SINGAPORE: There will be a slew of Singapore-led programmes from this year until 2020 as part of efforts to help ASEAN countries tackle climate change.
Under the Climate Action Package (CAP) launched on Tuesday (Jul 10), Singapore will organise programmes to develop capacity in key areas such as disaster risk reduction, climate science, flood management and long-term mitigation and adaptation strategies.
The courses under CAP will be refreshed annually and the initiative will be reviewed prior to 2020.
"We hope that the CAP will be useful to ASEAN countries as they ramp up actions to address climate change," said Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli at the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action (SAMCA).
The special meeting, attended by delegates from ASEAN, was an initiative by Singapore, as the 2018 ASEAN Chair, to provide a regional platform to discuss climate action efforts.
The ASEAN region, whose population centres lie along low-lying coasts and river plains, is highly vulnerable to sea level rise and climate extremes, Mr Masagos noted, as he stressed the need for ASEAN to remain committed to climate action.
Citing the devastation of 2013's Super Typhoon Haiyan that swept through northern Southeast Asia, causing more than 6,000 deaths - Mr Masagos warned that worse storms may hit.
“That is what scientists are telling us can happen if we do nothing about climate change,” he said.
Apart from capacity building, Mr Masagos said Singapore will also lend its support in other areas. It is supporting the establishment of the first Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (SEADRIF), which will be set up in Singapore in 2019.
The risk pool is meant to provide immediate liquidity to cover emergency response costs in the aftermath of regional catastrophes.
The Meteorological Service Singapore will also contribute S$5 million in a five-year regional capability development programme, which will begin this year.
The programme aims to benefit ASEAN countries through the sharing of technical knowledge and skills in weather and climate prediction, to help the region better adapt its policies to climate change.