Asian scientists call for stronger collaboration vs. climate change

Published September 30, 2020, 3:13 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Climate scientists across Asia have called for urgent action and stronger collaboration in addressing climate change in developing countries, despite the setbacks brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

APIK Indonesia Network (Indonesia Expert Network for Climate Change and Forestry) chairman Mahawan Karuniasa emphasized the need for a low carbon and sustainable recovery from the pandemic.

In a statement, Karuniasa said that the current situation should strengthen stakeholder engagement, build better solidarity, and implement science-based actions in facing the climate crisis.

Ken O’Flaherty of the 26th Conference of Parties or COP 26 Region Ambassador for Asia-Pacific and South Asia said the world is still not on track to reach the Paris Agreement goals and the next five years will be critical. “We must work together and act urgently.”

They also pointed out that developing countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Bangladesh are highly vulnerable to climate impacts with limited resources to support needed action.

The developing nations’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and National Adaptation Plans (NAP), and how the proper implementation, collaboration, and mainstreaming of climate efforts on the ground can help meet the Paris Agreement goal, they emphasized.

Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh, cited that apart from compliance, it is more important to contextualize NDC and NAP in the national and local planning and make sure that the right thing is being done on the ground in terms of mitigation and adaptation.

Echoing this call is Filipina climate scientist Lourdes Tibig, a technical expert of the Philippine Climate Change Commission and founding member of the Asia Climate Experts (ACE) Network.

“We need to have champions in the national and local levels so that we can embed climate change in development planning. Harmonization of policies and resources is also very important,” Tibig said.

“While we speak different languages across Asia, collectively we have the human capacity, expertise, and experiences in dealing with climate change and its impacts,” said Dr. Felino Lansigan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of the Philippines Los Baños and founding member of the ACE Network.

“When we work as a team, we achieve more and hopefully, we achieve it faster,” Lansigan said.

The Paris Agreement primarily aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

It also aims to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change and support them in their efforts.

The Agreement, which was adopted in 2015 by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, mandates that developed and developing nations boost ambitions of their national climate commitments–known as NDCs–every five years.