Regional networks share experiences at first plenary session


“Global and regional networks are vital for adaptation,”
Professor Masataka Watanabe, Chair, Global Adaptation Network

Successes in capitalising on regional synergies and shared vulnerabilities to find adaptation solutions featured in this morning’s plenary session at this year’s NAP Expo. 

Regional networks and organisations set up to address climate change and climate change and climate change adaptation in world regions cited these as important achievements to emerge from their work. 

Saleem Huq of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) moderated the panel discussion, on the role of regional networks in supporting adaptation plans and policies. He posed the question, “What would you say is the single most important achievement of the work you have described?” 

Carlos Fuller, of the CCCCC, believed that it was the strong awareness building that has occurred in the Caribbean, with farmers and other agriculturalists across the Caribbean recognising changes in planting cycles, flowering patterns and fisheries, and with the Ministries of Finance and Economic Development also taking notice. 

“Decision makers from grassroots up to policy level are incorporating climate change adaptation policy into their work,” he said. 

Johnson Nkem of the African Climate Policy Centre believed that ClimDev-Africa met the critical need for another layer of support to intervene at a regional level complementary to national planning, to incorporate adaptation responses beyond national borders.

This layer provided support to individual countries that could not otherwise afford to look beyond adaptation at local and national levels, he said, while also encouraging the science-policy dialogue and bringing together government ministers and scientists. It also provided another window of funding through a special fund. 

“Genuine partnership at the regional level that has allowed us to work together to develop a strategy, which balances trust and caution at the same time, in the context of common but differentiated responsibilities, when merging responses,” summed up Peniamina Leavai of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). 

Masataka Watanabe, Chair, Global Adaptation Network and the Asia-Pacific Adaptation Network, admitted to being baffled by the soaring popularity of the networks’ events, but “there is one aspect… it is a rather openminded platform, not owned by any organisation but by the people, and there is a mix of participants among members from countries (of different levels of development) helping each other.”

“We are hitting the right points on how to adapt as a whole to some unknown risk,” he mused. 

Moderator Saleem Huq emphasised that while many events were organised with information and knowledge as their focus, “actual networking between people, face-to-face meetings are the far more valuable output.” 

All presenters began by provided overviews and updates of their respective organisations’ efforts, structures, lessons learned, events, resources and future plans.