ASEAN Deputy Secretary General for Socio-Cultural Community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee (Photo: VNA)
Jakarta (VNA) – ASEAN is particularly concerned about climate change which has been causing substantial damage to the region, ASEAN Deputy Secretary General for Socio-Cultural Community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee has said in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency in Jakarta.

He underlined natural calamities hitting ASEAN member states over the past decade such as a historic earthquake in Indian Ocean in 2004, cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, severe flooding in Thailand in 2011, tropical storm Washi and typhoon Haiyan typhoon in the Philippines in 2013.

With the increasing frequency and intensity, natural disasters have caused considerable human and economic losses, hindering the establishment of a sustainably developing ASEAN Community, he said.

He called on ASEAN nations to join hands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, saying the issue could be only resolved via cooperation and all-level endevours.

Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee noted that ASEAN member countries are seeking effective measures to adapt to climate change and most of them have mapped out their National Action Plans for Climate Change (NAP–CC) which aim to connect countries and localities in responding to climate changes.

All the 10 member nations have announced their mitigation targets and expressed their commitments to cutting down greenhouse gas emissions at their utmost, he added.

The official said ASEAN leaders issued statements on climate change adaptation in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2014, which illustrate the bloc’s deep concern over climate change related issues and its high consensus towards negotiations at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

At the 27th ASEAN Summit in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur in November 2015, ASEAN adopted a Declaration on ASEAN Post – 2015 Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Agenda to reiterate the group’s efforts to cope with non-traditional challenges.

He said ASEAN has agreed to double efforts to promote the region’s sustainable development before 2020 by supporting developing countries in pursuing sustainable development opportunities, focusing on food, water, energy security. The association also called on developed countries to provide technical and financial assistance in the field after 2020.

The bloc pledged to promote the ASEAN Vision at the COP 21 and hosted two sidelines activities including a forum on CO2 emission reduction and a workshop on ASEAN cooperation in climate change response, he said.-VNA