Report from the COP26 side event on the utilization of information platforms towards a climate-resilient Asia-Pacific
|2/NOV/2021 10:30-12:00 (UK time)
|Hybrid event: in-person (Glasgow, UK) and online (Zoom)
A COP26 side event, ‘Development and utilization of information platforms towards climate-resilient societies in the Asia-Pacific region,’ was held on November 2, 2021.
The seminar, hosted jointly by the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ) and the Institute for Global Environmental Studies (IGES),was a hybrid event. Participants could join in-person at the COP26 venue in Glasgow, participate online via Zoom, or watch the event live-streamed on YouTube. Altogether about 100 people attended through one of these options.
Online participants on Zoom
The hybrid format applied to speakers as well. The event Chair, Dr. Yuji Masutomi and the panel Moderator, Dr. Linda Anne Stevenson, were present in Glasgow, and the other five speakers joined via Zoom. The speakers spanned several countries and time zones, from the UK and the Netherlands through Thailand and Japan to Samoa in the Pacific.
We would like to thank all speakers and participants for joining us despite the time difference. We also sincerely apologize for the few technical issues during the seminar. Unlike online-only or in-person-only events, hybrid events require extra technical know-how to ensure high-quality sound for all – something we will certainly be more prepared next time!
The session was divided into two parts: short presentations and a panel discussion.
The event opened with a video message from Mr. Yutaka Shoda, Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Japan. Mr. Shoda emphasized Japan’s commitment to contribute to global decarbonization efforts through its bold greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target – a 46% reduction of domestic GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 2013 levels. In addition to mitigation efforts, Mr. Shoda also stressed the importance of adaptation and mentioned Japan’s newly updated National Adaptation Plan, which the Cabinet approved on October 22, 2021 – only about a week before the COP26 kicked off in Glasgow. Mr. Shoda also mentioned AP-PLAT as a part of Japan’s efforts to support adaptation both domestically and internationally.
After the opening remarks, 7 speakers introduced their activities towards building climate-resilient societies, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.
The first presenter, Dr. Yuji Masutomi from the Center for Climate Change Adaptation (CCCA) at the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan, introduced AP-PLAT, outlining its core activities and showcasing its renewed website, which was officially launched just the day before the side event. Dr. Masutomi also introduced two online tools: a CMIP6 climate projection viewer ClimoCast, and a climate impact assessment tool Climate Impact Viewer. Both are available on the new website.
Dr. Tetsuo Kuyama from Bangkok Regional Center of the Institute for Global Environmental Studies (IGES) gave an overview of the new E-learning materials being developed by IGES under the MOEJ’s commissioned work for AP-PLAT. As of November 2021, online videos on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for Local Communities have already been released on the AP-PLAT website. More materials are scheduled for release in the coming months. The upcoming materials will cover a broad range of topics: accessing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for climate change adaptation, use of the ClimoCast tool in national adaptation planning (NAP) processes, use of S8DS climate downscaling tool to aid adaptation planning, and building resilience to compound cascading disaster risks.
Dr. Youichi Ishikawa from Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) focused on the Data Integration and Analysis System (DIAS) project in Japan. Started in 2006, the DIAS project has archived and provided open access to many global and regional climate datasets. DIAS has also developed end-to-end applications in collaboration with climate and IT researchers. Dr. Ishikawa also emphasized that DIAS aims to become a co-working platform of researchers associated with climate change, for example in climate modeling, impact assessments and adaptation implementation.
Ms. Yvette Kerslake from Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) presented on the activities of PCCC, a center of excellence for climate change information, research, capacity development and innovation in the Pacific region. PCCC was established 2 years ago as a partnership between the governments of Japan and Samoa. Its initiatives include, among others, providing an E-learning platform and operating the Pacific Climate Change Portal, an essential tool for climate information knowledge management and brokerage in the region.
Dr. Kim van Nieuwaal from Climate Adaptation Services (CAS) in the Netherlands, outlined the background and outcomes of the KE4CAP project. project. KE4CAP, or Knowledge Exchange between Climate Adaptation Platforms, is an international network through which platform providers can share their knowledge and experience. Although Ke4CAP started in 2015 from a European setting, it quickly evolved into a global network to include AP-PLAT and other non-European platforms and has delivered a rich output as acknowledged by the project partners.
Dr. Linda Anne Stevenson from Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) provided an overview of APN, its 22 member countries and strategic goals. She emphasized the importance of networking with other networks and platforms on adaptation, knowledge sharing, and understanding the needs of a range of stakeholders. The knowledge created by APN projects and activities can be for policy planning, scientific research, decision-making by communities or for individual choices. Dr. Stevenson noted that networks are essential for preserving, sharing, synthesizing, and monitoring data.
Dr. Mozaharul Alam from Asia and the Pacific Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) presented the key outcomes of the 7th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum, organized by Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) in March, 2021. Dr. Alam focused on the key messages from the forum in two areas: Planning and Processes, and Science and Assessment. He emphasized that we need to put people at the center of planning and processes, and that we need more significant collaborative partnerships to advance adaptation actions.
In the panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Stevenson, panelists discussed what gaps exist between science and stakeholder communities; how information platforms can help bridge these gaps; and what kind of partnerships between platforms and other organizations are needed to achieve the goal of enabling climate-resilient societies.
For example, Dr. Kuyama of IGES highlighted two issues. The first issue is information unavailability in some developing countries, making it challenging to conduct science-based planning and implementation. However, this is also where a regional platform like AP-PLAT can be part of the solution. The second issue is the discrepancy between the information scientists provide and the information that actual stakeholders need on the ground... This was echoed in the remarks of other panelists as well. The solution will require better communication and mutual understanding between scientists and the local communities.
Dr. Ishikawa of JAMSTEC emphasized the importance of co-design and co-working processes to solve specific problems stakeholders have, something that DIAS strives to achieve.
Dr. Kim of CAS shared the perspective of the KE4CAP project, pointing out that the role of climate adaptation platforms, particularly the people behind them, as independent and trustworthy knowledge brokers, is crucial. Understanding how these platforms and the people behind them – the human capital – operate can speed up our efforts.
Dr. Alam of UNEP reiterated the importance of co-design not just in jointly designing scientific information and data but more profoundly translating the data into solutions that users can use.
As a scientist, Dr. Masutomi of CCCA acknowledged that he himself does not fully understand the needs of policy makers and local stakeholders and that better communication is needed to bridge this gap. This is also one of the issues to be addressed at AP-PLAT as the next step in its development.
The session concluded with closing remarks by Dr. Masahide Kimoto, president of NIES, who thanked the speakers and the audience for the lively discussion and expressed his hope that the session would trigger further action towards better adaptation around the world.
AP-PLAT secretariat would like to express its gratitude to everyone involved in organizing the event, both front and backstage. We hope to meet again and find opportunities to collaborate with the participants to promote adaptation in the Asia-Pacific region.
(Updated : 26/JAN/2021
Posted : 18/NOV/2021)