Myanmar urges Asean leaders to address climate change (Lead)

Naypyidaw, Myanmar President U Thein Sein urged Asean leaders to address the impact of climate change along with other relevant issues as the 24th summit of the group began in the country Sunday.

"Extreme weather patterns due to changing climate have affected the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries in increased frequencies and ferocity each year," Xinhua quoted President Sein as saying.

"The Asean Humanitarian Assistance Centre (AHA) has yet to adequately respond to these natural disasters," Sein added.

He urged the Asean community to further develop the existing early warning system and set up rescue and relief centres, vehicles and equipment in each country that could be deployed rapidly when disasters strike.

His proposal also includes establishing a network of research centres in Asean countries for sharing knowledge on climate adaptable agricultural products, which could enable the countries to promote food security.

"As one way to address the issue, I wish to propose a systematic rehabilitation of mangrove forests in Asean. Mangrove forests not only reduce the greenhouse gas but also reduce the impact of storms and floods in low-lying coastal areas," Sein said.

Themed as "Moving forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community", the 24th edition is expected to review the progress towards the realisation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Community by the end of 2015 and discuss ways to overcome challenges in the process of economic integration.

Thailand's political crisis would also be discussed during the summit.

Created in 1967, Asean groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


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