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The Climate Change Trouble - South Asia At The Worst

Published 07th November 2010 - 1 comments - 2252 views -



Maplecroft, a UK based consultancy recently released a report listing the most vulnerable countries to climate change risks. The list comprises of some of the fast pacing global economies and threatens their dream of emerging as the next super power. Out of the top 16 countries ranked on the basis of Climate Change Vulnerability index, 10 are South-Asian nations, 5 African and one North American. Bangladesh and India got the top two spots respectively.

Although the rising sea levels in Bay of Bengal are bringing a non-political resolve on a territorial dispute between India and Bangladesh, it still is not doing any good to the agricultural devastations and the environmental demolition. Rising sea levels are submerging low lying areas, encroaching in agricultural lands and resulting in soil salinity and other environmental hazards. By 2050, as projected by United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 17 % of Bangladesh, which is one of the lowest altitude countries in the world will be devoured by the rising sea levels displacing close to 20 million people. A 1m rise in sea levels would inundate 20% of the country's land mass. "The fertile land of this whole region is now turned into a huge saline swamp where nothing grows", as complained by a local farmer in this report. From 1973, the land salinity has almost doubled. Apart from facing the hard hit agricultural sector, climate change vulnerability can also cause the country to lose its foreign investment which is the driving force of the economic growth of 88% between 2000 and 2008.

The results are not different for India either when it is projected that the 15% of Indian Sunderbans region will be submerged by 2020. As for Bangladesh, similar will be the impact on the foreign investment to India due to its unstability resulting from climate change. Maldives, which was not studied due to the lack of data is on the top to be submerged in the water. And if not that, then its tourism based economy is definitely facing a hard time owing to the climate change consequences. Other South Asian nations which are put into "extreme risk" category are Vietnam, Philippness. Pakistan and in "high risk" category are China and Japan. The nations listed are not only huge foreign investments attracting markets but are a global industrial and technological hubs. In short, as aptly put by a leading Indian daily, it is South Asia that will bear the brunt of climate change in coming decades. The piece rightly points out that the enviromental issue are more easily resolved, or at least are flown into the resolution process than the terror-related and strategic conflicts. It was of course not a blank statement and is backed by some strategic alliances and framework formulation between South Asian nations on the enviromental issues -

  • Formation of Indo-Bangla Sunderban Ecosystem Forum to conserve the largest mangrove forests on the islands of Sunderbans and to protect the Royal Bengal Tiger as well its diverse flaura and fauna.
  • Framework formulation between India,China and Nepal on regional cooperation for the conservation of Kailash Sacred Landscape.
  • Much needed focus on the environmental issues and resolutions to better the situation during the SAARC summit at Thimpu this year. The action plan comprises of planting 10 million trees in the next 5 years and forming inter governmental marine, mountain and monsoon initiatives.

Although, these initiatives have still got a long way to go before we can assess their viability and judge their implementation process, but still steps like these unite a bunch of nations for a good and much needed cause who otherwise are busy dealing with territorial disputes or are hanging in their own quagmire of strategic conflicts.








Category: International Action, | Tags:


Andrea Arzaba on 08th November 2010:

Thank you for your post! Very interesting to get this information

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