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The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia

SESSION

591

The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia
Salinee Hurley - Replacing kerosene with solar power - an incomparable way to mitigate climate change
Salinee Hurley - Replacing kerosene with solar power - an incomparable way to mitigate climate change
Chochoe Devaporihartakula – A clean and green Asia needs compliance and transparency
Chochoe Devaporihartakula – A clean and green Asia needs compliance and transparency
Sandeep Choudhury – “The Asia we want should be one based on equitable growth and not the disparity we see today between the rich and the poor”
Sandeep Choudhury – “The Asia we want should be one based on equitable growth and not the disparity we see today between the rich and the poor”
Xixi Chen – We need integrated, collaborative and bottom-up leadership to build a cleaner and greener Asia
Xixi Chen – We need integrated, collaborative and bottom-up leadership to build a cleaner and greener Asia
Wilson John Barbon – Disasters are not natural phenomena but are the result of human and social conditions
Wilson John Barbon – Disasters are not natural phenomena but are the result of human and social conditions
Marifrance Avila – “For us to achieve the Asia that we want, we need to start with achieving the country that we want”
Marifrance Avila – “For us to achieve the Asia that we want, we need to start with achieving the country that we want”
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Abner Lawangen – Asia can truly be a resilient towering continent if all countries pull together to combat climate change

Disaster risk reduction officer urges Asia to pull together to help countries prepare for and recover from climate change devastation

Aerial view of Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 Picture: Russell Watkins/UK Department for International Development (Flickr)

Aerial view of Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 Picture: Russell Watkins/UK Department for International Development (Flickr)

Abner Lawangen | 03.11.2017

Lawangen will be a participant at the upcoming session in the series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation. All participants were invited to share their own vision for “the Asia we want.”

Climate change brings havoc to communities. It stagnates development globally, but impacts are worst felt in developing countries, whose economic activities are climate sensitive, including most countries in Asia. Asia hosts approximately 60 percent of the world’s population and 48 percent of the world’s poor according to the Oxford Poverty Human Development Index global multidimensional poverty index (MPI) 2017, making it a crucial consideration in climate vulnerability discussions.

The high inter-dependence of the basic socio-economic activities of these countries to climate and the environment make them susceptible significant change of the climatic behavior. Alteration in the climate pattern and system would bring tremendous pressure to the socio-ecological systems of these communities but they often lack the resources and capacities to cope, resulting to economic and social instability. Furthermore, climate change worsened natural hazards amplifying the risks of these poor communities to climate disasters.

In recent years, climate hazards such as strong typhoons/hurricanes, droughts and torrential rainfall have impact several countries in Asia. Typhoon Haian (locally known as Yolanda) for instance that hit the Philippines in 2013, causing a multi-billion loss of property and a thousand fatalities. Similarly, Typhoon Nargis hit Myanmar in 2008, resulting in more than 80,000 deaths and complex socio-economic loss. A blizzard in Afghanistan in 2008 killed more than 1000 people.  Heavy rain has caused devastating landslides in Japan, China, India and other parts of Asia, among other climate related disasters. Annually, most Asian countries are pouring billions from their scarce resources into rebuilding and rehabilitating these disaster-damaged assets, compromising other socio-economic resources like education, health and sanitation, gender development and others. This dynamic steered by climate disasters puts these countries in a perilous state, which threatens the different social support systems and hinders development.   

These catastrophes evidently demonstrate the vulnerability of these Asian countries and the need to improve efforts to deal these climate hazards; scientists have affirmed that the continent will be the most vulnerable area to climate risks in the future.

Further, as was apparent during these disasters, there is no existing support system from the different Asian countries, making it difficult for the countries affected to recover. Pulling together all the capacities of Asian countries and establishing a support system to respond to climate disasters will improve risk resiliency of each countries and ensure continuity of economic and social development among these countries. A support system for these Asian countries may come in various forms such as sharing of best practices, inter-country humanitarian and capability building support, technical expertise and technology transfer and among others.

As a saying goes, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Asia can truly be a resilient towering continent if all the individual capacities of its countries were put together to combat climate change. It is now a challenge to us current stewards of this continent to make it a better, safer and resilient place for other next generations.

Abner Lawanger has been a disaster risk reduction, environmental, and natural resources officer for five years in Tublay, an indigenous municipality in Northern Philippines.


Session 591 - The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia- is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation. For more information on the Session, please click here. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session on social media, follow #SGSasia.

03.11.2017 Category: SALZBURG IN THE WORLD, SALZBURG UPDATES, SUSTAINABILITY
Abner Lawangen