Strengthening ASEAN

11 July 2011

Wanun Permpibul
Head, Energy and Climate Change Programme
Renewable Energy Institute of Thailand Foundation

The second week in Bonn is over.  So many things to share with CANSEA members, comprising colleagues from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, particularly on the issues related to ASEAN.  For me, it would be progressive to see ASEAN’s common position on legal status of the climate agreement after 2012, mitigation efforts from key ASEAN countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, finance and technology for both mitigation and adaptation actions.  Although, members in ASEAN have social and political differences, they do share some of the concerns on climate change. 

They are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change especially in the coastal and marine sector, human settlement, water resources, etc.  Because of these, they need long-term resources to help with adaptation.  On the other hand, their level of emissions is not small and is increasing.  They need to show to their people how they are going to reduce their emissions, especially from the energy sector.  Different studies indicate a vast potential of renewable and alternative sources of energy that can meet increasing demands of energy while meeting sustainable development in the long run, including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas and particularly energy efficiency and savings.  False solutions, particularly large hydro and nuclear, are not only unsustainable and are not the answer to the climate crisis, but they would also reduce and limit the adaptive capacity of communities and their citizens in maintaining their livelihoods under the changing climate.  ASEAN must take climate issues as their priority and integrate it into the development policy and needs to take actions on climate change, both mitigation and adaptation. 

What seems to be possible as the starting point is to use the existing platform of ASEAN Climate Change Initiative (ACCI) to engage all members and get them to agree on a common position and a clear agenda for negotiations, based on the common interests and concerns, leaving behind what is considered each national interest that cannot come to a common position.  Strengthening ASEAN’s engagement in the climate change negotiation as a strong bloc is necessary.  I think in CANSEA we will have to advocate more to influence the ASEAN position on climate change. 

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