Discussion covered a brief refresher on climate change in the region, climate change adaptation, mainstreaming climate change adaptation into development planning, the different technologies on adaptation, role of science and prioritisation of measures. For each topic, a resource speaker provided an input followed by a brief question and answer to clarify some concerns from the participants.
On the first day, it was explained to the participants that the training is part of APAN’s efforts in trying to capacitate people to know about science and adaptation, know how to do the planning on the ground and know what are the emerging issues related to climate change adaptation. The training is a combination of the basics and the new or emerging issues related to climate change adaptation. This is very important since Southeast Asia is vulnerable to the different impacts of climate change and six countries from the region are identified as climate change “hotspot”, namely, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Indonesia. Thus, this should be addressed not just at the local or national level, but at the regional level as well.
Therefore, it is very important that there should be cooperation between climate change offices in the region and that there is a need to strengthen the information flow so that the policies and plans can be more efficiently and effectively be done to battle climate change. Aside from these, climate change issues should be mainstreamed into national strategies and development planning. And this is a challenge for the different countries as there have already been various efforts to do so using different entry points to mainstream climate change adaptation in development planning.
There was an agreement amongst the participants that development planning takes different forms and that it is multi-level, multi-sectoral, and multi-period. Each country has a different approach in development planning including the process but there is no need to create a different process but just to enhance the existing one. The Philippine experience in mainstreaming was presented. It was pointed out that the government continues to face challenges in the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation and mitigation into national, sectoral and local planning and development activities. Some of these major bottlenecks are: lack of common understanding among some important stakeholders, insufficient technical capacity in most of the government units (national and local), lack of properly managed knowledge/data, lack or inadequate financing strategies for implementation which still hinders the improvement of adaptive capacities of local communities and natural systems against the impact of climate change and disasters.
Another experience on mainstreaming was also presented by Baguio City, this time, at the local level. The city government takes the lead in all initiatives in mainstreaming climate change and then involving communities, strengthen partnerships with the NGOs and the private sector and the academe and adjoining LGUs
On the second day of the training wherein there were group exercises on mainstreaming and prioritization, the groups identified some entry points that they used for mainstreaming such as the NAPAs, development plans and water resource management plans. A common constraint is the limited budget.
During the discussions, it was also pointed out the need for capacity building on the
• Public awareness through media, manuals, training and education,
• Technological transfer,
• Enhancing cooperation at the national, regional and international levels, and,
• Data archiving for sharing information which should be consistent and available.
Science’ role in climate change adaptation was also emphasized. It is very important for an informed policy-making, decision-making and identifying options including what technology to use on a specific condition. Some technologies being implemented or planned in Cambodia and Thailand were presented. These technologies were based on the results of the technology needs assessment conducted.
Despite this, countries still encounter challenges for the development of adaptation technologies such as (1) technologies’ lack of specific data/information, (2) capacity is limited and need to improve capacity on CC adaptation technology for all identified technologies, (3) estimation of adaptation cost and benefits, (4) involvement of all relevant stakeholders, (5) policies and strategies to remove barriers and (6) procedures to access international bilateral and multilateral financing.
A lesson shared during the training was that at the local level, climate change adaptation planning should be based on rather unique or specific context of the community or landscape and that community-based adaptation strategies can help rural communities strengthen their capacity to cope with disasters and improve their adaptive capacity.
As mentioned earlier, mainstreaming is not a single step process. It should also be stressed that the adaptation process is a cycle. It should keep on improving. It is important to keep on assessing adaptation measures, the tools needed in analysing adaptation measures and identifying priorities. Not all measures can satisfy all the assessment criteria and a combination of tools may be needed as each have their own strengths and weaknesses in a particular area but the measures selected should have implications for strategic issues.
To further emphasize on the importance of the activity, a brief introduction on APAN was presented. The network, APAN, is aiming at institutional capacity, knowledge mobilization and demonstration and dissemination of best adaptation practices among others. The training is just one of the various activities that the network is conducting. A climate change adaptation web portal is also available, which is a database on good adaptation practices and technologies from the region. An on- going activity related to this is the development of a database which will be used as a simplified map for a wide range of technologies on climate adaptation. This will promote a smooth formulation and implementation of adaptation policy at the national or local level.
The training ended on a note that APAN welcomes suggestions or feedbacks that could
improve the activities and plans towards the attainment of the network’s aims.