H. E. Mr. Ahmed Saleem, Secretary-General of SAARC, addressed the Third Meeting of the Inter-Governmental Expert Group on Climate Change convened at the SAARC Secretariat today.
The two-day meeting brings together experts from SAARC Member States and Regional Centres including the South Asian University to take stock of the progress made so far in the implementation of the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change adopted at the Sixteenth SAARC Summit held in Bhutan in April 2010. The meeting is also expected to suggest further ways and means to effectively put into action the recommendations contained in the Statement.
In his address, the Secretary-General stated that South Asia, as a region, is one of the most ecologically vulnerable regions of the world and continues to face daunting challenges related to adverse effects of climate change. Given that, he highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation in order to preserve, protect and manage the region’s diverse and fragile eco-systems for the well-being of its people. He added, “SAARC, in its history of over two and half decades, has launched many initiatives and activities, and made significant progress. However, let us not relax in the comfort of our achievements. We must continue to move ahead and seize the opportunities to build on the progress so far.”
The Thimphu Statement on Climate Change adopted by the SAARC Heads of State or Government is a clear indication of their commitment and determination to enhance cooperation among Member States in this important area. The Statement outlines a number of initiatives to be implemented both at the national and regional level to address the adverse effects of climate change.