2 DEC | Keynote Address - Asean Leadership in Addressing Climate Change

Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad
Minister Of Natural Resources, Environment & Climate Change

2 December 2023 | 10 AM
Malaysia Pavilion - Blue Zone

1. YBhg, Dr. Ching Thoo a/l Kim Secretary General of Ministry Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change
2. Mr. Ir. Ahmad Zaiemaddien bin Pehin Datu Lailaraja Mejar Jeneral (Rtd.) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Awang Halbi, Head of Brunei Climate Change Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office of Brunei Darussalam
3. Representatives from ASEAN Member States and ASEAN Secretariat
4. Distinguished speakers and moderator
5. Our international partner, The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (Dor-sher ge-zalshaf fo internationa-le ge-zuzaman-abat gei-em-bi-ha) or GIZ


Esteemed guests, and distinguished speakers from ASEAN Member States, ladies and gentlemen,
1. A very warm welcome to this significant gathering, that brings us together at UNFCCC-COP28 to address one of the most pressing challenges of our time, which is climate change. It is indeed an honour to have a joint event with the Government of Brunei Darussalam and strong support from GIZ to further elaborate on ASEAN Leadership in Addressing Climate Change.

2. I extend my appreciation to the distinguished speakers representing the ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat. Your valuable contributions enrich the discussions and underscore the collaborative spirit essential for addressing shared challenges.

3. As we embark on this crucial journey, it is important to acknowledge the shared responsibility that binds us as members of the ASEAN Community. Climate change knows no borders, and its impacts are felt far and wide, affecting the very fabric of our societies, economies, and ecosystems.

Ladies and gentlemen,


4. ASEAN is now home to a total population of nearly 670 million and a combined GDP of USD3 trillion—making us the fifth-largest economy in the world. We will be the 4 th largest by 2030. It is no stretch of imagination to say that we are the fulcrum of Asia, as well as a key engine for global economic growth. Indeed, it has been said that the Asian Century will be a Southeast Asian one.

5. By that every gesture therefore, how we address climate change and its related challenges, could be decisive in relation to Asia and globally. The ASEAN region is certainly no stranger to the impacts of climate change – from rising sea levels to extreme weather events, we have witnessed the toll it takes on our communities.

6. An IMF report way back in 2018 noted that average temperatures in Southeast Asia have risen every decade since 1960. Quoting the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) 2015 estimates, it was noted that unchecked, climate change could shave 11 percent off Southeast Asia’s GDP by the end of the century—in other words, that we would suffer more than other regions in the world.

7. Cognisant of these challenges, the ASEAN Member States are fully committed to achieve the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement goals, particularly by upholding the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), in the light of the markedly different national circumstances in our region. We also share the most profound concern regarding the continuing rise in global GHG emissions, climate risks, and impacts on natural and human systems, including those outlined in the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

8. In the face of adversity, we find strength in our diversity and resilience in our unity. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to work together to mitigate the impacts of climate change, adapt to its inevitable consequences, and foster sustainable development across our nations.


Ladies and gentlemen,

9. In this critical role as the Chair of the ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change (AWGCC), Malaysia is committed to fostering collaboration, driving innovation, and supporting the effective implementation of our collective climate change action plan within the ASEAN community. Malaysia recognises the need for swift and meaningful responses to climate change, and as the chair of the working group, we pledge our support to ensure the effective implementation of the AWGCC Action Plan.

10. Considering the importance of climate change to our region in global platforms such as COP28, as the Chair of AWGCC, I would like to emphasise the need for the ASEAN Spirit to explore the opportunity to negotiate issues of common interest as one voice. ASEAN, as we know, has been decisive, since its founding in 1967, in ensuring the peace, neutrality and connectivity of our region. I would argue that, as a platform with regional and even global reach, that it could also help us address the pressing challenges of our time, including climate change.

11. For instance, I strongly believe ASEAN is an institution that has the convening power in advancing the climate negotiations in the UNFCCC. ASEAN’s leadership and convening role is an untapped asset that can be leveraged to negotiate issues of common interest such as Just Transition, Climate Finance, Loss and Damage and Global Goal on Adaptation.

12. Separately, developing a long-term mitigation strategy for ASEAN will be key to inform sectoral and cross-sectoral policy planning in AMS in line with the pathway towards the Paris Agreement goals. In 5 this regard, Malaysia is formulating a Long-Term Low Emissions Strategy (LT-LEDS) and NDC Roadmap, which will serve as a comprehensive guideline for our aspirations towards achieving net-zero emissions as early as 2050. Among Malaysia's key priorities is the drafting of a climate change bill, the establishment of a national adaptation fund, and the development of a carbon market mechanism.

13. Over the years, the AWGCC has demonstrated a strong commitment to address climate change, including through multi sectoral dialogue and relevant activities involving key partners in various sectors. I applaud efforts by all AMS and stakeholders for your commitment in championing these important tasks under the AWGCC Action Plan.



14. We also see the establishment of the ASEAN Climate Change Centre in this region as signifying a monumental step toward a shared vision of a greener, more resilient ASEAN. The Centre, under Brunei's guidance, is poised to become a hub of innovation, knowledge-sharing, and collaborative action, setting an example for the entire region and beyond.

15. The choice of Brunei Darussalam as the home for the ASEAN Climate Change Centre exemplifies not only the commitment of the nation but also its leadership in fostering regional cooperation on this paramount issue. I would like to record our appreciation to Brunei Darussalam for their dedicated efforts and unwavering commitment in ensuring the successful establishment of the Centre.

Ladies and gentlemen,


16. I am also honoured to extend a heartfelt invitation to our ASEAN friends to actively participate in the engaging sessions organised at the Malaysia Pavilion. This platform has been designed to foster collaboration, share insights, and showcase the collective efforts not only by Malaysia but also the ASEAN Community in addressing the pressing challenges of climate change.

17. We are likewise particularly excited to visit the pavilions of our fellow ASEAN nations. Each pavilion, we feel, represents a unique story of commitment, innovation, and sustainable practices. I look forward to further engaging with other ASEAN leaders and strongly support the recent ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change submitted to the UNFCCC. This joint statement exemplifies the shared vision and collaborative spirit that binds us together as ASEAN leaders.

18. As I have highlighted, ASEAN matters in climate change. We have done a lot, and God willing, will do a lot more, especially in securing a just transition. I would also urge the developed nations of the world to realise that ASEAN, which is so diverse politically and socio-economically, is in a way a microcosm of Asia and even the world, including for how climate change can be effectively but also inclusively dealt with.

19. It could very well be, as noted, that our region will be decisive in whether humanity can succeed or fail in this quest. It is a heavy responsibility and as such, we need not only unity within our region but also the support of the globe, including those that are better off. We are not seeking charity or handouts, but the wherewithal to aid in the efforts to ensure the survival of our species.

20. May our collective efforts at COP28 contribute significantly to the global fight against climate change and inspire positive change for generations to come. I very much look forward to the engagements ahead and I wish you all a productive and successful COP28.

Thank you.