Singapore's deputy prime minister Teo Chee Hean has called on ASEAN members of parliament to focus on building a climate-resilient ASEAN.
Mr Teo, who was speaking at the 39th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) General Assembly in Singapore last week, expressed his belief that there are ‘4C’s’ that AIPA can focus on—helping to build a more Cohesive, Connected, Creative and Climate-Resilient ASEAN.
On the last point, he said that climate change is a prime example of a pressing challenge that “no single country can face alone”. According to the Asian Development Bank, regional temperatures could rise by around six degrees Celsius by the year 2100, if no significant action is taken to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
Many of the largest cities in ASEAN are located in low-lying coastal areas, with some facing sinking land levels and many exposed to severe natural phenomena such as typhoons and tsunamis. Climate change and rising sea levels would have a “catastrophic impact” on ASEAN economies and the welfare of the people, said Mr Teo.
With this in mind, he said that domestic support in each ASEAN country is crucial for the implementation of climate initiatives, and the MPs’ role as intermediaries between political leadership and the people and as bridges between different countries is key.
“AIPA parliamentarians play a critical role in our collective push for a low-carbon and climate-resilient ASEAN, through encouraging the promotion of sustainable growth and ecosystems,” he said.