FAO wishes to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Royal Government of Bhutan for organizing this important Summit and inviting FAO as an observer.
The sub-regional framework of cooperation to tackle climate change in the Eastern Himalayas is a welcome and timely initiative which would strengthen efforts in the region to adapt to climate change. Action in support of this framework will ensure that climate change adaptation interventions will be implemented through regional cooperation with greater synergy and harmony taking into consideration of national and local priorities with a strong institutional framework.
In this regard it will be important to ensure that actions to support the framework are in-line with the on-going processes related to national climate change policies, programmes and action plans that have been identified by Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal through National Communications to United Nations Framework Convention to Climate Change (UNFCCC), National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and strategies and action plans in support of Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA).
FAO is committed to supporting this framework and working collaboratively with relevant national counterparts and development partners to promote the integration and mainstreaming of food security, energy, biodiversity, and water related priorities into sub-regional and national climate change adaptation strategies. FAO has also developed a concrete set of methodologies, tools and frameworks that can be adapted in the Summit countries to strengthen the resilience of rural communities to climate changes and improve the institutional capacity of governments to prepare for and respond to these changes.
In particular, FAO wishes to draw upon its expertise and experience, and lend assistance to the Summit partner countries by:
- Assessing and monitoring the impacts of climate variability and change and vulnerabilities on food and agriculture, livelihoods, biodiversity and water resources;
- Improving knowledge management, awareness raising and education on climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation in agriculture at the sub-regional, national and local levels; and
- Reducing climate related risks and underlying vulnerabilities and enhancing opportunities for climate change adaptation and mitigation by implementing climate-smart technical options in agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
To demonstrate its support and commitment to realizing the vision outlined at the Summit, FAO is proposing to hold a follow-up workshop with government partners in early 2012 to identify the technical actions that FAO and other development partners can undertake in support of the framework. I believe this workshop is a practical next step that will lead to tangible and collaborative initiatives.
Finally, FAO wishes to reaffirm its continued commitment to support our host, the Royal Government of Bhutan, with its agenda to promote food, water and energy security, biodiversity and effective climate change adaptation.
As an immediate concrete step, FAO will act to strengthen rural communities’ climate resilience through participatory forest management, develop a renewable natural resource information management and monitoring system including an inventory of forest resources, and assist the Ministry of Agriculture in conducting a feasibility study for the promotion of multi-purpose water reservoirs and their effective utilization.