SAARC Summit Focuses on Climate Change

29 April 2010: The Sixteenth Meeting of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was held in Thimphu, Bhutan, from 28-29 April 2010, around the theme of climate change.

SAARC leaders adopted the Thimphu Statement on climate change, which contains commitments to: review and ensure timely implementation of the Dhaka Declaration and SAARC Action Plan on Climate Change; plant ten million trees over 2010-2015 as part of a regional afforestation and reforestation campaign, in accordance with national priorities and programmes of Member States; develop national plans and regional projects on protecting and safeguarding the archeological and historical infrastructure of South Asia from climate change adverse effects; stress the imperative of biodiversity conservation and monitoring of mountain ecology in the region; and complete the ratification process for the SAARC Convention on Cooperation on the Environment at an early date to enable its entry into force.

SAARC  leaders also agreed to establish an Intergovernmental Expert Group on Climate Change to develop clear policy direction and guidance for regional cooperation as envisaged in the SAARC Plan of Action on Climate Change. The Expert Group will meet at least twice a year to periodically monitor, review and make recommendations on the implementation of the Statement.

In the Summit final declarations, SAARC leaders emphasize that global climate change negotiations should be guided by the principles of equity, and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and should be conducted in an open, transparent and inclusive manner. SAARC leaders further underscore the need to initiate the formulation of a common SAARC position for the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) and thereafter, including on separate financing for adaptation and mitigation as well as technology transfer. [Thimphu Statement on Climate Change] [Summit Declaration]