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Mekong nations share climate fight

Update: May, 10/2013 - 09:27
Xuong Dien Hamlet in the northern province of Nam Dinh's Hai Hau District has been hit by rising sea levels. Regional co-operation is needed to mitigate the effects of climate change.—VNA/VNS Photo Xuan Truong

BINH DINH (VNS)— Some economic benefits from co-operation among countries within the Greater Mekong sub-region could be damaged by the effects of climate change.

The warning was issued by scientists and urban planners at a two-day workshop in central Binh Dinh Province yesterday, where stakeholders shared experiences in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change in Asian cities.

The experts called for closer links among countries and cities in fighting the climate phenomenon.

Richard Friend, a senior scientist from the Bangkok-based The Institute for Social and Environmental Transition - International, said the region was particularly vulnerable to the physical shocks and stresses of climate change, especially as it was urbanising rapidly in coastal areas, deltas and river basins.

"With more people and economic assets located in urban areas, the risks associated with climate change are shifting in ways that require urgent action," he said.

Friend said that forecasting, warning and coping with natural disasters was a major common concern, thus, lessons learned from countries could be shared.

Thongchai Roachanakanan, senior architect with the Thai Institute for Urban and Rural Planning, said that severe floods occurred in Bangkok two years ago, but local authorities were still struggling to draw any conclusions.

He said insufficient warnings and responses were initially blamed for the incident, noting that the in-depth causes possibly were deforestation, rapid urbanisation and the presence of industrial zones to the east of Bangkok City.

Vice chairwoman of Binh Dinh Province People's Committee Tran Thi Thu Ha said that as a coastal province, Binh Dinh had carried out activities, with international support, to better assess its vulnerability to climate change and cope with the impacts.

Moreover, it had also developed a scenario on climate change and rising sea levels and implemented projects to adapt, including one to mitigate impacts of flood on the lower part of the Ha Thanh and Kon Rivers.

The workshop was co-organised by Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International, and the Binh Dinh People's Committee.

Launched in 2008, ACCCRN is a network of cities and partners in Thailand, India, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Bangladesh and the Philippines and is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation as part of a US$59 million, nine-year climate-change resilience initiative.

The Greater Mekong sub-region includes Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and China's Yunnan Province. — VNS


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