Climate change “to cripple” ASEAN 2015 economic integration

Press release - August 31, 2012
Climate change will cripple the ASEAN goal of economic integration by 2015. The warning was issued today by ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Climate Deal (A-FAB), a regional coalition led by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and Oxfam, during a press conference at the UN climate change talks in Bangkok.

A-FAB is calling on leaders of Southeast Asian nations to champion the fight to save the climate and infuse much-needed urgency into the ongoing talks. Civil society leaders from Myanmar, as well as the official representative of human rights icon Aung San Suu Kyi, and other ASEAN country climate negotiators, joined the media briefing to express solidarity  and call for solutions to the region’s common challenge.

"Only a few days ago, heavy monsoon rains in my country submerged vast swathes of crop lands and forced tens of thousands of our people to seek shelter in emergency camps,” said Kyaw Thiha, member of Parliament representing Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

“I understand this is what climate change looks like. I join the people of vulnerable nations similar to my country in calling on negotiators attending this last round of climate change talks before the conference of parties in Qatar, to agree on decisive actions to address our common climate misfortune," he added.

"As with the rest of Southeast Asia, climate change has disrupted monsoon patterns in Myanmar. I believe that climate change will hinder the government’s goal of poverty alleviation and as such should be urgently addressed," said Dr Tun Lwin, climate expert in Myanmar, former delegate to the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Assistance (SBSTA), and current CEO of Myanmar Climate Change Watch.

A-FAB believes climate change is a critical challenge for Southeast Asia, particularly because the region does not have the capacity to cope with its escalating effects.  Its impacts also have far reaching social and economic consequences, affecting health, agriculture, security and economy, aside from creating further suffering on the region’s poor. Climate change is set to exacerbate the economic disparity between and within nations, cited as an existing barrier to integration.

The group says the Bangkok climate talks presents an opportunity for SEA countries to “touch the conscience of governments, revive the passion of useful negotiations, inspire the masses, fire up their vigilance and lead them to action.”

"At the Bangkok meeting, governments must design a work program to urgently put the climate negotiations back on the right track, so that the next discussion in Doha in December can focus on concrete decisions that make a difference for the climate,"  said Zelda DT Soriano, political advisor for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Developed countries must provide for a substantial initial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund to fulfill their commitment to mobilize USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to support climate action in developing countries, including in Southeast Asia. Parties must identify and agree on innovative sources of climate finance and ensure that 50% of this is allocated for climate change adaptation,” said Riza Bernabe, policy and research officer for Oxfam.

While public interest has waned on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks, A-FAB believes that ASEAN nations have an important role to play in the negotiations.

"Despite the difficulties, the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol is the only global multilateral process that addresses climate change. It is therefore crucial to move this process because we cannot solve a wholesale problem like climate change with retail solutions at individual or national level only," said Naderev Sano, head of Philippine delegation to UNFCCC.

The ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Global Climate Deal (A-FAB), a partnership between Greenpeace Southeast Asia and Oxfam, is an organization that calls for a more active and transparent participation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

 For more information:

Riza Bernabe, Policy and Research Officer, Oxfam, , +63 911 807 7356

Zelda Soriano, Policy Advisor, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, , +63 917 594 9424

Uamdao Ben Noikorn, Regional Media Coordinator, Asia, Oxfam, , +66 81 855 3196

Therese Salvador , Media campaigner , Greenpeace Southeast Asia, , +63 9086603444

 Website:  http://a-fab.org

Twitter: @AFABCoalition

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