That seemed like the overarching theme of Day One.
“We only have 12 years to limit climate change within pre-industrial level,” Emmanuel de Guzman, Secretary, Climate Change Commission, Philippines, said in his opening speech for the 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum 2018 (APAN 2018). He stressed the urgency of climate change, and how that we, as the Earth’s inhabitants, are under threat. He brought up that the Philippines recently hosted the Climate Vulnerable Forum, and to quote him, “even though the Climate Vulnerable Forum consists of a few nations, we are all affected – the whole world.”
Climate change does not discriminate, neither should our responsibilities.
The Backdrop of IPCC
Yasuo Takahashi, Vice Minister of Global Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Japan, gave a brief overview of the Special Report 1.5C of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by stating that according to the IPCC SR1.5, global carbon emission will surpass pre-industrial levels in 2030-2050. He also highlighted the importance of the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) and the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) implementation. Adding on to that, he also announced that Japan is to host the next G20 Summit, and that the output of this forum will feed into that.
Echoing the substance brought forward by Mr. Takahasi, Dechen Tsering (the United Nations Environment Programme Regional Director) pointed out that the theme of the conference was very timely, which was “Enabling Resilience for All: Avoiding the Worst Impacts.” He said, “while we look into the effort of resilience, we also need to look into reducing carbon emission.” Now more than ever, we need cooperation to be transboundary.
Addressing Intergenerational Equity
For the first time ever, the APAN 2018 kicked off its first plenary session with a panel of young people, with an important fundamental question of “Why Resilience Matters?” This session consisted of four young, bright and passionate individuals who advocate for climate change within their own capacity. With the youngest panel member being 13 years old, the ideas and innovations that they brought forward were definitely inspiring. Check them out:
- Alex Rendell, Media Celebrity and Founder, Environmental Education Center, Thailand
- Antoinette Taus, Founder, Planet CORA and UN Advocate for Life Below Water (SDG 14), Philippines
- Dina Farooq Malik, Co-Founder, SEPLAA Young Leaders Club, International Author, Pakistan
- Miel Sequeira-Holm, Palauan Heir, Heirs to Our Oceans
The essence of intergenerational equity is something that should not be taken lightly. The young people are the most vulnerable when it comes to climate change as they are the ones who are going to live in the future. I wrote about this during APAN 2016, in a piece titled “Where Are the Children?”. It’s nice to see that 2 years later, the youth are on stage.
Local Climate Action
There was a total of three local leaders who convened at the second plenary l session with the topic “Local Government at the Forefront.” They were Sally Lee, Mayor of Sorsogon City in Sorsogon, Alfred Coro, Mayor of Del Carmen in Surigao del Norte, and Ronaldo Golez, Mayor of the Municipality of Dumangas in Iloilo. They all had the same message:
i) There is a need to repackage scientific knowledge, to be translated into local action.
ii) There is a need to improve climate information, warning, monitoring at the local level.
iii) There needs to be engagement at a national and sub-national level to bring together local actors.
Local leadership means that interaction occurs at grassroot levels. To quote Sally,
“What is power if to not empower?”
Cascading Climate Risks
The threat lies in slow onset events (SOE) – not in major typhoons, earthquakes and flooding.
An example of SOE is rising sea level, but there’s more. If all these are left unaddressed, there will be major complications that could potentially contribute to the collapse of modern economy as we know it. Contrary to popular belief that climate change is bad for the economy, there are opportunities that lie within this threat. If you look at it from a different perspective, “anticipating the impacts of climate change also presents an opportunity to spur economic transformation,” said Renato Redentor Constantino, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities.
Day One concluded with a cocktail session for participants to network over traditional entertainment.
Read Official Daily Reports from APAN 2018 here.
Written by Jasmin Irisha
Edited by Joe Kit & Cai May