Welcome Remarks on Regional Economics of Climate Change in South Asia

Welcome remarks by Richard Vokes, Country Director of ADB's Sri Lanka Resident Mission, at the Sri Lanka National Expert Workshop for Regional Economics of Climate Change in South Asia: Part 1- Technologies and Options, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen: On behalf of the Asian Development Bank, it is a privilege for me to welcome you all to the National Expert Workshop for Regional Economics of Climate Change in South Asia: Part 1- Technologies and Options.

I would like to extend my thanks to all of you for coming here to contribute your knowledge, expertise, and insights to this National Expert Workshop.

Climate change impacts are increasingly visible in Asia, with South Asia being the most vulnerable sub region in Asia. Thus combating climate change will be a critical development challenge for the region in the decades to come. Although average GHG emissions per capita of South Asia is much lower than that of average non-Annex I countries, unmitigated climate change, in the long term, is likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt. Therefore, even for the South Asian countries, high-carbon economic development is not a sustainable option anymore. There is an urgent need to increase public awareness on the urgency of combating climate change and for more discussions on the economic costs and benefits of unilateral and regional actions on mitigation and adaptation, as well as on supporting government and private sector actions to implement policies to adapt and mitigate to climate change.

The objectives of the national expert workshop, amongst others, is to present the results of National Climate Expert scoping work on the status of climate change studies in the country; to get an opinion from all of you gathered here on the merits of what the project would like to achieve in Sri Lanka; and to identify research gaps or needs. Feedback from the workshop and work undertaken at the national level as part of the project will help improve our understanding of the economics of climate change in Sri Lanka and facilitate the adoption of programs, projects, plans, and policies dealing with adaptation and mitigation.

ADB's participation in global initiatives to address climate change dates back to 1997 when we served as an observer at the Third Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted. Since then, ADB has developed an extensive program to support its developing member countries in dealing with challenges arising from climate change, including interventions through financing, technical assistance, and capacity building. This National Expert Workshop is a part of such technical assistance and capacity building efforts of ADB.

ADB will continue to play an important role in meeting the challenges of climate change and environmental management in the Asia and Pacific region. To do this, we are committed to collaborating further with other development partners and seeking strong partnerships with other stakeholders in the region both bilateral and multi lateral. This National Expert Workshop is one step toward such a partnership.

Again, thank you very much for participating in this event. We look forward to your fruitful discussions.

Thank you.