CHANTHABURI, THAILAND — The first regional forum to compare notes on developing resilience against climate change in coastal areas has opened in Thailand.
"Climate change has seriously impacted Southeast Asian coastal communities and it is urgent to make adaptations," Robert Mather, head of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Southeast Asia Group, said while opening the four-day Regional Building Coastal Resilience Forum at Burapha University in Chanthaburi on Tuesday.
ASEAN leader calls for expanded trade
BANGKOK — ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan has called on ASEAN countries to further promote regional trade and strengthen internal resources through improving managerial capacity and professional expertise for sustainable development.
Addressing the ASEAN Business Forum 2012 in Bangkok on Tuesday, Pitsuwan said the establishment of the ASEAN community on three main pillars will create a huge market that is rich in both resources and workforce with a population of 650 million.
He said ASEAN countries need to unite with the world to draw external resources into the region for mutual benefit.
Southeast Asian nations need to conduct reforms, change laws and construct infrastructure to prepare for the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, Pitsuwan said.
During the two-day event, regional government and business leaders discussed opportunities and challenges given the changing global situation as well as ASEAN businesses' preparation for the AEC establishment. — VNA
"The forum aims to build local residents' capacity to cope with climate change in many different ways based on who they are, where they live, how they earn a living."
Around 150 policy makers, researchers, scientists, NGOs and community members from Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam are attending the forum.
Participants are sharing their experiences and good practices in climate change adaptation in coastal areas.
Local assessments, mangrove restoration, erosion management, rights-based approaches, and integration of community-based and ecosystem-based strategies are on the agenda.
The delegates will get exposure to key practical issues through site visits.
The event is being held under the aegis of the IUCN's four-year "Building Resilience to Climate Change Impacts - Coastal Southeast Asia" project funded by the EU.
The project seeks to strengthen the capacity of local governments and people to plan for and adapt to future climate risks in Cambodia's Kampot and Koh Kong provinces, Thailand's Chanthaburi and Trat, and Viet Nam's HCM City, Ben Tre, Soc Trang, and Kien Giang.
This will enable local government agencies to conduct vulnerability assessments, identify pilot activities to reduce the vulnerability, design, implement, and monitor the success of these activities, and carry out cost-benefit analysis and feasibility assessment for replicating pilot actions over a wider area.
It will identify best practices developed by local people and provide opportunities for communities on different parts of the coast to learn from each other
Networking, study visits and an annual forum will be used to share knowledge with the 12 other provinces that make up the coastal corridor between HCM City and Bangkok.
The EU provides 2.45 million euro (US$3.18 million), or 80 per cent of the project's total budget.
In Viet Nam it is partnered by the Viet Nam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI).
"Coping with climate change is a global task and we need joint efforts by all nations and technical support from NGOs," Dr Nguyen Chu Hoi, deputy administrator of VASI, told Viet Nam News.
"The project is essential for the worst hit by climate change, like Viet Nam." — VNS