Myanmar and ASEAN Speak at COP20/CMP10

IMG_5410Today Hla Maung Thein (at left), Deputy Director of the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry spoke at the Joint COP/CMP High Level Segment. During this portion of the COP, high level government officers, presidents and dignitaries take the podium to make a statement on the state of their nation as it relates to climate change. Although an environmental minister in Myanmar, Thein spoke today on behalf of ASEAN, the southeast Asia regional organization that Myanmar chairs this year. At a recent regional meeting in Nay Pyi Taw during November, member countries endorsed a Joint Statement on Climate Change.

Minister Thein asked the UNFCCC to recognize the grave position of ASEAN states, which are prone to increasing natural disasters. Thein relayed Myanmar’s uniquely vulnerable position in climate change (in fact, the UN has ranked Myanmar as the most at-risk country for natural disasters in the Asia Pacific.) In particular Myanmar is plagued by floods and cyclones, which worsen annually due to climate change.

Regarding solutions, Minister Thein spoke to the importance of universal participation in the confrontation of climate change, and of common but differentiated responsibilities, emphasizing the importance of INDCs.  Renewable energy and clean energy development were also mentioned as ways to address the problem. On behalf of ASEAN, he welcomed the Warsaw Framework on REDD+, and reiterated the need for sustainable financing mechanisms and technology transfers. Specifically, TheinIMG_5385 encouraged developed countries to accelerate their contributions to the Green Climate Fund in a way that is effective, predictable and easy to access.

In a speech the evening before, Hrin Nei Thiam (at right), the Director General of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, and  head of the Myanmar Delegation, addressed the High Level Segment on the impact of climate change in Myanmar. Regarding green development, Hrin Nei Thiam touted the potential of the Green Climate Fund and other financing sources to support the implementation of REDD+. Further, Thiam addressed the importance of mechanisms such as loss and damage to address the current, significant impact of climate change on Myanmar.

The Vermont Law School Observer Delegation is pleased to work with the Myanmar State Party Delegation this year at COP20/CMP10.