By AIT RRC.AP
15 May 2023 – During the 79th ESCAP Commission Session, a supplementary event titled “Streamlining Nature-based Solutions to Enhance Mitigation and Climate Resilience in the Asia and Pacific” was hosted by IUCN Asia in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan in Thailand and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The event aimed to tackle environmental and sustainable development challenges in the Asia-Pacific region by focusing on Nature-based Solutions.
Dr. Guilberto Borongan, Director of the Regional Resource Centre of Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT RRC.AP), presented interventions and insights at the event. The session discussed policy challenges and best practices from the region and emphasized the importance of supporting the mainstreaming of NbS for mitigation, food security, climate adaptation, resilience, financing (through the GCF, Adaptation Fund, and GEF), and transparent and inclusive governance.
Mr. OBA Yuichi, Permanent Representative of Japan to ESCAP, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan, Thailand, highlighted the potential of NbS in mitigating the effects of climate change during his opening remarks in the session. Acknowledging Japan’s role as an early pioneer in pursuing NbS, he highlighted that Japan has actively promoted international cooperation around NbS through scientific innovations and technologies.
Mr. Raphael Glemet, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Asia, highlighted that NbS have the capacity to contribute up to a third of cost-effective mitigation measures by 2030. During his presentation, he provided insights into the background, definition, and Global Standards for NbS.
In the Panel, Dr. Naoyuki Okano, Policy Researcher, IGES, highlighted the transition in approach towards NbS from planning and conceptualization to actual implementation. He emphasized the significance of enhanced governance coherence and coordination.
Ms. Elizabeth Erasito, Director, National Trust of Fiji, emphasized that the NbS governance approach of the communities has created an inclusive platform for stakeholders to engage in transparent and meaningful discussions to address conflicting situations.
Dr. Dindo Campilan, IUCN Regional Director for Asia and Hub Director for Oceania, emphasized on the significance of broadening the discussions on financing for NbS. He stressed the need to involve Ministries of Finance and private sectors in these conversations.
Dr. Guilberto Borongan discussed the valuable role of academia in scaling up NbS in the Asia-Pacific region. He highlighted the existing knowledge gaps and research priorities for AIT to advance NbS in the region. AIT recognizes the significance of data and information, technical capacity, and human capital in promoting the uptake of NbS.
He emphasized that AIT’s approach to scaling up NbS in the region involves two key elements. First, AIT focuses on integrating innovative and indigenous knowledge to generate practical and best-fit solutions through research. Secondly, AIT focuses on knowledge transfer through workshops, specialized training, online programs, and peer exchange networks among policymakers, resource managers, and data scientists, among others. These objectives are achieved through the operations of institute-wide centers that facilitate partnerships, inform governance and policy development, and promote two-way learning. Additionally, AIT prioritizes the development of adaptive and inclusive policies on NbS that incorporate local traditional knowledge and local community practices aiming to address challenges effectively.
AIT also plays a crucial role in supporting the Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Information Platform (AP-PLAT) by facilitating knowledge sharing. They achieve this by developing various knowledge products, including e-learning videos, dissemination of modeling, and policy and decision support tools for flood forecasting and climate modeling. Similarly, AIT has collaborated with the private sector to establish a demonstration Freshwater Mangrove Museum on its campus, promoting health and sustainability.
Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, UNESCAP, highlighted the commitment of her organization to integrating NbS into climate action programs and mainstream approaches. She emphasized that UNESCAP will continue its ongoing efforts to enhance and strengthen investment in the matter.