CIVIL SOCIETY organizations consulted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said their key proposals to mitigate climate change center on forest protection and curbing the use of coal in power plants.
The ADB’s Strategy 2030 sessions with these organizations hope to encourage innovative approaches to achieve a “prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.”
Devon Ronald Dublin, project coordinator of the Global Environment Facility-Satoyama Project for Conservation International, said reforestation efforts have great potential in addressing climate change.
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“We came to the conclusion that 30% of necessary emission reductions can come from the protection and restoration of forests,” he said at the ADB session yesterday.
“If the ADB could integrate it in the strategy as a way to mitigate climate change, it would help,” he added.
Hemantha Withanage, executive director of the Centre for Environmental Justice, meanwhile urged the bank to pay more attention to reducing the share of power projects involving coal.
“If we are focusing on climate change, all countries need to bring down coal. The strategy should focus on climate change. Some 50% of investments should be carbon-neutral, not low-carbon,” he said.
In a statement, the Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development added that the ADB’s commitment of $2 billion a year to clean energy projects is not enough because “it still supports coal-based power projects.”
“Fossil fuel — especially coal — has been recognized as a key driver of climate change,” it added.
In drafting its Strategy 2030, the ADB said that it will ensure that environmental considerations are “fully mainstreamed” and pledged to take a “comprehensive approach to build climate and disaster resilience.”
It added that about 75% of ADB’s funding commitments will be made “climate-relevant by 2030.”
Marlene Ramirez, Secretary General of the Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas, said that aside from environmental issues, the bank should also support resiliency for agriculture outright in the face of climate change.
“It is commendable that the strategy covers climate change resilience, but what is missing is the strong link to proposed climate actions (in relation to) agriculture. We cannot underestimate the systematic risk posed by climate change on food security and livelihoods in the Asia and the Pacific region,” she said.
“Farmers’ organizations and cooperatives that thrive are active contributors to economic, social and political development. We believe that have key roles in job creation and reducing poverty. Majority of farmers need a lift not only in financing and capitalization but especially in the policy environment, as well as the legal basis to advance their work. They also need a range of capacity-building and technical advisory services,” Ms. Ramirez said.
Valerie Hill, Director of the ADB’s Strategy, Policy and Business Process Division, said that the bank aims to finalize the Strategy 2030 for board approval by the third quarter, in time for the work planning and budget cycle that starts in the same period.
“The current vision is to eliminate poverty in the region by 2020. What we want to do in the next in the Strategy 2030 is to expand that vision beyond poverty reduction,” Ms. Hill said. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan