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ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will increase its focus on adaptation and resilience to climate change in response to the growing threat facing Asia and the Pacific.

This enhanced focus was announced by ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa during a special event, 'Raising the Bar on Climate Ambition: Road to COP 26', during ADB's 54th Annual Meeting.

"The Asia and the Pacific region is experiencing a sharp increase in climate shocks and stresses. Floods, droughts, cyclones, and heat stresses are already impacting livelihoods, food and water security, and the health of millions of people, especially vulnerable populations including women and children and the poorest of the poor," Asakawa said.

"More than 60 percent of the people in the region work in sectors highly susceptible to changing weather patterns. We must invest more in climate adaptation. We are now dangerously close to the point where action could come too little, too late."

The event included Climate Policy Initiative Global Managing Director Barbara Buchner; BCPG Public Company Limited Senior Executive Vice President Phatpuree Chinkulkitnivat; Indonesia Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati; US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry; Green Finance Committee of China Society for Finance and Banking Chairman Jun Ma; Fiji Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum; and COP 26 President Designate Alok Sharma.

The panel discussed ways a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery can drive economic growth while shifting toward net-zero emission societies, insights from countries that have embraced long-term national climate plans, and the critical role of finance in the global climate agenda.

The discussion built on the outcomes of the United States-led Leaders Summit on Climate last month-in which world leaders committed to stronger action on greenhouse gas emissions-and was part of the ADB's ongoing preparations for COP 26, which will take place this November to support the development of concrete plans for countries to reach their Paris Agreement targets.

The ADB will take a holistic approach to enhancing adaptation and resilience.

In addition to making physical infrastructure climate-proof, the ADB will invest in more projects with climate adaptation as their primary purpose, while promoting strong integration of the ecological, social, institutional, and financial aspects of resilience across its operations.

The ADB's move to increase adaptation and resilience investments will include nature-based solutions such as mangroves for coastal resilience, flood risk management-related infrastructure, and climate-smart livelihood practices such as agroforestry.

The ADB is working with partners such as the United Kingdom, the Nordic Development Fund, and other financial institutions and global climate funds to roll out an ambitious community resilience partnership program that will support both governments and communities in Asia and the Pacific in their efforts to scale up pro-poor resilience investments at the local level.

These actions will complement the ADB's ambitious climate finance target of ensuring 75 percent of the total number of the ADB's operations support climate action and the ADB's own climate finance resources reach $80 billion by 2030, to help developing member countries achieve, and even increase, their Paris Agreement commitments, while charting a fair and equitable path to net-zero and climate-resilient development.

At a joint ADB-IMF webinar - Policies to Support a Green and Inclusive Recovery, international experts discussed which policies can facilitate the recovery and transition to green growth, while taking political economy into consideration and addressing the concerns of those adversely affected by such a strategy. The event was held as part of the 54th Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors.

Asia has developed rapidly, but now faces formidable environmental and social challenges.

The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened conditions, hitting poor and vulnerable groups hard and limiting resources available for green and social investments, they added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021