Resilience for All Means No One Gets Left Behind Highlights from APAN Forum - Day 2 - 18 October 2018, Manila, Philippines

Manila, Philippines, 18 October 2018 – On the second day of the 6th Asia Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum, delegates engaged in a rich exchange of insights and learnings in resilience-building. The day opened with a reflection of the highlights of Day 1, and continued through to the festive atmosphere of the ADB Cocktail Reception in the evening. Sessions sought to develop a deeper understanding of inclusiveness in climate adaptation action.

Opening plenary: Mozaharul Alam, Regional Coordinator - Climate Change Programme, Asia and the Pacific Office UN Environment

The morning plenary zeroed in on the urgency of the issue. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, released last week, galvanized the conference to work together. Leaders and advocates called for strengthened partnerships across sectors, to speed up climate adaptation actions.

UN Environment is addressing ecosystem resilience by focusing on unsustainable agricultural practices, and working with governments and the private sector to narrow regional inequities and improve livelihoods.”

Dechen Tsering, Regional Director, UN Environment, Asia and the Pacific Office

Time is ticking and we need to move faster, we have the solutions, we have the resources, we need to build partnerships.”

Erna Witoelar, Chairwoman, Filantropi Indonesia

Extinction is forever and ecosystem resilience takes a really, really long time.”

Youssef Nassef, Adaptation Director, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Transboundary issues were also addressed. Climate change is a cross-cutting issue; it knows no boundaries. A sure-fire way to accelerate resilience-building is to ensure that a wide range of stakeholders, ministries and beneficiaries are involved. The afternoon plenary session focussed attention on climate resilience in industry and the built environment. Lessons for adaptation and mitigation were drawn from the insurance industry, which has built a framework by which to understand and quantify risk, and support decisions on where to invest and what to protect. Adopting new policies and regulations may be messy and disruptive, and sometimes costly. But investing in resilience will be rewarded in the longer term. Assuming the worst can prove invaluable in informing your approach.

Daniel Murdiyarso, Senior Scientist, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Indonesia, focused on the benefits of a holistic, sustainable, ecosystem-based approach for building resilience. He demonstrated how mangroves are the epitome of resilience; providing protection against storm surges, storing carbon, and enabling fish and other creatures to live and thrive.

Urbanization will refocus for us the whole concept of resilience... Nature-based solutions in combination with grey infrastructure offer great opportunities and multiple resilience outcomes if properly planned.”

Tony Wong, Chief Executive, Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (Plenary Session: Resilience of Industry and the Build Environment)

More than 1000 delegates from 60 countries - the largest event of its kind in the region


Stream updates

Resilience of human and social systems

Resilience of human and social systems: The morning session focused on utilizing green and adaptation technologies and how these lead to economic benefits. Investment in infrastructure to build a low-carbon economy will create jobs, through a shift to sustainable energy, adaptation to circular economy, investments in water infrastructure and reforestation. To ensure ‘no-one is left behind’ in greening the economy, the development of skills must be accessed by the most vulnerable groups, including within the informal economy.

In the afternoon session, participants discussed the integration of gender perspectives into resilience building, recognizing the challenges of gender inequalities in relation to access to resources and opportunities, discrimination, threats to health, loss of livelihood, food insecurity, displacement, forced migration, poverty, human trafficking and gender-based violence. National and local governments need a deeper understanding of what constitutes effective gender-responsive investments in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Lessons were shared which highlighted the role of women in building resilience in their communities, demonstrating how striving for gender equality benefits all aspects of climate action. The starting point is for gender mainstreaming within climate change adaptation policies.

Integrating gender equality across all aspects of climate action is fundamental, not only because women and men are differently affected by the impacts of climate change, but also because of the role of women as holders of valuable knowledge and skills and as a powerful force driving climate action and ambition.”

Hon. Senator Loren Legarda, Senator of the Philippines, Chair of the Philippine Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Resilience of natural ecosystems

Resilience of natural ecosystems: Sessions focused on how climate change is exacerbating existing economic, social and environmental challenges. Panelists agreed that harnessing and disseminating climate data is vital. Knowledge-sharing initiatives were showcased, through which to identify and prioritize knowledge gaps, such as through the Global Adaptation Network (GAN) and the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI). By exchanging experiences, adaptation practitioners have the opportunity to learn from solutions in action. National Universities were highlighted, for their potential to play a key role in long-term identification and implementation of national solutions for adaptation, often community-driven and nature-based.

The Role of Science in Designing Nature-based Solutions: Lessons from different Ecosystems: Yimnang Golbuu, CEO, Palau International Coral Reef Center, Niall O'Connor, Stockholm Environment Institute, Essey Daniel, Programme Officer, UN Environment
Resilience of industry and the built environment

Resilience of industry and the built environment: The morning parallel session emphasized how nature-based solutions provide benefits and flexibility. Panelists advocated for “green” (nature-based solution) whenever possible, and “grey” if there’s limited space for retrofitting fully nature-based solutions in existing cities. Local leaders as well as other stakeholders and beneficiaries should also be involved in planning for greener cities, working together towards long term sustainable land-use management.

The afternoon session focused on climate financing. The range of financing options and sources for adaptation funding were considered, including public financing at national, local and individual levels, international multi- and bi-lateral funds, private finance, and a variety of insurance products and ideas. One takeaway was that mechanisms should also be institutionalized and policy-driven, to ensure sustainability. Governments also need to recognize that they will be called to account for their adaptation responses.

