Transboundary Impacts of Climate Change in Asia: Making a Case for Regional Adaptation Planning and Cooperation

Regional adaptation planning and cooperation

Global support for promoting adaptation, both in terms of technical and financial assistance is growing, though only a few countries have reached the stage of submitting their NAPs. Developing effective NAPs is a complicated process requiring a great deal of financial and technical resources, much akin to the implementation of environmental standards during the early 1990s. There is a lack of examples for countries to emulate and a lack of continued support for countries to move from one stage of planning to the next. Also, Asia lacks a regional mechanism attuned to the needs of each country that could support the NAP processes.

Asia also lacks a regional mechanism that could help countries collaborate on addressing the transboundary impacts of climate change. These are likely to be immense but receive little attention in national and regional processes. Some progress has been made, for example, in the case of the ASEAN region, intergovernmental bodies like the MRC have been able to invest resources to generate scientific information to support regional initiatives on transboundary impacts. However, such initiatives address only a small fraction of the host of implications of climate change that the sub-regions and countries will have to deal with. Ignoring these regional impacts could undermine the efforts that countries may have put into their national adaptation planning.

In this paper, it has been made clear that regional cooperation has a significant role to play in addressing the transboundary impacts of climate change. Regional cooperation enables countries to work together on collective adaptation solutions to address the impacts of climate change on transboundary natural resources and other teleconnections. This paper sketches the basic outline for such a regional mechanism.