Sri Lanka formalized its commitment to host and support the “Integrated Conference of Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2014 and Intergovernmental 8th Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) Forum in Asia” that will be held in Colombo in November this year.
Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy and Rohana Kumara Dissanayake, Deputy Minister of Transport were in Manila for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the BAQ organizer, Clean Air Asia, represented by its Executive Director, Mr. Bjarne Pedersen.
The signing of this important MoU took place on May 16, at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Manila and served to strengthen collaborative efforts between the organizers and their partners, towards the holding of a successful, productive and meaningful integrated conference on the 19th – 21st of November in Colombo.
Minister Premajayantha stated that the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy, together with the Ministry of Transport, have secured the commitment and support of the other ministries and key members of the private sector.
“This MoU signing reaffirms and strengthens these commitments and opens the possibility for future collaboration with related or similar joint initiatives. We look forward to the success of the integrated BAQ 2014 and 8th EST Forum in Asia and a brighter future for cities in Asia,” said the Minister.
Deputy Minister Dissanayake expressed his gratitude for providing Sri Lanka the opportunity to host the conference.
He stated, “We expect the conference to showcase and provide practical solutions for clean air and sustainable transport for all countries that will be present at the conference,” indicating his high hopes for the outcomes of the event and this partnership.
Bjarne Pedersen of Clean Air Asia expressed his appreciation for the Government of Sri Lanka’s support to the conference. He stated that while the conference itself is a milestone in combating air pollution and promoting sustainable transport in the region, the integrated conference is also an opportunity to ensure a real and lasting impact.
“The theme for the joint conference, ‘Next Generation Solutions for Clean Air and Sustainable Transport – Towards a Livable Society in Asia’, highlights the importance of the linkage between clean air and sustainable transport as essential to having livable societies in the region. It calls for innovative and smart solutions in terms of policy, institutions, technology and financing, that significantly reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases from energy, industry, transport and area sources, and ensure a safe, equitable environment and people-friendly transport system”, said Mr. Pedersen.