Facing common challenges and concerns, four eastern Himalayan countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal – are now a step closer to the region’s own climate summit.
A high level policy meeting between the four countries was held in Thimphu last week which further fine tuned the framework of cooperation.
The delegates of the four countries further discussed the areas of cooperation on the four themes of water security, biodiversity persistence, food security, and energy security identified by the expert groups. The document will be presented to the ministerial level meeting on November 18.
It was also decided that the countries will hold its own national discussions on the implementation arrangement model and come up with feedbacks and suggestions.
Speaking at the meet, the agriculture minister, Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho, said the journey to the summit had been inspiring in spite of the inherent difficulties faced from time to time.
“The process is unique as it is entirely driven by the four countries and that the issues discussed and emerging results are in line with their own needs and priorities rather than those of external agency or agencies,” said Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho.
The summit will be limited to adaptation measures to climate change and more complex issues like green house gas (GHG) mitigation measures will not be pursued.
The four countries also agreed that bilateral issues related to any of the themes will not be discussed as they are clearly within the domain of the parties concerned and not a regional issue.
In July this year, these countries had an expert group meet on the four themes. Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho said the expert group meet revealed that the countries shared common challenges and concerns and to address this effectively increased cooperation was needed.
“If we are to achieve meaningful results, we have to think like citizens of this common eco-region and not just as citizens of our own countries,” said Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho.
Lyonpo said the four countries together have a better chance of securing a brighter future for the millions of people in the region by ensuring food, water, and energy security and by conserving the rich biological diversity.
He reminded that the Eastern Himalayan region cannot wait for a global agreement on the level of emission of GHG reduction or controlling the global temperature rise.
He said the glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, rivers drying up, crop yields decreasing, and people are already suffering from increased frequency of natural disasters like floods and droughts.
“We cannot simply wait till disasters happen, we must act now for the cost of inaction and indifference now would spell unimaginable scales of loss and destruction in future,” he said.
There will be a ministerial level meeting on November 18 while the summit will take place the following day.