Date: 10-11 November 2014
Location: Hotel Park Village, Kathmandu
The 18th SAARC Summit will be held in Kathmandu on the 26-27 November 2014. The overall theme for the Summit is identified as “Deeper Integration for Peace, Progress and Prosperity,” and is expected to to address many important regional concerns such as agriculture, climate change, food security, disaster management, regional trade, investment and energy cooperation are also among the key themes of focus.
Prior to the SAARC Summit, with the intention of enhancing the discussion on the key themes, Oxfam in collaboration with South Asia Watch on Trade Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC), Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) and Nepalese Youth for Climate Action (NYCA) is organising a regional policy workshop in collaboration with a number of like-minded organisations based in different countries of South Asia and working actively to help deepen regional cooperation.
Key issues of focus:
South Asia while home to nearly one-fourth of the world’s population, is also one of the poorest regions in the world where more than 276 million people are chronically hungry. It ranks lowest in terms of human development and per-capita income besides Sub-Saharan Africa. A great majority of South Asia’s population is still highly dependent on agriculture. Although agriculture only comprises around 18 per cent of the total regional GDP, it provides employment to over 50 per cent of the total population.
Development of agriculture is fundamental for poverty reduction, economic growth and food security in the region. However, the agriculture sector in South Asian countries is shrinking rapidly, and has seen stagnant or declining rates of investment over the last three decades. South Asian countries need to adopt agricultural policies nationally and at the regional level to facilitate fair and just distribution of agriculture inputs, easy and affordable access of agriculture inputs and services to farmers, measures to reduce associated risks on agriculture and guarantee fair price to farmers for their agricultural produce.
South Asia is on a high level of vulnerability to natural disasters, and has faced 900 disasters during the last 42 years. According to the World Bank, during 1990 and 2008, in the region 750 millions people were affected by natural disasters, with 230,000 deaths and an estimated loss in monetary terms at USD 45 billion. These numbers show the urgent need to address disasters both nationally and at the regional level. Moreover, many of these disasters have not impacted countries in isolation, but on a collective level. This further highlights the need for a regional mechanism to address such incidents, and also reinforces the need to address impacts of natural disasters in an effective and rapid manner.
According to IPCC AR5, the impacts of climate change will influence flooding of settlements and infrastructure, cause heat-related deaths, food and water shortages in South Asia. It further states that climate change will have adverse impacts on food security by the mid-21st century and South Asia will continue to be at threat in terms of being food secure. This will be a high risk for the region to face as it has at present 300 million undernourished people.
Given the impacts felt in the region, adaptation is unequivocal to protect people living in South Asia from adverse impact of climate change. South Asian governments need to amplify its current initiatives to address impacts of climate change both nationally and at the regional level by enforcing key initiatives envisioned in the Thimphu Statement on climate change and actions to implement Dhaka Declaration on Climate Action and SAARC Action Plan on Climate Change.
The regional workshop is a follow up national-level dialogue on issues related to climate change, agriculture, food security and disaster management organised in SAARC member countries. The inputs and recommendations of the dialogue will be considered for discussion at a regional consultation to be organised later, and ultimately provide inputs to the 18th SAARC Summit.
For further information, please contact:
Prabin Man Singh
Oxfam in Nepal
Tel: +977 1 5530574, 542881
Fax: +977 1 5523197