Asia-Pacific Countries Share Win-Win Climate Change Solutions

Countries from Asia and the Pacific, both developed and developing, are gathering in Bangkok to share experiences on “co-benefits approach to climate change” - win-win actions which cut greenhouse gas emissions while alleviating poverty.

The meeting today (23 April) is organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in cooperation with the Japanese Ministry of the Environment and the Japanese Overseas Environmental Cooperation Centre. About 50 participants are sharing good practices on “co-benefits”.

The use of landfill gas is an example. Decaying rubbish creates large amounts of greenhouse gases. When these gases are burned to generate electricity, their effect on the climate is reduced–creating a source of energy for development while mitigating climate change.

Other examples of co-benefits projects are springing up across the region. In the Philippines, enhanced public transportation services are reducing commute times and carbon emissions at the same time. A project in Malaysia introduced innovative strategies for waste management which lower emission while at the same time reducing the build up of waste.

The Bangkok meeting also launches an Asia-Pacific Gateway for Climate Change and Development, a web-based platform for sharing experiences and information on “co-benefits” activities, and on adaptation actions.

While mitigating the effects of climate change is important, some impacts are at this point inevitable. The importance of adapting to these impacts was recognized by the Bali Action Plan adopted last December. Participants at the meeting also explore ways of helping developing countries to make adaptations to climate change an integral part of their development efforts.

To take such actions, developing countries need to be able to assess their level of vulnerability, with access to accurate information such as data collected by satellites and up-to-date climate predictions. The Gateways is intended to provide a tool for developed countries and developing countries to share information on ways to address climate change, and a link between information exchange activities and substantive actions.

The meeting was opened by the Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Mr. Shigeru Mochida, and Japan’s Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Mr. Toshiro Kojima. Presentations are given by participants from China, Indonesia, Japan, the United States, Thailand, and from ESCAP and OECD, among others.