YK Poudel

Agencies, experts, and policymakers from across the Asia Pacific region are participating in the five-day Asia Pacific Climate Week 2023 (APCW), which ends today in Malaysia discussing solutions and innovations that will be presented during the COP28 which begins in the next 13 days.

The meeting seeks increased cooperation across borders and sectors in addressing pressing climate challenges which require attention at COP28.

The APCW is organised along four thematic areas: energy systems and technology; urban and rural development, infrastructure and transportation; land use, oceans, food and water; and the socio-economic dimensions, health, and livelihoods that delve into the climate action opportunities and challenges.

The Asia Pacific region is grappling with a range of climate-related challenges, from melting glaciers in Bhutan to rising sea levels in Sri Lanka, and extreme weather events that threaten biodiversity, freshwater and other resources. As climate change intensifies, the need for robust and inclusive climate action becomes increasingly apparent.

United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Director and Representative for the Asia Pacific Region,  Dechen Tsering, said that the Asia-Pacific region is facing a range of climate impacts significantly affecting the livelihoods and social well-being, as well as loss and damage arising from extreme events.

“The latest Production and Adaptation Gap reports show that the world’s dependence on fossil fuels continues and the financing to deal with the consequences is lagging. Approaching COP28, we shall proactively seize the opportunity presented by Asia-Pacific Climate Week,” Dechen Tshering said.

Climate change, according to her, is a global problem that requires collective action from all parties.

As climate change intensifies, the imperative for robust and inclusive climate action becomes increasingly evident. Malaysia, contributing 0.69 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, reaffirms its commitment to a 45 percent reduction by 2030 and aspires to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The APCW will be addressing climate challenges head-on, exploring innovative approaches and sustainable solutions. The discussions and outcomes of APCW will feed into the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP28, strengthening momentum for progress on issues such as the energy transition, climate finance, and loss and damage that includes the involvement of private sectors in a country.

According to the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Simon Stiell, the Asia Pacific is on the front line in the project implementation against climate change.

“Yet with its rapidly growing economies and economic dynamism, the Asia Pacific region has the potential to be a climate pioneer, leading green technologies and innovations, driving global efforts to combat climate change,” the Executive Secretary said.

During the opening session, the UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and Pacific region, Kanni Wignaraja, said that the countries in Asia have suffered more from extreme weather events than any other region in the world.

“The region has the potential to contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement targets to fully realize this potential, sustained investment in climate adaptation and energy transitions; debt restructuring and relief; and more climate financing based on vulnerability measures,” Kanni Wignaraja said.

The climate week is to foster dialogue, knowledge sharing, and partnerships across the regions in the run-up to COP28 hosting about 250 events in five days.

The APCW 2023 is hosted by the Government of Malaysia’s State of Johor in collaboration with the Malaysian federal government and organized by UN Climate Change in collaboration with global partners including the UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank.