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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Implementation of the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change

Experts from the South Asian countries including Bhutan discussed the implementation of Thimphu Statement on Climate Change at the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi last week.

The SAARC Consultation Workshop on 'Implementation of Thimphu Statement on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction was organized jointly by the SAARC Disaster Management Center (SDMC) and United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
Aimed at implementing the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change, a comprehensive document on policy, institutional landscape and resource allocation for climate change adaptations and disaster management in the SAARC countries was released. The document will also be sent to the officials at the United Nations for further implementation.
The organizing secretary of the workshop, Dr RK Mall of the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development (IESD), said this is the first document on climate change and disaster management prepared comprehensively for SAARC countries and is a major step ahead for the implementation of Thimphu Statement.
“This document would help the South Asian countries to develop and adopt strategies and coordinate with each other to prevent the hazards turning into disaster,” said Dr RK Mall.
He added that almost all the South Asian countries are at present vulnerable to climate change and the study outcomes will raise awareness among policy makers, local bodies, researchers and experts to develop planning and investment allocation in SAARC countries.
The workshop also focused on capacity building initiatives developing institutional capacities, developing personal expertise and legislative basis need to support an institutional structure for addressing the climate change and disaster requirements.
Experts from Bhutan suggested some key recommendations for the combination of Disaster Impact Assessment and Environment Impact Assessment for the development projects. The Integration of Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction were also discussed.
During a country-wise presentation, the Chief Program Officer of the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Pelden Zangmo, presented various scenarios of Bhutan regarding disaster vulnerabilities.
She said Bhutan, being a least developed country, has recently switched to climate change adaptations and disaster management mechanism and a Disaster Management Act which has also been enacted.
The Director of SDMC, Proffessor Santosh Kumar, said droughts, floods, cyclones, sea level rise and increase in temperature are the challenges for south Asian countries as they are vulnerable for such disasters.

He also explained the need for collective work of SAARC countries to reduce these risks future and suggested participatory approach for solving the problems of disaster risk reduction.

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