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Climate Change
 Asia Pacific is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change and impacts are likely to become more intense in future. Rising temperatures and extreme weather events have contributed to loss of crop yield in many countries. Crop yields are projected to decline by a further 10 percent by 2020. More

Disasters and Conflicts
Nearly half of the world's natural disasters occur in the Asia and the Pacific region. In 2008 alone, the region accounted for more than half of the 220 major disasters that took place, which affected more than 55 million people and resulted in 7,000 deaths and US$15 billion in damages. More

Ecosystem Management
The Asia Pacific region boasts a high level of biological and cultural diversity which has greatly shaped its history and economic activities. While the region occupies less than 10 per cent of the planet's total surface, it is home to more than half of the world's human population and some of the most diverse plant and animal species in the world. More

Environmental Governance
While there has been significant progress in the last decade in the development of environmental institutions and legislation, the region's burgeoning economic growth and growing population have taken a toll on its natural resource base and the environment. More

Chemicals and Waste
In Asia Pacific, harmful and hazardous waste threatens millions of people. Left unchecked, these wastes could pose severe hazards. Asia's high population density and often tropical climate put it especially at risk for contamination. Regulations have increased but enforcement remains inadequate. More

Resource Efficiency
Most of the global growth in resource use has occurred in high-income Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, but recently the Asia and the Pacific region has emerged as a major global resource consumer and has surpassed the rest of world in material use. More

Environment Under Review

Rapid economic growth in recent years in Asia and the Pacific region has come at an enormous environmental cost. Appropriate environmental safeguards are urgently needed to contain this trend. Decision-making that promotes sustainable development requires a sound understanding of the complex relationship between the environment and social and economic development. More

Regional News
Thematic Meeting of South Asia Network Ozone Officers, Customs Officers and Partners

Bangkok, 20 December 2014 - National Ozone Officers (NOOs) and Customs Officers gathered for the “Thematic Meeting of the South Asia Network of Ozone Officers”. This meeting was organized by UNEP ROAP OzonAction at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, from 17-19 December 2014.

Apart from the South Asia NOOs as the key participants, representatives from Customs Administration or ministries (e.g. Ministry of Commerce) that are implementing national ODS licensing/ quota systems were also invited and participated in the discussions.  Among the agencies that took part in the meeting in presence or via virtual platforms were: the European Commission, the Multilateral Fund Secretariat, UNDP, UNIDO, World Bank, World Customs Organisation’s Regional Office for Capacity Building – Asia Pacific (WCO ROCB A/P), and Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).  

The meeting focused on policy and enforcement as the key tools for achieving HCFC phase-out.  For the first time during the HCFC phase-out, both ozone and customs officers of South Asia countries came together to strengthen their cooperation to remain in compliance with the control measures under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This multilateral environmental agreement includes time-bound and measurable deadlines to phase-out ozone depleting substances (ODS).

The main objective was to carry out an in-depth, trans-boundary analysis of the control policies and enforcement issues for HCFCs as identified by the South Asian ozone officers at the last Regional Network meeting in Colombo in May 2014. The meeting also generated a set of concrete actions to be implemented in 2015 by each participating country based on the discussions and information exchanged.

During the three-day meeting, some key policy issues were discussed such as enforcing quota systems for HCFC control, trans-boundary dialogues, combatting ODS smuggling, trade data and reporting of imports and exports. For those who were less familiar with the Montreal Protocol, some sessions were offered to inform them of current issues concerning its enforcement.

The agenda also covered updates on the key decisions from the last Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol and the Executive Committee Meeting (both held in November 2014);  the reviews of the progress made within the South Asia Network, as well as the work plan for 2015.

The meeting resulted in customs officers agreeing to have an informal network amongst them for more effective cross-border enforcement. The meeting also provided an opportunity to explore new partnership with the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU), International Labour Organization (ILO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). These partnerships are hoped to assist countries in strengthen their capability to meet the Montreal Protocol obligations.

Managed by UNEP’s OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP), The South Asia Network includes 13 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Iran, Democratic Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  Japan is the developed country partner of the network.  The network receives financial support from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol.

For further information:

Mr. Atul Bagai

Senior Regional Network Coordinator

UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Tel: +66 2288 1662

Email: atul.bagai@unep.org



Even With Emissions Cuts, Climate Change Adaptation Costs Likely to Hit 2-3 Times Current Estimates of $70-100 Billion per Year

Lima, Peru, 5 December 2014 - Even if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut to the level required to keep global temperature rise below 2°C this century, the cost of adapting to climate change in developing countries is likely to reach two to three times the previous estimates of $70-100 billion per year by 2050, according to a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.

