Saarc nations to set up 50 weather watch stations | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, October 20, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, October 20, 2009

Saarc nations to set up 50 weather watch stations

Enhancing cooperation to tackle the climate change impacts, the Saarc countries yesterday decided to set up 50 automatic weather monitoring stations in Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to carry out study on weather pattern, especially storms, in the region.
India would help set up the weather stations in the three countries, said Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh at the meeting of the Saarc environment ministers here.
The meeting, attended by State Minister for Environment and Forest Hasan Mahmud, among others, also decided to establish a forestry centre and a natural disaster management system for the region.
Taking on the role of a donor in the area of climate, India decided to extend a grant of one million dollars for strengthening the Saarc forestry centre in Thimphu, Bhutan while another one million dollars for the coastal zone management centre in the Maldives.
Ramesh said the Saarc environment treaty and the natural disaster rapid response mechanism are expected to be finalised and adopted at the Saarc summit in Thimphu in April next year.
He said six key decisions were taken by the Saarc ministers to tackle global warming, which included holding of an annual workshop to review climate change actions by each of the eight member nations.
The first Saarc workshop is scheduled to be held in Delhi early next year where experts would discuss action plans on climate change adaptation and mitigation responses of members.
Afghanistan and Pakistan would be covered in the second phase followed by the Maldives and Sri Lanka, Ramesh said.
Recognising that South Asia was among the regions most vulnerable to climate change as around 21 percent of the world's population lives here, the ministers stressed that sustainable development and adaptation to it remained the appropriate way to address the threat.
The meeting agreed to enhance cooperation on climate-related matters and also issue a joint statement on the sidelines of the UN summit on climate change in Copehagen in December.
A joint statement at Copenhagen, finalisation of the regional environment treaty for Saarc countries and charting a natural disaster rapid response mechanism were the other decisions taken.
Ramesh said South Asian countries will adhere to the Kyoto Protocol at the Copenhagen negotiations.
Ramesh said he has suggested "some flexibility" in India's stand on climate change issues but ruled out diluting the stance on Kyoto Protocol that imposes greenhouse gas emission cuts on developed countries.
"My note suggested the possibility of some flexibility in India's stance... I have never at any stage considered or advocated abandoning the fundamental tenets of the Kyoto Protocol," he said in a statement.
He was clarifying the government's position against the backdrop of a newspaper report, which said he had suggested junking the Kyoto Protocol, walking out of Group of 77 developing countries and accept emission cuts at the upcoming Copenhagen summit.
UNB adds: Bangladesh yesterday called for enhancing regional cooperation among the Saarc member states to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change.
“The Saarc member countries should undertake collective initiative and efforts to address the adversities of climate change that are threatening the very existence of a significant portion of global humanity in the region,” State Minister for Environment and Forest Hasan Mahmud told the meeting in New Delhi.
Indian minister Jairam Ramesh chaired the meeting, attended by the ministers from Saarc member states and Saarc Secretary-General Dr Sheel Kant Sharma.
Hasan Mahmud, who led a three-member delegation, said Bangladesh is not responsible for climate change but is disproportionately affected by its negative impact.
“An estimated 20 million Bangladeshis would need to be relocated due to climate change impact,” he added.
The state minister emphasised on national efforts to be supplemented by regional and global support, both financial as well as technological.
Highlighting the government decision to mainstream climate change in the development activities and national planning, Hasan Mahmud told the meeting about the measures taken by the Bangladesh government.
The measures included adoption of a national climate change strategy and national plan of action aimed at sustainable and green development and adapting to climate change, he said.

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