Europe and Asia in Climate Change Discussions

A first ever Asia – Europe (ASEM) Climate Change Forum was held in Ha Long City on 6-7 September 2010. The Forum gathered more than 100 experts, government officials and researchers from 30 countries and international institutions to discuss a wide range of issues related to the global threat posed by climate change.

Opening the forum, H.E. Dr. Tran Hong Ha, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, expressed deep concern about the hazards posed by climate change on the socio-economic development and implementation of the millennium development goals in many ASEM countries, and called for global solutions to adapt to and mitigate climate change. He further informed the participants that under the ASEAN chairmanship Viet Nam – one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts remains committed to respond to climate change and will continue to play a proactive role in climate change negotiations.

In his opening remarks the Ambassador of Denmark, H.E. John Nielsen, stressed that while climate change is a development issue, a green development path and pursuing a low carbon economy presented great opportunities. He noted that Denmark is a case in point as a country that has seen its economy grow by nearly 80% while its energy consumption has remained at the same level.

During the two days, delegates addressed a range of climate related topics from vulnerability and adaptation to the opportunities and challenges posed by pursuing low carbon development.

Countries shared the urgent need for adjusting development models towards low carbon economies including greater use of renewable energy and towards ensuring greater energy efficiency.

Recommendations were also made on measures to be taken to strengthen cooperation among ASEM countries in the future. Delegates urged policy makers to be ambitious in international negotiations and further strengthening the commitments laid out in the Copenhagen Accord agreed to during COP15 in Copenhagen in December 2009, and to ensure a positive outcome of COP16 in Cancun, Mexico in December.

In addition, progress of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and REDD plus were highlighted.

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