(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Climate change conference lacks unified voice, NGOs say

Manila - Two women and a child navigate a flooded street in suburban Pasig City east of Manila at the height of tropical storm Ketsana in 2009
Jason Gutierrez/IRIN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is being criticized for weak collaboration and a failure to act at the latest international climate change conference in Bangkok.



"ASEAN is not acting as a bloc, and in the past two years we have seen no indicators of moving away from talk to action," Zelda Soriano, policy adviser for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, told IRIN on 7 April on the sidelines of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The conference is a five-day event to continue hammering out details of climate change policy leading up to the November 2011 summit in Durban, South Africa.



A coalition of the regional offices of Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF have called on ASEAN to unite in pushing for governance as well as an allocation of at least half of the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, a source of support for environmental initiatives created in 2009.



"Coastal regions are already being [affected] and ASEAN needs to lobby for an equitable share of funding for climate change adaptation," said Sandeep Rai, adaptation policy coordinator for WWF. "The diversity in capabilities and resources prevents ASEAN from lobbying together," Rai added.



In the past, ASEAN, an association of 10 member nations dedicated to economic and political cooperation in Southeast Asia, declared a commitment to working toward "long-term cooperative actions to address climate change".



The final outcomes of the conference will be announced on 8 April, with the next ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change meeting in Hanoi in three weeks' time to prepare for the June UNFCC negotiations in Bonn, Germany.



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