Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Is climate change South Asia's deadliest threat?

Navin Singh Khadka on the BBC: The issue of climate change is the main item on the agenda of the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit under way in the Bhutanese capital Thimpu. But given the poor track record of co-operation achieved by the regional grouping over other sensitive issues in the past, will the thorny issue of climate change become bogged down in rhetoric and recriminations?

Experts say the vulnerability of the region to climate change means that there is an urgent need for concrete action. "South Asian countries have started to face the effects of climate change and are particularly at risk," says the United Nations Environment Programme's (Unep) 2009 outlook.

"Intense floods, droughts and cyclones have impacted on the economic performances of South Asian countries and the lives of millions of poor, it also puts at risk infrastructure, agriculture, human health, water resources and the environment," it says.

This is not the first time that Saarc summit has discussed the issue. The declaration of the 14th summit in Delhi in 2007, for instance, said leaders had agreed "to commission a team of regional experts to identify collective actions in sharing of knowledge on the consequences of climate change". A year later, the 15th Saarc summit adopted the Dhaka Declaration on climate change. But, experts say, hardly any of these words have been matched by actions....

A dwelling in Jakarta, shot by Jonathan McIntosh, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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