Myanmar urges ASEAN leaders to address climate change

Myanmar urges ASEAN leaders to address climate change

U Thein Sein. (ANTARA)

Extreme weather patterns due to changing climate have affected ASEAN countries in increased frequencies and ferocity each year."
Nay Pyi Taw (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Myanmar President U Thein Sein on Sunday urged leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states to address the impact of climate change.

"Extreme weather patterns due to changing climate have affected ASEAN countries in increased frequencies and ferocity each year. The ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Center (AHA) has yet to adequately respond to these natural disasters," he told the 24th ASEAN leadersmeeting.

Underlining the needs to develop more efficient, effective and rapid response capacity in the event of natural disasters, the president proposed an ASEAN rapid response capacity be built up and an emergency fund set up.

He urged ASEAN to further develop the existing early warning system and set up pool of rescue and relief experts, vehicles and equipment in each country that could be deployed rapidly in the event of disasters.

His proposal also includes establishing a network of research centers in ASEAN countries to share knowledge on climate adaptable agricultural products, which could enable the countries to promote food security.

Necessary action should also be taken to mitigate the impact of climate change, said the president, who is the chair of the 24th ASEAN Summit.

"As one way to address the issue, I wish to propose a systematic rehabilitation of mangrove forests in ASEAN. Mangrove forests not only reduce the greenhouse gas but also reduce the impact of storms and floods in low-lying coastal areas," he said.

Myanmar suffered heavy losses in May 2008 when Cyclone Nargis swept the south of the country, killing nearly 140,000 people, and the UN estimated as many as 2.4 million people were affected.

In the Philippines, typhoon Haiyan, locally named Yolanda, claimed at least 5,000 lives in November 2013.
(U.C003)

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