What’s needed to achieve climate resilience in Asia?

Monday, September 9, 2019

This blog captures the key recommendations for the UN Climate Action Summit from Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance’s session on the importance of systems thinking in building inclusive climate resilience at the Asia Pacific Climate Week in September 2019.

The Asia Pacific Climate Week took place in Bangkok last week. It was intended to boost regional climate action and provide crucial inputs to the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York later this month and COP25 in Chile in December. 

Countries in the Asia Pacific region are among the world’s most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Floods and other disasters triggered by climate change are growing in intensity, frequency and complexity with serious consequences for already vulnerable communities. The economic loss for the region from such disasters is estimated at US$ 675 billion, or 2.4% of the total Gross Domestic Product.

Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance at Asia Pacific Climate Week

During the week, a team from the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance led a session highlighting the importance of systems thinking in building inclusive flood and climate resilience. The panel was co-organized with the Global Resilience Partnership and held with Alliance partners from Mercy Corps, Practical Action, Concern Worldwide, and the Indonesian government. Together we identified common challenges, but also concrete recommendations on how to promote climate resilience in Asia.

Recommendations on how to promote climate resilience in Asia

    The international community needs to urgently embrace a systems approach as a means of better identifying complex climate change related and other risks, as well as adaptive capacities for dealing with them. Without a systems approach critical influencing and enabling conditions may be missed. This can throw adaptation activities off track, limit the sustainability of these actions, or even contribute to unanticipated negative impacts.

    Donors and national governments must take action and commit to increasing flexible, multi-sector and long-term funding for resilience building that addresses future risks and uncertainty in contexts that are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

    Instead of focusing only on responding and recovering from events, donors and governments need to increase investments in preparedness, particularly in early warning and climate information services that are inclusive and reach the most vulnerable.

    There is a need for multi-stakeholder engagement in Climate Change Adaptation (CCA). This should involve improved identification of incentives and motivations for different actors to participate. For example through better presentation of data and evidence in appropriate formats and economic incentives like tax reduction/tax holidays to encourage private and non-traditional actor engagement.

    Governments need to encourage better cooperation across sectoral ministries to develop comprehensive CCA plans which incorporate perspectives from the most vulnerable groups, and are mainstreamed across various sectors.

The Alliance partners urge world leaders to take these recommendations into their commitments at the Climate Action Summit in New York.

For more details on the Alliance’s commitments and recommendations for the UN Climate Action Summit see our Events Brief

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