5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum!

Today, I got to immerse in Sri Lankan culture – through food and traditional dance!

Today, I also spent nine hours absorbing climate change adaptation knowledge at the 5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum, held at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH). The Forum is held in conjunction with Sri Lanka NEXT, the Blue Green Era.

Day One of the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) 2016 Forum encapsulates the heart and essence of climate change adaptation and bridging the gap between policy and implementation. Here are some of the key takeaways from the plenary and parallel session:

Barney Dickson, Head of Climate Change Adaptation Unit, Ecosystem Division, UN Environment, Nairobi, Kenya, eloquently sums up his views on adaptation planning under 2C in six points:

  1. National level planning. The Paris Agreement supports National Adaptation Plan (NAP). He believes that these processes have to have country ownership, not just a requirement under the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requirement. It is important to incorporate inclusive planning across sectors and ministries.
  2. Management of ecosystems as a central part of adaptation planning. The coastal, inland and terrestrial ecosystem plays a vital role, especially in reducing flooding.
  3. Timescales. There should be a prioritisation level and proper sequence of different planning. Investments are taken into account and are planned to be climate resilient.
  4. Knowledge and uncertainty. There is no doubt that we still have incomplete knowledge of what climate change can be. Although downscaled climate projection can be of value, it still leaves a large margin of uncertainty. All countries need to be prepared for a range of possible impacts.
  5. Money. The Green Climate Fund was recently opened for countries to apply. Projections show that there is a need to invest 140-300 billion/year toward 2030 as a cost of adaptation globally.
  6. Communication. Reporting, communication mechanisms under Paris Agreement are very important. It is not entirely clearly cut on what countries should be reporting on, based on the Paris Agreement, but can be expected that negotiators to clarify on this matter later on. Submissions of reporting to UNFCCC is a form of communication for countries to communicate internationally. Global Adaptation Goals, for example, help countries to address the issues globally.

Another interesting topic that compelled me was during the first parallel session that I attended, which was Developing legal frameworks for adaptation planning, where Archala, Principal Researcher and Team Leader of Global Climate Law, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) spoke on NAP and the Paris Agreement. She explained that it is preferable for countries to have a mandate as it ensures adaptation beyond projected thinking, certainty, multi-holder engagement, establish clear responsibilities and identify key milestones.

For the second parallel session, I found the concept of de-risking that was brought up by Srilata, Regional Technical Advisor of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Thailand, particularly interesting as it is something new and foreign to me. She emphasised on the utilisation of policy and financial instruments as a tool for information asymmetries and to build technical capacities. I respect her for highlighting that group blending should be incorporated when planning for adaptation, especially women’s participation in decision-making.

To sum up, Day One was a knowledge seeking journey filled with new information. It definitely leaves me thinking deeply about the whole interrelatedness of the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC in tackling the climate change agenda.

Want to know about the cultural insights of Sri Lanka? Stay tuned for my next article!

Written by: Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham