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COP15 Statement of the Executive Secretaries of the Regional Commissions

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Fri, 16/12/2022 - 15:58
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PI/13/2022
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Bangkok
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We, the Executive Secretaries of the regional commissions, at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (part two),

Recognizing the essential role and critical importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including in underpinning the fight against poverty, supporting inclusive sustainable economic growth, furthering "green" and "blue" economies, ensuring food security and food sovereignty, and supporting implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,

Expressing concern about the multiple global crises that have arisen due to the impacts of biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, conflicts and wars, among other things, on human well-being, peace, health, the environment and development,

Expressing concern also about the gap in efforts to address the loss of nature due to multiple drivers of change, and highlighting the need for transformative changes in our societies, economies and institutions,

  1. Welcome the development of, and invite Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to adopt, the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, as well as the complementary strategies for resource mobilization, biodiversity mainstreaming, capacity-building and gender, as well as assessment and monitoring;
  2. Convinced that progress on enhancing biodiversity for sustainable development will require work that builds on complementary capacities from across the United Nations system of global entities and regional commissions to unlock additional and new resources and partnerships for biodiversity;
  3. Reaffirm the importance of enhancing at all levels, including the regional level, cooperation and synergies, coherence and coordination in the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and other multilateral environmental agreements, including biodiversity-related instruments such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Paris Agreement, as well as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, for much-needed integration and efficiency in implementing the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework;
  4. Note that the regional level is a vital bridge to the global and national levels, and provides a platform to engage on the management of the global environmental commons, using regional mechanisms and forums, including the regional forums for sustainable development and the regional environmental ministers meetings, which can provide opportunities to: discuss -reflecting on differing regional approaches and recalling existing commitments - joint actions on biodiversity loss, including the design of, follow-up to and monitoring of regional plans and global agreements; and, leverage conditions for coordination and coherence with social, economic and financial sectors for development agendas;
  5. Reaffirm the Secretary-General's Call to Action for Human Rights and its focus on the rights of future generations, climate justice and the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment;
  6. Declare our determination to deliver on our commitments to the implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and other biodiversity-related agreements, as key instruments for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, the mainstreaming of biodiversity in policies, programmes and operations, and the creation of opportunities for collective action for nature;
  7. Commit to the:
  • Promotion of the mainstreaming of biodiversity, and to the fostering of transformative changes in our societies, economies and institutions;
  • Promotion of the development of human rights-based legal, institutional and policy frameworks regulating and securing the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, encompassing the protection of biodiversity through the collection and analysis of relevant data on biodiversity, and facilitating access to said data as a strategic condition for engagement with society to support behavioural changes, including through strengthening environmental justice and facilitating effective public access to information;
  • Fostering of collaboration and dialogues within and between regions and coordination with relevant conventions, United Nations organizations, other stakeholders and processes in order to address biodiversity-related challenges;
  • Strengthening of knowledge-sharing and exchange on biodiversity, including through the regional forums on sustainable development, to increase the visibility of biodiversity issues while drawing on and informing regional and global level United Nations collaboration and processes;
  • Strengthening of the capacity of States Members of the United Nations to mobilize investments, including through enhancing access to bilateral and multilateral financing and promoting innovative financing mechanisms such as carbon credits,"green" and "blue" bonds and debt swaps for biodiversity and sustainable development for the purpose of implementing related programmes and other interventions;
  • Identification of opportunities for internal policy alignment and coherence.

Signed on 15 December 2022, during the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (part two) (Montreal, Canada, 7-19 December 2022)

signed

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COP15 Statement of the Executive Secretaries of the Regional Commissions

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More countries join UN treaty to advance cross-border paperless trade in Asia and the Pacific

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 15/12/2022 - 15:59
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PI/12/2022
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Bangkok
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The COVID-19 pandemic not only had huge disruptions on international trade and supply chains, it also underscored the importance of digital technology and of finding new ways of doing business. Almost all international trade today is facilitated and enabled by digital and communication technologies.