Released during a crucial round of climate talks in Lima, Peru, the first UNEPAdaptation Gap Report serves as a preliminary assessment of global adaptation gaps in finance, technology and knowledge, and lays out a framework for future work on better defining and bridging these gaps.

The report finds that, despite adaptation funding by public sources reaching $23-26 billion in 2012-2013, there will be a significant funding gap after 2020 unless new and additional finance for adaptation is made available.

Without further action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, as outlined in UNEP's Emissions Gap Report 2014, the cost of adaptation will soar even further as wider and more-expensive action is needed to protect communities from the intensifying impacts of climate change such as drought, floods and rising sea levels.

"As world leaders meet in Lima to take the critical next step in realizing a global agreement on climate change, this report underlines the importance of including comprehensive adaptation plans in the agreement," said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.

"The impacts of climate change are already beginning to be factored into the budgets of national and local authorities. The escalating cost implications on communities, cities, business, taxpayers and national budgets merit closer attention as they translate into real economic consequences," he added.

"National authorities and the international community should take the necessary steps to ensure the funding, technology and knowledge gaps are addressed in future planning and budgeting," he said. "Of particular concern are the implications on least developed countries, whose financial resources for investing in development will need to be redeployed to financing adaptation measures".

"The report provides a powerful reminder that the potential cost of inaction carries a real price tag. Debating the economics of our response to climate change must become more honest," he added. "We owe it to ourselves but also to the next generation, as it is they who will have to foot the bill."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report included estimates on the cost of adapting to climate change in developing countries of $70-100 billion per year by 2050?based largely on World Bank figures from 2010.

The Adaptation Gap Report, produced in collaboration with 19 leading institutions and research centres, expands upon these earlier estimates by including new national and sector studies in its analyses and modelling. The report finds that the earlier figures are likely to be a significant underestimate. For example, one newer study found that the annual average adaptation costs for South Asia alone were estimated at up to $40 billion.

While the Adaptation Gap Report finds that the likely increase in adaptation costs with emissions reductions in place is two to three times higher, it points to the possibility of even greater expense. Extending the analysis to all developing countries indicates a chance that adaptation costs could climb as high as $150 billion by 2025/2030 and $250-500 billion per year by 2050.

These costs are based on the assumption that further wide-ranging action is taken to cut emissions to the level required to meet the target of limiting global temperature rise this century to 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.

UNEP's Emissions Gap Report 2014, released in early November, found that in order to limit global temperature rise to 2°C and head off the worst impacts of climate change, global carbon neutrality should be attained by mid-to-late century.

However, in a business-as-usual scenario, global greenhouse gas emissions could rise to up to 87 Gt CO2e by 2050, far beyond the safe limits, and bring an increased need for spending to adapt to the consequences of a rapidly warming world. Under this scenario, adaptation costs could hit double the worst-case figures.

UNEP's Africa Adaptation Gap Report, released prior to the Warsaw climate conference in 2013, found that adaptation costs for Africa alone could reach approximately $350 billion annually by 2070 should the 2°C target be significantly exceeded, compared to $150 billion lower per year if the target were met.

The Adaptation Gap Report also highlights that Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States are likely to have far greater adaptation needs; without early efforts to implement adaptation in these countries, the existing adaptation gap will widen as greater financial resources will need to be committed later on.

Financial commitment rising, but more needed

There is evidence that financial commitments to adaptation objectives have increased in recent years, and that adaptation is being increasingly integrated into development policies, but scaling up financial flows to adaptation remains a priority, the report finds.

Public adaptation-related financing reached $23-26 billion in 2012-2013, 90 per cent of which was invested in non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, plus Chile and Mexico.

This represents a large increase over recent years, although it is not clear how much of the funding is actually new as opposed to the result of shifting definitions of adaptation funding.

Private sector funding, which is believed to account for a significant share of adaptation funding, is not systematically tracked. For this reason the estimates of adaptation finance flows are underestimated.

The report looks at the additional revenue that could be raised between 2015?2050 from a selected set of sources, such as: the international auctioning of emissions allowances and the auctioning of allowances in domestic emissions trading schemes, a carbon levy, revenues from international transportation, a wires charge, and financial transaction taxes.

The estimates show that $26-115 billion could be raised by 2020, while $70-220 billion could be raised by 2050, depending on the level of ambitious climate change mitigation efforts put in place.

Technology gaps

The report also highlights that there is a need to accelerate the propagation and international transfer of technologies for adaptation, many of which already exist. This, the report notes, requires governments to remove barriers to technology uptake, for example through incentives, regulations and the strengthening of institutions.

Critical to the successful uptake of technologies for adaptation is their applicability beyond increasing resilience to climate change. Experience shows that it is easier to scale up the deployment of adaptation technologies when they meet a number of other human needs in addition to providing climate benefits.

As an example of successful technologies, the report looks at scientifically developed seeds, which can be used to sustain agriculture within the context of a changing climate?critical for most African countries given the dependence of large proportions of the population on farming.

In Madagascar, for example, rice varieties that mature in four months (as opposed to five or six) have been introduced. These rice varieties stand a greater chance of reaching maturity before the height of the cyclone season, increasing the probability of a sufficient harvest and ensuring seed will be available to plant the following season.

Knowledge gaps

Finally, the report points to considerable scope for using existing knowledge on climate change and adaptation more effectively.

For many regions and countries, there is a lack of systematic identification and analysis of adaptation knowledge gaps. Integrating and interpreting scientific evidence from different sources, and making it available to decision makers at all levels, is one of the most important knowledge needs today.

The report recommends that consideration of knowledge gaps be integrated more explicitly in project and programme framing and design, to ensure that the knowledge produced responds better to user needs and identified knowledge gaps.

The report also suggests that a repository of adaptation options, which can be integrated in development decisions, could play a pivotal role in informing development decisions.

Notes to Editors

The Adaptation Gap Report can be downloaded at: www.unep.org/climatechange/adaptation/gapreport2014

The Africa Adaptation Gap Report 2013 can be downloaded at: http://www.unep.org/pdf/AfricaAdapatationGapreport.pdf

The Emissions Gap Report 2014 can be downloaded at: http://www.unep.org/publications/ebooks/emissionsgapreport2014/portals/50268/pdf/EGR2014_LOWRES.pdf

For more information and to arrange interviews with experts on the topic, please contact:

Shereen Zorba, Head of News and Media, United Nations Environment Programme shereen.zorba@unep.org, Tel. +254 788 526 000

Michael Logan, News and Media Officer, United Nations Environment Programme, Michael.logan@unep.org, Tel. +254 725 939 620

China Renews Commitment Towards Achieving Eco-Civilization

The core aim of eco-civilization is to balance the relationship between humanity and nature, which includes economic development, population, resources and the environment.

Beijing, 1 December 2014 - In the context of the Annual General Meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), attended by UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, reiterated China's commitment to achieving Eco-civilization through the transition towards a low carbon, green economy.

The core aim of eco-civilization is to balance the relationship between humanity and nature, which includes economic development, population, resources and the environment.

The Vice Premier also reaffirmed China's commitment to pursue energy efficiency, improve economic regulations and encourage market interventions in support of a green transition.

This comes in the heels of China's landmark decision last month to peak emissions by 2030. Prior to that, Mr. Zhang told the Secretary General's Climate Summit in September that by 2020 China would aim to reduce its emissions of carbon per unit of GDP by 45 per cent, compared with levels in 2005.

Mr. Steiner, who is Vice-Chair of the Council, welcomed China's adoption of visionary environmental policies, adding that 2015 will mark the implementation phase for some of the most far reaching and comprehensive green policies ever seen, including on air pollution, as well as the ushering in of the 13th Five Year Plan.

The three-day high-level CCICED meeting is held under the theme "Management and Institutional Innovation in Green Development". Two open fora will discuss 'Institutional Innovation for Ecological Civilization' and 'Green Transformation and Outlook for China.'

The CCICED was established in 1992 as a high-level international advisory body composed of Chinese and International figures experts in the field of environment and development. It aims to provide forward-looking, strategic and early warning policy recommendations to China's leadership as well as decision makers at all levels. The Council also facilitates the implementation of sustainable development

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UN Winter School on Sustainable Consumption and Production in Asia and the Pacific 2014, Asian Institute of Technology Campus, 7-20 December 2014, Bangkok Thailand

The UN Winter School on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in Asia and the Pacific will take place on 7–20 December 2014 at the Asian Institute of Technology Campus, Bangkok Thailand. It is a regional learning platform targeted to future decision makers from governments, business and civil society to design and implement policies, business models and practices on sustainable consumption and production. This Summer School, undertaken by UNEP with UNU-IAS, UNIDO, the ASEAN Secretariat and other partners contributes to the implementation of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP.

Dialogue Meeting between China and Lao PDR on Control of Illegal Trade of Ozone Depleting Substances at the Border, 24-26 December 2014, Mengla, China

This meeting is jointly organized by the UNEP OzonAction Programme and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, China to explore an enforcement mechanism to control illegal trade in ozone depleting substances (ODS) especially through informal, undeclared trading formalities in the China-Lao border area. The meeting also provides a forum for ozone and customs officers to exchange experience, ideas and good practices. This meeting is a recommendation of the Sub-region Dialogue on Control of ODS Trade organized in November 2013 in Vientiane, Lao PDR

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