Regional Climate Change Adaption Knowledge Platform for Asia

 

The Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform for Asia (AKP) grew out of a recognition that countries across the region faced potentially dramatic climate change impacts, but lacked the knowledge and capacity to effectively reduce vulnerability and plan for a more climate-resilient future. When AKP was launched, adaptation was just starting to gain international attention. Developing countries had been encouraged to develop National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), but finance was sparse. The concept of ‘mainstreaming’ adaptation into development plans, sectoral policies, etc., was also relatively new – certainly to local decision-makers, who were used to addressing climate change in isolation from other matters.

AKP set out its three-year programme from 2009 to 2012 to build adaptation knowledge and capacity in Asia at all levels: from individual communities, to national governments, to regional networks. To achieve this, AKP took a three-tiered approach: knowledge management and sharing; generation of new knowledge, and application of existing and new knowledge.

AKP was the first major initiative on climate change adaptation in the region. AKP was conceived and implemented in response to Swedish Government’s priorities on climate change and the Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change agreed upon in November 2006. AKP was a partnership of RRC.AP, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP ROAP).

Our work in AKP


RRC.AP hosted the Secretariat of AKP, taking the substantial roles of management, administration and governance coordination for the entire AKP programme. In addition, RRC.AP led the knowledge management and sharing component and implemented jointly with SEI the component on application of existing and new knowledge. While managing the two components. RRC.AP also provided technical support to local partners in 13 countries covered under AKP.


Activities

Component on Knowledge Management and Sharing

Among the most significant achievements that RRC.AP had fulfilled was the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forums, arguably the largest gathering of adaptation experts, decision-makers, and field workers in the region. This face-to-face knowledge exchange mechanism has been carried over by the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) . In addition, RRC.AP made substantial contributions to the region for the development of online knowledge management tools; the e-communiqué  and interactive web portal  have been upgraded and continuously viewed by regional adaptation practitioners and policy-makers. These regional knowledge sharing mechanisms, including thematic bi-monthly seminars and targeted training workshops, have helped build a community of practice in the Asia and Pacific.

Component on Application of Existing and New Knowledge

As the initial stage, RRC.AP undertook stocktaking of on-going adaptation projects implemented in the region, reviewed capacity gaps and needs of South East Asian countries in addressing impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate variability and climate change, and identified the adaptation strategies for water and agricultural sectors in South East Asia.

Drawing on the findings from the desktop studies, RRC.AP carried out scoping assessments of adaptation knowledge and capacity needs in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka , in partnership with counterparts in these countries. Based on the assessment results, RRC.AP and the counterparts further formulated pilot projects in Cambodia , Nepal  and Philippines that aimed at mainstreaming adaptation in local development planning processes.

A key insight from the pilot projects is that uncertainty is a strong incentive for mainstreaming adaptation into development plans and sectoral policies. A low-probability climate risk may not justify a specific investment (for example, a sea-wall to protect from storm surges), but decision-makers can and should ensure that development does not create new vulnerabilities under plausible climate change scenarios (for example, by building houses on the exposed shoreline, or building a hydropower plant on a river that could soon run dry). In this context, mainstreaming adaptation leads to more sustainable and climate-robust development.

The strong engagement of country counterparts from the assessment stage built a rich network with potential to effect change in the countries targeted, not through outsiders’ interventions, but through the empowerment of local experts and stakeholders.

For more information about AKP, please visit the website.