To this end, the Republic of Korea, Tajikistan and Tuvalu recently acceded to the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, more than doubling its membership to 11 countries between 2021 and 2022.

This is the first UN agreement dedicated entirely to accelerating the implementation of digital trade facilitation measures for trade and development, and demonstrates the Asia-Pacific region’s strong political will and leadership in digitalizing trade procedures. Membership in the treaty is diverse and inclusive, covering least developed countries such as Timor-Leste, landlocked developing countries such as Mongolia, and leading economies such as China.

Full implementation of the Framework Agreement is expected to reduce trade costs by 13 per cent on average across the region, ranging from 7 per cent in developed economies to 26 per cent in Pacific islands. Additional benefits associated with the cross-border digitalization of trade procedures include reductions in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to planting 400 million trees, and increased transparency for addressing illicit financial flows.  

Standing Committee of the Framework Agreement

 

This week, the Standing Committee of the Framework Agreement also met for the first time to initiate implementation of the treaty since its entry into force in February 2021. The meeting discussed concrete actions and collaboration among partner countries as well as engaged development partners and the private sector which will be instrumental for the implementation of the treaty.

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More countries join UN treaty to advance cross-border paperless trade in Asia and the Pacific

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On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, ESCAP launches new study on inclusion

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 08/12/2022 - 16:26
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PI/11/2022
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Bangkok
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ESCAP News
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A new ESCAP report shows that the Asia-Pacific region still has a way to go to “Make the right real” for persons with disabilities. The study, “A Three-Decade Journey towards Inclusion: Assessing the State of Disability-Inclusive Development in Asia and the Pacific,” was launched on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which was commemorated together with the Australian Embassy Thailand, NOVA Employment’s Focus on Ability Film Festival, the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disabilities and the World Food Programme.

The report suggests that, in order to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities, countries need to adopt a whole-of-government and all-of-society approach. Doing so could catalyze a paradigm shift away from “ableism” – discrimination of persons with disabilities - towards diversity and inclusion.

“The publication illustrates that the Asia-Pacific region is far from fulfilling our commitment to “Make the Right Real” for persons with disabilities. We have yet to realize their right to employment, health, education, independent living, protection in disasters or participation in public and political life,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

The Asia-Pacific region is home to over 700 million persons with disabilities who continue to face significant barriers to their full and effective societal participation. Persons with disabilities commonly do not enjoy equal access to a range of rights, opportunities and social provisions, such as transport, employment, education, social protection or health care; many of which are taken for granted by able-bodied persons.

Addressing the multi-faceted challenges facing persons with disabilities requires concerted efforts. Since 1993, ESCAP member States have initiated three consecutive Asian and Pacific Decades of Persons with Disabilities in an effort to advance the rights of persons with disabilities and raise public awareness of disability inclusion.

Recently, at the end of the third Decade, ESCAP conducted a final review to assess the status quo of disability-inclusive development in the Asia-Pacific region, reaffirming the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. The Jakarta Declaration on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2023-2032 was adopted at the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Decade in October 2022. Drawing on the valuable inputs from a broad scope of stakeholders, this ground-breaking outcome document sheds light on new regional disability inclusion approaches, underpins key strategic areas of social investment to further disability-inclusive development, and injects new impetus to fulfil the shared commitment of “leaving no one behind”.

“The UN Committee reminded us that there are still many major barriers to disabled people being able to access their human rights on an equal basis to others,” said Poto Williams, Minister of Disability Issues, New Zealand. “This is why declarations like the recent Jakarta Declaration, which seeks to give practical guidance and direction on priorities for implementation, is so helpful.”

“Maldives is pleased with the notable progress made in the promotion and protection of rights of Persons with Disabilities within the past decade. All this highlights the importance of disability inclusion and ensuring the rights of People with Disabilities which we call upon for all countries to adapt,” added Aishath Mohamed Didi, Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services, Maldives.

