The 10th meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) President’s Advisory Group on Climate Change and Sustainable Development was held today at ADB headquarters.
The Advisory Group’s discussions focused on the results and implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C for developing member countries (DMCs) and ADB’s work in the Asia and Pacific region. The group also considered approaches for effectively tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability. The Advisory Group has been meeting since 2009.
The ADB President’s Advisory Group is headed by IPCC Chair Prof. Hoesung Lee and composed of the following high-level international experts: Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs (Columbia University), Prof. Leena Srivastava (TERI School of Advanced Studies in India), Mr. Andrew Steer (CEO, World Resources Institute), Prof. Dadi Zhou (National Development and Reform Commission in the People’s Republic of China), Prof. Laurence Tubiana (CEO, European Climate Foundation), Prof. Yukari Takamura (University of Tokyo), and Dame Meg Taylor (Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum). Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhou, and Ms. Takamura came to ADB headquarters for the meeting, while other members participated via video conference.
As part of ADB’s new long-term Strategy 2030, the bank has committed to ensuring that 75% of its operations support climate change mitigation and adaptation by 2030, while providing cumulative climate financing of $80 billion from ADB’s own sources between 2019 and 2030.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Nakao emphasized that the bank will scale up support for climate change mitigation by prioritizing investments for low greenhouse gas emission (GHG) energy, implementing sustainable transport and urban transportation strategies, and encouraging DMCs to shift to a low GHG emission development path. On adaptation, ADB will take a comprehensive approach to promote physical, financial, social and institutional, and eco-based resilience.
Mr. Lee explained the main findings of the IPCC report and challenges to achieving pathways consistent with limiting the increase in global warming to 1.5°C. Ms. Takamura mentioned that one encouraging sign in climate actions is the increase in voluntary involvement of nongovernment actors, such as business associations and local communities. Mr. Zhou suggested that countries should regard clear climate targets as important as gross domestic product growth. Finally, Ms. Srivastava, Mr. Steer, and Ms. Tubiana emphasized ADB’s role among multilateral development banks, increased consumer awareness, and clear messages to the public regarding realistic pathways to limit global warming.
In 2018, ADB loan and grant commitments for climate change mitigation and adaptation totaled $4.5 billion for 103 projects. The projects included green, climate-resilient, and low-carbon urban development in Mongolia; climate-resilient port infrastructure in Nauru; and supporting timely and accurate forecasting of extreme weather events in Tajikistan.
In addition, ADB is providing technical assistance in the region, including helping Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines enhance their capacity for designing and implementing investment projects that strengthen resilience of the urban poor. ADB has also been hosting regional knowledge events such as the 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum in October 2018, which was co-organized with the governments of the Philippines and Palau. The Office of the General Counsel has hosted events on climate and environmental law by inviting judges and other law experts.
Disaster management: Boosting the EU’s emergency response
MEPs have approved plans to improve disaster response by updating the EU’s civil defence mechanism and creating additional reserve capacity.
On 12 February, MEPs voted in favour of upgrading the EU’s civil defence mechanism to help member states respond faster and more effectively to emergencies and disasters, both recurrent and unexpected. They propose to improve how disasters are tackled by sharing resources such field hospitals more efficiently.
Disasters, both natural and man-made, can strike anywhere, causing significant losses: in 2017, 200 people were killed in Europe by natural disasters and costs amounted to almost €10 billion
Italian EPP member Elisabetta Gardini, the MEP in charge of steering the plans through Parliament said recent emergencies such as the disasters in Greece in 2018 and in Portugal in 2017 have shown that EU countries alone don’t have enough resources to respond, most of the times due to operational gaps.
Support already in place
A collaborative system of mutual aid already exists and is known as the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. If an EU country needs assistance because of a disaster, it can ask for help.
This system, based on voluntary contributions by participating countries, has proved to have a limited capacity, especially if several countries face the same type of disaster at the same time. The current system does not have an EU reserve capacity to help if member states are unable to.
RescEU: new reserve of emergency resources
Parliament insists on establishing a new reserve of resources known as RescEU. This should be activated only when the resources deployed by EU countries are insufficient. The common European reserve would include the resources needed to respond to disasters such as forest fire-fighting planes, special water pumps, field hospitals and emergency medical teams.
A decision to deploy RescEU would have to be taken by the European Commission in close coordination with the requesting country and the member states owning, renting or leasing the resources.
Sharing knowledge and lessons
The new rules set out to improve disaster risk management through consultation, the use of experts and recommendations for follow-up measures.
MEPs supported strengthening the EU Civil Protection Knowledge Network to share knowledge and facilitate exchanges between everyone involved with civil protection and disaster management, with a particular focus on young professionals and volunteers.
The final text will enter into force once it has been formally adopted by the Council of Ministers. It should be applicable by summer 2019.
UNIDO and WAIPA launch e-learning module on impact investing
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) launched a 4-module e-learning course on “Impact Investing” on the Knowledge Hub of UNIDO’s Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation (TII). The course will allow to improve knowledge of the fast-rising impact investing segment and to understand how this new important trend will affect investment promotion and facilitation efforts by investment promotion agencies (IPAs). The course was prepared with the support of one of the pioneers and now largest impact investors in France, “Investisseurs et Partenaires” (I&P). I&P is headed by former Director of France’s International Development Agency, Jean-Michel Severino, who visited UNIDO in April 2018 to explore cooperation and synergies with UNIDO’s investment promotion work in Africa.
