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Asian, Europe experts cited RP's reforestration program

MANILA, May 28 –Facing the challenges of climate change and campaigning for low-carbon development, over 200 environment officials and experts from Asia and Europe have cited the reforestation program of the Philippines, tagging it as one of the “low carbon pioneers” in the world.

At the 2nd Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Development Conference with a theme “Towards an Asia-Europe Partnership for Sustainable Development” held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia last May 26 to 27, 2010, speakers from Cambodia and Europe have recognized the reforestation programs of the Philippines as part of the mitigation efforts to combat climate change.

Aside from Philippines, ASEAN countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are also implementing massive reforestation program, which the officials explained as “gateways to a low carbon community.”

Prof. Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute, also stressed during the conference that “dangerous climate change can only be avoided by low carbon development,” adding that “if ASEM countries (Asia and Europe) would go for low carbon development they could transform the global economy.”

The Philippines was represented by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) at the conference. Commission Vice Chairman Climate Change Secretary Heherson T. Alvarez, who is in Norway for the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference 2010, hosted by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, has been pushing for massive reforestation to address climate change.

“Forest is important in our global fight against climate change because trees capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Alvarez was earlier quoted, adding that the atmosphere is now loaded with greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide which causes global warming and climate change.

An output of the conference is the Yogyakarta Declaration, which will be an input to the forthcoming ASEM-8 Brussels Summit on October 4-5, 2010.

In the declaration, delegates recognized the challenges of forest protection, investment in research and development (R&D) on low carbon technology, training of experts on low-carbon matters, low-carbon growth with positive effects on job creation, awareness raising, and urbanization.

The conference was a follow-up to the ASEM-7 Beijing Summit Declaration on Sustainable Development and the first ASEM Development Conference held in Manila last April 20-21, 2009.

ASEM is a vital forum for dialogue between Europe and Asia, and is the main multilateral channel for communication and dialogue between Asia and Europe since 1996.

Around 200 high-level officials and experts from Asia and Europe, as well as representatives of international organizations and civil society organizations attended the conference for a debate on the future of Asia-Europe cooperation for sustainable development that focused on three themes namely: Climate Change and Low Carbon Development, social cohesion and policy coherence for development.(PNA)

LOR/rudyma

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