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High schools students of Bukidnon who performed a welcome dance and sang a traditional song of blessing.

The text of welcome address by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP, Chair, Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats at the Second Workshop on Climate Change Cagayan de Oro,  February 11-14, 2012

Following what seemed a very stimulating workshop on Climate Change in Bangkok last November, I am pleased to welcome all of you here to the second in the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats series of discussions on the subject. I am particularly thankful to our Secretary General, Neric Acosta, Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection to the Philippine President, for facilitating our meeting here, where there is so much evidence of the potentially catastrophic consequences of Climate Change. I recall when I was Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights in Sri Lanka meeting with counterparts here and being astonished at the impact of floods here which made our own problems seem relatively trivial.

But we should also bear in mind that such problems are never trivial to those who suffer, and in each country, regardless of numbers affected, we need to do our best to avoid disaster, as well as to mitigate its impact when it occurs. Awareness of how climate is changing, and what areas this will affect adversely in each of our countries is of the essence.

At the same time we should also be aware of factors that maximize the impact of change, and also the need to explore remedies that address other issues as well. In that regard I am particularly happy that we have added a few more topics to the issues we identified at the last workshop. Demographic Changes and Settlements are of increasing concern in many of our countries with exponentially exploding urbanization presenting increasingly complex environmental problems. In dealing with these we need also to be aware of the positive impact that judicious investment and highlighting of socially productive economic opportunities can have.

I have been made particularly aware of all this recently in my role of Adviser on Reconciliation to the President, and in looking at some problems with regard to resuscitating the Northern Province that suffered so intensely during the period of conflict in Sri Lanka. To add to the deprivation caused by decades of terrorist domination, that paid no attention to either infrastructural development or the nurturing of human resources, we found too a collapse in the agricultural activity that has such potential in the area. Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome address by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, Chair – Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats

At the Workshop on Climate Change

Setting CALD’s Climate Change Agenda

Bangkok, November 28th – 30th 2011

I am happy to welcome all of you here to the first of a series of discussions on Climate Change, which the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats has embarked on. We are particularly grateful that the Hon Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party of Thailand and former Prime Minister, has graced the occasion to deliver the keynote address. The recent floods in Thailand seem to me a clear example of the Climate Change that can have such adverse consequences and which needs to be address.

However I should note that, reading in the Thai papers about your debate in Parliament on this subject, we should bear in mind that perhaps Climate Change had little to do with the catastrophe, and that it was due more to bad management by the government that took over from the Democrats earlier this year. Indeed I gather there is yet another interpretation, namely that Khun Abhisit deliberately lost the election and then called down floods from heaven to show up the inadequacies of the successor government.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rajiva Wijesinha

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