2nd Asia-Pacific
Climate Change Adaptation forum

12 - 13 March 2012
Bangkok, Thailand


An enriched landscape of climate change adaptation was revealed on the second day of the Climate Change Adaptation Forum. Building on the first two plenary sessions which focused on adaptation in practice, the third plenary session focused on governance and adaptation. Three key messages emerged from UNDP, the Secretariat of Pacific Community, World Resources Institute, the UN Capital Development Fund, and the Australian Agency for International Development. First, speakers urged the participants to "build on what we already have". Existing institutions, systems, and expertise, they said, should be integrated and coordinated when addressing climate change adaptation. Second, speakers called for "adapting what we've got", or to modify and transform systems according to the context. Third, speakers said there must be a readiness to "change our mindsets" especially in the face of changing environmental conditions. Climate change adaptation practitioners must begin to think long-term. Thomas Beloe, Aid Effectiveness Specialist at the UNDP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, reminded everyone that as human beings "we adapt based on what we know, but we must continue to learn". In doing so, we innovate ways of adapting to the challenges thrown up by climate change.

Participants continued the rich knowledge sharing at twelve more panel sessions that discussed examples of governance and linking climate adaptation knowledge to action.

The fourth and last panel session focused on putting climate change adaptation into practice. Saleemul Haq, Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, remarked that Asia-Pacific is at the forefront of climate change adaptation, and is equipped with adequate knowledge and experience to invest in placing people at the heart of adaptation efforts. Kazuya Yasuhara, Professor Emeritus at Ibaraki University, explained how technology solutions, such as coastal engineering, can contribute to effective adaptation. Vic Aquitania, Regional Director, Southeast Asia Secretariat of the ICLEI, shared how local governments in the Philippines are using the Twinning Cities scheme, or the "Big Brother" approach, for matching strong adaptive cities to beginners in the adaptation field.

The Forum's closing ceremony acknowledged all the themes identified throughout the two days of vibrant knowledge sharing. Said Irandoust, President of the Asian Institute of Technology, commended participants for joining a forum that "generated opportunities for us to familiarise ourselves with our innate adaptation ability." AnnaMaria Oltorp, Counsellor, Head of Development Cooperation Section, Embassy of Sweden in Thailand, concluded the Forum by emphasizing the importance of regional coordination and knowledge sharing for climate change adaptation.

Change mindsets to adapt, say Experts
On the last day of the Second Asia-Pacific Adaptation Forum, the speakers urged the participants to build on whatever they already had, and change the mindset toward adaptation.

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13 March
Fatema Rajabali, Climate Change Convener, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, United Kingdm , said indigenous people must be made partners in dialogue on adaptation to promote a more transparent flow of information.   Joy J. Pereira, Professor, Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Institute (SEADPRI-UKM), Universiti Kebangsaan, Malay called upon academicians to document the good practices in peer reviewed publications to catch the eye of the policy-makers   Bindu Lohani, Vice President, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Philippines , said what gave him hope was the focus regional leaders laid on the interest of their people.
Richard Friend, Senior Staff Scientist, Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET), Thailan , said city planners must move beyond mapping and zoning to visualizing the future of the city.   Youssef Nassef, Coordinator, Adaptation Programme, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Germany "what Asia-Pacific lacks the most is regional cooperation. It must also to capture traditional knowledge"   Linda Yarr, Director, Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA), Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, USA said universities can use their convening powers to bring the private and public sector together on one platform.
Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow, Climate Change Group, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), United Kingdom said countries need social capital to cope with adaptation.   A M Zakir Hussain, Regional Advisor, WHO, said you can't think of adaptation unless you have a sound body and mind.   Kien Tran-Mai, Climate Change Programme Officer, Mekong River Commission Secretariat, Lao PDR, said Mekong basin countries must work together to cope with climate change.
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This web highlight is a partnership product of the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform for Asia and Mangroves for the Future (MFF), through Ms. Janalezza Morvenna A. Esteban, MFF Regional Knowledge Management Officer Asia.