Asia-Pacific Climate Week Calls for Scaling-up Climate Action

Bangkok, Thailand – Finance and sector ministers and high-level officials from more than 30 countries in Asia-Pacific joined private sector leaders to identify ways to scale up climate action and find innovative financing solutions for the transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies.

The Asia-Pacific Climate Week (APCW 2017) culminated in a Regional Climate Action Agenda that will strengthen regional cooperation among state and non-state stakeholders to: promote more ambition prior to 2020 in key economic sectors, including energy, industry, agriculture, cities and oceans; promote take-up of carbon pricing instruments and policies; ensure better transboundary data collection; and improve access to finance.

Participants at the event, 13-15 December, also underscored the need to provide low-income, climate vulnerable countries with targeted international support to access capital markets in order to finance the transition to low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. Enhanced regional collaboration and awareness-raising are as well crucial.

“Enabling vulnerable countries to gain access to international capital markets to finance the green transition can be one of the most effective ways to finance climate action,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar. “Every dollar invested will leverage many more. Tapping the capital markets to finance climate action will also enable the region to deepen its financial system and reorient it towards new growth opportunities.”

In his remarks, the Hon. Inia Seruiratu of Fiji, High-level Champion for Global Climate Action, said, “We hope that the meaningful discussions shared during this High-Level Segment will help move key stakeholders in the region toward a clear Regional Climate Action Agenda, which unifies the region’s climate ambitions with the need to ensure that financial flows are consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.” The Hon. Inia Seruiratu is Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, and National Disaster Risk Management and Meteorological Services.

At the opening, Dirk Forrister, CEO and President of the International Emissions Trading Association said, “Improving the quality of data and transparency are two key goals towards the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. Achieving these goals will help finance to flow and results to be verified, and would also clear the path to market-based solutions that can vastly scale up the reductions Paris calls for.”

James Grabert, Director of the Sustainable Development Mechanisms Programme at UN Climate Change said, “Success in achieving the Paris Agreement objectives will require an ‘all-hands- on-deck’ approach, bringing together the private sector, cities, civil society and other non-State actors.

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“I am certain we will see ramped up climate action emerging from the cooperation evident and commitments expressed here at Asia-Pacific Climate Week,” said Mr. Grabert.

Participants in APCW2017 heard how Asia and the Pacific is emerging as a global leader that is showing how growth and sustainable development can be achieved through promoting sustainable energy and carbon pricing for cost-effective achievement of the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. The region is a growth area for carbon pricing and markets, and a wealth of opportunities are being created as countries look to use market forces to drive the low-carbon transition, both domestically and through Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

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Against this backdrop, APCW 2017 underscored the need for stronger emphasis on creating the enabling conditions to attract clean-energy investment in the light of a recent decline in financing for new clean energy, and a greater focus on private sector investment, which are currently still far behind levels needed to achieve the goals laid down in the Paris Agreement. De-risking instruments and credit enhancements were also highlighted as key to leveraging the much-needed increase in capital from private investors.

APCW 2017 is part of series of annual “Climate Weeks” held in each region to advance climate action through promotion of market-based instruments and financing for climate action. The aim is to scale-up ambition and achieve cost-effective climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Paris Agreement aims to keep global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

APCW 2017 was co-organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UN Climate Change, UN Development Programme, UN Environment, UNEP-DTU Partnership, Asian Development Bank, IETA, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and the Thai Greenhouse Gas Management Organization.