Forging Regional Climate Resilience: Asia-Pacific’s Endeavour at COP28

The Multilevel Action and Urbanisation Pavilion at the United Nations’ climate conference COP28 served as a stage for discussions revolving around the Asia-Pacific region’s dedicated fight against the global climate crisis. Facilitated by the ICLEI offices in the Asia-Pacific Region, the session on ‘Climate Resilience’ shed light on the tireless efforts of this region in combating the adverse effects of climate change.

Mr Emani Kumar, ICLEI’s Deputy Secretary General and Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia, reiterated the importance of climate action in the Asia-Pacific, citing the submission of crucial climate plans by 12 regional countries. He underscored the pressing need for heightened funding to bolster climate-centric initiatives, stressing that current efforts, though commendable, fall short of achieving the desired 1.5-degree goal for global warming.

Mr Satoshi Ishii, Director, Strategy and Partnerships, Water and Urban Sector Group, Asian Development Bank, announced a substantial commitment of $100 billion by 2030 for climate-centric investments in India, Bangladesh, and China. This financial support will be crucial in aiding these countries in transitioning towards a climate-resilient future. It is a clear indication of the Asia-Pacific region’s determination to take meaningful action.

Mayor Baraniko Baaro, Teinainano Urban Council, Tarawa, Kiribati, spoke about encroaching seawater posing a significant threat in Tarawa. He stressed the need for financial support to implement solutions like mangrove plantations, which can be a natural defence against rising sea levels. This request for financial assistance underscores the importance of global support in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Ms Aya Nagata, Director of Energy Policy Department of Kyoto City, Japan, outlined the city’s ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This exemplifies the region’s drive towards sustainable development and showcases how cities can play a pivotal role in combatting climate change. By setting such targets, cities like Kyoto become beacons of hope, inspiring other regions to follow suit.

Mr Togo Uchida, Director, ICLEI Japan, commended Kyoto’s innovative funding strategies, which have paved the way for successful decarbonisation efforts in Macao. These efforts are crucial in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning towards a low-carbon economy. The Asia-Pacific region recognises the need for innovative approaches and is actively exploring new avenues to combat climate change.

Dr. Mahadi Muhammad, Director, IMT-GT Joint Business Council, Malaysia, highlighted Malaysia’s Green City Action Plan, which outlines comprehensive strategies to promote sustainability and combat climate change at the city level. Malaysia aims to create green and resilient cities that can withstand the challenges posed by climate change. This approach demonstrates the region’s commitment to building climate resilience at the grassroots level.

Ms. Jui-Hun Chang, Director, Environmental Protection Bureau, Kaohsiung City, Chinese Taipei, discussed the city’s tech-driven emission reduction strategies. By leveraging innovation and technology, Kaohsiung City aims to reduce its carbon footprint and create a sustainable future. This showcases the region’s commitment to use advancements in technology to tackle the climate crisis effectively.

Mr. Meizheng Chen, Council Member, Macao Low Carbon Development Association, China, emphasised the city’s commitment to carbon neutrality and highlighted the government’s role in supporting sustainable growth. This demonstrates how policy decisions and government backing can create an enabling environment for sustainable development. Macao’s efforts serve as an inspiration for other regions in their pursuit of a carbon-neutral future.

Mr. Keshav Jha, Manager, ICLEI South Asia, shared ICLEI’s Indian initiatives, focusing on public spaces and the vulnerability of children to air pollution, highlighting the region’s dedication to addressing not only the environmental aspects of climate change, but also its social implications. By prioritising public health and well-being, the region recognises the holistic nature of climate resilience.

The ‘Urban Resilience’ session at COP28 showcased the unified commitment of the Asia-Pacific region towards building a resilient future against climate adversities. The strategies and initiatives presented during this session are a testament to the region’s determination to combat climate change and forge a path toward sustainability.

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