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ASEM conference on climate action opens Tuesday in Can Tho
By Huynh Kim
Monday,  Jun 18, 2018,20:06 (GMT+7)

ASEM conference on climate action opens Tuesday in Can Tho

By Huynh Kim

Houses are seen threatened in a riverside landslide in Can Tho City’s O Mon District in this file photo in May 2018 - PHOTO: LE HOANG VU

CAN THO – An ASEAN-Europe Meeting (ASEM) conference will open on Tuesday, June 19, in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, where some 200 participants will seek to identify policies needed and set priorities of actions to respond to climate change, the organizers said on June 18.

Nguyen Minh Hang, head of Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) ASEM Vietnam, told a press briefing in Can Tho City today that the conference would center on four key topics, namely integrating climate action with sustainable development goals, building capacity to cope with climate change, the participation of stakeholders, and promoting partnership.

The two-day conference, titled “ASEM Conference on Climate Action to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – Ways Forward,” will be attended by 200 delegates from ASEM member countries, and international organizations. The conference is jointly organized by Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affair, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Planning and Investment, and Can Tho City government.

According to a concept paper from the organizer obtained by the Daily, participants will discuss ways to promote global partnership, and regional and inter-regional cooperation on sharing best practices and experiences among ASEM members and relevant institutions and strengthen international efforts to enhance capacity and capability.

Fast-tracking climate action

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges the world faces today, as it sets back development gains by affecting all aspects of the development agenda, from poverty alleviation to healthcare, from clean water to clean energy, and from disaster risk reduction to economic growth, say the organizers.

There is a wide recognition of the urgent need to deliver climate action at an accelerated pace and at an enhanced scale across all sectors in order to achieve the purpose and goals of the Paris Agreement, UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Goal 13), scaling up the global response to climate change and support greater ambition from governments.

Therefore, actions to combat climate change must be incorporated into all aspects of societal and development policies, and implementation of sustainable development goals and climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts require an integrated approach at local, national and international level to succeed, says the organizer in the concept paper.

The organizers said the conference is designed to provide a platform for ASEM members to exchange policy and best practices of transforming commitments into climate actions to effectively implement the Paris Agreement and UN sustainable development goals. The event thus seeks to foster ASEM cooperation in climate change as a contribution of Asia-Europe members to achieve the Goal 13 and to implement the Paris Agreement.

According to the organizers, outcomes of the conference will be reflected in a report to be presented at the 12th ASEM Summit in 2018 in Brussels and the 14th Foreign Ministers Meeting in 2019. Furthermore, the conference would also highlight international cooperation in tackling issues of climate change and promote effective ASEM cooperation on this matter in the time to come.

The conference will also include a Vietnam Session where participants will look into experiences gained in projects established in the country to cope with climate change impacts.

Climate action projects in Vietnam

So far, Vietnam has benefited from many projects financed by international organizations to enhance resilience in the face of climate change and to mitigate its impacts, said the organizers.

The European Union (EU) alone has financially supported three projects worth 190.9 million euros for such purposes. These include one on sustainable tra fish value chain worth 1.9 million euros, a project to study coastal erosion costing one million euros in three different provinces, and especially a project in the Mekong Delta on energy development and sustainable access to energy in rural and mountainous regions.

Meanwhile, Germany has financed many projects in the Mekong Delta, including one in Ca Mau Province to protect coastal forest integrated with sustainable shrimp farming, and two projects in Bac Lieu Province on adaptation to climate change and sustainable management of coastal ecosystem.

Many other countries like France, Australia, Denmark and Sweden have also offered gratis aid and soft loans to implement similar projects on climate change adaptation.

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