OML Center and CSIRO organized the East Asia Summit Climate Change Adaptation Workshop

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OML Center and CSIRO organized the East Asia Summit Climate Change Adaptation Workshop

Date Posted: 4 March 2014

The second of two East Asia Summit (EAS) Climate Change Adaptation Workshops was held in Manila, Philippines on 26-28 February 2014.

The importance of this workshop has been highlighted by recent extreme weather events in the region, which have had devastating impacts on local communities and their livelihoods. The workshop focused on understanding and managing the impacts of climate change on rural-urban interactions, livelihoods and the role of urban planning in improving disaster preparedness, with a particular focus on disadvantaged communities. The initiative sought to improve regional networks and knowledge sharing on climate change adaptation planning among East Asian countries. The workshop was hosted by the Philippines’ Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation, Inc. (OML Center) in partnership with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The workshop was attended by delegates from EAS participating countries (Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam). Representatives from international organizations such as Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), Biodiversity and Watershed Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER), Center for Climate Risk and Opportunity Management in Southeast Asia and Pacific (CCROM SEAP), Chemonics International, Plan International, Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES), Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Initiative (SEADPRI-UKM), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Bank, along with public, private and research institutions as well as development partners from the Philippines also participated.

Delegates welcomed presentations and discussion on climate change adaptation issues including:

  • The impact of climate change on rural-urban interactions and livelihoods;
  • Initiatives to build community resilience to extreme events and future climate risks;
  • How science can best inform policy decisions;
  • The role of land use planning in disaster risk reduction, with a particular focus on disadvantaged communities; and
  • Learning about successful approaches across East Asian countries.

A number of opportunities and solutions to incorporate adaptation and development strategies into existing planning processes; and to raise community capacity to respond to natural disasters and extreme weather events have been identified:

–      Civil society and boundary organisations: these formal and informal groups perform an integral role in building community resilience and adaptive capacity to the impacts of extreme events and future climate change by:

o    increasing community participation towards collective decision-making through local level social preparation and mobilisation;

o    linking technical and scientific information to communities through innovative educational initiatives;

o    supporting the uptake of local level information in policy and development planning by provincial / state and national governments; and

o    providing an innovation platform for adaptation solutions.

–      Adaptation information services: information products designed with user-input on the basis of need and utility and delivered in a fit-for-purpose form can more effectively inform climate risk management decisions and processes; reducing negative impacts on vulnerable communities, building adaptive capacity and leading to improved targeting of adaptation research. Key elements include:

o    delivery of climate and other information that supports specific contextual adaptation needs including mechanisms for two-way sharing of information;

o    adaptation guidelines and discussion-support tools that enable effective adoption of options over time (flexible adaptation pathways); and

o    design principles for adaptation monitoring and evaluation that encourage continuous improvement and support the case for investing in adaptation activities.

–        Private sector participation: government support and incentives can encourage and leverage  private sector participation to enhance community resilience to climate change and disaster risk through:

o    shared approaches for financial resources and technical expertise to create innovative solutions such as climate smart value chains that are based on, promote triple bottom line outcomes

o    formulation of policies, legal basis and recognition towards mutual benefits; and

o    creation or enhancement of existing organizational structures for regular monitoring and critical appraisal of implementation efforts.

–        Sustainable development: sustainable development outcomes within the East Asia region can be achieved through prudent use of natural resources and application of science and technology by:

o    understanding, monitoring and evaluation of stakeholder capacity and needs;

o    evaluation of interconnected and cross-sectoral risks and options; and

o    inclusion and mainstreaming of sustainable development actions into existing policies in the context of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

A field trip to the Marikina Watershed demonstrated practical approaches to alleviate poverty through sustainable livelihood opportunities, such as reforestation and community education. A lecture and tour in Marikina City was also organized to provide a demonstration of the challenges posed by urban riverine flooding and how the communities are trying to overcome these challenges. The field trip highlighted the benefits of cooperation and a coordinated approach between government and private sectors to rehabilitate disaster-stricken areas and help vulnerable communities. It also acknowledged that successful solutions come from bringing together diverse expertise across climate change, food security, disaster reduction and urban infrastructure.

By bringing together keynote speakers and panellists across different EAS countries and through the active participation of the attendees, the experiences in managing climate risks were shared while also addressing the many existing issues facing cities and their communities. The workshop provided opportunities to share knowledge among EAS country delegates and build networks.

Outcomes from this workshop and the first workshop in New Delhi, India, which focused on climate change and rural issues, will be presented to the EAS Environment Ministers.

Program Booklet (including presentation abstracts)