Kathmandu, August 21:

With almost all SAARC nations grappling with natural disasters, participants at the SAARC workshop on ‘Climate Change and Disaster: Emerging Trends and Future Strategies’ here today laid emphasis on increasing regional cooperation to fight climate change and disaster.

SAARC secretary-general Dr Sheel Kanta Sharma said climate change was a cross-regional issue that threatened the region. “The region is a hotspot of climatic change and highly vulnerable due to poverty, illiteracy and gender issues, making the situation more challenging to tackle,” he said.

“Although we share burdens on emitting green house gases topographically, risk of climate change is higher in the region,” said secretary at the Home Ministry Umesh Prasad Mainali. Intensity and magnitude of natural disasters has been increasing in the region every year with multiple impacts on development process and bio-diversity, he said.

Director of Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) PG Dhar Chakrabarti said the region was losing 3 per cent of GDP annually due to disaster. He said the workshop would highlight ongoing efforts on climatic change adaptation and disaster-risk reduction strategies.

More than 50 participants from eight SAARC nations and over 100 stakeholders from Nepal are participating in the two-day workshop organised by the SDMC, the Home Ministry.