The Commemoration featured a multi-stakeholder discussion on accelerating progress toward the implementation of the Jakarta Declaration as well as a film screening  with the winning short films from the Focus on Ability, an annual film festival organised by NOVA Employment. All of the films focused on the theme of abilities or starred by actors and actresses with disabilities, showcasing the potential of films to change people’s perceptions on persons with disabilities.

“The film you saw today helped to shine a light on disability issues on Australia and across the world. They highlight persons with disabilities as rights holders,” said Angela Macdonald, Australian Ambassador to Thailand.

Read the full report: https://www.unescap.org/kp/2022/three-decade-journey-towards-inclusion-assessing-state-disability-inclusive-development

For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/asia-pacific-commemoration-international-day-persons-disabilities

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On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, ESCAP launches new study on inclusion

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Regional forum spotlights innovative and inclusive business opportunities for low-income farmers

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Fri, 02/12/2022 - 12:41
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PI/10/2022
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New Delhi
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Agricultural activities are essential for our economies and well-being. Yet farmers are amongst the most vulnerable groups in our societies, with limited income opportunities and activity volatile to economic and climate shocks.

A regional forum in New Delhi today drew attention to a possible solution - inclusive business models, which are fast enabling low-income farmers to have stable and decent incomes as well as fostering more inclusive and sustainable development in the region. The forum was co-hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Invest India and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Innovative business models such as inclusive businesses are emerging, and demonstrating that it is possible to provide goods, services, and livelihoods - on a commercially viable basis - to people often overlooked by pure profit-orientated businesses,” said Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP in his opening remarks. He added that governments and the private sector are now taking action by backing the development and expansion of such business models as the region strives towards more resilient economies.

Several successful examples from across the region were showcased at the forum. In India, Thailand and Viet Nam, businesses are bringing organic produce to the doorstep of the consumer while enhancing the income of farmers. Other firms are equipping farmers with relevant technologies and solutions that enable them to do some primary processing at their doorstep, introduce more sustainable and climate-resilient farming practices, reduce post-harvest losses and earn a higher income.

“Invest India has been working proactively with all the stakeholders on initiatives that impact investment and growth of the agriculture and allied sectors that employ more than 54 per cent of India’s population. As India takes over the G20 presidency for 2023, I am confident that initiatives like these will ensure an inclusive and sustainable narrative to India's chronicle of industrial growth,” said Deepak Bagla, Managing Director & CEO, Invest India.

Key public and private stakeholders attending the forum shared their experiences in topics such as how governments can promote inclusive business, inclusive business accreditation, measuring and managing impact, financing inclusive business and market opportunities for inclusive business, amongst others.

On the sidelines of the forum, ESCAP and Invest India also signed a Memorandum of Agreement to explore opportunities to promote inclusive business models in agriculture and food systems. For agri-businesses to be inclusive and remain commercially viable, an innovative mindset and partnerships at the local and regional level, and along the value chain, is critical.

The forum was held as part of the Regional Inclusive Business Models in Agriculture and Food Systems initiative to address the needs of thousands of farmers in Asia. The initiative by ESCAP and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation further seeks to share, promote and replicate elements that government and business leaders have used to develop commercially viable businesses thus reducing the risks for low-income farmers and expanding their earnings.

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Regional forum spotlights innovative and inclusive business opportunities for low-income farmers

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Launch of the Toolkit on Strengthening Women’s Entrepreneurship in National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Policies and Action Plans

Submitted by RJOHANSE on Wed, 23/11/2022 - 11:28
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PI/09/2022
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Jakarta
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ESCAP News
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Today, ESCAP, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Government of Canada launched the Policymakers’ Toolkit “Strengthening Women's Entrepreneurship in National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Policies and Action Plans”.

Empowering women - especially women entrepreneurs running micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) - is a prerequisite for achieving the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - and its promise of 'leaving no one behind'. In recognition thereof, MSME agencies are championing women's entrepreneurship by taking concrete steps towards improving the policy ecosystem for women-led businesses in ASEAN.

