Video message for the 5th International Conference on Eco-compensation and Payments for Ecosystem Services - Stephen Groff | Asian Development Bank

Video message for the 5th International Conference on Eco-compensation and Payments for Ecosystem Services - Stephen Groff

Speech | 24 November 2016

Video message by ADB Vice-President Stephen Groff for the 5th International Conference on Eco-compensation and Payments for Ecosystem Services held 24-25 November 2016 in Kunming, People's Republic of China.

Distinguished guests, organizers and participants. I would like to welcome you to the 5th International Conference on Eco-Compensation and Payments for Ecosystem Services and apologize for not being able to join you in person.

Having started in Ningxia in 2009, ADB and the National Development & Reform Commission are now hosting the 5th international conference on eco-compensation. I would like to express my appreciation for the long-term partnership with NDRC over the past years on developing the eco-compensation agenda in the PRC. This collaboration has also led to the establishment of the regional knowledge hub on eco-compensation.

"Eco-compensation creates incentives for sustainable ecosystem services, addresses livelihood issues for the rural poor, and provides sustainable financing for protected areas."

The workshop today is particularly relevant at a time when all of ADB’s member countries are engaged in discussion around the implementation of the sustainable development goals and the Paris climate change agreement.

Rapid industrialization and urbanization in Asia and the Pacific have been accompanied by accelerated exploitation of natural resources and a massive increase in pollutants. Many have argued that the failure of society to compensate for conserving the environment contributes to rapid and environmentally damaging change to our ecosystems. Against this backdrop, eco-compensation, or payment for ecosystem services, has become a useful tool to support the sustainable development agenda as it creates incentives for sustainable ecosystem services, addresses livelihood issues for the rural poor, and provides sustainable financing for protected areas.

A number of participants from ADB developing member countries, including across Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia are attending this conference. I sincerely hope you are able to benefit from the lessons in PRC and across the world, as well as mobilize similar initiatives in your region through innovative financing and creating the right incentives. I also encourage you to continue networking, and sharing information and ideas among yourselves as the problems we face today have global impacts and no single country can tackle these alone.

While the PRC has lots of lessons to share regionally and globally at conferences like this, the country still faces numerous challenges in addressing complex environmental issues – namely with regard to water, soil and air pollution. ADB remains committed to supporting the eco-compensation agenda as it is one of the key approaches being used by the PRC to achieve its higher ‘ecological civilization agenda’, a key element in its 13th Five Year Plan.

In closing, I would like to thank the co-organizers, experts and participants in this conference. I apologize again for not being able to be there, but wish you all success in this important event.

Recording on 17 November 2016.