ASEAN should have stronger voice on climate change

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ASEAN nations are vulnerable to global climate change, but its leaders are lack of collective voices in tackling the issues, a group of NGOs said on Thursday.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries are the most vulnerable and already suffering from global climate change, but still it has no collective roles in the negotiation, Shimar Vian from Oxfam said in a press briefing during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Bangkok.

"We couldn't comprehend why there is a lack of collective voice of ASEAN," Vian said

She also said that if the ASEAN has a more active role in the issues, it will be surely benefited from the global binding deal.

Oxfam is one of the non-governmental organizations that participated in the network of ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Global Climate Deal (A-FAB), aiming to sharpen and strengthen ASEAN's position as a regional bloc at the UNFCCC meeting. The network was set up by the collation of the regional offices of Oxfam, Greenpeace and World Wild Life (WWF).

Some of the A-FAB demands to the ASEAN are: to pursue a low carbon development path which consist of ensuring zero deforestation and shifting to renewable energy and energy efficiency, to decide over a mechanist that addresses loss and damage due to climate change, and lastly, to assert an active role in the governance and operational of the Green Climate Fund.

Sandeep Chamling Rai from WWF further made a notice that although in the recent years, ASEAN has taken on a growing awareness with regard to climate change. However, when it comes to the UNFCCC meeting, ASEAN failed to take a stance as a bloc.

"I want to urge our delegates and politicians to negotiate extensively. They have to be more vocal," the representative from Greenpeace said.

In 2009, the ASEAN formed the ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change which aims to promote closer regional cooperation and more effective regional response to the climate change situation. However, ASEAN have not made any substantial stance during the conference, the group said.

The climate change meeting in Bangkok, which ends on Friday, is being attended by around 1,500 participants from 173 countries, including government delegates, representatives from businesses and industries, environmental organizations and research institutions.

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