Helping countries tackle climate change

Helping Countries Tackle Climate Change in Asia Pacific

Asia-Pacific is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change and impacts are projected to become more intense in the future. It also accounts for nearly half of global greenhouse gas emissions. UN Environment supports countries confront this dual challenge of adapting to a changing climate at the same time as addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

In Asia Pacific, UN Environment focuses on:

  • Improving understanding and sharing knowledge on science, policies and best practices
  • Assessing technology needs and facilitating technology transfer for adaptation and mitigation
  • Integrating climate change into national and sectoral policies and plans
  • Facilitating readiness for and access to finance

Some of UN Environment’s support in the region includes:

Providing Governments and Stakeholders with Critical Knowledge for Climate Change Adaptation

The Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) equips government officials and key actors with critical knowledge to design climate change adaptation measures, access finance and technologies and build capacity to integrate climate change adaptation into national development policies.

The APAN is run under the Global Adaptation Network, one of the UN Environment’s largest initiatives on climate change adaptation. As a ‘network of networks,’ APAN takes a collaborative approach to manage and disseminate climate change adaptation knowledge and meet on-the-ground demands of climate change practitioners. It builds climate change resilient and sustainable human systems, ecosystems and economies in countries across the region.

The biennial Asia Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum on “Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation into Development Planning”, a flagship activity of the network, has become the largest gathering of adaptation practitioners in Asia and the Pacific, drawing over 500 participants who meet to share knowledge and experiences on adaptation, build partnerships and forge new initiatives. In addition, APAN organizes sub-regional annual conferences and several training and workshops through its partners.

Integrating Resilience in Mountain Ecosystems at National and Local Levels

The Ecosystem based Adaptation Nepal project (EbA-N) in the Panchase area of Pukhara helps integrate ecosystem resilience into national, sub-national and local level plans and decisions. The project strengthens the capacity of key institutions and actors in ecosystem-based management by providing training and decision-making tools.

Knowledge gained from this pilot EbA-N in this mountain ecosystem will help strengthen national and local policies and strategies for climate change adaptation. The programme is implemented with the United Nations Development Programme and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

Building Adaptive Capacity and Resilience to Climate Change in Afghanistan

This Global Environmental Facility-Least Developed Country Fund project builds Afghanistan’s resilience to risks posed by climate change to the country’s water resources. It strengthens the country’s capacity to monitor and forecast these risks and integrate them into relevant policies, plans and programmes in the country. In addition, the project undertakes concrete interventions and builds local institutional capacity to improve water use efficiency in selected sites.

Enhancing Climate Change Resilience of Rural Communities in Protected Areas of Cambodia

This Adaptation Fund project uses eco-agriculture to build the resilience of rural Cambodian communities living in protected areas to climate change. The project restores degraded forests by planting indigenous trees that provide food, non-timber products and helps with ecosystem services like erosion control and regulation of water flows. Crop productivity is enhanced by planting multi-use trees along rice paddy boundaries and cultivated areas. Trial plots of drought-tolerant hybrid rice cultivars are planned, along with intensification and diversification of existing agricultural areas. Conservation agricultural practices will also be introduced.

Integrating Climate Change into Myanmar’s Policy and Reform Agenda

UN Environment and UN-Habitat are jointly implementing the Myanmar Climate Change Alliance project to strengthen the country’s institutional and policy environment to address climate change by sharing technical knowledge and best practices. The project will also provide training and institutional support to promote evidence-based planning and policy through integration of climate change into sub-national and local level development planning initiatives.

Supporting Least Developed Countries to Develop National Adaptation Plans

This joint initiative of UN Environment and the United Nations Development Programme, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-Least Developed Countries Fund, aims to identify technical, institutional and financial needs to integrate climate change adaptation into ongoing medium and long-term national planning and budgeting in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and strengthen their institutional and technical capacities for National Adaptation Plans (NAP). The objectives of NAP are to reduce vulnerability to climate change and integrate adaptation to climate change in national development plans and strategies.

