Copenhagen meet: SAARC for common strategy

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | Updated: Oct 20 2009, 23:43pm hrs
In a countdown to the upcoming UNFCCCs 15th Conference of Parties (CoP-15) meeting in Copenhagen in December, this year, South Asian nations have geared up to develop a common strategy.

As part of the common strategy, SouUNFCCCth Asian nations may jointly demand the need for afforestation and sustainable management of forests leading to REDD Plus programme to be an integral part of any agreement on forestry under UNFCCC.

The environment ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) who met in Delhi on Tuesday also agreed to work on a Climate Change Action Plan for the region and publish a compendium before the climate conference in Copenhagen. The common strategy of SAARC nations would be present to CoP-15 by Sri Lanka Apart from a broad common strategy, the member countries would be free to summit separate approach papers at the CoP-15. SAARC will also organise an event at the sidelines of the Copenhagen climate conference.

SAARC consists of eight nations including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC Secretariat is based in Kathmandu in Nepal.

Environment ministers from seven countries, except Pakistan participated in the ministerial meeting. Pakistan was represented by its environment secretary.

The SAARC nations also planned a series of events after the Copenhagen climate conference which includes hosting of the first meeting to review the Climate Change Action Plan in Delhi by March 2010, finalisation of a regional environment treaty for discussion at SAARC Summit in Thimphu in Bhutan in April 2010. The proposed SAARC Summit in Thimphu is also slated to finalise and adopt Natural Disaster Rapid Response Mechanism for the region.

The SAARC environment ministers appreciated and acknowledged the support of India in SAARC Meteorological Research Centre (SMRC) and reaffirmed the decision of SMRC to set up a network of SAARC weather stations to monitor weather patterns, especially storms, across the member countries, starting with the establishment of 50 automatic weather stations --- three GPS Sonde Stations and a Droppler Radar in Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh in the first phase. Afghanistan and Pakistan would be covered in the second phase while Maldives and Sri Lanka would be covered in the third phase.

It was also agreed upon to identify transboundary biodiversity zones and develop a framework for transboundary biodiversity conservation, including exploration of potential biodiversity conservation corridors. SAARC technical committee on environment will examine the concept and develop a framework within six months.

SAARC environment ministers appreciated Indias offer to provide $ one million each to the SAARC Forestry Centre, Thimphu and the SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre, Male.