ASEM takes action in response to climate change

Tuesday, 2018-06-19 17:44:03
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Erosion eats into river banks in the Mekong Delta (Source: VNA)
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NDO/VNA – The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Conference on’ Climate Action to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - Ways Forward’ took place in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, on June 19.

Attending the event were nearly 200 delegates from 53 of the ASEM member economies, as well as the leaders of ministries, sectors and 13 Mekong Delta localities.

Discussions focused on development amid climate change, the combination between climate action and sustainable development goals, and measures to boost Asia-Europe climate partnerships toward sustainable development.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Le Cong Thanh, said that Vietnam is assessed as one of the countries that is hardest hit by climate change, with the Mekong Delta region being one of the three deltas in the world that are most vulnerable to sea level rises.

The impacts of climate change on Vietnam are serious, posing a threat to the achievement of poverty reduction targets, millennium development goals and the sustainable growth of the country.

Therefore, hosting this year’s conference will create an opportunity for the Mekong Delta localities to connect with each other, expand their cooperation with the world’s leading experts on climate change, and gain access to the ASEM members’ assistance for climate change adaptation programmes, Thanh stated.

Deputy Foreign Minister, Bui Thanh Son, noted that the conference took place when the world is exerting efforts to respond to climate change. This is a chance for Vietnam to accelerate its actions to put the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in Agenda 2020 and Agenda 2030 on Climate Change, and join the international efforts to respond to climate change.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, stressed the need for the conference to develop a comprehensive approach for common understanding and double the efforts for climate change response towards sustainable development.

ASEM’s cooperation initiatives and projects on sustainable water management, disaster risk reduction, energy, food safety, gender equality and poverty reduction need to be connected more closely in order to put forth comprehensive solutions for sustainable development.

“At the national level, climate action should be included in the national strategy for sustainable, balanced, equitable and innovative development,” Minh said.

Developed members of ASEM should provide specific financial support for the developing members that are vulnerable to climate change, he emphasised, adding that it is necessary to promote multi-stakeholder partnerships for climate action for sustainable development.

He also stressed the importance of establishing a network of information sharing between policymakers, researchers, businesses, localities and other stakeholders in this field.

The Deputy PM continued by saying that Vietnam highly values the strategic partnerships on climate change and the effective cooperation and assistance programmes on financing and technology transfer that many ASEM members have extended to Vietnam.

These programmes have effectively assisted the nation in sustainable water resource management, the enhancement of climate change monitoring and adaptation capacity, response to sea level rises and widespread saline intrusion in the Lower Mekong River Basin. They have also improved Vietnam’s capacity to contribute to the joint endeavours by the international community, he added.

The conference is one of the most important inter-regional events on climate change and the only one of ASEM 2018 that is hosted by Vietnam. It is an initiative of Vietnam which was approved at the 13th ASEM Ministerial Meeting last November in Myanmar and won support and sponsorship from many countries, including Australia, Denmark, Myanmar, Finland, the Netherlands and Italy.