MANILA -- Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have vowed to adopt "Green Growth" policies in urban areas, the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions that drive global warming and climate change.

At the Urban Resilience and Disaster Management forum held in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte last Dec. 4, the ASEAN countries crafted a resolution to enhance information and technology transfer and disaster risk management exchange among the nations.

“With the high vulnerability of Southeast Asian cities to the effects of climate change, resulting in higher frequencies of tropical storms, unprecedented flooding, drought, heat waves, and sea level rise, this forum serves as an important reminder that urban resiliency is an urgent agenda that we have to work with,” Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Jonas Leones said.

DENR Ecosystems Research & Development Bureau (ERDB) Director Dr. Henry A. Adornado said in a statement that the collaboration and information exchange on disaster risk management studies would ensure that concrete plans and actions are implemented by the regional bloc.

ASEAN countries have been vulnerable to the effects of rising temperature in the last 10 years due to the release of greenhouse gases, coming from the combustion of fossil fuels for running vehicles, power plants, and electricity supply for industries and homes.

Cities account for 75 percent of the earth's natural resources consumption, about 67 percent of global energy consumption, and 71 percent of global energy-related CO2 emissions, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The World Bank also said 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from city residents.

Forum coordinator Dr. Simplicia Pasicolan said the agenda is "a timely response," as it is projected that 66 percent or 2.5 billion of the global population would reside in urban areas by 2050, quoting a 2014 United Nations report.

More than 150 participants attended the forum, representing the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. There were also representatives from development partner countries China, India, and Japan. (PNA)