MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Delegates gathering in Durban, South Africa for the next round of United Nations climate change talks must continue to put Asia and the Pacific at the forefront of global efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to help countries adapt to new economic and social threats, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Bindu Lohani said today.
"The region, with over 50% of the world's population and two-thirds of its poor, is deeply vulnerable to climate change-linked events such as rising sea levels and increasingly severe droughts and floods," Mr. Lohani said at the start of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. "Without coordinated international action to help address climate change, Asia's extraordinary growth and poverty reduction achievements of the past three decades will be undermined, and this in turn will hurt the global economy."
Participants at the 12-day event will be seeking to develop a new greenhouse gas emissions reduction framework to augment and replace measures under the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire in 2012. Delegates will also aim to launch a new Green Climate Fund for financing climate change action in developing countries, including programs to expand clean technology cooperation and adaptation to climate change impacts.
In 2010, more than 30 million people in Asia and the Pacific were displaced by weather-related environmental disasters, and that pattern is likely to continue and grow, especially in large coastal cities threatened by rising sea levels. Climate change impacts on water and food security threaten to undermine the region's economic future and hurt the poor. Asian economies are also fast becoming a significant source of greenhouse gases which cause global warming, and the problem can only be solved with actions from all countries, with Asia having a key role to play.
ADB has been providing wide ranging financial and technical assistance to its developing member countries to help them move onto low-carbon and climate-resilient growth paths. In 2011, ADB's clean energy investment is expected to be more than $1.8 billion, putting it well on track to reach the $2 billion annual target by 2013. It is also supporting sustainable transport, national and regional adaptation planning and investments, and clean technology cooperation and knowledge sharing.
ADB's climate change interventions over the last three years spanned more than 110 projects in over 40 countries, involving an investment of about $10 billion.