This course is the follow-up and complement to the successfully organized workshop for IPAs on impact investing, organized between WAIPA, UNIDO and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in February 2018. It is a response to the IPAs’ need to be equipped with novel methodologies for the promotion of foreign direct investments (FDI) with concrete impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a recent IPA survey report of UNIDO’s partner WAIPA revealed, 67 per cent of all IPAs consider the attraction of SDG investments to be of great importance, with job creation and technology transfer impact ranked highest. The e-learning course will be complemented by physical classroom trainings.
The TII Knowledge Hub features further e-learning courses on “Quality Infrastructure and Trade” (9 modules in total) and “E-commerce” (8 modules in total). Participation is free of charge and a certificate will be issued.
Guterres: Two States ‘side-by-side’ is the ‘peaceful and just solution’ for Israel-Palestine conflict
A “peaceful and just solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict can “only be achieved” through two States “living side-by-side in peace and security”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated on Friday
In his address to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1975, Mr. Guterres said on Friday that “based on relevant UN resolutions, long-held principles, previous agreements and international law”, Jerusalem should be the capital of both States.
“Unfortunately, over this past year, the situation has not moved in that direction”, he continued, pointing to protests that began along the border fence with Gaza last year that left hundreds dead and thousands wounded by Israeli security forces.
He also cited “security incidents and provocations by Hamas and other militants in Gaza”, including the launching of rockets and incendiary kites that dangerously escalated the situation.
“Thanks to UN and Egyptian mediation efforts, a major escalation was avoided”, he continued, appealing to Hamas authorities in Gaza to “prevent provocations”. The UN chief said that under International Humanitarian Law, “Israel, too, has a responsibility to exercise maximum restraint”, except as a last resort.
Mr. Guterres underscored that the UN firmly supports Palestinian reconciliation and “the return of the legitimate Palestinian Government to Gaza”, as “an integral part of a future Palestinian State”.
Spelling out that the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza must be “immediately addressed”, he detailed that some two million Palestinians “remain mired in increasing poverty and unemployment, with limited access to adequate health, education, water and electricity”, leaving young people with “little prospect of a better future”.
“I urge Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods, which also hamper the efforts of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, without naturally jeopardizing legitimate security concerns,” the Secretary-General stated.
Lauding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for its “critical work” in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and across the region, he called on the international community to “significantly” increase efforts to revitalize Gaza’s economy.
Turning to the “risk of further unrest in the West Bank”, the UN chief flagged that Israeli construction and settlement plans have expanded, including in East Jerusalem.
“Settlements are illegal under international law” he asserted. “They deepen the sense of mistrust and undermine the two-State solution”.
Mr. Guterres said he regretted Israel’s decision not to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, saying: “I hope an agreement can be found by the parties to preserve this long-standing and valuable arrangement.”
“Palestinians have endured more than a half-century of occupation and denial of their legitimate right to self-determination” with both sides continuously suffering from “deadly cycles of violence”, said the Secretary-General.
He indicated that leaders bore the responsibility to “reverse this negative trajectory and pave the way toward peace, stability and reconciliation” and praised the Committee for keeping the focus on the ultimate objective of a “peaceful solution with two States coexisting in peace and security” as the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
“As I have said repeatedly, there is no Plan B”, concluded Mr. Guterres.
Disaster management: Boosting the EU’s emergency response
MEPs have approved plans to improve disaster response by updating the EU’s civil defence mechanism and creating additional reserve capacity....
Portugal can use its economic recovery to build up resilience
Portugal’s economic recovery is now well established, with GDP back to pre-crisis levels, a substantially lower unemployment rate and renewed...
RASAI: The car-sharing tool seeking to breathe life into Pakistan’s congested cities
When Hassam Ud-din started studying in Islamabad in Pakistan, he had a three-hour round-trip commute from his home in Rawalpindi....
ISIS Smuggler: Sleeper Cells and ‘Undead’ Suicide Bombers Have Infiltrated Europe
Authors: Anne Speckhard, Ardian Shajkovci & Hamid Sebaly Europe is bracing for a new wave of jihadist attacks by terrorists...
What Can the Afghan Government and Taliban Learn from Colombia’s Peace Deal with FARC?
The experience of Colombia’s peace with FARC has always been the subject of Western experts working on the war in...
Iran: How to Avoid a War
Upon closer inspection, it appears that the Islamic Republic of Iran has a relative near dearth of human rights organizations...
China’s economic transformation under “New Normal”
China’s double digit growth, also termed as “old normal growth” had dominated the country’s economy since 1980s. Despite the rapid...
South Asia3 days ago
The Saudi Crown Prince’s maiden visit to Pakistan
South Asia2 days ago
Kashmir: Aftermath of Pulwama attack?
Middle East2 days ago
The new strategic axis between the Russian Federation and Iran
Africa2 days ago
Russia wants to bolster economic ties with Lesotho
Newsdesk3 days ago
Green and Blue Finance Will Help Bridge Infrastructure Investment Gap in Southeast Asia
Energy21 hours ago
Solar powering sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific
Eastern Europe2 days ago
Expansion of Georgia’s Black Sea Ports: Modus Vivendi for Georgia
Environment3 days ago
UN announces roadmap to Climate Summit in 2019