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Regional Work

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
 
UNEP-lites.asia workshop on Regional Lighting Policy Bangkok, Thailand, 3-4 February, 2015

Over 70 government officials, leading industry representatives, laboratories and technical institutions from 20 Asia and the Pacific countries met from 3 to 4 February 2015 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss opportunities for ensuring adequate market surveillance and harmonized policy for efficient lighting.

Participants resolved that 2015 presents a unique window of opportunity to accelerate the rapid deployment of efficient lighting technologies in Asia and the Pacific. The UN Secretary General’s SE4ALL initiative identified lighting as a priority to promote energy efficiency and mitigate climate change. Advanced lighting solutions are critical to reduce electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security, and trade balances. Furthermore, the global transition to advanced lighting constitutes an inspiring example to promote a globally accepted agreement on climate change by the end of this year in Paris. Lighting is responsible for more than 15% of electricity consumption in Asia.

The political commitment from the Association of South East Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) leaders to develop a single market for goods and services by 2015 provides a perfect opportunity to develop regional lighting standards harmonization, improve consumer confidence and foster regional trade of high-quality lighting products in this 600 million consumers’ market. Countries requested UNEP to gather the conclusions and options identified at the meeting and present them to ASEAN authorities, to facilitate discussion towards regional lighting policy harmonization in ASEAN, while seeking coordination with other Asian nations.

While the regional market is experiencing an increasing penetration of light emitting diode (LED) technologies, participants showed concerns that low quality LED lamps and erroneous performance claims will undermine consumer confidence in the technologies. Standardization and market surveillance is fundamental to eliminate uncertainty and ensure that the promises of this Nobel Prize awarded technology are met.

Government and industry participants put forth innovative solutions to ensure compliance with lighting standards, such as product registries and uniform customs codes. Complying with standards ensures that the billions of lamps sold in Asia are safe, do not put citizens’ heath and livelihood at risk, ensure that energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions are kept low, and meet the consumer expectations.

The Governments of Australia and the United States launched lites.asia in 2009 to facilitate the exchange of technical information on lighting between policy makers in Asia-Pacific. The UNEP-GEF en.lighten initiative, with funding from the Government of Australia, supports countries to build capacities in monitoring, verification and enforcement of lighting standards.

Convened by the United Nations Environment Programme, lites.asia brings together a community of regulators, policy makers, industry representatives and experts and serves as a network for information exchange and discussion on efficient lighting policy and regulation. Through meetings, webinars, technical resources and reports, lites.asia supports the development of national initiatives, regional cooperation and harmonization in Asia.


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


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Events

Capacity Building on Sustainable Consumption and Production, 26-28 February, Colombo

UNEP, together with the South-Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) is organizing a three-day event that includes a preparatory meeting for the South Asia Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and training on “Building the knowledge of National Focal Points on SCP” in Colombo, Sri Lanka. During the event, participants will learn how SCP policies can underscore South Asia’s sustainable development and expand consumer and producer base, including through the establishment of an annual policy platform, knowledge sharing, and networks.


Joint Thematic Meeting of Southeast Asia Pacific and South Asia Networks of Ozone Officers, 10-13 March 2015, Goyang

Organized by UNEP OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy and the government of the Republic of Korea, this joint meeting will be held along with the "Ozone2Climate Technology Roadshow and Industry Roundtable" and the “Green Public Procurement Workshop to Promote Climate Friendly Alternatives" under the United States Environment Protection Agency grant partnership with UNEP. These meetings aim to build capacity and strengthen coordination with key decision makers on latest ozone and climate friendly alternatives to hydrochlorofluorocarbons and initiate the 2015 work plan of the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan.

UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: +662 288 2314, Fax: +66-2-2803829


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Guarding the Seas with Green Fins
Supported by UNEP, the Green Fins project encourages dive and resort operators as well as divers themselves, to adopt eco-friendly practices during their exploration of coral reefs.

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