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Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia will be the region hardest hit by climate change by 2030, an Australian government official said.

A decline in water flows from Himalayan glaciers due to climate change would trigger a ''cascade of economic, social and political consequences," warned Heather Smith, deputy director of Australia's Office of National Assessments, the country's top intelligence agency.

Smith's assessment was part of a confidential conversation on the national security implications of climate change with U.S. Embassy officials, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday.

''Southeast Asia because of political turmoil, a growing youth demographic and a general increase in population [will be] worst affected,'' a U.S. government cable reporting the briefing noted. The Herald said the cable was obtained by WikiLeaks and released to the newspaper.

''Southeast Asia faces wild monsoons variations, with effects on littoral infrastructure, agriculture, marine currents and fish stocks. Coastal cities to be hit by subsidence and rising sea levels," the cable said.

Read more: Climate change worse for Southeast Asia

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MANILA — The Asian Development Bank last week approved loans and grants worth US$69 million to Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam for a community-based initiative to protect more than 1.9 million ha of threatened forests where 170,000 mostly poor people live.

The 32-year loan of $30 million to Viet Nam and grants of $19 million for Cambodia and $20 million for Laos will help the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) member nations carry out the GMS Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Project.

It follows a series of successful pilot conservation activities in the countries.

Read more: Asian Development Bank grants $69m for forest protection project

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The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Department of Energy are supporting energy regulators in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to establish energy efficiency standards and labeling programmes.

The US-ASEAN Energy Efficiency Standards and Labeling Workshop was held from 13-15 December 2010, in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

Read more: ASEAN and US Cooperate on Energy Efficiency Regulation

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