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AseanAffairs Magazine September - October 2011





This year has seen increasing climate change disasters throughout the world.

In the cover story of this edition, Asean Affairs takes a look at the issues and possible solutions to reduce the costly

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David Swartzentruber
 David Swartzentruber looks at the issues and solution to the environmental challenges in Asean (SE Asia).

The Fifth Save Our Planet Conference organized by AseanAffairs and co-hosted by BOI (Thailand Board of Investment) and co-organized by the BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) in Bangkok on November 17 emphasizing greater utilization of alternative resources in Asean and the need for proactive measures to combat the increasing frequency of earthquakes and
flooding within the region.
The key to protecting the environment is people. Without the involvement of large numbers of citizens, government will be slow to act, leaving the private sector as the main vanguard in green technology. But the activities of the private sector are circumscribed by the governmental policies that are put in place and inevitably, that depends on the awareness and involvement of citizens.

Peter Chin, Malaysia’s Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, said in an Asean Affairs interview, “I would like to emphasize here that the community plays an important role as the catalyst in the application of green technology in this country. Through awareness and education, people will be more sensitive toward environmental conservation and embrace green values.”

The year 2011 in Asia has been a record-breaker in term of disastrous weather patterns, the moving of the earth’s crust and the end of the year is still two months off.

Meeting in Manila September 16, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) issued a report titled “Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific.” It says Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Pakistan face the greatest risk, but Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China and South Korea are also especially vulnerable.

In 2010, the report says, more than 30 million in the region were displaced by environmental disasters such as storms and floods and the total for 2011 is not in as yet. “And the best signs about climate change suggest that these kinds of events will become more severe, and perhaps more numerous, in the years ahead,” Bart Edes, director of ADB’s Poverty Reduction, Gender, and Social Development Division, said.

“You combine (severe climate change) with great populations in vulnerable circumstances, fast growing cities that are in low-lying areas, high population density and you have a recipe for even more displacement,” Edes said.

According to ADB report, the Asia-Pacific region is highly exposed to environmental risks, having by far the highest population density of any continent, especially along coasts, while it is also home to the largest number of people living in poverty..............

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