The Asia Pacific Climate Week 2023 (APCW) kicked off today in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, bringing together stakeholders, experts, and policymakers from throughout the region to showcase solutions and ideas, as well as to inspire more cooperation across borders and sectors in solving severe climate concerns.
The Asia Pacific region is already dealing with a number of climate-related issues, including rising sea levels and extreme weather events, as well as threats to biodiversity and freshwater supplies. As climate change worsens, the necessity for strong and inclusive climate action becomes clearer.
Malaysia's Federal Minister for Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, opened the APCW by describing climate change as a worldwide challenge that requires joint action from all stakeholders. "Although Malaysia contributes 0.69% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, we remain determined to play our part in addressing this global phenomenon." Malaysia has vowed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
Furthermore, we have set a goal of achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. We recognise the importance of increasing our efforts. This year alone, our respected Prime Minister unveiled the National Energy Transition Roadmap and the National Industrial Master Plan, which outline the course for our transition to a net-zero future. Furthermore, we remain committed to changing our energy system through electrification, energy efficiency, and rapid deployment of renewable energy (RE)."
Participants at the APCW will face climate concerns head on, exploring creative techniques and long-term solutions. The APCW talks and outcomes, which will finish on November 17, 2023, will feed into the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP28, bolstering momentum for success on problems such as energy transition, climate financing, and loss and damage.
"Climate change impacts transcend international borders," remarked Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, Menteri Besar (head of state government) of Malaysia's State of Johor. Everyone on Earth bears the consequences of our acts or inaction. Johor is committed to collaborating with partners in Asia Pacific, across borders, and with a diverse range of stakeholders to pave the road for meaningful and practical solutions.
I anxiously await insights on climate solutions, the problems they offer, and the unique opportunities that may be adopted and duplicated here in Johor as part of the Johor Green Deal framework and the Johor Sustainability Centre, which Johor debuts today in collaboration with APCW."
The APCW is divided into four topical tracks to investigate climate action opportunities and challenges. Energy systems and technology; urban and rural development, infrastructure and transportation; land use, oceans, food and water; and socioeconomic factors, health, and livelihoods are among the tracks.
"The Asia Pacific is on the front lines of the battle against climate change, and the clock is ticking," said Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. "Yet, with its rapidly growing economies and economic dynamism, the Asia Pacific region has the potential to be a climate pioneer, driving global efforts to combat climate change by leading green technologies and innovations." The Asia Pacific Climate Week brings politicians, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and civil society together to catalyse revolutionary climate solutions."
The Government of Malaysia's State of Johor, in collaboration with the Malaysian federal government, is hosting APCW 2023, which is organised by UN Climate Change in collaboration with global partners such as the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme, and the World Bank; and regional partners such as the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank, and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. As a national partner, the Global Compact Network Malaysia & Brunei is supporting APCW 2023.
"Asia and the Pacific have suffered more from extreme weather events than any other region in the world," said Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. Climate change is threatening the survival of several tiny island developing states and communities in the region. Nonetheless, the region has significant potential to contribute to meeting the Paris Agreement commitments.
To fully realise this potential, continuous investment in climate adaptation and energy transitions, debt restructuring and alleviation, and additional climate funding based on vulnerability metrics will be critical. I hope that the Regional Climate Week will be used to unite forces and explore solutions for a more sustainable future for the region ahead of COP28."
"As we've seen from the latest Production and Adaptation Gap reports, the world's dependence on fossil fuels continues, and the financing to deal with the consequences is lagging," said Dechen Tsering, UNEP Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific. The Asia-Pacific area is dealing with a variety of climatic impacts that have a considerable influence on livelihoods and social well-being, as well as loss and damage caused by extreme weather events. The significance of our combined efforts cannot be emphasised. As we approach COP28, let us grab the opportunity given by Asia-Pacific Climate Week."