Sun, Nov 18, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Asian leaders to pledge increase of forest cover

AFP , SINGAPORE

Asian leaders from 16 countries will pledge to increase the region's forest cover by 2020 and promote the use of nuclear energy during their annual summit here this week.

A draft statement obtained yesterday said the leaders due to meet on Wednesday will also throw their support behind a UN plan as the "core mechanism" to tackle global warming.

Leaders from 16 Asian countries will meet Wednesday for the East Asia summit.

The meeting will take place one day after the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

SAVING ORANGUTANS

In the draft statement, the leaders pledge to work towards an "aspirational goal of increasing cumulative forest cover in the region by at least 15 million hectares of all types of forests by 2020."

The UN warned earlier this year that illegal logging by foreign firms could lead to a 98 percent loss of Southeast Asia's tropical rain forests by 2022, threatening the habitat of tens of thousands of endangered orangutans.

The leaders will also agree to cooperate on the "development and the use of civilian nuclear power" amid concern that soaring oil prices could hurt regional economic growth.

But leaders will stress that the use of atomic energy will be controlled in a manner that insures "nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation" by following the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

CONCERNS

Environmental groups have voiced concerns over the disposal of nuclear wastes and the danger that plutonium -- a key ingredient for making atomic weapons -- could fall into the wrong hands.

The leaders affirmed their commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change as the "core mechanism" to deal with global warming, according to the draft.

ASEAN member Indonesia is hosting a UN-backed climate change conference on the island of Bali next month. Delegates will attempt to thrash out a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which entered into force in 2005 and is set to expire in 2012.

This story has been viewed 1678 times.
TOP top