By: Michael Boyland, SEI
Representatives of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on the 15th of August to discuss the upcoming 22nd Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC (COP22) and advance preparations for common ASEAN positions on agriculture in climate change measures.
Through stronger and unified representation, ASEAN intends to raise the profile of the agriculture sector within international climate change governance frameworks for greater action. As a sector both highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions, ASEAN agreed to consolidate common positions on agriculture in the face of climate change for COP22 and the 45th Session of the UNFCCC Susbsidiary Body of the Scientific and Technology Advice (SBSTA) in Marrakesh to demand action. This necessitates bridging the gap between national climate change negotiators and agriculture specialists of each nation, through an ASEAN agriculture negotiators group. An ASEAN side event during COP22 is also being organized.
The Special Senior Officials Meeting of the 37th meeting of the ASEAN ministers on Agriculture and Forestry that took place last August 22 and 23rd in Palawan, Philippines agreed on the importance of this initiative and advised on close collaboration between the negotiators and the agriculture sector.
Earlier this year, in Bonn, Germany at the 44th meeting of SBSTA, two submissions were made by Viet Nam, on behalf of all ASEAN member states, on adaptation measures in the agriculture sector and practices and technologies to sustainably enhance productivity. These two common positions are based on the ASEAN Regional Guidelines on Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture Practices, previously endorsed by the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF). The SBSTA is mandated to discuss issues related to agriculture, and will meet again at COP22 in Marrakesh in November 2016, the first COP since the adoption of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement (COP21).
The Paris Agreement, adopted in Paris in December 2015 and currently signed by 180 countries, is a historic agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable future. ASEAN nations are some of the most vulnerable to climate change impacts, with the agriculture sector of the region being particularly at-risk from increasing frequency and magnitude of extreme events such as floods and cyclones/typhoons, and slow onset risks such as extreme temperatures, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion. Between 2003 and 2013, crop and livestock production losses totaled USD 28 billion, or 40% of total disaster losses during that period.
As the Paris Agreement introduced a non-sectoral approach to climate action, it is up to individual Parties to decide where to focus their mitigation and adaptation efforts, as put forward by their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). ASEAN has identified commonalities in their NDCs that will be put forward under relevant sessions of COP22, as ASEAN joint positions.
Support for activities to consolidate common positions and build capacities of the agriculture sector in international negotiations, are being organized by the ASEAN-Climate Resilience Network. The ASEAN-CRN is established to ensure that ASEAN Member States are in a better position to adapt their agricultural sector to climate change and optimize its mitigation potential. The network promotes climate resiliency through exchange of information, expertise, and experiences on Climate Smart Agriculture practices amongst ASEAN member states. The ASEAN-CRN is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the ASEAN-German Programme on Response to Climate Change in Agriculture and Forestry (GAP-CC). GAP-CC is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in close cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC). The UN Food and Agriculture Office (FAO) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) also provide support. To learn more, visit www.asean-crn.org.