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Coalition calls for leadership at UN Climate Negotiations

April 4, 2011

Southeast Asian climate activists wearing winter jackets, rain gear and beach wear to portray climate chaos that is wreaking havoc across the region, met Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the gates of the United Nations Convention Center in Bangkok to demand an ambitious global climate deal from world governments on behalf of the region’s most vulnerable populations.

The activity was organized by A-FAB, ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Climate Deal, a regional coalition composed of Oxfam, Greenpeace and WWF, who are calling upon leaders of Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take a higher ground in the latest rounds of UN climate negotiations that recently began in Bangkok.

“We are sending a message to all delegates, especially ASEAN delegates, that a fair, ambitious, and binding global deal is a matter of survival for the people of Southeast Asia," said Zelda Soriano, Policy Advisor, Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Governments will talk about adaptation, climate finance, mitigation and technology transfer mechanisms. In the interests of the region it is crucial that we hear one strong voice from ASEAN, moving the regional body to a higher ground in responding to the real and urgent challenges of climate change,”

In the past few weeks, Thailand’s capital has been thrown into confusion by below 20°C temperatures in the middle of summer, even as a spate of floods and landslides last week in southern Thailand have impacted almost two million people. 

Just this month, similar disasters in different parts of central and southern Philippines have devastated the livelihood of tens of thousands. Flooding has also forced the mass evacuation of thousands in Indonesia. During the last UN climate meeting in Bangkok in 2009, twin typhoons in the Philippines saw 80 per cent of Manila under water, and in the end, leaving almost a thousand dead.

“Indeed, in Southeast Asia in particular, climate change is not a debate but a grim reality," said Shalimar Vitan, East Asia Regional Policy and Campaigns Coordinator for Oxfam.  "Our region is repeatedly assailed by an endless refrain of floods, landslides and drought.  In fact, this UN climate meeting in Bangkok happens as parts of Southeast Asia are once again reeling from extreme climate events. The stakes are high in our region. ASEAN delegates must therefore ensure that the adaptation gets much of the resources as it is more urgently needed, and must demand much deeper emissions cuts from developed countries."

A-FAB is forwarding policy recommendations for ASEAN in the Bangkok intersessional, including the assurance that the newly created Adaptation Committee consists primarily of developing countries, follows a country-driven and gender-sensitive approach in the development of national adaptation policies and programs, and is linked to financing mechanisms. ASEAN must ensure that adaptation gets much of the resources from the new Green Climate Fund established in Cancun, as it is more urgently needed by the majority of the poor population, said Sandeep Chamling Rai of WWF.

Set up by the coalition of Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF, ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Global Climate Deal (A-FAB) aims to sharpen and strengthen ASEAN’s position as a regional bloc at the UNFCCC and as a community that collectively struggles to avert the impacts of climate change.

For media-related inquiries:
Uamdao Noikorn (Ben), Oxfam, , +66 818 553 196
Karen Palmer, Oxfam Canada, , 613-240-3047

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