Southeast Asian civil society organizations and movements yesterday called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to establish a formal mechanism to address adaptation to climate change and loss and damage associated with climate change impacts. The call was made during an international conference organized by ActionAid Vietnam and Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) held Tuesday. More than 40 organizations from across Asia participated in the virtual Southeast Asian Conference on Climate Change Impacts and Actions, which issued dire warnings on the impacts of climate change on food and agriculture in the region.
Southeast Asia is already suffering the devastating consequences of climate change severely affecting food production and access, and small food producers. We are facing even more horrific scenarios in the coming decades. We call on the ASEAN and Southeast Asian governments to scale up appropriate and timely responses to climate change impacts, both current and projected, specifically to empower and enable our countries, peoples and communities to build resilience and deal with loss and damage caused by climate change,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of APMDD.
Nacpil added that the brunt of the impacts of climate change is being felt by farmers, fishers, agro-pastoralists, agricultural workers, rural communities and women in Southeast Asia who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods.
Hoang Phuong Thao, executive director of ActionAid Vietnam, said a Southeast Asian civil society report and recommendations to the ASEAN on the impacts of climate change will be issued this month ahead of the Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the concluding report for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Hoang said the civil society report will focus on the impacts of climate change on food and agriculture in Southeast Asia.
“Climate change is undermining Southeast Asian people and communities’ ability to produce and access food in the future. We plan to engage the ASEAN to establish a formal mechanism to address adaptation to climate change and loss and damage associated with climate change impacts. We will engage governments as well to address agriculture livelihoods resilience in the face of climate change,” said Hoang.
A study on the impacts of droughts and floods on croplands and crop production in Southeast Asia found that droughts and floods affected 13.1 M ha of croplands in the region and about 20.6 M tons of crop production was lost between 2015 and 2019. Moreover, numerous studies in the region have suggested that both inland and marine fishery production have started declining because of climate variation and climate-induced disasters. The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in August predicts that Southeast Asia will be hit by rising sea levels, heat waves, and drought.
The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in August predicts that Southeast Asia will be hit by rising sea levels, heat waves, and drought.
“We challenge the ASEAN and its member governments towards greater cooperation on climate change policies and actions that place the rights and well being of communities and peoples at the center. The ASEAN could and should play a crucial role in the development and scaling up of effective responses to climate change impacts and the imperatives of building resilience and empowering peoples and communities of Southeast Asia,” said Wanun Permpibul, director of Climate Watch Thailand.
“We would like the ASEAN and its member states to call for immediate and significant increase in the overall levels of climate finance pledges by developed countries, beyond the $100 billion a year. This $100 billion goal is only a fraction of what is actually needed to address adaptation and loss and damage,” said Titi Soentoro, executive director of Aksi! for gender, social and ecological justice in Indonesia.
The effects of climate change which cannot be avoided or adapted to are predicted to cost US$1.2 trillion per year by 2060. Soentoro said this must be considered separately from adaptation and institutional mechanisms and must prioritize the most vulnerable people. Climate finance must be delivered as public funds, not as private investments that expect returns, and not in the form of loans and other debt creating instruments, she added.
The conference participants discussed five recommendations to be released as part of the report. These include the call to the ASEAN to establish an ASEAN Framework and Mechanism For Adaptation and Loss and Damage Program and Action. Speakers and participants strongly criticized Southeast Asian governments’ and the ASEAN’s current frameworks, commitments, policies, plans and actions for addressing climate change impacts as still very short of what is urgently needed.