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INCHEON, South Korea, Oct 29, 2010 (IPS) - Even as Asian ministers discussed ways to reduce disaster risks here, news broke of a twin tragedy in Indonesia – a tsunami triggered by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake, and the eruption of the country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi, whose name means "mountain of fire".

Speaking to journalists at the Fourth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held here on Oct. 25- 28, Sugeng Triutomo, deputy chief of Prevention and Preparedness at Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management, remained optimistic that the country’s "spirit" will not be broken. 

"These disasters should not stop the development of our country," Triutomo said. "These disasters should make us strong… and more resilient to (future) disasters." 

But already, local reports are pointing to the failure of early warning systems installed on Indonesia’s remote western Mentawai islands, where 3-metre high waves have left close to 400 people dead and thousands more homeless or missing. 

Ironically, it is precisely these disaster risk management measures, such as early warning systems that are able to prevent higher death tolls, that the ministerial conference sought to implement in the region. 

Ministers at the meeting have approved a five-year regional roadmap to establish climate-resilient systems for disaster risk management by 2015 at the regional, national and community levels. 

Read more: ‘Vulnerable’ Asia Seeks To Reduce Disaster Risks

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Amid pressure from environmentalists to fast-track a planned moratorium on logging permits, a senior official says the government has not issued concessions for natural forests and peatlands since 2009. 

Under an agreement signed by Indonesia and Norway in Oslo in May, Indonesia has vowed to stop issuing forestry permits for peatland and primary natural forests for two years. 

That moratorium is set to take effect from Jan. 1, 2011. 

In return, Norway will set up a $1 billion fund for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD-Plus) schemes, a UN-backed carbon trading mechanism, in Indonesian forests. 

Read more: Indonesia Government Slows Logging Permits Before Ban

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Legazpi City (29 October) -- Albay Gov. Joey Saceda was named on Tuesday the Senior Global Champion of Disaster Risk Reduction at the opening of the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR at Convenzia, Songdo, Incheon Metropolitan City, in South Korea.

United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary General Margareta Wahstrom representing UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon handed the award to Salceda as Senior Global Champion of DRR during the opening ceremonies of the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR on Tuesday.

Salceda in an emailed acceptance speech he said the people of Albay are honored by the award from the United Nations as a recognition of our zero casualty performance for the past 16 years.

He said," The people of Albay thanked the UN ISDR for this award, and we accept the award as a challenge to sustain our disaster risk reduction program in pursuit of Millennium Development Goal."

He claims that given the rising climate risks, no development is possible without adaptation, however it is development that gives meaning to adaptation.

Read more: Salceda named UN senior global champion of disaster risk reduction

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Eco business.comCarbon industry experts have identified investments in energy efficiency projects as the biggest potential for Singapore’s energy landscape.

The country’s National Environment Agency’s Climate Change Programme assistant director Adrian Tan said on Thursday that an increasing number of companies are harnessing the potential of these small-scale projects despite their yielding significantly lower carbon credits than large-scale lucrative natural energy projects.

Carbon credit projects are validated by the United Nations under its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) scheme.

Read more: Next wave of carbon projects in energy efficiency

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An HSBC Holdings Plc survey has found climate change as the number one concern for people in Vietnam.

Over two-fifths (43%) of 1,000 Vietnamese respondents said climate change and how to respond to it are among their biggest concerns these days, according to HSBC’s Climate Confidence Monitor.

The online survey – which was done by Lightspeed, one of the world’s leading online market research companies, in August and September 2010 – interviewed a minimum of 1,000 people in each of 15 markets.

Read more: Vietnamese concerned about climate change: HSBC survey

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State President Nguyen Minh Triet has proposed the United Nations provide information and financial assistance to help Vietnam cope with climate change as Vietnam is among countries suffering the worst consequences of climate change.

The Vietnamese State leader made the proposal while receiving UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon following an official welcoming ceremony in Hanoi on October 28. 

Vietnam is commited to implementing the UN Resolutions, particularly the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and highly values the UN’s contributions to peacekeeping, international security, economic development and ensuring human rights, said President Triet. 

Read more: Vietnam wants UN assistance to cope with climate change

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But current options for financing and development assistance fall far short

Agriculture in developing countries must become 'climate-smart' in order to cope with the combined challenge of feeding a warmer, more heavily populated world, says a new FAO report.

Climate change is expected to reduce agriculture productivity, stability and incomes in many areas that already experience high levels of food insecurity — yet world agriculture production will need to increase by 70 percent over the coming four decades in order to meet the food requirements of growing world population, according to 'Climate-Smart' Agriculture: Policies, Practices and Financing for Food Security, Adaptation, and Mitigation.

Read more: Agriculture needs to become 'climate-smart'

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Delegates attending the Fourth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which convened from 24-28 October 2010, in Songdo, Incheon, Republic of Korea, approved a five-year regional roadmap to establish climate resilient disaster risk management systems by 2015.

Read more: Asian Ministers Adopt Roadmap to Cope with Climate-related Hazards

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The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has released two datasets on climate change adaptation in the Ethiopian Nile Basin and in the South African Limpopo Basin.

The datasets are based on household surveys as part of the Food and Water Security under Global Change Project, which focuses on developing adaptive capacity in rural Africa. The South African dataset represents 794 households from 19 districts across four South African provinces and was designed to capture the diverse agricultural patterns in the basin. The Ethiopian dataset ensured representation for the districts in the Nile River Basin, reflecting the different rainfall patterns, agro-ecological zones in the basins, vulnerability of food production and levels of irrigation use. IFPRI is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

[Press Release on the Datasets] [Ethiopian Dataset] [South African Dataset]

 

Source: Climate L | 28 October 2010

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WELLINGTON -- Pacific island fisheries face collapse in the next 25 years as overfishing, population growth and climate change threaten one of the region’s main economic resources, a study warned Wednesday.

The report, published by the Noumea-based Secretariat of the Pacific Community, said the $2-billion-a-year industry was poorly managed, with a lack of coordination among the 22 island nations in the region.

It warned some types of tuna were already being dangerously overexploited and the problem would spread to other species as foreign fleets clamored for access to rich fishing grounds amid a global fall in fish stocks.

Read more: Study shows Pacific fisheries may face collapse by 2035

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