Global Environment

The Sixteenth Asia Pacific Seminar on Climate Change

[Chairperson's Summary]

5- 8 September 2006, Jakarta, Indonesia

  1. Attendance
  2. Themes
  3. Conduct of the Seminar
  4. Substantive Sessions

1. The Sixteenth Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change was held in Jakarta, Indonesia on 5- 8 September 2006. The Seminar was jointly organized by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MOEJ), the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), the Ministry of Environment, Republic of Indonesia (MOEI), and the Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center, Japan (OECC). Since its commencement in 1991, the Seminar has become well recognized as a major regional effort to address climate change and acted as a progressive vehicle for information exchange and mutual understanding through very important interactions among the participants and thus providing a useful framework for international cooperation in this field.

I. Attendance

2. The Seminar was attended by government officials from twenty-one (21) countries, and representatives of several UN and other organizations. A number of resource persons from research institutes, local governments, universities and private companies also attended the Seminar.

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II. Themes

3. The goal of the Seminar is to facilitate exchange of views, experiences and best practices on climate change-related efforts in the Asia-Pacific region. For the 16th Seminar, participants discussed climate change and development as a general theme, seeking region’s possible approach to realizing a climate friendly and climate change-resilient society. Under this general theme, four specific topics were discussed, including clean development mechanism (CDM), adaptation to climate change, education, training, and public awareness, and co-benefits of climate change-related efforts. The outcome of the Seminar provides inputs to other fora, including the Better Air Quality Asia 2006 (BAQ2006), to be held in Yogyakarta in December 2006.

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III. Conduct of the Seminar

4. The Seminar commenced with an opening statement by H.E. Dr. Rachmat Witoelar, State Minister of Environment, Republic of Indonesia. The keynote address by Mr. Toshiro Kojima, Vice Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, on behalf of the organizers, was read out by Mr. Osamu Mizuno, Director, Office of International Strategies on Climate Change, the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.

5. The Seminar was chaired by Mr. Taka Hiraishi, Senior Consultant, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan. Mr. Sum Thy, Head, Office of Climate Change, the Ministry of Environment, Cambodia, Mr. Dadang Hilman, Head, Division for Adaptation to Climate Change, MOEI, Mr. Normand Tremblay, Senior Advisor, Environment Canada, and Mr. Marcus Cahill, Assistant Director, Global Climate Change Negotiation Team, AGO chaired substantive sessions of the Seminar.

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IV. Substantive Sessions

Setting the Scene - Implications of Climate Change Policy on Regional, National and Local Development

6. The Chairperson of the Seminar provided an overview on the relevance and interactions between the issue of climate change and development. Participants generally recognized that these two issues are closely inter-related, and to achieve sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region, there is a strong need to address both of them in a holistic and integrated manner.

7. The Seminar reaffirmed the issue of climate change and development has been dealt with in layers of global, regional, national and local governance, and there are different stakeholders with key functions and relevant expertise. Also the Seminar recognized that the attention to the issue of integration of climate change concerns into development planning and activities is growing by national and local governments as well as by bilateral and multilateral development assistance agencies, and gradually the number of relevant programmes is increasing.

8. Participants highlighted the importance of planning stage, and many participants suggested that concerns of climate change and development should be effectively integrated at this stage. And it was stressed that the proper alignment of the policy formulation as well as implementation would be vital. In order to achieve sustainable development with climate change concerns integrated, elaboration of basic development scenarios may involve the process of ensuring the development and deployment of sound technologies, and of establishing effective and efficient institutions and management, which may trigger the reform of social systems and introduction of holistic actions. Some participants pointed out efforts should be intensified both on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change in this regard.

9. The Seminar acknowledged that the involvement of national development planning departments, together with departments in charge of environmental protection in consideration of climate-related actions (both mitigation and adaptation) is important for effective mainstreaming of climate change concerns into national development. At the same time, many participants noted that integration of long-term climate implications into national development planning is a pre-requisite for a sound long-term development planning. In this regard, the Seminar also noted the usefulness to have a clear vision of a society to be developed as a goal, which would help more holistic and integrated development efforts. In some countries, climate change concerns are already being integrated into national development goals, through national development plans, or domestic legal and policy instruments, yet, many participants emphasized that there would be more needs to do so. Thus, many participants indicated collaboration of authorities as well as experts of climate change and development planning domains should be substantively expanded.

10. Participants noted that local governance has some strengths of effective integration of climate change concerns into development activities, especially when they take into account of other tangible local co-benefits such as improved air and water quality, mitigated traffic congestions, and increased employment. The Seminar felt replication of successful efforts at local government level would be useful, where appropriate, in the Asia-Pacific region.

