Climate Change Adaptation and Technology: Gaps and Needs in Southeast Asia

Report / Paper

Climate Change Adaptation and Technology: Gaps and Needs in Southeast Asia

AUTHORS: Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) under Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN)


January 2013

Executive Summary

Most Southeast Asian countries are vulnerable to climate change risks and impacts. In large part, this is due to a lack of adaptive capacity towards resilience or self-organization. These are specific governance challenges at various levels of human organization.

A review of the vulnerability of Southeast Asian countries to climate change in terms of risks and impacts and their specific adaptation and mitigation response shows that the most vulnerable ones evolved advanced climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies to address these risks and impacts, as well as disaster risk reduction mechanisms to recover from calamities. The Philippines was recently cited as having the best Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policies.

The recent Durban Conference in December 2011 indicates that at the global target of keeping the upper limit of temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the atmosphere to 350ppm would be hard to attain in a timely manner even with prevailing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) mechanisms. With this consideration, climate change risks and impacts in Southeast Asia are expected to escalate to levels as high as 6.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2100. In the case of the Philippines, a 4 degree Celsius rise in temperature can lead to even higher levels.

In view of this prevailing trend and the current state of negotiations wherein the mechanisms and sanctions to effect a reversal of this trend has yet to be established and enforced, each of the SEA countries has to further develop, implement and evolve its own appropriate Climate Change Adaptation/ Mitigation CCA&M and associated technologies.

The UNFCCC and Kyoto protocol provide the policy framework at the international level as basis for institutional framework for each country in Southeast Asia (SEA). For each SEA country, the agencies tasked to address the environment and natural resources concerns and climate change are enumerated. Furthermore, two countries with more evolved institutional frameworks are compared with each other: Indonesia and the Philippines.

The specific country situations are presented to preface the sectoral report particularly for water, agriculture and socio-economics. This is followed by a presentation of the specific gaps and needs which were identified during the consultation and training organized by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). These include: identification of relevant sectors which essentially covered everything from ridge to reef, and identification of specific tools, methods and models which covered various assessment systems, expert systems, policy science, local development planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, review and validation, and other various good practice – essentially a knowledge management challenge.

Among the more strongly felt needs articulated in the consultation meeting 1included framing interventions, linking development strategy with DRR and CCA, leading to the early attainment of millennium development goals (MDGs), such as in the landmark case of the Province of Albay which formed the basis for DRR and CCA Policies for the Philippines (Gov. Joey Salceda, personal communication, February 11, 2012). Albay has been noted for practically zero casualties during disasters since they started implementing their programmes and has since achieved their MDG targets for 2015 well ahead of time.

From these data and experiences, a range of possible sustainability parameters for CCA/CCM technologies are suggested given the existence of climate change risks, existing policies, practices on the ground, and specific outputs and outcomes that are being achieved. One parameter suggested is that of having a policy and a mandated government body that will be responsible for: (1) the management of the environment, agriculture and natural resources; (2) climate change; (3) disaster risk reduction and management; (4) social and economic development planning and; (5) local government units (LGU) mandated and enabled to effectively implement adaptation measures. Other suggestions include: policy alignment and a correct framing of climate change and adaptation measures; integrating CCA and DRR in local development planning; and mainstreaming CCA and DRR by first incorporating them in the MDG and focusing on the achievement of the MDG.

Priorities as well as gaps and needs to reduce the negative impacts of climate change, are identified. A section is dedicated to present climate change, vulnerability and adaptation policies of SEA countries, followed by gaps based on the existing policies and programmes.

The most crucial gaps identified are: the problem of institutionalizing the approach to climate change adaptation; the translation and implementation of international policies to the national and local level; and the task of integrated climate action planning (i.e., the development of programmes and policies for both climate change adaptation and mitigation). At the international level, global and local climate change mitigation indicators are presented, from the policy perspective of the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC. Then an analysis is made of the gaps based on the existing policies and programmes.

During the consultation, the priority sectors identified practically covers all of the sectors from ridge to reef; for the capacity building it encompasses; most of the proposed priority activities initially are in the area of knowledge management, from assessment to project development, monitoring and implementation, including tools, methodologies and models of good practice which the participants can use or emulate.

Another section is dedicated to the analyses of current developments in the international platforms on adaptation technology. This section tackles the context and the gains of the Durban Climate Change Conference, including: the Durban Platform and its relationship to Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, available support, and registry; the Adaptation Committee; financing, including the Green Climate Fund; the Standing Committee; Long Term Finance; Technology Transfer and Capacity Building; the Durban Platform and the urgency of lowering emissions. A link is also made between international developments with Southeast Asia’s technology platforms in CCA technologies.

Lastly, key challenges and areas of cooperation are presented.