Asian Asbestos Conference 2009

Plenary Session 6: Consolidation and Closing Session

Moderator: Sanjiv Pandita

Having been circulated amongst the conference delegates previously, the draft Hong Kong Declaration Towards a Complete Ban on all forms of Asbestos (Appendix A) was tabled by Elizabeth Tang107 who read out the text and incorporated revisions suggested from the floor. The declaration, having highlighted the growing use of asbestos in Asia, industry's aggressive marketing techniques and the threat to occupational and public health, made a series of recommendations amongst which were:

Once the text was finalized and adopted by unanimous consent, it fell to Dr. Domyung Paek and Sugio Furuya to announce the launch of the Asian-Ban Asbestos Network (A-BAN). This news was greeted with a standing ovation by conference participants. The next item on the agenda was the announcement of the winning submissions for IBAS 2009 Grass-roots Bursaries; the successful projects were:

The Henri Pezerat Memorial Award 2009 was presented by Dr. Annie Thébaud-Mony to Dr. Domyung Paek in recognition of his research, leadership and commitment. Like Henri, Domyung was, said Dr. Thébaud-Mony, a "Scientist-Activist" who did not let his training and education get in the way of his humanity. Like Henri, Domyung had responded to the needs of individuals and communities polluted by asbestos and like Henri he had chosen a difficult road to navigate. Dr. Paek accepted the award on behalf of all BANKO members and pledged to redouble his efforts to work with colleagues to end Asia's asbestos plague.

Closing session platform party

Bringing the Asian Asbestos Conference 2009 to a close, Apo Leong, of the Asia Monitor Resource Centre, reflected on the information which had been shared during the conference; stories from Japan, China, Korea, Brazil and elsewhere illustrated the tragic reality of the asbestos risk, a reality we ignored at our peril. Despite the steep learning curve faced by many AAC 2009 delegates new to the subject of asbestos, there was a real determination amongst them to turn what they had learned in Hong Kong into action to raise asbestos awareness on the mainland. The speaker congratulated the delegates on the safe delivery of the new organization "A-BAN" and reminded colleagues of the significance of April 28. "Tomorrow," he said "there will be demonstrations in downtown Hong Kong which will mark International Workers Memorial Day. All conference delegates are invited to take part in the events planned to visualize the ongoing asbestos hazard faced daily by so many people in China, Asia and around the world. Let us," he concluded "work together for a better tomorrow."

Notes

107. Elizabeth Tang is from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.