Proceedings Report: Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum 2010: Mainstreaming Adaptation into Development Planning
One of the biggest climate adaptation events ever witnessed in the region with a record participation of experts, the Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum 2010 was held at the UN headquarters in Bangkok on 21 and 22 October to discuss ways to mainstream adaptation into development planning in Asia and the Pacific. Organised by the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform for Asia and the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN), the Adaptation Forum 2010 attracted more than 550 policymakers, scientists, and representatives of Asian and Pacific countries as well as bilateral and multilateral donors. It took to a new level the debate on the way forward for the Asia-Pacific region to cope up with the large-scale effects of climate change. The Adaptation Forum 2010 was a held a year after the Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, launched the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform for Asia in Bangkok to help countries in the region adapt to the impacts of climate change through research, capacity building and sharing of information.
The deliberations were opened by Dr. Young-Woo Park, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific for UNEP, who reminded the audience that responding to climate change – “the defining issue of our time” – was particularly critical for developing countries and the Asia-Pacific region. UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, speaking via video, emphasised on building resilience, scientific knowhow and effective partnerships for moving forward on both adaptation and mitigation. The Adaptation Forum 2010 approached the theme ``Integration of Climate Change Adaptation” through three key parallel sessions: Vertical Integration (multi-level governance by applying different approaches, including science, to policy); horizontal integration (cross-sectoral integration, marrying policies to implementation); and financing adaptation (access to adaptation funds; role of both the public & private sector in development and planning). Knowledge-sharing, capacity development and financing were emphasised as the key elements for successful climate change adaptation efforts.
The discussions at the Adaptation Forum 2010 threw up three main learnings. First was the need for practical knowledge. The participants underlined the significance of translating climate science into language and products easily comprehensible to decision makers in the government and civil society. They also emphasised the need for giving practical guidelines on ways to incorporate adaptation into programs, plans and projects. It was felt that downscaled projections of future climate change were required as a basis for vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. APAN and Adaptation Knowledge Platform are expected to play an important role in gathering and disseminating such knowledge.