Chairing the conference, Pham Van Tan, Deputy Director of the Department of Climate Change, Head of ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment and the AWGCC, emphasised that this year marks an important period, when countries, including ASEAN member states, should review previous climate change response activities.
This is also marks the right time to prepare for the impending implementation of the Paris Agreement ahead in 2021. This comes after the nation had previously been set to hold the Conference in April, but due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was forced to delay the event and hold it through an online platform instead, Tan said.
Despite the implementation of social distancing and other stringent epidemic control measures, the country has been striving to complete a review and thorough update of the Nationally Determined Contribution. Indeed, it is ready to submit it to the UNFCCC as agreed at the UN Climate Conference held in Paris back in 2015.
"I hope that development partners and international organisations will step up co-operation and provide ASEAN members with financial assistance, technology transfer, and capacity building to revive the economy and respond to climate change," said Tan.
| Pham Van Tan, Deputy Director of the Department of Climate Change, Head of ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment and the AWGCC chairs the conference
During the conference, Sum Thy, Deputy Secretary General of the National Council for Sustainable Development and the Ministry of the Environment of Cambodia, said that countries globally are currently focusing on the field of public health and economic stabilisation.
The aim of the conference is to update the implementation progress of the ASEAN Action Plan on Climate Change, additional ongoing projects, and new proposals put forward by ASEAN members and development partners.
Furthermore, the conference will also feature a closed session between ASEAN members and the ASEAN Secretariat in an effort to review and complete the Action Plan of the ASEAN Working Group on climate change.
They will also take part in talks to discuss the development of the ASEAN Joint Declaration for submission to the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, along with other issues.
The Department of Climate Change was originally assigned to take responsibility for and co-ordinate efforts with concerned parties in order to build a Joint ASEAN Declaration to the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Joint Declaration was therefore prepared thoroughly with the active participation of all ASEAN countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, along with concerned ministries.
Taking on the role of ASEAN Chair 2020 from the beginning of the year, the nation has been proactive in preparing a draft Joint Statement, sending it to ASEAN members to receive feedback and comments. At present, the draft joint declaration is a reflection of Vietnamese and ASEAN priorities regarding the issue of climate change. The AWGCC agrees with the draft and expressed their appreciation of the country’s efforts in making the Joint Declaration.
According to the original schedule, the AWGCC will adopt a Joint Declaration and send it to higher levels to be considered, with it likely Vietnam will be able to announce it on behalf of ASEAN at COP26. Despite this, due to the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COP26 conference is now scheduled to take place in November, 2021, as opposed to November of this year.
The conference also agreed that discussions and updates on the Joint Declaration will be continued by Vietnam until the handover of the ASEAN chairmanship to the Kingdom of Brunei.