Nowhere is the urgency for enhanced climate ambition and action more apparent than in the Asia-Pacific region. Between 2000-2019, the vulnerability of countries in the Asia-Pacific region increased considerably: eight out of the top ten countries by disaster occurrence and seven out of ten countries by disaster-affected population are in Asia Pacific.
Meanwhile, the Asia and Pacific region accounts for more than half of global GHG emissions, with an increasing share, because most countries in the region continue to follow a fossil-fuel intensive development pathway.
There is a narrow window of opportunity and enhanced ambition in the next few years is critical for achieving the 1.5°C objective.
More than half of ESCAP member States have either announced their estimate for peak carbon emissions or have already peaked their carbon emissions. Announcements of peak carbon emissions estimates around COP26 included big emitters, such as China, and India (UNEP, 2021). Furthermore, 47 Asia-Pacific countries submitted their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) within the period of 2016-2020, and 38 have submitted an updated NDC before the Glasgow COP26 as recommended by the Paris Agreement. Eight regional countries have submitted a second updated and more ambitious NDCs during 2021-2022. .
Further assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions and level of ambition in the NDCs will be revealed through the “Global Stocktake” process in 2023 and discussed at COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
How to enhance regional NDCs to achieve carbon neutrality in Asia-Pacific?
Seven years after adoption of the Paris Agreement , where the international community committed to keeping the global temperature increase between 1.5 and 2°C above pre-industrial levels, greenhouse gas emissions in Asia-Pacific show stable growth, more than doubling between 1990 and 2020. The latest 2022 assessment of the Asia-Pacific climate ambition based on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by countries in the region forecasts greenhouse gas emissions growth by 16 per cent by 2030, rather than 45 per cent reductions from the 2010 levels as recommended by the IPCC to keep global warming within 1.5°C.
Key publications and guiding resources
The 2022 Review of Climate Ambition in Asia and the Pacific: Raising NDC targets with enhanced nature-based solutions provides several recommendations for national policy and engagement and regional policies for the Asia-Pacific region to limit temperature increases to 1.5°C . The Special Feature on Engagement of Children and Youth in Raising National Climate Ambition shows that civil society, and especially young people, are leading the charge and are championing more urgency, faster action and greater ambition.
Our work, in collaboration with other UN agencies and think tanks, includes a review of progress of commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Progress of NDC Implementation in Asia-Pacific: Methodological Framework and Preliminary Findings presents an assessment framework of enabling factors for improving the readiness of countries to accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement and develop ambitious NDC reviews.
Is 1.5°C within Reach for the Asia-Pacific Region? Ambition and Potential of NDC Commitments of the Asia-Pacific Countries provides an assessment of the level of regional NDC commitments to help achieve carbon neutrality pledges and the 1.5 °C pathway.
A training guidebook, Accelerating Implementation of the Paris Agreement in Asia-Pacific: A Guide for Policymakers supports policy and decision makers in understanding the need for accelerated climate action and identifying opportunities to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to provide tools, measures, policies, actions, and case studies that can be applied to their national circumstances and update of their NDCs during the review process.
The policy brief Are countries in the Asia-Pacific region initiating a ‘Green Recovery’? What more can be done, provides an overview of COVID-19 responses, how they overlap with climate change mitigation, and recommendations.
ESCAP supports countries to develop quality greenhouse gas inventories and in partnership with the Yu. A. Izrael, Institute of Global Climate and Ecology (IGCE), Moscow, Russian Federation released a Practical Handbook on Methodologies for GHG Emissions Inventories and Paris Agreement Reporting, which are made available in the Russian and English language as an online e-learning course.
Carbon Pricing Simulation
ESCAP has developed a simulation tool that can identify the impacts of carbon pricing on various macroeconomic factors and can support the implementation of NDC and carbon neutrality targets. A think-piece describes the opportunities of application of CPIs: How carbon pricing can contribute to post-COVID-19 recovery?
An online CPI simulation tool is available on the ESCAP e-learning platform.
GHG Emission Inventories Training
North and Central Asia Subregional Training on GHG Emissions Inventories and Paris Agreement Reporting Requirements, 2022
Technical Training Workshop for Central Asian Experts on Paris Agreement GHG Emission Inventory and Reporting, 2021
4th Greenhouse Gas Inventory System Training Workshop, February 2022
Youth Voices for Climate Action (YV4CA)
Youth Voices for Climate Action campaign (YV4CA) provides an inclusive region-wide platform for youth to share their concerns and solutions for climate change, as well as a space for youth advocates in the ESCAP region to highlight their commitment to a 1.5°C and net zero 2050 future.
Regional Dialogue on Carbon Pricing (REdiCAP)
The regional dialogues on carbon pricing (REdiCAP) are organized under the Collaborative Instruments for Ambitious Climate Action (CiACA) workstream of the UN Climate Change secretariat to create platforms for experience exchange, bringing countries at different stages of implementing carbon pricing. These dialogues provide an opportunity to discuss linkages between carbon pricing, NDCs and potential/opportunities to meet sector wide NDC mitigation targets using carbon pricing instruments.
Regional Dialogue on Carbon Pricing (REdiCAP) in Southeast Asia
Regional Dialogue on Carbon Pricing (REdiCAP) in Central Asia
UN Climate Change secretariat launched the Needs-based Finance (NBF) project with the objective of facilitating access and mobilization of climate finance for the implementation of priority mitigation and adaptation projects to address the needs identified by developing countries. UN Climate Change Secretariat and ESCAP have teamed up to support Central Asia and South Caucasus countries.
Climate Science Literacy Partnership
To advance Climate Science Literacy across Asia and the Pacific, the United Nations in Asia-Pacific has developed a series of posters, social media graphics, and videos. The materials are available here free of charge - for public adaptation and distribution.
Asia Pacific Climate Week
Regional Climate Weeks (RCWs) inspire individuals and organizations to become part of the momentum created by the global climate agreement in Paris. It is a unique collaborative platform where both governments and non-governmental organizations stakeholders gather to address the gamut of relevant climate issues under one umbrella. Bringing together diverse stakeholders in the public and private sectors around a common goal of addressing climate change, is the main goal of the RCWs.
The RCWs include a series of events that provide space for a grassroots exchange of knowledge and best practices across the region on: Implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Global Climate Action (GCA).
Asia-Pacific Climate Week, 2023 Coming soon
Asia-Pacific Climate Week, 2021
The APCW, 2021 supported building the regional momentum towards the UN Climate Change Conference Glasgow COP26 and enhance commitments to achieving 1.5°C pathway as per the Paris Agreement. It was held divided into three different segments:
VIRTUAL REGIONAL ROUNDTABLES (3-4 March 2021): setting the scene in terms of regional priorities, challenges and opportunities for climate action.
Virtual Thematic Sessions (6-9 July 2021 in the Asia-Pacific Region): focusing on partnering for the whole society engagement in implementation, managing integrated approaches for climate resilient development, and seizing transformation opportunities.
Ministerial Session for all Regional climate Weeks was held at Glasgow COP26 in December 2021 and presented the outcomes of the APCW, 2021.
Asia-Pacific Climate Week, 2019 was held from 2-6 September 2019 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. It was organized to voice recommendations and support actions from the Asia-Pacific region on issues such as finance, nature-based solutions, and energy and industry transition in preparations for the UN Secretary General’s (SG’s) Climate Summit. APCW also contributed towards building momentum for the COP 25 held in Madrid, Spain in December 2019.