Civil Society Program

Navigating Interconnected Challenges: Climate, Conflict, and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific

Learning with Partners (Plan International - Australia)

Saturday, 4 May 2024, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm (Asia/Tbilisi)
Museum of Fine Arts



Emily Dwyer Director, Edge Effect, Australia 

Emily Dwyer is a director of Edge Effect, a diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics (or LGBTIQ+) humanitarian and development organization. Her humanitarian and development career started in 2004 in Afghanistan, where she focused on information, media, and peacebuilding. From 2008 Ms. Dwyer undertook regional and headquarters roles with international organizations. After affirming herself as a trans woman, she feared this career was over. Instead, she co-founded Edge Effect. The organization is busy building the evidence base, policy, tools, and sector capacity for LGBTIQ+ inclusion in aid programs.

Ana Maria Locsin Executive Director, Plan International Pilipinas 

Annie Locsin has extensive experience in humanitarian and development work from several assignments in Asia and the Middle East, specifically in the conflict-affected areas of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and the rural areas of Eastern Visayas in the Philippines. Ms. Locsin has robust experience in frontline work, with exposure to evolving resilience needs and situations vis-à-vis climate change in the Philippines. She leads Plan International Pilipinas in several projects such as Urban Mexus, Disaster Risk Reduction–Community Resilience, and Strengthening Structures for Anticipatory Humanitarian Actions.

Anthony Ware Associate Professor, International and Community Development, Deakin University, Australia 

Anthony Ware is an associate professor in international and community development at Deakin University, Australia. His research focuses on humanitarian and international development approaches in conflict-affected situations, particularly conflict-sensitivity, do no harm, everyday peace, peacebuilding, and countering violent/hateful extremism via community-led programming. His research spans Myanmar (particularly Rohingya), Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh and parts of Africa. He has published more than four dozen academic papers/chapters, and five books, and spoken at over sixty international conferences and industry events.

ADB Panelist

Benjamin GrahamDirector, Fragility, and Engagement Division, ADB

Benjamin Graham has led and contributed to major evaluations on ADB’s Strategy 2020, the Asian Development Fund, governance in the Pacific, public sector management, social protection, and knowledge products and services. Before joining ADB, he was a consultant and advisor in the Marshall Islands and Pacific region and in Washington, DC.


Alanna Inserra Senior Social Development Specialist, Plan International (seconded to the ADB NGOC)

Alanna Inserra is a social development and governance specialist with a background in fragile and conflict-affected states. Ms. Inserra’s experience spans both UK and Australian governments, as well as grassroots advocacy and community organizing against gender-based violence. She has worked in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Western Balkans, focusing on anticorruption and gender and transnational threats. Her most recent assignment was with the British Embassy Kyiv, where she oversaw a GBP13.5million portfolio on inclusive recovery and reconstruction. Ms. Inserra holds an MSc in comparative politics (democracy and democratization) from the London School of Economics and a bachelor of arts (honors) in politics and history from the University of Melbourne.

This session discussed the complex interplay between climate change, conflict, crisis, and social development in the Asia and Pacific region, with a focus on the vulnerabilities faced by women and other marginalized populations, including LGBTI communities.

In his opening remarks, Benjamin Graham noted that climate change affects the poor and worsens conflict and adverse social impacts. Addressing these interconnected challenges requires innovative approaches.

In his presentation, Anthony Ware pointed out that development institutions often rely on consultants to assess conflict situations while best practice would be to make sure that the voices of marginalized minorities including youth, women, and LGBTQ are heard. To address the needs of the affected actors, their participation in all stages of project implementation is necessary, from the needs assessment to the development of solutions and to the actual delivery of the intervention.

In her presentation, Ana Maria Locsin highlighted the need to empower girls at the community level through education, creating opportunities, and valuing girls’ contributions. School curricula should include climate resilience and conflict resolution topics. She called for gender-sensitive disaster preparedness and response and empowerment of the youth.

Emily Dwyer highlighted the discrimination experienced by the LGBTQIA+ communities and challenged everyone to consider what we can do together to help. She called for a rights-based approach and noted with thanks that ADB’s proposed Environment and Social Framework (ESF) mentions the LGBTQI sector. As the ESF’s implementation remains to be seen, she inquired about ADB's internal capability in this area and what ADB could aspire to in terms of LGBTQ inclusion. Questions raised the possibility of using conditionality in aid programs to promote policy reforms and it was noted that conditionality rarely works where it is needed most – e.g., in Myanmar.

In his remarks, ADB’s Benjamin Graham noted that climate change intersects with social development, conflict, and across multiple impacts. ADB plans to spend an ambitious $100 billion on climate financing between 2019 and 2030. Beyond resources, it is working to be inclusive in its efforts and to leave no one behind. He closed by citing that ADB strives to work with different partners and approaches to ensure that this interplay is well-managed and effectively considered.