The Toolkit - developed by ESCAP in close collaboration with all 10 ASEAN Members States - has been designed as a practical tool to enable policymakers involved in promoting women entrepreneurship, especially the MSME development agencies, assess gaps, take stock of opportunities and design gender-focused interventions through national policies to advance women’s entrepreneurship in the ASEAN region.

“We are convinced that women-led businesses can be a vital engine for our region’s inclusive, resilient, and sustainable development, and have been working on removing the institutional, financial, and capacity hurdles that many of these businesses still face. The Toolkit we are launching brings together what we have learnt from our interactions with dozens of Governments and thousands of entrepreneurs into an essential guidebook for the transformation of women-led business and in turn for the sustainable development of the ASEAN region”, said Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

 “Ensuring women are economically empowered is not just for social equality purposes but a critical policy approach for ASEAN to forge innovative, inclusive and sustainable growth” said Satvinder Singh, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Economic Community. He further added, “We are living in an age where technological advancements and social innovations have opened up new doors of opportunities for women to engage in income-generating activities – entrepreneurship being one of them.

“Canada values the partnership with ESCAP in the CWE (Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship) project to support the production of this Toolkit in collaboration with the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSMEs. Gender-responsive national policymaking means better design of policies and initiatives for MSMEs to stimulate large-scale economic productivity that creates jobs and improves household income,” said Vicky Singmin, Chargé d’affaires, Mission of Canada to ASEAN.  “The Toolkit can also be used to establish frameworks for advancing the inclusion of gender provisions in Free Trade Agreements in the Asia-Pacific region.”

The Toolkit is a Priority Economic Deliverable under Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2022 and was endorsed by the ASEAN Economic Ministers at their 54th Meeting in September 2022, subsequently acknowledged at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits in November 2022. It is an initiative spearheaded by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, supported by ESCAP, and funded by the Government of Canada under the Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme.

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For more information: https://www.unescap.org/events/2022/policy-dialogue-and-launch-toolkit-policymakers-strengthening-womens-entrepreneurship

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Cambodia announces its National Cooling Action Plan

Submitted by RJOHANSE on Thu, 17/11/2022 - 14:41
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PI/08/2022
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Bangkok
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The Cambodian Ministry of Environment has announced its new National Cooling Action Plan for Cambodia, the first to be developed in South-East Asia. ESCAP, in partnership with UNEP under the framework of the Cool Coalition and with the support of Energy Foundation China, jointly developed a National Cooling Action Plan Methodology which was piloted in Cambodia to support the Ministry of Environment to identify climate-friendly and low-energy cooling pathways.

“Cooling in Cambodia is about more than just thermal comfort, but also protecting vulnerable populations, keeping food fresh, medicines viable and the workforce productive,” said Chea Chan Thou, Deputy Director General, General Directorate of Policy and Strategy, Ministry of Environment.

Cooling is emerging as a key area of focus under the climate agenda, including at this year’s COP27. National power systems are coming under increasing strain as demand for cooling rises. Growing, more affluent populations seek higher-quality lifestyles and rising global temperatures and more frequent and intense heatwaves make air conditioning a necessity.

In Cambodia, recent analysis found that cooling is responsible for approximately 45 per cent of the demand for electricity, yet the penetration rate for cooling equipment is estimated to be in the single digits. Developing a National Cooling Action Plan represents an important step in mitigating the energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions from the cooling sector, while supporting increased access to affordable cooling in the country.

The NCAP methodology aims to increase the capacity of countries to achieve energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets under nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on reducing the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The new plan was announced at the ESCAP/EFC COP27 side event, “Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Energy.” ESCAP and UNEP continue to collaborate, with the support of EFC, on expanding sustainable cooling in the Asia-Pacific region with ongoing NCAPs under development in Indonesia and Viet Nam, and an NCAP implementation pilot project on passive cooling in Cambodia.