Exemplifying the spirit of one-UN, the Global Support Programme (GSP) avoids duplication and leverages technical expertise from more than 10 UN and bilateral partners by strengthening institutional and technical capacities, as well as brokering knowledge.  Over 25 LDCs have requested support for their NAPs. In Asia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal are currently being supported. The GSP recently expanded its support to include all developing countries with financial support from the GEF-Special Climate Change Fund. 

Supporting Least Developed Countries to Participate Effectively in Intergovernmental Negotiations

With support from the Global Environment Facility-Least Developed Countries Fund, UN Environment and the United Nations Development Programme are jointly implementing a global support programme to help the Least Developed Countries Group better equip itself to strategically engage in intergovernmental climate change negotiations of work-streams important to the group such as National Action Plans and financial mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund.

The project helps develop adequate systems to manage, interpret and disseminate climate change data, and provides face-to-face and virtual trainings on intricacies of diplomacy, terminologies, formulating negotiating positions and understanding the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change processes.

Supporting Southeast Asia Meet Climate Change Commitments

The Southeast Asia Network of Climate Change offices supports Southeast Asian governments meet their commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Network builds national and sub-regional capacities on technical and policy aspects, by facilitating knowledge generation and sharing, and south-south exchange using an open and informal network approach at the regional level while simultaneously providing targeted support at the national level.

The Network improves capacities to develop and implement domestic climate mitigation and adaptation policies in Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam and is supported by the Government of Finland.

Promoting Clean Energy Technologies in Central Asia

UN Environment collaborates with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to facilitate the transfer of clean energy technologies and the development of markets for these technologies in Central Asian countries through improved policies and regulations, development of national clean technology action plans, and the establishment of energy performance standards.

UN Environment works with climate change focal points in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to address barriers to and facilitate the transfer of clean energy. The project strengthens capacity, improves institutions and national level networking to raise awareness on climate change and its potential impact and barriers for the uptake of clean energy technologies. The project is coordinated by the Interstate Sustainable Development Commission and the Ministry of Nature Protection with financial support from KOICA. 

Fast-Tracking Adoption, Deployment and Investments in Environmentally Sound Technologies

UN Environment and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are piloting a Climate Technology Network and Finance Center to accelerate the adoption and deployment of climate technologies and investments in environmentally sound technologies in 16 countries in Asia and the Pacific.

The climate technology network secretariat managed by UN Environment focuses on creating capacity readiness and enabling conditions for market transformation interventions in the region through fostering knowledge sharing, public-private partnerships, and the development of institutional capacity and climate technology policies. The outcome and result of the activities of the project also generate experiences and lessons learned for the Climate Technology Centre and Network.

It has developed seven case studies on adaptation technologies implemented in Asia and the Pacific. They were compiled for widespread dissemination in the region based on presentations and discussions undertaken during a workshop organized by UN Environment and its partner institutions as an activity under the UN Environment-ADB Pilot Climate Technology Network and Finance Center (CTNFC).

  • Compendium Report - Bhutan
  • Compendium Report - BRRI
  • Compendium Report - Floating Gardens
  • Compendium Report - Indonesia
  • Compendium Report - Kazakhstan
  • Compendium Report - Mongolia
  • Compendium Report - Tajikistan

Phasing Out Incandescent Lamps in Viet Nam

This UN Environment-Global Environment Facility project phases out incandescent lamp production in Viet Nam and promotes high quality energy saving lamps in the country. The phase-out of incandescent lamps will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the lighting sector and accelerate commercialization and sustainable market transformation of energy efficient lighting technologies in Viet Nam. The project is executed with the Viet Nam Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Activities are coordinated with the UN Environment Division of Technology, Industry and Economics “Global Market Transformation for Efficient Lighting” project.

Promoting Low Carbon Energy Islands

A four-year UN Environment and Global Environment Facility (GEF) project removes major barriers to the widespread and cost-effective use of grid-based renewable energy supply and energy conservation measures in Tuvalu, Niue and Nauru. The project is part of the GEF Pacific Alliance for Sustainability Program and is executed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature-Oceania.

Another GEF-funded low carbon energy island project targets Maldives. The project aims to strengthen the building sector to address energy efficiency issues and promote expansion of investment in energy efficiency technologies/design in the housing, public and tourism building sub-sectors. The Ministry of Environment and Energy of Maldives executes the project.

