17th October 2016
Day 1, Colombo, Sri Lanka

L-R: Jasmin and Dulanga at the 5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum in Sri Lanka!

L-R: Jasmin and Dulanga at the 5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum in Sri Lanka!

Ayubowan from Sri Lanka! MYD 2016 reporting from the 5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum. The soft launch of the Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum was held today at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) with the patronage of the Mahaweli Development Authority of Sri Lanka and the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN).

850 delegates from 60 countries of the region were present to mark the start of one of APAN’s most successful forums to date. This year’s forum theme was ‘Adapting and Living under 2 degrees Celcius: bridging gaps in policy and practice’.

The day kick started with an interesting plenary discussion on ‘why to focus on living under 2 degrees Celcius’. An interesting twist to the topic was the comment by the Moderator for the session, Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Bangladesh who quoted a motto for climate adaptation “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”. A mitigator’s task according to the moderator was “delivering the 1.5 degrees Celcius temperature goal”. The session also focused on IPCC reports, where engagement of the scientific community was encouraged as reviewers. Indonesia’s unique position as greenhouse gas emitter owing to its developing status and the geographical location of the country comprising 17,000 islands all of which are vulnerable to rising sea levels was highlighted as a nation faced not only towards adaptation to climate change, but also climate change mitigation processes.

The second plenary session focused on ‘Policy landscape available in adapting to living under 2 degrees Celcius’. The speakers gave insightful facts and figures covering a large area of policy at global and national level. The global level policy included the role of UNFCCC, SDGs and the Paris Agreement while national level policy included National Action Plans (NAPs) and domestic law. The session also touched on Children and Youth involvement in Policy and theories of equity where attention was given to how the Paris Agreement failed in securing Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) leading to the controversial topic of global injustice.

Concluding the knowledge gathered for the day, it was interesting how Day 1 of the forum focused on the Paris Agreement. The insights of policy at the international, regional and domestic level I gathered includes the use of National Mandates, to sustain adaptation beyond projected thinking as in the case of #Brexit where the UK parliamentary act comes into effect irrespective of EU policy and Brexit. The inclusion of climate  change in the EIA process and linking NAPs to SDGs were useful facts in addressing policy and reform. The key message of all sessions in day 1 was CLIMATE PROOFING ALL SECTORS.

Signing off from a tiring but immensely knowledgeable Day 1 at the Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum at 11.50pm from Colombo. Return tomorrow with an update on Day 2!

Written by: Dulanga Nimanthie Sahabandu Witharanage