11. The Seminar addressed the need for harmonization of different criteria, standard and procedures in existing institutions of development assistance vis-à-vis climate change, and as a practical approach, a suggestion was made to integrate climate change aspects into policy tools such as project design matrix (PDM), and a climate impact integration assessment - a similar procedure as EIA.

Clean Development Mechanism

12. The session updated participants with the institutional and market development of clean development mechanism. Compared to its early stage, the involvement of stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region has become extremely large. Especially, the larger interest of stakeholders in developing countries has driven the increase of project activities, and necessary arrangements to support such activities.

13. Participants shared information on good practices of, as well as difficulties faced with by designated national authorities (DNA), which play a central role of governing CDM activities in respective countries. While the main function of DNA is to set criteria/procedures, and review and approve CDM projects, many of them assume additional responsibilities, such as awareness raising and promotion of CDM. Others introduced their experiences in mitigating such challenges by establishing a partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other relevant stakeholders. Some participants mentioned the increase of DNA’s activities may burden themselves due to their limited capacity. Further need of capacity building of DNAs and facilitation of awareness raising at all levels - politicians, policy-makers, regional and local public authorities, investors, NGOs and general public was again stressed.

14. Some participants highlighted the good potential of methane-related CDM projects, including those of coal mines as well as biomass-related projects. Carbon dioxide-related projects are also expected as a driver of sustainable development in the region, given the fact that they may promote transformation of high carbon industries into less carbon-intensive industries. Especially for the latter, many participants recognized the need to improve the current environment for CDM (i.e. international and domestic institutions, and interactions with carbon market), some participants also expressed their hope for CDM in a long-term future, and our experiences under the current system may be reflected to it.

15. In relation to CDM activities with emphasis of sustainable development aspects, there is a tendency that obstacles and barriers are bigger for those projects that have high potential contribution to sustainable development but have smaller CERs expected, and therefore, many participants stressed that governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders need to create an enabling environment, within their respective responsibilities. Some participants expressed their hope that as for a future CDM or CDM-like scheme if they are agreed upon by governments, there should be reflections on this aspect in their consideration. A suggestion was made to the effect that one possible solution might be to quantify, for instance in monetary terms, CDM project’s contribution to sustainable development as well as its other co-benefits, and then to secure financial funding for them, in addition to the payments for CERs. Such funding would promote those SD CDM projects in the future. ODA, private sector funding as CSR gesture, and any other good-will financial contribution were mentioned as its possible funding sources.

16. Many participants noted that the relation with carbon market is a key to promote sustainable development through CDM activities. There are several effective examples of business models that triggered public and private investments into projects with high implication of sustainable development, and in such a way, CDM may encourage private sector stakeholders to further contribute to climate change mitigation and sustainable development.

Adaptation to Climate Change

17. Adaptation to climate change requires a consideration for mid and long term development planning. However, to date it is not common for development planners to integrate these aspects and one of the challenges is reconciling different time scales of development planning and adaptation related activities.

18. A strong need was addressed to increase adaptive capacity in the Asia-Pacific region, according to tendencies of past, present and future climatic variabilities. In order to materialize such efforts in societies, the Seminar noted the usefulness “boundary organizations” to bridge over different stakeholders, which may play a vital role especially in developing countries.

19. There are several ongoing efforts in the field of adaptation in countries, and experiences may be replicated with appropriate modification. In addressing adaptation concerns, a holistic and integrated approach is highly recommended, vis-à-vis integrating relevant concerns into national and local development planning, rather than taking an ad hoc sectoral approach.

20. Given the fact that the level of current public funding is relatively small, and that it is important to involve private sector organizations, there was a suggestion to use a market force to utilize private financial resources for adaptation activities, which would complement public funding (e.g. a re-insurance scheme in the private sector). This idea is still at its embryonic stage and further elaboration is necessary. In this context, public funding may be able to play a catalytic role to trigger involvement of larger amount of resources from the private sector.

21. Some participants stressed a need to develop indicators for differentiating climate-related disasters caused by long-term climate change and others. One of possible options is to take an automatic approach based the historical climatic data.

22. Participants pointed out that mitigation and adaptation in developing planning should be well balanced, although there are variety of prioritized concerns and of the sense of urgency that may be reflected decision making, depending on specific circumstances of vulnerability of countries. Also, in some cases, regional or sub-regional effects of climate change have become serious in the region, and the importance and usefulness of joint efforts by different countries were emphasized.

23. The Seminar also reaffirmed that the sector-based approach could be useful in certain adaptation activities. Experiences in the forest management sector in tropical areas showcased that addressing other concerns may bring about multiple benefits such as the protection of biodiversity, maintenance carbon stock, as well as preventive adaptation to climate change (i.e. avoiding land slides).

