28 October, 2021


Asian Liberals And Democrats On Climate Change

By CALD Climate Change Committee –

We, the representatives of the Democrat Party (Thailand), Democratic Progressive Party (Taiwan), Liberal Party (Philippines), Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, Singapore Democratic Party, Liberal Party (Sri Lanka), National Council of the Union of Burma, Sam Rainsy Party (Cambodia), Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, and Civil Will Party (Mongolia), full member parties of CALD, on the occasion of CALD Climate Change Conference in Palawan, Philippines, following on our previous workshops in Bangkok, Thailand (28 November-1 December 2011) and Cagayan de Oro/Bukidnon, The Philippines (10-14 February 2012);

Aware that the Asian region is one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change, with climate change impacts resulting in immense loss of life, livelihood, property and sense of security of the region’s inhabitants;

Recognizing further that Asia is home to a large number of poor people; and the more we neglect the ecosystem, the more we lessen the capacity for inclusive growth and consequently, deepen further the poor’s poverty;

Acknowledging that climate change can result in sea-level rise, increase in temperature and extreme weather, variations in rainfall, floods and also desertification, all of which have repercussions on the lives and livelihood of people as well as the environment;

Noting that vulnerability to climate change is partly due to absence or lack of adequate enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, resulting in denuded mountains, clogged waterways, polluted bodies of waters, among other problems;

Acknowledging the importance of adequate information, accurate scientific data and research, and effective institutions to address the problems of climate change;

Emphasizing that adaptation to climate change will have to focus on integrated water, land and coastal resource management;

Recognizing the importance of educational and information campaigns in enhancing the awareness of all stakeholders, including the general public, on the adverse impacts of climate change and what can be done to address them;

Underlining that mainstreaming the issue of climate change is vital to ensure the attention of all political parties;

Highlighting the need to formulate roadmaps and action plans with clear targets in order to ensure proper monitoring of progress or lack thereof;

Noting that, given also the lack of progress in international climate change negotiations, national and local initiatives to address climate change must be promoted and encouraged;

Emphasizing that an effective response to climate change requires not merely government regulation but also deregulation as appropriate and the provision of appropriate incentives for stakeholders;

Recognizing that climate change is related to economic development, and that sustainable development and green economy must be the aim of every society;

Noting that climate change presents not only threats but also opportunities, particularly opportunities to institute changes in society towards sustainable development;

Sharing a vision for an Asian region resilient and adaptive to climate change, and supporting global, regional, national and local efforts to combat climate change with emphasis on the need for those most responsible for climate change, in particular, to take remedial and recompensatory action;

Do hereby:

On Policies and Mechanisms to Address Climate Change

  1. Urge Asian governments not only to have clear and coherent policies regarding land-use, water, forest and coastal conservation, but also to ensure strict enforcement at all levels of government on the basis of equity and transparency;


  1. Ensure that policies are based on consultation with stakeholders and focus on community oriented pro-poor perspectives, and encourage community involvement in initiatives to preserve and protect the environment;


  1. Affirm the need for regional, inter-agency and multi-sectoral collaboration in addressing climate change, with particular attention to reducing socio-economic vulnerability;


  1. Suggest that a specific percentage of the national budget should be allocated to finance climate change planning, activities and policy directions;


  1. Underline the importance of adhering to the principles of good governance, particularly transparency and accountability, in any measure to combat climate change;


  1. Urge governments to adopt general guidelines, including market reforms that would encourage full private sector awareness and involvement, to promote green, more carbon neutral economies;

On Building Adaptation and Resilience

  1. Ensure inclusion of climate change and disaster risk information in national education systems as well as community based awareness programmes, with particular attention to decision makers and administrators, while encouraging community based preparation and early warning systems, as well as mitigation and risk reduction activities;


  1. Recognizing the particular vulnerability to disaster of poor communities, reiterate the importance of immediate rehabilitation and resettlement of those who have been affected by erratic weather patterns brought about by climate change, as well as the enactment of measures which aim to return their life to normalcy even while in rehabilitation centers;


On Water-Related Issues and Marine and Coastal Resource Management

  1. Recognizing the crucial importance of water resources in addressing problems arising from climate change and environmental degradation, promote expanded rainwater harvesting; water storage and conservation techniques; water re-use; desalination; efficiency in water-use; protection of mountain (snow and ice) and other water sources; and efficiency in irrigation;


  1. Recommend that water harvesting and conservation should be accompanied by the development of green spaces as well as inland fisheries on a sustainable basis;


  1. Encourage governments to develop effective policies for reversing coastal degradation whilst ensuring the full involvement of local communities in preparation and implementation of plans, that will also encourage local business opportunities that promote sustainable development;


  1. Aware that problems with regard to water can lead to regional tensions, encourage active inter-regional cooperation that addresses specific issues in a spirit of understanding and promotion of mutual benefits;


On Land Use and Demographic Settlement

  1. Support rainforest and forest protection and expansion, with particular attention to rehabilitation of degraded watersheds;


  1. Register the increasing problem of land degradation, caused often by indiscriminate exploitation of mineral resources, and also the problem of desertification, assert the importance of developing counter-measures and concerted action to reverse this process and ensure continuing land use for pastoral and agricultural communities;


  1. Recognize that unequal development leads to potentially destructive demographic change, advocate programmes to increase opportunities and facilities in rural areas and areas currently being denuded of populations;


  1. Acknowledge that populations will move to areas with natural resources, advocate regulatory control of such resources through community based mechanisms;


  1. Recommend limitations on hill slope settlements and developments that cause landslides, and strict enforcement of relevant regulations;

On Renewable Energy, Investment and Economic Opportunities 

  1. Highlight the importance of transition to renewable energy in promoting more sustainable and efficient economy, with emphasis on research and development that encourages public-private partnerships;


  1. Develop alternative energy sources with encouragement of investment in particular in bio-energy plants, and others such as solar and wind energy;


  1. Forge partnerships and cooperatives for diversification of agriculture with support for bio-energy sources in tandem with food crops;


  1. Recognize that market reforms and a competitive environment could assist in improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution;


  1. Emphasize the need to invest in climate-resilient or climate-proof infrastructure, with active private sector participation and innovation, to produce new economic opportunities for sustainable growth; and

On What CALD Can Do

  1. Require CALD to produce a handbook about common challenges with reports on best practices which can be replicated.

Adopted in Palawan, Philippines this 25th of March 2012.

For the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats:

J.R. Nereus Acosta               Rajiva Wijesinha                   Ng Lip Yong

Members of CALD Climate Change Committee

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