ASEM on climate action to achieving the sustainable development goals

June 19, 2018 | 16:58
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This ASEM Conference on climate action is a good opportunity to gather support from developed country members to cope with climate change programmes, as well as further strengthen co-operation between Vietnam and ASEM members.
asem on climate action to achieving the sustainable development goals
DPM Pham Binh Minh cutting the ribbon to inaugurate an exihition on climate change

Today the ASEAN-Europe Meeting (ASEM)’s “Conference on Climate Action to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals – Ways Forward” has been organised in Can Tho city by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and Can Tho People’s Committee.

Around 200 representatives hailing from 53 ASEM country members and international organisations attended the conference. Pham Binh Minh, member of the Politburo, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs chaired the conference.

This is one of the most important inter-regional events on climate change and the only event that Vietnam hosts in the framework of ASEM Conference 2018. This is also the first initiative of ASEM in the third decade of co-operating on climate action along with sustainable development.

The conference aims to facilitate 13 cities and provinces in the Mekong River Delta and ministries, agencies, and institutes to connect and expand international co-operation with the world’s leading experts on climate change.

The conference will concentrate on:

  • Development in the context of climate change—linkages between climate actions and sustainable development goals;
  • Building capacity to cope with climate change—practices and lessons learnt in Asia and Europe;
  • Roles of climate actions and the participation of relevant parties;
  • Orientation for future—strengthening Asia-Europe climate partnership for sustainable development.
asem on climate action to achieving the sustainable development goals
DPM Pham Binh Minh addressing the conference

At the conference, DPM Minh said that the ASEM group is fully capable and should pioneer climate change commitments for sustainable development.

Vietnam is one of the five countries impacted the most by climate change and the rising sea level. The Mekong River Delta region, including Can Tho city, the major agricultural production area of Vietnam, is one of the three most vulnerable deltas on the world.

In 2016, the area suffered the most severe drought and saltwater intrusion over the last 100 years, seriously threatening the livelihoods of millions of people. Unless solutions are found to cope with these challenges, the development achievements of people will be affected significantly.

DPM Minh asked the conference to discuss new co-operation orientations. First, a holistic approach is needed to raise awareness of the need of coping with climate change along with sustainable development. ASEM’s initiatives and cooperation projects on water resources management, disaster response and mitigation, energy, food safety, gender equality, and poverty reduction should be more closely linked to set out comprehensive solutions for sustainable development.

Second, it is necessary to promote multi-partnership on climate change and sustainable development, as well as establish a network to share information among policy makers, researchers, and businesses. This would be the foundation of a strong community, with people and firms as the centre, that could respond to the abnormalities of climate change and transform challenges into opportunities.

asem on climate action to achieving the sustainable development goals
The delegates taking part at the conference

Third, developed members of ASEM should provide financial assistance, strengthen technology transfer, and improve the coping ability of developing members who face challenges from climate change.

Fourth, at the recent G7 Summit, Vietnam proposed establishing a global co-operation mechanism on reducing plastic waste in the ocean, which G7 countries agreed with. Thereby, DPM Minh requested ASEM countries to collaborate and consider putting this content into the co-operation plan of the conference. The conclusions of the conference will be submitted to the 12th ASEM Summit in Brussels this October.

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