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International Agencies Urge Private Investment in Climate Change

A report by Sweden's international aid organization calls for greater private-sector investment in Southeast Asia to assist industry in adapting to climate change. The report is being released for a U.N. sponsored economic forum Thursday in the Thai capital.

The report by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency calls for increased corporate-sector investment in Southeast Asia to help adapt to climate change caused by global warming.

The report, warns Southeast Asia is "particularly vulnerable to climate change", due to high levels of poverty and extensive coast lines vulnerable to flooding from rising sea levels.

The U.N. Development Program has estimated the cost for the private sector to adapt globally to climate change by 2015 is between $86-billion and $109-billion. U.N. officials say the international financial crisis is threatening access to investment in the new technology.

But Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency Director Anders Nordstrom says the crisis should be viewed as short term, while the needs to develop long-term solutions for economies facing climate change remain and offer opportunities for employment growth.

Nordstrom said international negotiations are needed to support contributions from the private and public sectors for industry to adapt due to the impact of climate change. The United Nations has set a deadline of December this year for a new international climate treaty.

"Part of the international negotiations now needs more to address the issue in terms of how are we going to be able to change to finance both what is needed in terms of mitigation but also adaption and this will need a capital injection and part needs to come from the private sector themselves but also needs to come from public resources," Nordstrom said.

U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer also pressed the private sector to take a role in solving climate change.

Speaking on the eve of a U.N. sponsored forum in Bangkok, Heyzer says climate change is both a threat and an opportunity for 'green growth', and the need for the private sector to adapt to climate change is 'real'.

Nordstrom said he is optimistic business will invest more in 'green' technology as a source of economic growth.

"I am quite optimistic in terms of continuing to make sure that we have reasonable economic growth that is needed, but also managing the environmental challenges," Nordstrom said. "And I think there are good signs the U.S. administration would like to engage more in a multi-lateral process and have multi-lateral agreements across the world."

The Bangkok conference Thursday brings together more than 200 delegates from Europe and the Asia-Pacific to discuss investment and risk opportunities for businesses associated with climate change.