The Green Economy: Will Asia Embrace It?

The Second Asia Environment Lecture featured Dr Marco Lambertini, Director General of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International, who presented on the topic “The Green Economy: Will Asia Embrace It?” The lecture held on 7 October 2014 was attended by almost 250 participants at The Orchard Hotel, Singapore.

Focusing on the serious pressures and challenges to the health of the planet, Dr Lambertini’s lecture highlighted the trends, challenges, solutions and the changes required for Asia to embrace the green economy. The lecture, moderated by Professor Tommy Koh, ambassador-at-large, was an extremely lively one. The audience actively exchanged views on today’s environmental concerns with the speaker and moderator.

Particularly startling to many in the audience was Dr Lambertini’s report that the world consumes 1.5 times its resources and Singapore consumes more than 4.1 times what planet earth can provide. He also tackled issues of rapid urbanisation in Asia and the risks to the planet from loss of biodiversity.

Speaking to an audience made up of representatives from environmental organisations, civil society groups and students, Dr Lambertini said, “Nature is not a concept: abstract, romantic or technical. Nature comes down to systems, ecosystems that have an inorganic and an organic dimension. And the organic dimension is called life. And life is made of millions of organism all different, all connected. They are the ones who make nature work. We call this biodiversity.”

Associate Professor Lye Lin-Heng, Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Environmental Law (APCEL), opened the lecture with a call for holistic approach to environmental management and this call was echoed by the speaker and many in the audience.

Saw Le En, a final year Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) student said, “It was really interesting to hear the thoughts from the various environmental stalwarts that gathered, and the discussion helped me to gain new insights and optimism on how we might work together to tackle these environmental issues in future.”

Radhakrishnan Prakash Narayanan, a student with the Master of Science Environmental Management (Env Mgt) [MEM] programme felt that the lecture was timely, as Asian countries have a major role to play in promoting sustainable development in the years to come, especially in the backdrop of global challenges like climate change. She added, “the topic of the 2nd Asia Environmental Lecture couldn’t have been more opportune in its pivotal role as a facilitator of a meaningful civil society dialogue, on a pressing developmental challenge. As head of a world-leading NGO that WWF is, Dr Lambertini’s perspectives on current efforts in green economic development in Asia, challenges encountered and pathways to embark on green economic development that were shared in the forum were indeed insightful and thought-provoking.”

The event was co-organised by NUS Law’s Asia Pacific Centre for Environmental Law (APCEL), the NUS MSc (Env Mgt) [MEM] programme, the NUS Bachelor in Environmental Studies (BES) programme, and the National Parks Board.

About the Speaker
Marco Lambertini became Director General of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International in April 2014, to drive the achievement of the global conservation organization’s critical mission to save life on Earth and lead the secretariat team based in Gland, Switzerland. With 35 years of conservation leadership, Marco Lambertini began his association with WWF as a youth volunteer growing up in his native Italy. Prior to joining WWF, he served as Chief Executive of BirdLife International. Marco’s experience ranges from species action plans and private reserve management to international environmental policy, integrated conservation and development programmes, social marketing and communications, and the management of large international decentralized networks for most effective local-to-global conservation impact. Marco Lambertini has a degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Pisa, and has published books ranging from Safari in Africa (Muzzio) to A Naturalist’s Guide to the Tropics (Chicago University Press).