Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mekong nations save forests to help fight climate change

Viet Nam News: Experts from six Mekong River nations yesterday agreed that preserving forests was one of the most effective measures to fight the impacts of global climate change. The representatives from Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Laos and Myanmar discussed ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation at a workshop that opened in Ha Noi.

The workshop, co-hosted by Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the University of Queensland in Australia, also drew presenters from non-Asian countries and international organisations. At the meeting, which will run for four days, participants noted that the earth was getting hotter because of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is largely caused by a dramatic increase in burning fossil fuels to produce energy.

Viet Nam is one of the five countries that will be worst affected by climate change. If greenhouse gases are not slashed within the next 50 years, sea levels are expected to rise by one metre. The Hong (Red) River and Mekong River deltas, which contain most of the Vietnamese population, would also be affected, according to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hua Duc Nhi.

…"Sustainable forest management in sub-Mekong river countries will help increase the absorption of carbon dioxide and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Deputy Minister Nhi. He said workshop participants hoped to agree on policies that would speed up the implementation of the REDD programme, considered vital to help Mekong River countries reduce climate-change impacts.

Nhi said Viet Nam had adopted a national forestry-development strategy that ran from 2006 to 2020. It was aimed at speeding up afforestation, improving forest quality as well as increasing economic benefits from forests to help those who lived in forested area. The ministry had built bio-gas facilities on farms raising livestock, encouraged the development of clean energy, and begun afforestation and forest-protection programmes…..

Mangrove in Can Gio forest, shot by Tho nau, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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