Regional cooperation stressed at climate change meeting

The Thimphu ministerial meeting on climate change, today decided to adopt a regional ‘Framework of Cooperation’ to tackle climate change in Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan. The meet also stressed finding funds to tackle the problem from within the region.

The framework of cooperation mentioned focuses on biodiversity conservation, alternative energy, technology transfer and genetic resource research to increase food production and adopt ecosystem management practices to minimise impacts of climate change induced disasters.

The document did not mention sources of funds, but said priority would be given to regional support. “Resources and expertise for implementation of the ‘framework of cooperation’ should be preferably found within the sub-region.”

The four countries have had differences on issues of climate change at global climate change negotiations every year. This was reflected at the Thimphu meet also.

India sent its secretary to the summit, meant for heads of states and ministers. Bhutan said it had received letters from heads of government of all four countries saying the declaration would not be underestimated and the delegation level should not be misconstrued.

“The achievement was not less than heads of state level because of the commitment to implement the declaration. Heads of state have informed they haven’t underestimated the summit,” said Nawang Norbu, director of the summit secretariat in Thimphu.

Criticising developed countries’ focus on economic matters only, Bhutanese PM Jigmi Y Thinley spoke of how Bhutan had adopted nature-friendly policies and introduced gross happiness index instead of gross domestic product to measure wellbeing. “The World Bank and IMF underestimated role of nature in keeping people happy and prosperous, but Bhutan has introduced a concept which will conserve nature and ensure development,” said Thinley.

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