ASEAN reminds industrialized countries of climate change targets

Published November 3, 2019, 1:31 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Genalyn Kabiling

NONTHABURI, Thailand – Ex­pressing “grave concern” about the impact of climate change, the Southeast Asian bloc appealed to in­dustrialized countries to meet their pre-2020 mitigation targets and scale up climate finance.

(From L to R) Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, China's Premier Li Keqiang, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith pose for a group photo during the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit in Bangkok on November 3, 2019, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
(From L to R) Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, China’s Premier Li Keqiang, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and Laos’ Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith pose for a group photo during the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit in Bangkok on November 3, 2019, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The 10-member Asso­ciation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued the call to the de­veloped nations to step up carbon-cutting efforts in a joint statement during the summit plenary last Saturday.

“We call upon developed coun­try Parties to fulfill their existing mitigation commitments and en­hance mitigation ambitions during the pre-2020 period,” the regional leaders said.

The developed nations must also “fulfill their financial support com­mitment of $100 billion per year by 2020” to support the implementa­tion of adaptation and mitigation actions by ASEAN member-states and other developing countries.

Developed nations were also called upon to support developing nations on technology development and transfer, scientific research, and capacity-building as stated in United Nations Framework Con­vention on Climate Change (UN­FCCC) and the Paris agreement on climate change.

The Southeast Asian leaders renewed their commitment to the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, particularly on implementing mea­sures to address climate change.

Among the ASEAN initiatives are promoting sustainable man­agement of the forests, enhanc­ing biodiversity conservation and protection of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems, launching a regional strategy on sustainable land transportation, and improving resilience to climate and disaster risks.

They also committed to achieve 21.9 percent reduction in energy intensity compared to 2005 levels, exceeding the 2020 target set by the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016 – 2025.

To the UNFCCC parties, the re­gional group called for improvement on their mitigation and adaptation actions, including implementing their respective Nationally Deter­mined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and moving to­wards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

They should also adopt an inter­generational approach to climate action sensitive to gender consider­ations and vulnerable groups as well as promote and enhance the science on interlinkages between climate change, land, and ocean.

On the Green Climate Fund, the developed countries were urged “to honor their commitments and to scale-up their contributions by providing adequate and predictable climate finance.”

For his part President Duterte sought intensified regional coopera­tion in protecting the environment and fighting pollution in the ocean.

“ASEAN should not sacrifice the environment and the region’s rich biodiversity, particularly in the maritime domain, in its quest for progress,” a statement issued by Malacañng stated, quoting the President.

Duterte asked the regional group to enhance collaboration to prevent and reduce marine debris.

“We must work together to ad­dress the problem of marine debris. And we must build resilient and stronger communities to adapt to the effects of climate change,” he said.

While protecting the environ­ment, Duterte said the ASEAN must also support economic sectors of high productivity and follow sustain­able business practices.

Back in June, the ASEAN mem­ber-states forged a declaration on combating marine debris in the re­gion. At the first round of the ASEAN summit then, the leaders agreed to strengthen national laws and en­hance cooperation to fight against plastic pollution in the ocean.

The regional bloc includes the Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thai­land which were previously tagged by environmentalists as among the world’s top plastic polluters in the ocean.

ASEAN also agreed to boost ef­forts, including legal frameworks and law enforcement, to protect children from all forms of online exploitation and abuse.

The regional leaders signed the declaration to keep children safe amid the digital age following their plenary summit in Thailand.

“The rapid advances in and pro­liferation of Internet and evolving communications technologies have led to the emergence of unforeseen and unintended consequences that put children’s safety at risk and will likely continue to do so,” the leaders said in the declaration.

They have expressed concern with the global threats that make more children vulnerable to online sexual abuse material and other forms of online exploitation.

The ASEAN leaders have com­mitted to promote, develop, and implement comprehensive national legal frameworks and work towards improving child protection standards and policies against online explora­tion and abuse.

They also pledged to enhance law enforcement, judicial and legal professional capabilities through regular, relevant and updated train­ings and sharing and exchange of best practices in the protection of children.

A national specialized unit will also be established to lead, support and coordinate investigations on online abuse of children.

The regional leaders also com­mitted to increase effectiveness of rights-based and gender-responsive child protection and support ser­vices, social welfare programs.

Data collection and monitoring, reporting and referral mechanisms, through hotlines to report suspected illegal online materials will also be strengthened.

The leaders have likewise agreed to promote a national education program and school curricula to raise awareness of sexual, and other forms of exploitation of children to empower children, young people, parents, guardians, caregivers, prac­titioners and community.

The private sector and other relevant stakeholders will also be mobilized to help in the “monitoring prevention and response measures through regulations, corporate social responsibility, and collaboration for the development of effective mea­sures to detect, take down and report illegal content related to child sexual abuse and exploitation.”

READ MORE: ASEAN commits to enhance cooperation with ChinaASEAN leaders sign declaration to keep children safe from online abuse, exploitationASEAN leaders issue Bangkok declaration on education, sustainable developmentASEAN Summit plenary session set Nov. 2