(AFP) – Nov 13, 2011
DHAKA — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will open a forum in Bangladesh on Monday at which countries most vulnerable to climate change will try to unite ahead of global talks in South Africa in December.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum has gathered 18 countries in Dhaka to also share experiences of fighting global warming and to discuss how to tackle its effects.
"The aim of this conference is to get the nations who are disproportionately affected by climate change, the most vulnerable nations, to come together and speak with one voice," Mesbah ul Alam, Bangladesh's environment secretary said.
"Climate change is real and it is affecting us now -- we live with floods, with climate refugees, with rising salinity in our coastal areas and with the impact of rising sea levels," he told AFP.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum was set up in 2009 under the chairmanship of the Maldives and was then passed to Kiribati in 2010.
In addition to pressuring rich nations to assist poorer countries, it aims to showcase some of the most innovative adaptation strategies already in place in vulnerable countries.
"The aim is to counter the pessimism surrounding climate talks now," said Saleem Huq, a fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development.
"We want to show that the poorest, most vulnerable countries are not being passive but proactive."
Huq acknowledged that there was a "deadlock" in terms of international climate talks and said it was unlikely there would be any significant breakthroughs at Durban, South Africa in December.
Among the countries meeting in Dhaka are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the Maldives, Nepal and the Philippines.
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