This year’s Forum is a valuable opportunity for SPECA countries to take stock of and share perspectives on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires not only national leadership and action, but also strengthened regional and subregional cooperation to enhance national implementation capacities. To this end, engaging with ESCAP SPECA can help share knowledge, experience, and best practice on SDG implementation across the region.
Under China’s 2016 G20 Presidency, the Green Finance Study Group emphasised the importance of enabling policies to better mobilize private capital for green investment. Green finance in the Asia-Pacific region has been flourishing, driven by regulatory requirements, incentives and voluntary initiatives.
Today, the Asia-Pacific region is at the forefront of the climate change impact. Climate change risks damaging its development prospects and throwing millions of people in the region back into poverty. Future losses for the region are large. Estimates show that for eighteen countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the ratio of losses to social spending will exceed 10 per cent per year, and in some countries losses will be much higher. Out of 19 million new displacements associated with disasters in 2015, 84 per cent occurred in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Asia-Pacific region has a stake in implementing the Paris Agreement. Annual average emissions in the region have been growing at over 4 per cent over the last two decades, higher than any other region. Continued high economic growth, population growth and urbanization are expected to keep the region on a high-emissions pathway.
Strong policy frameworks, integrated strategies and green technologies adopted by China are raising the bar for sustainable low-carbon development. China is forging a path for others in the region and around the world to follow. Its actions and outcomes are having a major impact on the global climate change landscape.
Climate change and sustainable development are strongly interlinked and have the potential to reinforce each other or, conversely, to impede each other’s success. Climate action is integral to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both through action on dedicated climate focused SDGs, complemented by the covenants of Sustainable Energy for All, and the implementation of other socioeconomic and environment related SDGs.
In my remarks, I will offer some perspectives on the approaches to and merits of the integration of renewables to green power grids as well as share a few examples of how it is unfolding in Asia and Pacific and how ESCAP is engaged in the process.
To deliver on the Paris Agreement commitments countries must implement their national climate plans of increasing ambition and speed up their transition to low carbon climate resilient economies. Securing a stable and growing flow of climate and green finance is needed to achieve these goals.
The scale and frequency of natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific and their transboundary nature, with associated shared risks and vulnerabilities, mean that regional actions and solutions are indispensable.
The Asia-Pacific region is on the front lines of natural disasters as it experienced over 1,600 disasters that claimed 60 percent of global deaths, leading to over half a trillion dollars’ worth of economic damage. Last year alone 16,000 people lost their lives, with economic damages exceeding $45 billion. Asia-Pacific disaster losses could total $160 billion annually by 2030.