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The year 2020 has been the year of COVID-19. The fallout of the pandemic is expected to significantly influence the ability of countries to plan for, finance and implement adaptation actions in response to current and future climate impacts, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable countries and population groups.

This year marks the start of the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It is a critical period to advance a shared vision and accelerate responses to the world’s gravest challenges – from eliminating poverty and hunger to reversing climate change.

Five years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, it is time for countries to step up their commitments to combat the climate crisis. Accelerating Implementation of the Paris Agreement in Asia-Pacific: A Guide for Policymakers is developed to support policy- and decisionmakers in understanding the need and identifying opportunities to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to provide tools, measures, policies, actions, and case studie

More than 2 decades ago, the public debate focused largely on how to design a single global market for trading carbon units as the key instrument for addressing global climate change. The argument emphasized that since 1 ton of a greenhouse gas emitted anywhere in the world has the same climate change consequences for everyone, a single global market would be an economically desirable outcome, equalizing incentives to reduce emissions everywhere.

Asia has achieved impressive growth in economic and social welfare during the last decades. Good water management and human capital development remain vital to support economic growth and increase overall social wellbeing in Asia and the Pacific, especially after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Climate change discussions about forests and trees have for a long time focused mainly on their mitigation potential. However, the mitigation potential of forests and trees also depends on their capacity to adapt to a changing climate as well as to increased human pressure. Moreover, forests and trees play a crucial role in the resilience of landscapes and people as well as in their capacity to adapt to climate change.

The direct and indirect impacts of the “COVID-19 shock” on the Asia-Pacific region have unfolded rapidly, varied widely by country and continue to affect economies. In response, the majority of Asia-Pacific governments have taken strong and innovative COVID-19 response measures to support their poorest, especially in job creation. But how “green” have these measures been?

Asia and Pacific countries have made major commitments to implement the UN’s Paris Agreement of 2015, in particular through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). However, while 8 countries in the region already have carbon neutral commitments, and others have begun to implement their NDC commitments, progress is highly uneven.

The Partners for Review (P4R) comparative analysis of the 2020 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) identifies similarities, differences, progress and emerging trends in reviews the UN Member States submitted to the 2020 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), convened under the theme ‘Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development’.

Countries in Asia and the Pacific need to extend social protection coverage for all. Doing so would help them build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also help them tackle a range of compounding challenges arising from population ageing, migration, urbanization, technological advancements, disasters and climate change.

Yet, as this report finds, social protection systems in the region are riddled with gaps.