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South Asia adopts action plan on climate change
DHAKA (Reuters) - Environment ministers from South Asian countries adopted a three-year action plan on Thursday for regional cooperation to combat climate change effects.
The meeting agreed to share information and best practices on nationally appropriate actions to mitigate carbon emissions, technology transfer, increasing climate change awareness and other areas.
The meeting was also attended by environment experts from the eight countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
They blamed industrialized nations for global warming and asked them to fulfill their commitment as per the U.N. climate change conference in Bali to provide additional resources to other countries.
"The industrialized economies must provide adaptation funds and facilitate technology transfer without any conditionality," said Fakhruddin Ahmed, head of Bangladesh's army-backed interim government, in opening the one-day meeting.
"Given our vulnerabilities, inadequate means and limited capacities, we need to ensure rapid social and economic development in our region to make SAARC climate change resilient," said SAARC Secretary-General Sheel Kant Sharma.
"Development provides the best form of adaptation," he added.
Bangladesh urged the SAARC states to work together in international forums, including the U.N. climate change meeting scheduled to take place in Copenhagen in December 2009.
"Between now and Copenhagen, we must work closely to take a common position on mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology transfers," Fakruddin said.
The SAARC meeting came shortly before the annual G8 summit of leading industrialized nations in Japan next week, where climate change is expected to be a leading topic and an agreement may be reached on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
However, some analysts expect truly substantive progress on global warming may have to wait for a new administration to take office in the United States.
The experts meeting in Dhaka said that across the South Asian region, warmer weather could cause more intense and more frequent cyclones and storm surges, leading to more salt water fouling waterways and crop lands.
Crop yield in South Asia could decrease up to 30 percent by the mid-21st century, they added.
(Reporting by Masud Karim; Writing by Anis Ahmed; Editing by Jerry Norton)
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