Support for the Preparation of National Reports and Biennial Updates to the Climate Convention

With funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN Environment supports 22 Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing countries to prepare their third national communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 22 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region targeted by this programme include Cambodia, Nepal, Palau, Fiji, Myanmar, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Bhutan, Cook Islands, Lao PDR, and Nauru. In addition, UN Environment also implements GEF-funded country projects in DPR Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam and assists Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam to prepare biennial updates.

In addition, in preparation for the Conference of Parties in December 2015, and with GEF funding, UN Environment supported developing countries in the preparation of their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs). In the Asia-Pacific region, the countries supported include Afghanistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Fiji, Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Advancing Energy Efficiency in the Building Sector

UN Environment assists Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam to develop Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) for the building sector in partnership with the Global Building Performance Network, the Building and Construction Authority: Centre for Sustainable Building, the Energy Research Institute, Tsinghua University and UN Environment DTU Partnership.

The project equips countries with technical capacity to develop and refine Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) tools for application in the sector.

A regional networking component allows for the replication of NAMA development in more countries in the region. The project will bring to the fore the potential for energy efficiency in the building sector and stimulate investment and growth in technology industries, both of which can create more sustainable development co-benefits. The project is financially supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany.  

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. The UN-REDD Programme, jointly implemented by the UN Environment, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme, is supporting 63 partner countries to get ready for REDD. In Asia and the Pacific the Programme provides assistance to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, the Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.

REDD+ is implemented in three phases. Phase I comprises the development of national strategies or action plans, policies and measures, and capacity development. With the exception of Viet Nam, where the UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II Programme was launched in 2013, all other countries are in Phase I.

Inclusive planning for and implementation of REDD+ is only possible if stakeholders are properly informed. UN Environment plays a very important role in awareness raising on climate change and REDD+ at sub-national and national levels. Other key areas of support include REDD+ planning that goes beyond carbon and considers the multiple environmental and social benefits that healthy forest ecosystems can provide, analysis of drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and development and implementation of country approaches to safeguards that reduce the potential risks of REDD+ implementation and enhance its benefits. UN Environment also provides support to countries to use REDD+ as a catalyst for building broader support for a green economy, efforts mainly initiated at the 2012 Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

UN Environment’s GEF-Funded Climate Change Project

Highly vulnerable to climate change, UN Environment and Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) are working in concert to strengthen resilience in the country through Afghanistan’s first ever full-sized Global Environment Facility project. With this project, UN Environment aims to build adaptive capacity to climate change in national planning systems as well as through demonstration pilots in four provinces across the country: Bamyan and Daikundi provinces in the Central Highlands, Balkh province in the North, and Badakhshan province in the Northeast.

National Implementing Entity Support Programme

UN Environment initiated a collaborative programme to support countries in Asia and the Pacific to build readiness to access financial resources through the Adaptation Fund’s accreditation process of National Implementing Entities (NIE) and formulation of projects. Considering the slow progress of NIE accreditation in Asia and the Pacific  and addressing the capacity gaps, UN Environment  developed a regional support programme in close consultation with, and financial support from Ministry of the Environment of Japan.

The programme provides technical support to countries and nominated NIEs throughout the accreditation process, as well as development of project/programme to access funds from the Adaptation Fund Direct Access modality. This funding modality has become a prominent norm in the climate financing landscape, including the Green Climate Fund, which also introduced this modality

Direct Access to funds, which entails accreditation of NIEs and meeting fiduciary standards and requirements, is a relatively new concept for many countries in the region. Support for NIE accreditation includes a review and assessment of the capacity of a potential or nominated NIE to fulfill the fiduciary standards, develop a roadmap to enhance capacity to meet the fiduciary standard of the nominated NIE, support and advice on capacity building needs, support and advice to prepare NIE application and advice to respond to comments and feedback during the accreditation process. Other support provided includes training on proposal writing.   

The project is demand driven and plays a facilitating role through a Regional Help Desk, whilst ensuring that the final decision lies with the government and involved actors.