IGES holds consultations on climate regime beyond 2012 in Bangkok
7 August 2006
On July 19 - 20, 2006, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Hayama, Japan held a multi-stakeholder consultation meeting on climate regime beyond 2012 for South East Asia in Bangkok, Thailand, in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). Some 70 representatives from Southeast Asia attended, including policy-makers, industry representatives, academic experts, and NGO representatives from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan.
This consultation was organised as a part of "the Asia-Pacific consultations on climate regime beyond 2012", initiated in 2005. The goals are to promote new and constructive thinking in the Asia-Pacific region on the future actions against climate change beyond 2012, and to contribute to the shaping of a future climate regime that adequately reflects the concerns and developmental aspirations of countries in the region.
The consultations in 2006 aim to promote further discussion on four themes: (a) energy security and development needs, (b) the clean development mechanism, (c) technology development and transfer, and (d) adaptation to climate change, and are being held on a sub-regional basis. The consultations for Northeast Asia were held in Beijing on 3 and 4 July. Similar consultations will be held in Delhi on 9 and 10 August for South Asia.

Please refer to the appended materials for a preliminary summary of the consultations.

*1. In 2005, IGES conducted region-wide and national consultations in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea and Viet Nam in order to ascertain Asian concerns, interests and priorities for the future climate regime. The outcomes were published as a report entitled, "Asian Perspectives on Climate Regime Beyond 2012: Concerns, Interests and Priorities" and disseminated at UNFCCC COP11 and the 14th UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-14).

For enquiries about this press release please contact:
Dr. Ancha Srinivasan, Principal Researcher,
Climate Policy Project
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Tel: +81-46-855-3818 Fax: +81-46-855-3809

Ms. Kido, PR Officer,
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
2108-11 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa, 240-0115 Japan
Tel: +81-46-855-3700 Fax: +81-46-855-3709

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1. A Preliminary Summary of Consultations
(1) Energy Security, Development, and Climate Policy

- Following a steep rise in crude oil prices, energy security has become an issue of major concern for Southeast Asian countries. In particular, because of the strong correlation between greenhouse gas emissions and energy production and consumption, Asian countries that are experiencing rapid population growth and remarkable economic growth rates need to integrate energy policies and climate change policies.
- Asian countries should design policies that encourage renewable energy development and energy efficiency enhancement in order to achieve both goals of enhancing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- As poverty eradication is a major concern for many developing countries, securing affordable energy supply for the lower-economic classes remains an important challenge. Until now, poverty reduction measures and climate change policies have not been discussed together. Future climate regime discussions should promote initiatives that link these two issues.
- Developing Asia continues to face problems in access to technology and finance for promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Developing countries may first identify technologies that they already possess or that can be shared in the region, and promote their further deployment and utilisation.

(2) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

- The CDM is expected to reduce GHG emissions while contributing to sustainable development in developing countries. In order for the CDM to be effectively implemented, a long-term agreement for continuity of CDM beyond 2012 is urgently necessary.
- To promote CDM implementation in the Least developed countries (LDCs), in addition to streamlining CDM procedures, developed countries should create reserve funds to support projects. However, careful consideration must be given to relaxation of conditions for CDM additionality.
- Participants discussed the prospects for adoption of unilateral CDM linked with a certified emission reduction (CER) discounting scheme. However, there is a concern that several developing countries cannot implement unilateral CDM projects on their own due to a lack of necessary finance.
- Sector/programme-based CDM attracted considerable attention but participants felt that it requires further study on additionality, monitoring and validation of emission reductions from such projects.

(3) Climate-friendly Technology Development and Transfer

- Further technological development is indispensable to achieve the ultimate goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and member states must promote dissemination of technologies at a domestic level within developing countries while further encouraging technology transfer both among developing countries and between developed and developing countries. Moreover, appropriate measures must be taken to promote the use of technologies that developing countries already possess. (Unilateral CDM activities were discussed as one such measure.)
- Participants noted that market-driven technology transfers can be promoted within the framework of international trade regime such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO). On the other hand, UNFCCC processes may enable transfer of technologies that are not commercially viable. Participants noted that both processes can complement each other.
- Developed country governments can play a catalytic role in dissemination of climate-friendly technologies through promoting cooperation with public research institutions in developing countries, while the developing country governments can encourage participation of the private sector through introducing favourable taxation policies.
- Developing countries need to leapfrog through stages of technological development in order to reduce GHG emissions. At the same time, they must also acquire capacity to manage, operate, and maintain such new technologies. For this reason, a realistic way is to adopt a case-by-case approach in moving through each stage of technological development.
- Adopting similar international technology standards in all countries was considered impractical since such standards may not accurately reflect the circumstances of each country. However, some participants pointed out that establishing international technology standards in areas such as consumer electronics and transportation may be useful, where the project-based CDM is not yet effective. Some participants felt that it would be beneficial for countries in the region to exchange information on technology standards.

(4) Adaptation to Climate Change

- International discussions on adaptation to climate change are much less advanced than those on GHG mitigation. In many Southeast Asian countries, disasters relating to climate change have already manifested, making efforts to tackle climate change all the more urgent.
- The current international mechanisms for facilitating adaptation to climate change suffer from a number of problems, including the lack of adequate financial support and complexity of rules to access funding. For instance, the current eligibility screening under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) strictly separates "adaptation" related projects from "development" related ones. However, both types of projects are closely linked and it is rather difficult to make such distinctions in many countries.
- Differences exist across nations in the region in the way they respond to adaptation to climate change. While some countries are responding positively by establishing domestic funding and government policies to promote adaptation, many countries have not established mechanisms to assess the current and future impacts of climate change mainly due to lack of domestic scientific capacity on adaptation issues. For this reason, inter-regional and bilateral cooperation is urgently needed. Moreover, it is important for each country to study measures for effective utilisation of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and to mainstream adaptation concerns in national development planning.
- Participants noted that both national and international public-private partnerships must be promoted to encourage the disclosure, development, and dissemination of technologies to facilitate adaptation to climate change. Further, it was felt necessary to create appropriate incentives for more active involvement of the private sector in facilitating adaptation.

2. Future issues
The consultations highlighted the need for international cooperation in linking sustainable development - including poverty-reduction - with climate change issues in developing countries. It is therefore of crucial importance for Asia that the opinions and issues brought up in the consultations pertaining to development, energy security, technology development and technology transfer, CDM, and adaptation, be thoroughly explored, with the views reflected in a future framework that addresses Asian concerns much more effectively than before.

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