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ADPC organizes CAP-South Asia policy dialogue on climate adaptation

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Bangkok, Thailand

Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) hosted the first Climate Adaptation Platform-South Asia (CAP-South Asia) regional policy dialogue on 9 December that highlighted the critical need to share lessons and bolster access to climate adaptation finance in the region.

Participants included government officials representing relevant technical ministries and departments from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, development partners, and other stakeholders.

Following up on the Bangkok Statement adopted by the Regional Consultative Committee on Disaster Management (RCC) in early 2020, CAP-South Asia was established with support from the World Bank through the Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CARE) for South Asia project that aims to promote regional dialogue and knowledge-sharing on climate adaptation in the region.

Countries and experts discussed specific areas of interventions to enhance the adaptive capacities of climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, integrated water resources management, resilient infrastructure, and policy and planning in South Asia both at the national and regional level.

John Roome, World Bank’s Regional Director, South Asia Sustainable Development, emphasized the importance of a revolution in thinking, planning, and finance to first quantify the risk to build climate resilience into decision making, then plan early and change major investments across the development sphere, and finally change how the underlying public finance expenditure through sectoral expenditure is transformed by including adaptation from the beginning.

Referring to data, analytics, metrics, and lessons, John Roome said, “these are fundamental building blocks to make adaptation happen. It requires institutional changes. And this is where CARE project comes in.”

The participants discussed the critical need to bolster access to climate adaptation finance in South Asia. Building capacities to utilize current financing mechanisms for innovative and scalable projects is another critical area that was underlined. Furthermore, the dialogue stressed the need to establish a regional adaptation financing mechanism on the lines of global climate financing mechanisms.

The dialogue called attention to exploring opportunities for integrating technology and science-based approaches into climate adaptation in South Asia. It was stressed that technology and digital partners should help address the issues of food security and the livelihoods of farmers.

Government technical agencies from South Asian countries presented their respective climate change policy and implementation landscapes. They identified key priority areas, including the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), data availability at regional and national scales, bridging the finance gap, testing innovations and developing regional guidelines for sector-specific climate change adaptation actions.

In the panel discussion, Archana Shukla, Senior Programme Manager, Asia Regional Team, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) shared an overview of the UK Government’s commitments to help mitigate climate change impacts. The UK has pledged around 11.6 billion (Pound sterling) to the International Climate Finance (ICF) over the next five years, starting from 2021.

“The funding will focus on core priority areas such as clean energy, cities infrastructure and transport and resilience which tie up very well with the COP 26 agenda,” Archana Shukla said.

Country presentations on climate change progress and priorities were made by Mr. Ezatullah Sediqi, Deputy Director, General-Technical Affairs, National Environmental Protection Agency, Afghanistan; Mr. Ziaul Hasan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bangladesh; Dr. Subrata Bose, Climate Change Division, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India; Mr. Ajwad Mustafa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Maldives; Dr. Radha Wagle, Joint Secretary & Chief of Climate Change Management Division (CCMD), Ministry of Forests and Environment, Nepal; Mr. Muhammad Idrees, Senior Member, Disaster Risk Reduction, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Pakistan; and Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment Siri Lanka.

Afghanistan will convene the next CAP-South Asia meeting. ADPC, as the Secretariat to the CAP-South Asia, will announce the dates and other details later.