The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Conference on Climate Action to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - Ways Forward took place in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on June 19th.
Erosion eats into river banks in the Mekong Delta. (Source: VNA)
Attending the event were nearly 200 delegates from 53 ASEM member economies, leaders of ministries, sectors and 13 Mekong Delta localities.
Discussions focused on development amid climate change, combination between climate action and sustainable development goals, and measures to boost Asia-Europe climate partnership toward sustainable development.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Le Cong Thanh said that Vietnam is assessed as one of the countries hardest hit by climate change with the Mekong Delta region one of the three deltas in the world most vulnerable to sea level rise.
Climate change’s impacts on Vietnam are serious, posing a threat to the achievement of poverty reduction target, millennium development goals and sustainable growth of the country.
Therefore, hosting this year’s conference will create an opportunity for Mekong Delta localities to connect with each other and expand cooperation with the world’s leading experts on climate change, and gain access to ASEM members’ assistance for climate change adaptation programmes, Thanh stated.
Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son noted the conference took place when the world is exerting efforts to respond to climate change. This is a chance for Vietnam to speed up action to put the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in Agenda 2020 and Agenda 2030 on Climate Change, and join international efforts to respond to climate change.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh stressed the need for the conference to develop a comprehensive approach for common understanding and action on doubling efforts for climate change response towards sustainable development.
ASEM’s cooperation initiatives and projects on sustainable water management, disaster risk reduction, energy, food safety, gender equality and poverty reduction need to be connected more closely to put forth comprehensive solutions to sustainable development.
“At the national level, climate action should be included in the national strategy for sustainable, balanced, equitable and innovative development,” Minh said.
Developed members of ASEM should provide specific financial support for developing members vulnerable to climate change, he emphasised, adding that it is necessary to promote multi-stakeholder partnerships for climate action for sustainable development.
He also stressed the importance of establishing a network of information sharing between policymakers, researchers, businesses, localities and other stakeholders in this field.
The Deputy PM continued by saying that Vietnam highly values the strategic partnerships on climate change and the effective cooperation and assistance programmes on financing and technology transfer that many ASEM members have extended for Vietnam.
These programmes have effectively assisted the nation in sustainable water resources management, enhancement of climate change monitoring and adaptation capacity, response to sea level rise and widespread saline intrusion in the Lower Mekong River Basin. These have also improved Vietnam’s capacity to contribute to the joint endeavours by the international community, he added.
The conference is one of the most important inter-regional events on climate change and the only one of ASEM 2018 hosted by Vietnam. It is an initiative of Vietnam which was approved at the 13th ASEM Ministerial Meeting last November in Myanmar and won support and sponsorship from many countries, including Australia, Denmark, Myanmar, Finland, the Netherlands and Italy./.