By Christie Quon.
A race we can win. This was the closing message of the 2019 Asia-Pacific Climate Week (APCW); a unique collaborative platform where both government and non-Party stakeholders from all corners of the Asia-Pacific region came together to address climate change. For five days, stakeholders from all over the region were engaged in collaborative workshops, discussion groups and plenaries to exchange knowledge and best practices. As climate change is expected to impact all members of society, many different participants were present including the private sector, non-governmental, civil society, and youth organizations. Together, members from both developing and developed countries brainstormed how to achieve global climate neutrality by mid-century - an ambitious but achievable goal.
A wide diversity of topics were discussed during APCW, including water issues, rights and conservation. Because the Asia-Pacific region is undergoing rapid development and population growth, the region’s environment and natural resources are under immense stress. Many people across the region still don’t have access to clean water and sanitation, and water issues in both urban and rural areas are expected to be exacerbated by climate change. Highly populated cities such as Bangkok and Jakarta will be affected by rising ocean levels, and rural livelihoods are changing rapidly due to intense precipitation events and patterns.
As a youth delegate at the APCW, I had the great opportunity to learn from and engage with leading climate scientists, leaders and activists from all over the Asia-Pacific region. Together we discussed the challenges and strategies to raise awareness, affect policy-making and enact environmental action on all levels, from regional to national and international levels. Different perspectives and strategies from individual countries were shared throughout the event, which allowed for greater knowledge sharing and collaboration across borders. For instance, the Mekong River Commission for Sustainable Development works directly with the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam to jointly manage the shared water resources and the sustainable development of the Mekong River. Collaborative projects such as this bring together diverse knowledge and experiences to strengthen regional and international efforts to conserve precious resources. However, greater financial support, public support and stronger legislation are needed. As Deputy Director of the UNFCCC Ovais Sarmad said in his closing speech, climate change is happening now and we cannot wait any longer to address it.
Climate change is a race, one that We can win.
More details to the event: https://sdg.iisd.org/events/asia-pacific-climate-week-2019/