The leaders of Saarc member nations have called for cross-border information sharing and regional cooperation mechanism to fight climate change and to minimise the risks of natural disasters like floods and landslides in the region.
Addressing the inaugural session of the 18th Saarc Summit at the City Hall in Kathmandu on Wednesday, the leaders highlighted the environmental agendas such as natural disasters, climate change and its impacts on lives and livelihoods of the people in the region.
In his statement, Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala mentioned that South Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions due to natural disasters triggered by climate change and erratic weather patterns.
People are suffering from compounding threats posed by climate change and environmental degradation, be it from melting of Himalayan glaciers or the rise of sea level with devastating effects on the lives of people, he said.
Koirala called for a climate justice mechanism and adequate funding for adaptation and mitigation measures to fight climate change.
Various incidents of flash floods and landslides during different interval of time this year had claimed more than 200 lives and left hundreds of families displaced in Nepal.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif put focus on the issue by mentioning the recent monsoon floods in South Asian countries and raised the importance of regional cooperation on cross-border information sharing and early flood forecasting systems.
“Human-induced and natural disasters affect everybody, irrespective of national boundaries and socio-economic status,” he said, calling for concerted efforts to minimise disaster-related incidents and their risks.
Heavy monsoon rains and floods across Pakistan during the first week of September had killed at least 193 people this year.
In order to address the growing concerns and threats from the increasing incidences of natural disasters and other pressing environmental issues in the region, Saarc leaders have decided to set up a centre for environment and disaster management.
Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that establishment of the centre will reduce costs, avoid over-lapping of activities and contribute to making the programmes effective.
“The increasing frequency of devastating floods each season is an alarming trend that we can no longer afford to ignore. We must redouble our efforts in accelerating action to avert potential dangers from environmental degradation,” he said.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that in order to address the challenges of climate change related risks effectively and comprehensively, the government of Bangladesh has allocated USF 385 million from its own resources for adaptation and mitigation measures.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>