Act now to reduce impact of climate change, says speaker

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia on Tuesday, June 7 called for a more integrated approach in implementing development programmes in the country to reduce the risk of disasters.

He said coordination between ministries and its agencies, non-governmental oganisations and the community must be strengthened to mitigate climate change.

He also stressed that the cost of taking action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions now was much smaller than the cost of economic and social disruption from unmitigated climate change.

Delivering his keynote address at the Asia Pacific Parliamentarians' Conference on Environment and Development's (APPCED) 15th general assembly here, he said adaption strategists in Malaysia also must prepare the nation for this phenomenon.

The two-day conference themed "Climate Change and Tourism" is being attended 93 delegates from 21 Asia Pacific countries, the highest number of attendees to date.

"Adaption is a long-term project that must be anticipated and carefully prepared beforehand. It is not easy.

"It evolves, all at the same time, modifying economic circuits, introducing new technologies, carrying out intensive training, investing in the creation of new products, changing the mindset of public authorities, entrepreneurs, host communities and tourists," he said.

He added that these programmes would have to be implemented on a sectoral basis.

On the tourism sector, Pandikar said it was now the time for all the stakeholders to formulate strategies to address challenges to the sustainability of the industry's future.

"All tourism businesses and destinations will need to adapt to climate change, in order to minimise associated risks and capitalise on new opportunities, in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner," he added.

He also pointed out that one of the most serious effects of climate change in Malaysia was coral bleaching, due to stress response caused by high water temperatures that led to coral death, while the hawksbill and green turtles were also badly affected by climate change.

"The Turtle Islands Park in Sabah, an important nesting site for green and hawksbill turtles, is facing serious erosion," he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters later, APPCED secretary-general and MP for Putatan Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh  said the conference will come out with a declaration at the end of the conference tomorrow.

"We hope to come up with more concerted voices on recommendations on how we can address the issues of climate change and its effects," he said.

He said the report would be presented to United Nations'  Secretary-General at the UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Switzerland next year.

This is the first time Malaysia hosted the APPCED, which among other aims to promote awareness and understanding of issues affecting the environment and development among parliamentarians of the Asia Pacific region and enhance cooperation between developed and developing countries in the field of environment and development.

It also hopes to draw adequate attention to the protection of the environment and the ecology so as to maintain long-term sustainability of the country's development and to undertake pertinent environment researches.

APPCED was founded in June 1993 by the Korean Parliamentary League on Children, Population and Environment (CEP) following the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

The purpose of the inception was to organise meetings among member countries to seek joint measures against environmental concerns in the region.

Currently, it has a membership of 46 countries. — Bernama

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