said, it requires changing the growth pattern. “Currently, it is: Grow first; clean up later,” he noted. “3R is a concrete approach [to attaining that green growth goal].”
The knowledge hub at AIT is one of four to six regional hubs set up over two years. The hubs are made possible by a technical assistance program of the ADB that aims to strengthen the Asia-Pacific’s regional capacity in generating innovative development concepts and technologies relevant to ADB and its developing member countries. Knowledge hubs have recently been established on clean energy in India and on public finance in the Philippines, and plans are in the works for a hub on climate change in China.
“Knowledge hubs can participate in creating knowledge generated elsewhere – nationally and internationally – and develop it further to meet specific local needs,” Dr. Lohani said. “They can become key reservoirs of relevant expertise. And they can serve as the main agents of dissemination of knowledge throughout the region.”
The participants at the event were:
1. Prof. Said Irandoust, president
2. Prof. Sudip K. Rakshit, vice president for research
3. Prof. P. Haddawy, vice president for academic affairs
4. Prof. S. Kumar, dean, School of Environment, Resources and Development
5. Prof. I. M. Pandey, dean, School of Management
6. Prof Chettiyappan Visvanathan, Environmental Engineering & Management, SERD
7. Ambassador (Rtd.) Yoon Jee-joon, senior advisor to the president
8. Mr. Karma Rana, institute secretary, Office of the President
9. Mrs. Naina Shakya, program officer, External Relations & Communications Office
10. Mr. Tenzin Rabgyal, program officer, External Relations & Communications Office
11. Mr. Ralf Kircher, news and media specialist, External Relations & Communications Office
1. Dr. Bindu Lohani, director general, Regional and Sustainable Development Department (RSDD), ADB
2. Mr. James Lynch, officer in charge, country director, Thai Resident Mission
3. Mr. David S. McCauley, senior environment economist, Environment and Social Safeguard Division, RSDD
4. Mr. Taku Ohmura, environment specialist, Environment and Social Safeguard Division, RSDD
5. Ms. Zuleikha Bisera, knowledge management officer, Knowledge Management Center, RSDD
1. Mr. Surendra Shrestha, regional director, UNEP-AP
2. Dr. Dechen Tsering, senior program officer, UNEP-ROAP
3. Dr. Subrata Sinha, environmental affairs officer, UNEP-ROAP
4. Dr. Yuwaree In-na, environmental affairs officer, UNEP-ROAP
5. Mr. Jinhua Zhang, acting regional coordinator, UNEP-RRC.AP
6. Mr. Tin Aung Moe, senior program officer, UNEP-RRC.AP
7. Mr. Mylvakanam Iyngararasan, senior program officer, UNEP-RRC.AP
8. Ms. May Ann M. Bernardo, senior program officer, UNEP-RRC.AP
9. Ms. Jangmaw Seng Ja, program officer, UNEP-RRC.AP
10. Mr. Rajendra Ratna Sthapit, associate program officer, UNEP-RRC.AP
11. Ms. Pwint Phyu Aung associate program officer, UNEP-RRC.AP
1. Mr. Rae Kwon Chung, director, Environment and Sustainable Development Division, UNESCAP