Taipei, April 30 (CNA) Nearly 200 leaders and environmental activists from home and abroad met in Taipei Friday at the start of a regional forum that highlighted the importance of shared responsibility in protecting natural resources.
"Our interdependence is integral to our survival. Our resources as well as our responsibilities need to be equitably distributed in order to sustain the quality of life for future generations, " said the Taiwanese organizers of the Second Congress of the Asia Pacific Greens Network (APGN).
The first APGN congress was held in Kyoto in 2005, days before the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement designed to fight global warming, entered into force.
"We have convened the second congress five years later -- five years that have seen unprecedented growth of chaos and denial, " said Robin Winkler, a co-convener of the event and a local environmentalist, in his opening remarks.
There have been "escalation of wars and military expansion, short-sighted corporate control of more and more of the world's resources, media repression, and all manner of social, economic and environmental abuse," he added.
For his part, Australian Greens leader and Senator Bob Brown said that "we have a big burden on our shoulders, but a warmth in our hearts and a smile on our face. We must replace the old politics of development, consumption and greed." In his address, Pan Han-shen, the convener of the Green Party Taiwan, said he looks forward to seeing an expansion of green parties worldwide.
"There are more than 100 green party lawmakers in the Asia Pacific region and over 1,000 worldwide, " he noted. "I hope that in the next five or 10 years, there will be at least one green party lawmaker in every country." The APGN, which is mainly a political alliance, is hosting the three-day event at the Tianmu Convention Center, with the participation of more than 20 nations, Tuvalu's Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia is expected to give a speech at the forum on Saturday. Ielemia received much attention after warning at last year's Copenhagen climate change summit that rising sea levels might submerge his homeland.
Discussions on major challenges, policies and strategies for dealing with climate change in the Asia Pacific region will also be held during the congress.
At the opening, the participants took turns to introduce themselves in English and deliver greetings in their native languages, after which an indigenous dance and a traditional top-spinning ritual was presented by members of Taiwan's Bunun Tribe.
Environmentally friendly items such as bamboo cups, cotton handkerchiefs and recycled bags are being used at the event and the organizers have provided bicycles as transportation for the participants.
A landscape garden consisting of edible plants and a rainwater recycling system is also on display.
The forum will be streamed live on the Internet in an effort to reach a wider audience.