UN-backed gathering calls for greater action on climate change in Asia-Pacific

22 January 2009
Nukunonu Atoll seaside, one of the regions of the world vulnerable to climate change

A United Nations-backed conference wrapped up today in Bangkok with an urgent call to governments and the private sector in the Asia-Pacific region to prioritize climate change concerns.

Drawing nearly 300 participants from business, government, civil society and international organizations, the event – organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) – focused on risks and opportunities posed by global warming.

“I think we have come some way here today with some innovative suggestions, but I want to emphasize that the discussion cannot stop here,” said Noeleen Heyzer, ESCAP Executive Secretary. “It needs to continue and deepen to arrive at suggestions on a very practical level, at national, regional as well as global levels.”

She also urged the creation of an Asia-Pacific business network to formulate ways to effectively address climate change in the region, with South and South-East Asia considered as “hotspots” that are at particular risk for cyclones, flooding and other extreme weather events.

The outcome from the forum will help prepare for the UN climate change conference slated to be held in December in Copenhagen, Denmark, where negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol are slated to end.


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