Bhutan SAARC declaration for working together to tackle climate change

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Thimphu (Bhutan) April 30 (ANI): With South Asia prone to the ill-effects of climate change, leaders attending the 16th SAARC Summit, which ended here on Thursday, have decided to tackle the issue of climate change.

With climate change being the main theme of the Summit, held in Bhutan, member nations have also decided to establish an Inter-governmental Expert Group on Climate Change to develop a clear policy direction for regional cooperation as envisaged in the SAARC Plan of Action on Climate Change.

They also resolved to commission a study, for presentation at the 17th summit, on 'Climate Risks in the Region: ways to comprehensively address the related social, economic and environmental challenges'.

Seeking a fresh approach to global climate talks, the SAARC leaders sought observer status for the regional grouping at the Cancun conference in Mexico on global warming to be held later this year.

All SAARC countries will undertake advocacy and awareness programs on climate change promote the use of green technology and best practices to promote low-carbon sustainable and inclusive development of the region.

It has also been decided to plant 10 million trees over the next five years to build a "green and happy South Asia" and enhance trade cooperation.

The statement also stressed on evolving national plans, and where appropriate regional projects, on protecting and safeguarding the archeological and historical infrastructure of South Asia from the adverse effects of Climate Change.

A SAARC Inter-Governmental Marine Initiative will be commissioned to strengthen the understanding of shared oceans and water bodies in the region and the critical roles they play in sustainable living to be supported by the SAARC Coastal Zone Management Center.

The member-states also resolved to commission a study, for presentation to the 17th summit, on 'Climate Risks in the Region: ways to comprehensively address the related social, economic and environmental challenges'.

They further decided that the Inter-governmental expert group on Climate Change shall meet at least twice a year to periodically monitor and review the implementation of this statement and make recommendations to facilitate its implementation and submit its report through the senior officials of SAARC to the SAARC Environment Ministers. (ANI)

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