Ministers from eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries have resolved to work together to build regional capacity for mitigating the impacts of climate change and consult each other before international negotiations.
In the Dhaka Declaration adopted on Thursday, they pointed out that climate change is substantively the result of greenhouse gas emissions by the developed countries for over two centuries.
This was the first ever meeting on this subject of the regional grouping of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
The climate fallout posed "a direct threat to sustainable development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the developing nations that have little or no responsibility for the current process of climate change", the ministers concluded.
During daylong discussions, the ministers reached a consensus on an action plan for the South Asian nations, The Daily Star reported.
Acknowledging that every member state has the right to food, energy and water security, they agreed to meet before taking national positions in any international negotiations on environment.
The ministerial meeting endorsed discussions at a two-day experts' meeting.
It was opened by Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed and presided over by Raja Debashish Roy, special assistant to CA for forest and environment ministry.
Roy told the media that the Saarc Action Plan approved by the ministers was based on seven thematic areas to make sure those were consistent with the national action plans.
It includes capacity building for Clean Development Mechanism projects, exchange of information on disaster preparedness and extreme events, exchange of meteorological data, capacity building and exchange of information on climate change impacts including sea level rise, glacial melting and threats to biodiversity, mutual consultation in international negotiation processes and media briefing as and when required.
Sri Lankan minister Patali Champika Ranawaka MP, Indian minister Namo Narain Meena, deputy minister of the Maldives Abdullahi Majeed, deputy ministers of Bhutan Dasho Nado Richhen, Afghanistan representative Abdul Karim Nawabi, Bangladesh's M Asaduzzaman and Pakistan's Jawed Ali Khan spoke at the meeting.