Participants at a forum on climate change adaptation developed recommendations on five conditions to enable resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. The 7th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum convened from 8-12 March 2021 via virtual means.

Youseff Nassef, UNFCCC, summarized discussions at the end of the Forum, focused on each of the five enabling conditions. On climate governance, he highlighted the need for: a whole-of-society approach to resilience; promotion of systems thinking; targeted interventions across sectors; inclusion of the private sector; and strengthening institutional capacity. 

On planning and processes, he noted the emphasis on putting people at the center of both, political will, and leadership. On science and assessment, he emphasized a bottom-up approach to innovation and solutions in adaptation, strengthening regional and transboundary cooperation, and systemic changes and coordinated efforts.

On technologies and practice, he highlighted: the need to value capital in all its dimensions; adoption of innovative and disruptive technology; engaging with all actors; and promoting cross-disciplinary learning. On finance and investments, he emphasized the need to: integrate climate change into development finance and private sector investment; shift to a long-term horizon for projects and planning; boost up-front technical assistance; and increase the understanding of incremental costs and benefits.

Leaders of the three Rio Conventions addressed the high-level closing plenary. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), said biodiversity conservation has become a greater priority this past year, and the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature demonstrates that countries are ready to address the interconnectedness of biodiversity loss and climate change.

Tina Birmpili, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), underscored that land can contribute to climate mitigation. She told participants that the UNCCD seeks to address climate change challenges through the Framework for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). Ovais Sarmad, UNFCCC, said that in 2021, the focus of the UNFCCC will be on implementation. He stressed the importance of supporting contingency measures to address multifaceted climate change impacts.

Ken O’Flaherty, COP 26 Regional Ambassador to Asia-Pacific and South Asia, warned that climate change disruptions will be long-lasting even if all emissions stop today. He underscored the urgency of addressing natural disaster vulnerabilities in the region with a focus on the most marginalized communities. Partners of the Asia-Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) called for: financing for nature-based solutions; good governance for implementation and a locally-led approach to adaptation; and pursuing inclusive resilience.

The Forum was hosted by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, together with the APAN Secretariat, which is provided by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). [Earth Negotiations Bulletin meeting coverage]