Delivered by the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
The Fifth Asia Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum was held on 17-19 October 2016 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, organized by UN Environment Asia Pacific Adaptation Network and hosted by the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. More than 700 participants consisting of adaptation experts, policymakers, development partners, non-government and civil society organization, financial institutions, individuals, youth, media, and private sector representatives from over 50 countries from Asia-Pacific attended the Forum.
H.E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka delivered the opening address in which he emphasized climate change resilience at local, national and regional levels to achieve sustainable development. The President called upon all actors involved at local, national and international levels to enhance actions on climate resilience implementation.
Bridging gaps in policy and practice
Having as its overall theme “Adapting and Living below 2°C: Bridging Gaps in Policy & Practice”, discussions during the Adaptation Forum focused on climate change adaptation planning, mobilizing financing for adaptation, promoting climate-resilience and sustainable development as well as strengthening the role of actors at different levels and partnerships. The Paris Agreement 2016, along with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, has brought a new impetus to achieve a global long term temperature increase goal of well below 2 Degrees Centigrade and strive for 1.5 Degrees if possible.
Participants explored various pathways for translating policies into practices and upscaling practices to meet the scale of adaptation needs including participation from the private and financing sectors. There were deliberate efforts to learn lessons from a decade of adaptation policy and action, looking not only at what worked, but also at what did not.
- Whilst policy and institutional frameworks are being advanced to address climate adaptation, accompanied by decision making for implementing adaptation plans across the Asia Pacific region, opportunities and solutions continue to be needed to strengthen inclusiveness, vertical integration between national and local planning, and engaging a wider range of stakeholders from across government agencies, the private sector and practitioners at the local level. Adaptation planning should shift to long term timelines, aligned with national economic and development planning, whilst projects and their financing should be short and long term to realise priorities.
- Capacities continue to be needed, especially in least developed countries, low lying regions and island nations, at national and local levels, to interpret and execute solutions as well as strengthen monitoring and reporting to national adaptation goals, as well as the Paris Agreement and relevant Global Sustainable Development Goals. Capacity gaps at national level must be addressed so as to enable translating and executing global and regional decisions (e.g. for implementing national adaptation goals, monitoring and reporting and adaptation communication).
- Partnerships for solutions and linking science to policy and actions continue to benefit those needing support to adapt - including governments, individuals, Civil society, Private sector, academia, Media - but need further strengthening.
- Awareness of the impact of climate change and how to adapt must be increased to inform the vulnerable as well as policy makers for decision making on financing, technology, job creation, migration and infrastructure development. Climate Resilient Development that integrates social, economic and environmental solutions is essential to support adaptation planning and implementation. The innovative developments in information technology and communications globally and across the Asia Pacific region must be optimised to support Climate Resilient Development.
- Access to financing climate resilient development is a joint responsibility of governments, private sector, intergovernmental agencies and financial institutions and other stakeholders. Whilst financing adaptation solutions is attracting attention, good models of development, incentive mechanisms and access to co-financing and dialogue with financial planners and decision makers’ needs to step up. Future investments in climate resilient development programmes by governments and donor agencies should be biased in favour of assisting and enabling the poorest and most vulnerable communities to adapt.
- Best practices need to be better shared in knowledge platforms for integrating climate financing into development planning and budgeting systems and improvements made in the standardization of approach and methodologies.
- Increased transparency and openness in climate financing opportunities supporting climate resilient activities, as well as sharing plans and solutions in climate mitigation and adaptation are essential.
- Smart development planning and execution that integrates capital investment in infrastructure (airports, roads, towns, coastal areas, buildings etc.) with climate adaptation plans can contribute to social and economic benefits as well as the environment. A positive trend for climate resilient development that benefits the most vulnerable as well as economies, presents an integrated approach that links development planning and financing with resilience development. Win-win solutions not just benefit the people but their livelihoods, health and jobs that in turn benefits countries’ national sustainable development.
- The power of integrated approaches, collective learning and knowledge management are being increasingly mainstreamed to deliver solutions for adaptation. The new areas of knowledge in financing, technology and monitoring and reporting are additional to the ongoing need for science and general information on adaption. Indicators of success and best practices for solutions are growing with online knowledge exchange platforms and participation in regional and sub-regional forums. The diversity of stakeholders are growing but more engagement of the business, technology and finance sectors is needed as well as from more governments agencies including finance and development. Private sector actors and investors in insurance, construction and technical education are urgently needed to join the forums on climate resilient development.
- Adaptation communities of practice are also better positioned to embrace new and innovative approaches being promoted globally and regionally with financial resources in response to the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. These include South-South Cooperation, Public- Private sector partnerships and the intergovernmental forums in South, South East, East Asia and the Pacific.
Taking Action, Going Forward
- The rich dialogue and content shared and exchanged at the 5th Forum provide a foundation of solutions, integrated approaches, innovative partnerships and an invitation to new partners especially the private, technology and finance sectors, to join the alliances already working on climate resilient development.
- From Sri Lanka, the 5th Forum is calling for an urgency to be inclusive and reach out to the vulnerable, engaging with local levels and communities with increasing awareness and outreach.
- The diversity of committed participants at the 5th Forum of APAN pledge to take the outcomes and rich information and implement much more relevant and needed actions with urgency.
- The leaders of Asia Pacific countries are invited to build on and magnify the leadership of the Government of Sri Lanka in organising the 5th Forum. The participants pledge to inform more partners to take on the messages from the 5th Forum and turn them into action for an Asia Pacific region that is climate resilient and its people responding and adapting to the new paradigms of climate Change.
- The 5th Forum has successfully provided a variety of constructive and practical solutions to bridge the gap between policy and practices building on past experiences.
- We wish us all success going forward to bridge the GAPS.