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Launch of SDG7 Road Map for Pakistan

Submitted by RJOHANSE on Tue, 15/11/2022 - 17:24
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PI/07/2022
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Bangkok
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As delegations from around the world participated in COP27 negotiations to limit global warming in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, the Ministry of Energy and Power of Pakistan launched the country's new SDG7 Road Map. The Road Map was developed with the ESCAP National Expert SDG Tool for Energy Planning (NEXSTEP). Energy Foundation China (EFC) and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute also assisted in analysing Pakistan’s energy sector and identifying pathways to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 7­.

Pakistan is one of the most challenged nations in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of sustainable energy, and thus the Road Map represents a significant milestone in putting the nation on an accelerated path toward expanding access to clean and modern energy for all, as well as increasing energy efficiency and raising the share of renewable energy in the energy mix, which are central action areas in the climate agenda.

The Road Map contains a matrix of technological options and enabling policy measures for the Government to consider. It presents three core scenarios (business-as-usual, current-policies and SDG achievement) along an ambitious power sector decarbonization scenario. Scenarios have been developed using national data, consider existing energy policies and strategies, and reflect on the nation’s other development plans. These evidence-based scenarios are expected to facilitate informed decisions toward the development and implementation of a set of policies and measures to achieve SDG7 by 2030, together with the NDC.

The Road Map was launched at the ESCAP/EFC COP27 side event, “Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Energy,” which highlighted outcomes of successful ESCAP-led partnerships and facilitated discussion on the collaborative models needed to effectively put national sustainable energy and decarbonization road maps and plans into motion.

Pakistan’s National SDG7 Road Map is available for download here. To date, ESCAP has supported the development of 16 national and subnational roadmaps across the Asia-Pacific region.

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New UN report reveals that climate pledges by countries in the Asia-Pacific are off track with the 1.5°C pathway

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Fri, 04/11/2022 - 09:09
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P/06/2022
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Bangkok
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As typhoons, floods, heatwaves and droughts in the Asia-Pacific region highlight the need for decisive climate action, a new report released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UNICEF finds that countries in the region need to increase and accelerate their climate ambitions to meet emissions reduction targets.

Nowhere is the urgency for climate action more apparent than in this region. In 2022, countries experienced unprecedented climate-induced disasters, resulting in human and economic losses that are undermining hard-won development gains in developed and developing countries alike. 

As of August 2022, 39 out of the 49 countries included in the 2022 Review of Climate Ambition in Asia and the Pacific report have made carbon neutrality and net-zero pledges, and have started to develop enabling frameworks to support the implementation of their commitments. However, very few of these pledges are supported by updated and ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commitments that will scale down greenhouse gas emissions to keep global warming within 1.5 degrees.

Furthermore 38 out of 49 countries in the Asia-Pacific region have submitted updates NDCs, which taken together contribute to 95 per cent of regional emissions. However, most of the major emitters are lagging - Australia and the Republic of Korea are the only countries in this group that have come up with higher ambition in the updated NDCs in 2022.

Collectively, the 49 countries in Asia and the Pacific were responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. Their current NDC commitments are projected to result in a 16 per cent increase from 2010 levels, rather than the 45 per cent reductions required by the 1.5°C pathway.

The Asia-Pacific region will only be able to drive ambitious climate action when regional carbon neutrality pledges are supported with higher ambition of NDC commitments and long-term low emissions strategies. Furthermore, the new report highlights the opportunity to strengthen measures related to national nature-based solutions in the updated NDCs, including specific commitments and implementation plans for terrestrial and marine nature-based solutions.

The report includes a Special Feature on Engagement of Children and Youth in Raising National Climate Ambition, which shows that civil society, and especially young people, are leading the climate action charge and are championing more urgent action and greater ambition. It advocates creating a seat at the table for all stakeholders - in particular children and young people - in the creation and implementation of climate action policies, programmes and decisions to facilitate implementing carbon neutrality and net-zero pledges.

