S Asian climate change network a must to combat challenges | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 31, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 31, 2008

Dhaka Declaration of Symposium

S Asian climate change network a must to combat challenges

The International Symposium on Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia in its Dhaka Declaration has recommended creating South Asian Network on Climate Change and Food Security and establishing South Asia Climate Outlook Forum to combat challenges of climatic changes in the region collectively.
The five-day symposium that concluded at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital yesterday also emphasised the need for stimulating multi-disciplinary research on the burning issue and identifying effective mitigation and adaptation options, including carbon sequestration in different ecosystems.
The programme was jointly sponsored by Ohio State University, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Food and Agriculture Organisation, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Dhaka University and the Bangladesh government. Around 250 participants from 17 countries attended the event.
Prof Rattan Lal, director of Carbon Management and Sequestration Centre of Ohio State University, presented the Dhaka Declaration.
Experts at the programme observed that climate change will increase temperature, decrease availability of fresh water, contribute to the rise in sea level, glacial melting in the Himalayas, increased frequency and intensity of extreme events, and shifting of cropping zones in South Asia affecting agriculture and food sector, economy, societies and environment.
Prof Lal said, "The serious problems of soil degradation and desertification are likely to be exacerbated by climate change through accelerated erosion, fertility depletion, salinisation and acidification and that subsistence agriculture, characterised by low productivity and extractive farming, is extremely vulnerable to such climatic change."
In the wake of such threats, the symposium urged the development partners and the private sector to fund implementation of programmes that reflect the recommendations.
The other recommendations include initiating and strengthening cooperation among academic and research institutions, international organisations, and NGOs to provide opportunities for strengthening institutions, human resource development and capacity building.
The symposium also suggested developing innovative financial mechanisms to scale up technical and financial support for the adaptation efforts of the South Asian countries and strengthening regional institutional and policy mechanisms to promote and facilitate implementation of location-specific adaptation and mitigation practices.
The Declaration says, "Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia Network and South Asia Climate Outlook Forum both to be maintained by the WMO will share information on management of climate change and related science, data, tools and methodologies in South Asia."
They will also generate data on solar heating as it relates to the effects of soot, aerosols and particulate material emissions on radiation balance, rainfall patterns and regional climate change.
The proposed network and the forum will develop seasonal climate predictions to assist farmers to optimally adjust their planting dates, crop varieties and management practices to reduce agricultural vulnerability to hydro-meteorological hazards, it notes.
These will promote adoption of proven sustainable technologies related to better soil, crop, livestock and fishery and water management in order to increase food productivity by enhancing efficiency of inputs such as fertiliser, water, energy and labour, it adds.
They will create mechanisms to pay farmers for ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration in soils and reductions of gaseous emissions related to deforestation, degradation of agricultural soils, grasslands and water quality improvement, and reduced emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from agricultural and forestry land uses.
The experts at the symposium said these two bodies would also establish regional early warning system of climatic risks and improve collection and dissemination of weather-related information by improving weather station networks to strengthen monitoring of extreme events and their impacts on food production and availability.

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