SACEP High-Level Side Event on “Integrating adaptation and the SDGs- The potential of multi -level governance” at UNFCCC COP 24, Katowice, Poland 2018

SACEP High-Level Side Event
on “Integrating adaptation and the SDGs- The potential of multi -level governance”
at UNFCCC COP 24, Katowice, Poland 2018

For the third consecutive year South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) successfully conducted a High-level Side event on 13th December 2018, graced by His Excellency Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Minister of Environment, Maldives at the recently concluded24th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Katowice, Poland 2018. This side event provided fruitful discussion and thought dialogue on the integration of adaptation and sustainable development policies at the national and regional government level.

Dr.Abas Basir, Director General, South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme, provided opening remarks and warmly welcomed all those who were present at the event. In his remarks he highlighted that even though that the greenhouse gas emissions of South Asia region are relatively low to those of advanced economies in per capita terms, the region faces daunting climate-related development challenges and over 50 percent of South Asians, more than 750 million people have been affected by at least one natural disaster in the past two decades.

He also mentioned that though the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development resulted from separate negotiations, both reflect an understanding that development does not take place in a vacuum and the steps we take to reach one development goal can have significant implications for our other development ambitions.

He further stressed the need to recognize the dots that can be connected in both SDG’s and Paris Agreement and emphasized that these dots should be connected through co-operation between countries by jointly addressing the shared problems. As a regional organization he assured the fullest support of SACEP to its member countries in this regard.

Ms.Sara Kupka, Policy Officer of Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development(nrg4SD) mentioned about the importance of jointly organizing this side event with SACEP as it gives the opportunity for bringing National Governments from South Asia and Regional Governments from other regions of the world in to a one platform where governments from all level needs to work together for a law carbon and climate resilience societies.

This was followed by a panel discussion which showcased successful stories and benefits of multi-level governance approaches in effective climate change adaptation and sustainable development. The panel comprised of panelists representing the national governments of South Asia as well as the regional governments from other areas of the world as follows

Mr Ezatullah Sediqui, Deputy Director General, National Environmental Protection Agency, Afghanistan

Mr Ram Hari Pantha, Under Secretary and Head Climate Change Section, Ministry of Forest and Environment, Nepal

Ms Jussara Carvalho, International Advisor, Secretariat for the Environment, São Paulo, Brazil

Mr Aitor Zulueta, Director of Natural Heritage and Climate Change, Basque Country, Spain

The panelist highlighted the strategies and actions taken to implement the SDGs and also emphasized on the benefits and challenges of integrating sustainable development and climate change adaptation in their countries. During the panel discussion all the panel members agreed that key Political will to guide appropriate practical co-ordination, collaboration and partnership with relevant stakeholders to bring integrating adaptation SDG at multi-level governance is very important.

Mr. Irfan Tariq, Director General, (environment and Climate Change) Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan, spoke on behalf of His excellency Malik Amin Aslam, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan and shared the experience of Pakistan on SDG’s their vision on how whole South Asia region can benefit from SDG’s .

H.E. Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdury, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bangladesh in his key note speech mentioned that Government of Bangladesh is very pleased in organizing this side event along with SACEP and nrg4SD this year on the eve of finalizing the Paris agreement work programme. Further in his speech he recollected the three important agreements signed in the year 2015: the Paris Agreement, 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 . He mentioned that implementation of all the three initiative can collectively reduce the climate change impacts and vulnerability and enhance the resilience of the people in the world.

Finally, in concluding the event Mr Louis Downing, the moderator of the event thanked all the panelists, speakers and the participants for their active participation in the discussions and for sharing the views and ideas on integrating sustainable development and climate change adaptation in their countries at national level as well as in the sub national level.