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APEC links key to tackle disasters, says official

Update: February, 21/2017 - 05:00
Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Health and the National Committee for Search and Rescue at a meeting on response to natural disasters in Nha Trang City, Khánh Hòa Province. — Photo infonet.vn
Viet Nam News

NHA TRANG – Regional connectivity should be strengthened to devise more initiatives to cope with the “new norm of natural disasters” facing APEC members, a Vietnamese official said yesterday.

During the 11th meeting of APEC’s Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) in Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa Province, Water Resources Deputy Director Trần Quang Hoài briefed participants about natural disasters in Việt Nam, which have becomes increasingly frequent and severe recently. 

One of the countries in the world most affected by climate change, Việt Nam last year saw an unprecedented surge of natural disasters. Central provinces faced prolonged droughts in the summer, which also hit the Central Highlands region, and mass flooding in the rainy season.  The Mekong delta in the south, meanwhile, struggled against both drought and saltwater intrusion.

“The EPWG should promote the study of advanced science-technology to support emergency response to natural disasters,” he said in the EPWG’s opening speech.

“It also needs to enhance regional connectivity to devise initiatives to cope with the new norm of natural disasters facing APEC members.”

The 11th meeting of the EPWG, held on the sideline of the on-going first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting Directorate (SOM 1), focuses on scientific-technological application to enhance member economies’ resilience to natural disasters. 

It was attended by representatives of the 21 APEC economies and international organisations. The Vietnamese delegation included officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Health, and the National Committee for Search and Rescue. 

In 2017, the group is scheduled to propose recommendations for a Cần Thơ declaration on food security enhancement and sustainable agricultural development in response to climate change. Cần Thơ city is in the heart of Mekong delta – the largest rice producing region in the country.

It also plans to build an initiative to boost resilience to natural disasters through facilitating sci-tech reform in disaster prevention and control. The initiative is expected to be submitted to APEC economic leaders later this year. 

The EPWG was first established as APEC’s Task Force for Emergency Preparedness in 2005. It is currently co-chaired by Việt Nam and Japan.

Yesterday saw six APEC working groups opening their first meetings in 2017.

The Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts and Business Mobility Groups reviewed outcomes of long-term co-operation programmes of APEC, particularly the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption adopted in 2014 and the APEC Business Travel Card.

The Human Resource Development Working Group, meanwhile, reviewed the group’s work last year and discussed the agenda for this year.

The group stressed the need for stronger co-operation in the human resources sector to promote trade and investment between APEC members.

As many as 580 participants attended meetings on the sidelines of SOM 1, including those of the Life Sciences Innovation Forum, the Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade and the Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance besides the Competition Policy and Law Group and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures. — VNS


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