For more information: www.unescap.org/cop27/kp and www.unescap.org/kp/2022/2022-review-climate-ambition-asia-and-pacific-raising-ndc-targets-enhanced-nature-based

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New UN report reveals that climate pledges by countries in the Asia-Pacific are off track with the 1.5°C pathway

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Training on Sustainable Financial Instruments in Cambodia

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Thu, 03/11/2022 - 13:55
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P/05/2022
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Phnom Penh
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The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the National Bank of Cambodia and the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia this week co-organized the “Sustainable Finance Instruments: Training on Thematic Bond Issuance” with the support of the Luxembourg Green Exchange, the world’s first and leading exchange dedicated to sustainable finance.

More than 50 senior executives and officials participated in the training which served to increase the capacity of future green, social and sustainability bond issuance. The training further guided participants through the thematic bond issuance process to identify which bonds or financial instruments fits their needs, determine best practices in terms of principles, taxonomies, external review, and reporting, to apply in their issuance, and explore practical examples and case studies of thematic bond issuances within the region.

The training is part of ESCAP’s support to Cambodia in developing its green and sustainable financial market. The Government of Cambodia has prioritized climate mitigation and adaptation as one of the top priorities in its national development strategy. Without climate adaptation and mitigation investment, it is estimated that the impact of climate change could cost Cambodia 1 per cent of GDP per year for the next decade and could potentially wipe out all economic gains by 2050.

In Cambodia’s latest nationally determined contribution (NDC), the government of Cambodia declared that its climate mitigation and adaptation plans would require total funding of roughly $7.8 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the problem by limiting the available fiscal space to address climate risk and fund the Sustainable Development Goals. The funding needed to achieve these Goals is substantial.

The training underscores the potential of thematic bonds to close this gap by raising finance for public and private sector green, social and sustainability initiatives. Globally, thematic bond issuance is expected to surpass $1.5 trillion in 2022.
 

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Training on Sustainable Financial Instruments in Cambodia

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Central Asian countries advance cooperation on innovation and technology to promote digital transformation for sustainable development

Submitted by CBOONTHA on Fri, 29/07/2022 - 14:00
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PI/04/2022
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Almaty
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ESCAP News
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The Covid-19 pandemic continues to hit hard the countries of the United Nations Special Programme for Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) and highlights the need to diversify from current, resource-dependent models of economic development. This will mean putting ‘innovation and technology that focus on green and digital transformation’ at the centre of their recovery processes.  

To achieve sustainable, innovation-led economic development requires the broad and systematic experimentation with innovative ideas across the economy, together with Government policies that play a catalyzing role. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have committed to stepping-up their efforts to enhance national innovation policies as well as regional cooperation and integration on innovation and technology under the “SPECA Innovation Strategy for Sustainable Development” (adopted in 2019) and the “Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway Action Plan 2022-2026”.

During 19 - 20 July 2022, the SPECA government representatives as well as experts and private sector representatives, gathered to take stock of the progress made on these commitments and discussed the way forward, at the Expert Group Meeting on Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Development, organized by ESCAP and UNECE in Almaty, Kazakhstan and online.

In follow-up to the outcome of the Expert Group Meeting, the third session of the SPECA Working Group on Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Development, held in Almaty and online on 20 July 2022, which was attended by the SPECA member countries, adopted a set of important decisions in the area of innovation and digitalization, such as: confirmation of their support to the implementation of the “Asia Pacific Information Superhighway Action Plan 2022-2026”, and the proposed establishment of a Digital Solutions Center for Sustainable Development in Kazakhstan to promote digital cooperation and integration in the sub-region.

In addition, the Working Group welcomed the launch of a pilot SPECA Network of Business Incubators and Accelerators for Sustainable Development, based on UNECE work on business incubators. In this connection, the Working Group expressed its support to the innovative high-growth firms in the sub-region, and the recent “Innovation for Sustainable Development Review” of Uzbekistan. Participants from the SPECA countries expressed their strong interest in engaging with this Network to enhance support to their innovative entrepreneurship.

UNECE and ESCAP have been providing extensive capacity-building and policy advisory support to SPECA and continue to support their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals through ‘innovation and technology’ as one of the key drivers towards their structural economic and social transformations.

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