Asia network on climate change mooted

Asia braces itself for melting Himalayan glaciers and glacial lake outbursts; floods in nine major rivers that are fed by the Himalayas; erratic monsoon and rainfall patterns that threaten food security; and sea level rise. These superimpose on the continent’s endemic problems of poverty and a huge population vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Rather than wait for governments to respond officially to the impact of climate change, the Seoul-based non-governmental organisation Korea Green Foundation moots building an Asia Network for Responding to Climate Change.

Korea, by the way, is listed as a ‘developing country’ in UNFCCC discussions.

The aims of the proposed network are to share knowledge and experiences on climate change in the region; facilitate joint actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and to help climate change victims and refugees.

Korea Green Foundation suggested the idea at a side-event though it’s unclear on its exact research agenda; or how it would generate funds for the network.

But Adarsh Pokharel, from the Association for the Development of Environment and People in Transition (ADAPT), a Nepal-based NGO, is clear about the kind of research agenda the proposed network should consider.

It includes scientific tools to assess the impacts in Himalayas “to bridge the huge knowledge gaps” in climate change science and monitoring in the region; regional climate models; early warning systems for disasters; and impacts and vulnerability assessment, he told the foundation.

The foundation plans to hold its first meeting in 2010 in Seoul and invites all interested Asian agencies, institutes and NGOs working on climate change to join.

T V Padma, South Asia Regional Coordinator, SciDev.Net

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