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ASEAN members to strengthen joint capacity and capability in addressing climate change

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By Genalyn Kabiling

BANGKOK — The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is determined to strengthen efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change, including building climate-resilient communities, as well as address natural disasters in “timely and systematic manner.”

(L-R) Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith pose for photos during the opening ceremony of the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok on June 23, 2019. (Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

(L-R) Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith pose for photos during the opening ceremony of the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok on June 23, 2019. (Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The regional bloc, composed of 10 member-states, have agreed to share best practices to strengthen capacity on climate change mitigation and disaster preparedness during the plenary summit in Bangkok, Thailand last Saturday.

In the Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability, the leaders have agreed “to strengthen ASEAN’s capability and capacity to respond to the adverse effects of climate change.”

They have committed to facilitate the sharing of information and best practices to enhance the implementation of the Paris Agreement and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in order to build climate resilient communities in Southeast Asia.

The bloc also intends to advance ASEAN’s concerns based on consensus on common interests on climate change through joint statements in the upcoming climate summits in New York, USA as well as Santiago Chile.

On dealing with natural disasters, the ASEAN leaders have agreed to enhance the ASEAN capacity to address such challenge “in a timely and systematic manner.” They cited the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) as the common platform for effective implementation of “One ASEAN One Response.”

“In this regard, welcome the launch of the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) warehouse in Chai Nat, operating alongside other DELSA warehouses in the region,” the group said.

Apart from lauding the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management in Jakarta, the group also agreed to work towards the operationalization of the ASEAN Militaries Ready Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.

In the same statement, the ASEAN leaders have declared support for the conservation and sustainable use of ASEAN’s coastal and marine environment, including ensuring food security, improving nutrition and promoting benefits for the people.

They also committed to promote biodiversity conservation and management and endeavor to mainstream biodiversity into the various development processes in ASEAN.

The diversity of life, they said, provides opportunities for livelihood and economic development, contributes to poverty alleviation, and technology and innovation, among others.

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