Education, Training, and Public Awareness

24. In conjunction with the 15th Seminar, the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Art.6 of the Convention was successfully organized and encouraged countries to continue and intensify their efforts in the field of education, training, and public awareness. Based on this background, the 16th Seminar maintained the momentum from the past meetings and provided participants with an opportunity to continue the exchange of views on this important topic.

25. Many participants shared a view that a success of awareness raising is highly dependent upon strategic approaches to identifying target groups, the best effective methodologies to convey message, and suitable vehicles and timing. Behaviours of target groups vary by countries’ socio-economic conditions, however, generic aspects of analysis methodologies can be well shared and replicated in different countries in Asia and the Pacific. Some countries gained substantial success and their domestic campaigns are being applied in other countries.

26. Departments in charge of climate change may provide a catalytic role to integrate climate change concerns into activities in other department activities, if there is a proper channel and mechanism for coordination.

27. The Seminar noted with appreciation that the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) developed a prototype of Climate Change Information Network (CC:iNet). To make CC:iNet more useful, some participants pointed out that while the website may be populated with more contents, it is important to keep its volume within a manageable size. Also the Seminar encouraged participants to register at CC:iNet, and provide feedback to the Secretariat.

28. It was pointed out that though information exchange among countries is useful, such information needs to be modified and translated into a replicable manner. In response to countries’ request to address such a barrier at the 15th Seminar and the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop in 2006, the Secretariat of the AP Seminar created new pages at the Asia-Pacific Network on Climate Change (AP-Net), where countries may introduce their domestic experiences in a viewer friendly manner.

29. It was also pointed out that there is a limitation of website based efforts, given the fact that the digital divide is still serious in remote areas in the region. To fill such a gap, the Seminar recognized that there continues to be a need to use other vehicles suitable to specific local situations.

30. Participants expressed their hope to continue to discuss the issue of education, training, and public awareness in the 17th Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change.

Co-benefits of Climate Change - related Efforts

31. The 16th AP Seminar discussed the issue of co-benefits as a matter of special attention. It was reiterated that expectations to the co-benefits approach is especially high in the Asia-Pacific region, as a strong policy tool to drive climate change related efforts forward. Among from benefits, air pollution control, water quality management, health control were popular examples of co-benefits that can be often associated with climate change mitigation, though it is not limited to them. These co-benefits may also be understood as tangible form of sustainable development.

32. The session provided participants with a unique opportunity to experience policy analysis to address co-benefits through a training modules that were developed by the Integrated Environmental Strategies (IES) Program of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The mini training session brought the participants the idea of considering local benefits in the context of climate change mitigation as a global benefit. Though the modules used were designed in a relatively simplified manner to help acquire idea of linking different benefits, participants also reminded themselves of the necessity of complicated aspects of real situations, such as occurrence of de-merits or possible transboundary co-benefits (or associated de-merits).

33. The Seminar noted that the deployment of co-benefits approach to climate change mitigation is becoming wider, and results of some policy consideration with co-benefits approach has been integrated into local development planning. The Seminar highlighted the possibility of further use of this approach, especially in addressing broader socio-economic benefits such as poverty reduction, promotion of local economic livelihood and improvement of local governance, with replicating successful practices in certain cities.

34. The co-benefits approach has been developed as a policy tool to encourage administrators to integrate climate change concerns into other activities. In Asia and the Pacific, this approach may also encourage development assistance agencies to effectively assist developing country stakeholders.

35. The Seminar welcomed that the Better Air Quality Asia would be organized in December, 2006, at Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The efforts to address air quality management in the region may have a great potential to integrate climate change concerns, and the Seminar will send its delegation to the BAQ 2006 to provide inputs regarding climate change concerns in air quality management.

Final Session and Closing of the Seminar

36. The Seminar reiterated that international cooperation is one of the important drivers to encourage activities to address climate change issues. Currently, several activities are in place with a certain track record of success. Participants expressed that such activities should be further strengthened through increasing the level of participation by and the ownership of countries and stakeholders.

37. Among from others, the Seminar highlighted the importance of regional cooperation in the field of science, as the uncertainty of climate change has been a major obstacle for effective policy development and decision-making in many countries. In this regard, efforts made by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) is highly valued, and many participants expressed their hope that its activities would enhance scientific knowledge and translate it into relevant policies.

38. In order to seek larger deployment of climate change-related efforts in the region, some participants pointed out the usefulness of strategic partnership with efforts in social and economic field, including urban environment, human settlements, as well as poverty eradication, while it would be necessary to seek an appropriate interface with climate change issues. By combining climate change-related efforts with other socio-economic priorities, it may be possible to attract more attention by stakeholders. In this connection, efforts made by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) under the concept of “green growth” were introduced as relevant and useful activities.

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8 September 2006

Chairperson of the Sixteenth Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change
Taka Hiraishi

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