Financing the Resilience of Industry and the Built Environment: Maria Lomotan - Assistant Treasurer & Head of Funding, ADB, Preety Bhandari, Director for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Division of SDCC, ADB
When it comes to climate change resilience and risk management, policies and regulations have a very important role to play.

Xianfu Lu, Senior Climate Change Specialist, ADB (Plenary Session: Resilience of Industry and the Built Environment)

The currency private sectors speak to profit. But if impact measurements and performance could be part of the profit element, that would make a difference... make 'impact' a value-creation driver for financiers and the economy.”

Yuki Yasui, UN Environment Finance Initiative (Parallel Session: Financing the Resilience of Industry and the Built Environment)

Resilience of island communities

Resilence of island communities: The morning session focused on promoting integrated adaptation approaches in the island context, with discussions of innovative approaches for action. “Blue growth” was discussed, in the context of framing Pacific Island countries as large ocean states as opposed to small island states. The thrust of the afternoon session was that science and indigenous knowledge do not need to be dichotomous, whilst public-private partnerships were recognized as critical for building momentum for adaptation actions. A key challenge is to ensure funding is utilized in a transparent manner; that it gets where it needs to go, to benefit local communities. Stakeholder and community consultation was recognised as crucial; inclusiveness leads to the right solutions

Approaches to Adaptation in Coastal Communities - Darlene Roebeck, Senior Macroeconomic Officer, Ministry of Finance, Samoa and Jennifer Koskelin-Gibbons - Co-founder, Palau Legacy Project
We are looking towards low tech low cost so we do not hit community members in the wallet instead we bring traditional knowledge and science together.”

Bernie Besebes, Palau Conservation Society, Palau (Parallel Session: Adaptation Approaches to Enhance Resiliency)

Session highlights

Ecosystem Resilience: Time Counts

Discussions focused on the interconnectedness of climate action, food production and human security. Food production causes approximately 24 percent of global carbon emissions, and yet we waste food. Food systems are inherently unsustainable; arable lands are over-exploited. The key message is that we need to address the problems in food systems to be able to meet our climate change goals. Policies often focus on mitigation and adaptation may be left behind. But the evidence is that linking mitigation and adaptation initiatives get the best results.

Catch up with the times! Combining mitigation and adaptation is the key to enhancing resilience.”

Daniel Murdiyarso, CIFOR (Plenary Session: Ecosystem Resilience)

Gender-responsive Approaches for Adaptation
Gender-responsive Approaches for Adaptation: Sanny Jegillos, Senior Adviser, Bangkok Regional Hub, UNDP, Emma Tiaree, Principal Executive, International Programs, Care International, Bernadette Ressureccion, Senior Research Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute

The rallying call in this session was that gender inequalities exacerbate the adverse impacts of climate change, especially for women and children. Speakers agreed that gender equality should be integrated into all aspects of climate action. Women are actors of global change, so they should be empowered, whilst their stories and innovation in climate actions must be highlighted. There is a pressing need for national and local governments to understand what constitutes effective investment in disaster risk reduction, particularly priority investments on gender-responsive approaches. The key takeaway was that we need to ensure women’s engagement through upscaling the skills of women, for the benefit of the environment and the society.

There is a need to invest in technology and data that can arm women to build resilience in their communities, in the face of upcoming disasters.

Isabelle Louis, Deputy Regional Director, UN Environment, Asia and the Pacific Office

Adaptation, Technology and Green Jobs

Experts in ‘green tech’ demonstrated how technology for green jobs can improve lives and livelihoods, particularly in rural areas. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has identified three types of important skills in facilitating just transition; building awareness, developing sector and occupation to specific skills, and enhancing leadership to bring financing mechanisms and market mapping together.

The challenge that lies ahead in implementing green jobs is ensuring that no one is left behind.

Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO (Parallel Session: Adaptation, Technology and Green Jobs)

The Green Jobs Law is a people-centered climate change adaptation measure that is meant to ensure welfare of the workers, from training to practice, while pursuing green economy. It's not enough that the workers survive at work, but it's more important that they develop and participate in economic development in the era of climate change.”

Jerome Ilagan, Policy Chief, CCC (Parallel Session: Adaptation, Technology and Green Jobs)

Green technologies are rapidly changing from being ineffective, inefficient, and very expensive. This change has to be fast and radical and we have to move with all men and women.”

Dilruba Haider, UN Women (Parallel Session: Adaptation, Technology and Green Jobs)

In summary

The second day of the forum echoed the importance of engaging the whole of society in climate adaptation and mitigation actions. The urgency of the issue – we only have 12 years according to the recent IPCC report – means that we cannot afford to work in silos. Climate actions must be inclusive, taking into consideration other sectoral vulnerabilities, whilst learning from successful examples. Panelists called for the integration of nature-based solutions, for Environment Ministries to work with other Ministries, and for all sectors and groups to seek co-benefits.

Delegates from Africa and Asia shared best practice examples of adaptation actions from their countries

There were valuable opportunities for South-South exchange, regionally and globally. Delegates from Africa and Asia shared best practice examples of ‘on the ground’ adaptation success stories. The buzz-word was inclusivity; incorporating gender, inclusive financing, ecosystem-based adaptation, and the holistic perspective of small island developing states.

Adaptation is all about the solutions, not about the problems. We need to learn from each other - through harnessing South-South knowledge exchange.”

Dr Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow, Climate Change Group, International Institute for Environment and Development and Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (Parallel Session: Nature-based Solutions)

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