KATHMANDU (AFP) - The first climate change talks between Himalayan nations ended here Tuesday with a call for international assistance, but some observers criticised the failure of key figures to show up. The people of South Asia are among those most likely to be affected by climate change, said a statement issued after two days of talks in Kathmandu aimed at highlighting the problems facing the region. Around 1.3 billion people depend on the water that flows down from the Himalayan glaciers, which experts say are melting at an alarming rate, threatening to bring floods and later drought to the region. (The region) is a climate change hotspot that influences the lives of half the worlds population, said a statement issued after the talks. Climate change in this region will affect people and ecosystems from the mountains to the coast to the sea. The Kathmandu conference was the first time Himalayan governments have come together to lobby for ambitious emission reduction targets ahead of the key Copenhagen summit of world leaders in December, which aims to seal a new international climate change accord. But with few countries represented at ministerial level, some delegates questioned the strength of the statement. Theres not much in it. I dont think the right people were here, said Mohamed Aslam, environment minister for the Maldives, the low-lying island nation which has campaigned strongly on climate change. (But) its a good start and it shows they (Himalayan nations) now realise they can no longer ignore the issue. Nepalese lawmaker and environmental campaigner Sunil Pant expressed disappointment with the outcome of the talks, saying they had produced nothing significant to take to Copenhagen. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were all represented at the talks. The statement called on developed nations to provide financial assistance to help poor countries in the region adapt to the changing conditions, which have brought food shortages in some of the worlds poorest communities. Meanwhile, a UN reported issued in Geneva, said developing nations need a 600-billion-dollar Marshall Plan annually to tackle climate change with support from rich nations on a scale not seen outside wartime recovery. The World Economic and Social Survey called for a Global Sustainable New Deal to overcome the woefully inadequate estimate of 21 billion dollars currently set aside internationally to adapt to and cope with climate change. It pointed out that while the world needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 80pc over 1990 levels by 2050, the energy generating capacity of developing countries was projected to be double that of their developed counterparts. The report firmly laid the burden for current cuts on wealthy nations, noting that carbon emissions from Chinas booming economy were equivalent to those of the United States before WWI. Touching on a core stumbling block in global climate talks, the report said that poor nations needed a huge investment programme from rich nations to shift to clean energy, and to adapt to the weather changes and damage wrought by global warming. The ballpark figure in this report is one percent of world GDP, something in the order currently of $500b to $600b annually is what developing countries will need in terms of international support to make this kind of shift sooner rather than later, UN economist said author Richard Kozul-Wright told journalists. The report endorsed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: The idea of freezing the current level of global inequality over the next half century or more, as the world goes about trying to solve the climate problem, is economically, politically and ethically unacceptable.