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Climate change needs 'meaningful' discussion, India tells SAARC

April 27, 2010 16:45 IST

With climate change being the central theme of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit, India said on Tuesday that it hoped the eight-nation bloc would hold the dialogue on the issue in a "meaningful manner" and backed its "fresh" position on global warming to be adopted at the Cancun meet later this year.

India supports "a fresh SAARC position on Climate Change for COP (Conference of Parties) 16 in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Chnage principles and the Bali Action Plan," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said, addressing the SAARC Council of Ministers. The next global climate talks are scheduled to be held in Cancun in Mexico in November. As per the UNFCCC and Bali Action Plan, rich countries are supposed to undertake binding emission cuts while developing nations to go for voluntary steps to tackle global warming.

Climate change is the main theme of the 16th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit being held in Thimphu and member countries have decided to sign a convention on cooperation in protection of environment. Krishna expressed hope that the dialogue on climate change would be carried in a "meaningful manner" at the summit. The SAARC countries had made a statement at the Conference of Parties held in Copenhagen in December last year and highlighted vulnerabilities of the member states and listed domestic actions taken by them to combat global warming.

The SAARC nations had also decided to set up 50 automated weather stations in the region to monitor and measure variations to meet the challenges of climate change. The stations are expected to come up in Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to begin with and the responsibility of opening these would largely be that of India. Afghanistan and Pakistan would be covered in the second phase and Maldives and Sri Lanka in the third phase.

Krishna said that the climate change theme of the summit was "very apt" and India was happy to support the proposal of Bhutan for a Special SAARC Declaration on Climate Change. The SAARC countries had made it clear that they would stay within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Bali Action Plan in their efforts in tackling global warming.

Under the convention on environment, the eight member countries are expected to commit to exchanging their knowledge and best practices, undertaking capacity building and transferring eco-friendly technology to each other. A declaration on climate change expected to be issued during the summit is likely to outline the common position of SAARC for the Climate Change Summit to be held in Mexico.

Initiatives for mountains and low-lying coastal areas would also be discussed at the meet of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Sagar Kulkarni in Thimphu
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