SAARC Summit: "Towards a Green and Happy South Asia" | b l o g o d r i l

28 April 2010

SAARC Summit: "Towards a Green and Happy South Asia"

Heads of eight South Asian countries seek a joint initiative to tackle the terrible impact of the changing climate as well as to boost trade among South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations today. As the 16th summit will end on Thursday adopting the `Declaration on the Climate Change’ and the `Thimphu Declaration’, in this serene and pollution-free capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu.

The summit's key theme is "Towards a Green and Happy South Asia". The highlight of the summit is a pact on climate to help in exchanging practices and knowledge, capacity building and transfer of eco-friendly technology in areas like coastal zone management, wildlife conservation and environmental impact assessment studies.

The eight nations are also expected to sign an agreement to promote trade cooperation among the member countries and to initial capital of $ 300 million to support socio-economic projects in the region.

Climate change is the key theme of the Thimphu Summit, as the impact of the changing climate is not only the greatest long-term threat to the region but a pressing global challenge as well.

Addressing the threat of climate change is an integral component of the overreaching SAARC goal of poverty in South Asia. Bangladesh and the Maldives are recognized as the worst victims of the global warming.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, host Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse have attended the silver jubilee summit. The SAARC that started its journey from Bangladesh in 1985 with a dream of improving the socio-economic condition of 1.5 billion people of this impoverished region marks silver jubilee this year.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyoncchoen Jigme Y Thinley, whose country is hosting the first ever SAARC summit, has called for taking a lead by the SAARC leaders in reversing the climate change. He said :

“…Contemplate on some disturbing facts. The Himalayan glaciers are receding at an alarming speed. Our mountains are less majestic, less awe inspiring. The rising temperature has not only melted the fresh snow and stripped further layers from past centuries, they now look like a high wall of grey and jagged outcrop of rocks,”

In addition to making formal speeches at the summit, SAARC leaders will have the opportunity to sit together for several times, mainly during the retreat on the concluding day on Thursday at SAARC Village.

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