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UN highlights impacts of climate change in Asia

Publication Date : 14-05-2012


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) gathered local officials from various sectors in the Lao capital of Vientiane on May 11 to discuss various issues posed by climate change.

The meeting had two main objectives including the launch of the Asia Pacific Human Development Report and the UK Climate Change Event, and was co-hosted by the UK Embassy to Thailand and the UNDP in Laos.

The UNDP launched the new Asia Pacific Regional Hum an Development Report titled "One Planet to Share, Sustaining Human Progress in a Changing Climate." The report calls for a balance between rising prosperity and rising emissions across the Asia Pacific region and argues that Asia-Pacific can no l onger afford to grow first and clean up later.

Striking a balance between this growth and environmental protection is vital to reduce the impact of climate change. As the regional UNDP report argues, there is no better time to act than during a period of fast economic growth.

UNDP Resident Representative Mr Minh Pham said here in Laos we are experiencing remarkable economic growth. This is being driven primarily by natural resource extraction, such as mining, hydropower and commercial agriculture.

“Laos, and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, has a distinct and unique challenge. To sustain growth and lift people out of poverty but to do it with much lower emissions intensity,” he said.

Sustainable economic growth is critical for development. But it requires using more natural resources and energy. Following a sustainable development path, with lower emissions, will ensure that the planet can be shared by future generations, according to UNDP in Laos.

The meeting also welcomed the Head of the South East Asia Climate Change Network and representative of the UK Embassy to Thailand, Mr John Pearson, to address the UK Climate Change Event.

Mr Pearson gave a presentation on the work done on climate change across the region to build better awareness and understanding of the importance of comprehending climate change impacts in Southeast Asia.

They have also recently produced a new map that shows the potential impact of climate change on countries across the region.

“The key point is that climate change is not just an environmental issue but also an economic one. Climate change could lead to a significant reduction in GDP if it is not tackled now. The costs of mitigating and adapting to climate change now will lead to economic benefits in 20 to 30 years time,” the presentation noted.


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