ASEAN ministers adopt agreement on climate change

ASEAN environment meet

Ahead of the global summit Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, the ASEAN ministers have adopted an agreement on climate change. With the countries pressing for a final deal in the summit in Paris, the decision by ASEAN ministers to adopt an agreement comes as a welcome move in the direction of evolving a global consensus on combating climate change.

The approving of a joint statement on climate change was one of the major objectives of the 13th ASEAN  in Kuala Lumpur. The statement will be submitted at the 27th ASEAN Summit held in Malaysia November 20-22, and presented at the 21st Conference of Parties held in Paris in December. The joint statement reaffirmed previous statements by ASEAN on climate change and aligns with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha said.

The ASEAN members hope that through the joint statement, the UNFCCC be made aware that ASEAN countries are suffering from climate change. Regional co-operation efforts on a number of environmental issues were discussed by ASEAN members including new initiatives to promote regional co-operation. Indonesia’s proposal to establish an Indonesia-based ASEAN Coordinating Center to tackle trans-border pollution was approved by ASEAN members. “We have set a target of a haze-free ASEAN by 2020. The ASEAN members pledged to implement drastic measures to monitor trans-border haze,” ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh said.

Issues related to water resource management, flood discharge, and water resource pollution, were addressed during the meeting. “Vietnam has recently become a signatory to a convention on the exploitation and use of trans-border rivers while some other ASEAN countries haven’t. This requires ASEAN countries to adopt appropriate policies regulating the exploitation and use of trans-border rivers. Vietnam is cooperating with other ASEAN countries to review the construction of hydro-power plants that would affect downstream areas,” Mr Ha said.

The climate change agreement by ASEAN members looks forward to the COP21 summit where the members would be taking a similar position on climate issues concerning Southeast Asia and work towards a long-term deal to curb global warming.

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