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Originating from discussions during the 2008 SENSA Retreat (Siem Riep, Cambodia, 10-12 February), the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform for Asia (Adaptation Knowledge Platform) has been developed to respond to demand for effective mechanisms for sharing information on climate change adaptation and for developing adaptive capacities in Asian countries.
This initiative supports research and capacity building on climate change adaptation, policy making and information sharing to help countries in Asia adapt to the challenges of climate change. It will also seek to facilitate climate change adaptation at local, national and regional levels and to strengthen adaptive capacity of countries in the region, while working with existing and emerging networks and initiatives.
A number of international initiatives have been launched to help countries build their national capacity to respond to the changing climate, but many of these initiatives are being undertaken independently of one another, leaving an unsolved need for enhanced sharing of information, knowledge and lessons learned within and across borders. A key function of the Adaptation Knowledge Platform is to meet this need.
Goal, Purpose and Components
The Adaptation Knowledge Platform is working toward building bridges between current knowledge on adaptation to climate change and the governments, agencies and communities that need this knowledge to inform their responses to the challenges that climate change presents them. This is reflected in the Platform Goal, which is to strengthen adaptive capacity and facilitate climate change adaptation in Asia at local, national and regional levels.
The specific Purpose of the programme is to establish a regionally and nationally owned mechanism that facilitates the integration of climate change adaptation into national and regional economic and development policies, processes and plans, strengthen linkages between adaptation and the sustainable development agenda in the region, and enhance institutional and research capacity, in collaboration with a wide range of national and regional partners.
In order to achieve this purpose, the Adaptation Knowledge Platform will bring together policy-makers, adaptation researchers, practitioners, and business leaders and will work through a range of activities to achieve three components:
- Regional knowledge sharing system: a regionally and nationally owned mechanism to promote dialogue and improve the exchange of knowledge, information and methods within and between countries on climate change adaptation, and to link existing and emerging networks and initiatives.
- Generation of new knowledge: to facilitate the generation of new climate change adaptation knowledge promoting understanding and providing guidance relevant to the development and implementation of national and regional climate change adaptation policy, plans and processes.
- Application of existing and new knowledge: synthesis of existing and new climate change adaptation knowledge to facilitate its application in sustainable development practices at the local, national and regional levels.
In its first phase (2009-2012), the Adaptation Knowledge Platform will cover the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (Cambodia, China PR, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam), South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka) and South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines).
Institutional structure and initial implementing partners
The Adaptation Knowledge Platform is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Initial partners in this initiative are the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Swedish Environmental Secretariat for Asia (SENSA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)/UNEP Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific (AIT/UNEP RRC.AP), which hosts its Secretariat. Where appropriate, the Adaptation Knowledge Platform will work with national partners to assist in specific implementation of activities in the countries of engagement.
The Adaptation Knowledge Platform increasingly depends on quality scientific, socio-economic and technical knowledge, and recognises a need to further strengthen and facilitate its networking and the institutionalisation of its activities.
In addition to internal advice, the initiative will seek guidance from external representatives from academia, policy makers, media, financial and the business sector on a variety of implementing activities. To this end, the Adaptation Knowledge Platform has constituted an Advisory Panel to provide science, technical and management advice relevant to integrating climate change adaptation into development planning in Asia. More information on the Advisory Panel members can be found on the following link.
The immediate beneficiaries are civil servants, researchers and development workers who will be equipped with the knowledge, tools and opportunities to promote climate change adaptation strategies in their work, as well as a limited number of local communities with whom research and pilot activities are undertaken. Eventually, the beneficiary pool will be very wide as climate change adaptation knowledge is applied and capacities to integrate adaptation into development planning are enhanced for the public good in diverse areas of work.