Ministers and high-level officials of the Asia-Pacific (AP) region have agreed to advance the Regional Climate Action (RCA) to promote low carbon and climate-resilient economies. During the AP Climate Week (CW) 2017 held from 13 to 15 December 2015 in Bangkok, Inia Seruiratu, High-level Champion for Global Climate Action and Minister from Fiji, called for acting now with shared responsibilities on climate change for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. The APCW identified key climate change challenges the AP region is facing, called for advancing the public-private partnership and aligning climate change action and investment to help the AP region reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and move towards low carbon future, and adapt to climate change impact through ensured greater regional cooperation and significant investment along with application of cleaner and climate-friendly technologies. The High-Level Segment helped key stakeholders in the region move toward the RCA Agenda for 'more ambition prior to 2020 in key economic sectors, including energy, industry, agriculture, cities and oceans, to promote carbon pricing instruments and policies, and to ensure better transboundary data collection, and access to finance'. Speakers also emphasized on the need for improving the quality of data and transparency.
The APCW, organised under the Nairobi Framework Partnership by the ESCAP in partnership with UNFCCC, UNDP, UN Environment, UNEP-DTU Partnership, ADB, International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and Thai GHG Management Organisation (TGO), was attended by ministers, senior policymakers, scholars, private sector leaders, practitioners, associations, project developers, finance experts and development partners from over 30 countries of the AP region. During these 3 days, public, NGOs and private sector participants reassessed the challenges, shared experiences and lessons learned, explored investment potentials, including from carbon trade and urged for public-private partnership through the AP Carbon Forum, workshops and round-tables on carbon trading systems, carbon pricing and finance for climate action and advance climate action through the regional cooperation.
The APCW 2017 put stronger emphasis on attracting both public and private sector investment for clean and renewable energy to achieve the objectives of holding the temperature rise well below 20C and pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.50C above the pre-industrial levels as contained in the Paris Agreement. This Climate Week also called for non-governmental and private sectors in the AP region to help realize and move ahead to make climate finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low carbon GHG emissions and climate-resilient development.
The global warming has fuelled extreme events through human-caused climate change as 'significant driver'. The highland, dryland, lowland, and island countries of the AP region are continuously facing the challenges and adverse impacts of climate change from snow melting to flood or drought to sea level rise. The High-Level Climate Champion said: 'We are all in the same canoe'.
The APCW was also organized to support implementation of countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, identify opportunities for scaling-up and exploring the role of capital markets to finance the NDCs. Participants underscored the need for targeted international support to low-income and climate vulnerable countries to help people adapt to, and make the development climate-resilient through enhanced regional collaboration, investment and awareness raising.
Participants were updated on COP 23 outcomes, carbon market, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, future of the Clean Development Mechanism, role of the private sector in raising pre-2020 ambition, and how to advance climate action in various key areas, including urban development, waste management, agriculture, energy and industry. The Climate Week also discussed on the role of monitoring, reporting and verification, transparency, and ways to strengthen regional collaboration on carbon pricing for cost-effective achievement of the NDCs. It provided an excellent platform for the exchange of ideas, concerns, needs, knowledge and best practices across the region regarding implementation of the Paris Agreement, including the NDCs.
About 54 percent of the world's population now resides in urban areas. In AP region, half of the population will be living in urban areas within few months (by 2018) and by 2050 AP urban areas will have two-thirds of the total population. Cities are responsible for more than 70 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions. The AP region is home to 6 out of 10 top global emitters and contributes to over half of the world’s total GHGs emissions. Many of the low-income and middle countries are most vulnerable to climate change. Mayors and city managers are facing challenges not only in providing essential services but also to respond to the global call for decarbonisation and rational use of resources. Climate change-induced loss has increased over the years, internal displacement has also increased, and climate change has affected GDP, life, property, livelihood and ecosystem functioning.
In order to address these challenges, AP countries need to enhance regional cooperation, share knowledge, experiences and lessons learned, particularly on the means of implementation (finance, capacity building and technology) and localise and effectively implement the sustainable development goals, New Urban Agenda, DRR framework, and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development & Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development for the AP region.
The RCA is expected to guide the future course of climate change action in the AP region and contribute to the 2016 Marrakech Partnership on Global Climate Action and report to the Fiji introduced 'Talanoa' dialoguein 2018. Effective implementation of these initiatives will guide the future of climate-resilient development in the region.
16 December 2017, Saturday, Bangkok