The report by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), released yesterday, argues that despite the region being among the world’s most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, its governments have failed to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by COVID-19 to promote a greener economy. Indeed, many have enacted measures that make such a transition more difficult.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic recession have revealed the failure and fragility of our current economic system,” the report stated, “which has prioritized business interests over the well-being of people and the environment, deepened inequalities and failed to protect the most vulnerable.”
Southeast Asian nations recognize the extent of the risk. In its ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, formulated at the end of 2020, the 10-nation Southeast Asian bloc explicitly stated that climate change poses a “fundamental risk” to the region and that “actions to mitigate the impacts of climate change should be taken immediately.”