Opening Remarks by UNDP Country Director Mr.Toily Kurbanov at Regional Training Workshop on National Adaptation Plans for the Asian Region

Aug 10, 2015

His Excellency U Han Sein, Deputy Union Minister of Transport, Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar;

Mr. Krishna, Chair of the LDC Expert Group (LEG);

Mr. Desankar, UNFCCC Secretariat;

Dear Experts and Participants from across Asia;

Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the UN System, it is my pleasure to welcome all the participants to this Regional Training Workshop on National Adaptation Plans for the Asian Region. A special thanks to the organizers and UNFCCC Secretariat for considering Yangon as the venue of this workshop and for inviting us to the opening ceremony. I understand that the discussions over the next few days will focus on supporting countries to advance in their NAP process through – (i) providing technical guidance; (ii) enhancing understanding of procedures for accessing financial support; (iii) providing a platform for countries to share experiences; and (iv) promoting collaboration at the regional level.

This agenda resonates with the UN’s (in particular UNDP’s) focus on assisting countries to build resilience. The UN is doing this by supporting countries to take steps for adopting comprehensive risk management, and addressing climate risk in planning and budgeting. So we are thrilled that this workshop will address all of the above issues.

Gathered here today are decision-makers in the field of development and climate change. I’d like to stress at the outset our recognition and appreciation of your many good efforts and hard work. You’re on the front lines, and most of you work tirelessly in governments in implementing programmes that seek to reduce the vulnerability of your countries and communities. I am confident that this workshop will be a very useful forum to exchange ideas, experiences and innovative solutions and chart the way ahead for the LEG in its work in assisting countries.

As you know, climate change – and the associated impacts of increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and sea level rise – is a fundamental threat to human development. The devastating effects of climate change are being felt worldwide, irrespective of national boundaries and irrespective of a country’s level of economic, social or political development. At the current rate of global warming, we are seeing record-breaking temperatures that are resulting in more frequent and longer-lasting droughts and crop failures, which in turn are causing increased food insecurity in some areas.

In other areas, we are seeing more frequent and severe extreme weather events, from typhoons to floods to storm surges and sea level rise. All of this threatens – and in some case has already reversed – hard fought development gains and efforts. The recent floods in the region due to heavy monsoon rains, including the devastations we are currently witnessing in Myanmar are a grim reminder of the consequences of climate change and it is the poorest and most marginalized who are affected the most.

The UN is committed to work with countries to achieve your own solutions to national development challenges in the face of a changing climate. During the past 15 years of work on climate change adaptation, we have supported countries around the world to secure a low-emission and climate-resilient future.

The NAP process, I believe, is aimed at building on ongoing efforts at the regional and national level on climate change planning and mainstreaming, and supporting countries to address climate risks in a systematic manner. This is not an easy task. The effects of climate change are becoming clearer globally, but each country needs to proceed according to its national circumstances and development stage. It will need to use best available information, knowledge and technical tools appropriate to its specific vulnerabilities, institutional context and make estimates of both risks and opportunities.

The NAPAs and the numerous projects resulting from NAPAs have responded well to the urgent and immediate needs of countries, especially the LDCs and provide a basis to move beyond “immediate and urgent” issues towards a longer-term approach by building in climate concerns in development programmes. The process will require forging greater alignment between climate initiatives and regular planning frameworks, as well as better institutional integration and coordination. The NAP process also provides opportunities to leverage more effort and investments for dealing with climate risks.

I commend the LEG for their dedication to help LDCs to start taking concrete steps to build on the urgent and immediate issues to those that are critical for long‐term sustainable human development.

Let me also acknowledge other organizers of this work-shop – the Government of the Union of Myanmar, UNFCCC and the joint UNDP-UNEP National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme. This forum will allow countries to gain a better understanding of the technical issues, strategies, steps, tools and options presented in the National Adaptation Plan process.

Over the next few days, we hope that all country delegations will engage and interact as much as possible with the resource people and other countries to see how best to use collective knowledge and networks of this group to support their national efforts. The UN is privileged to collaborate with you all, and will continue to enrich our work on the ground with the thinking and next steps that emerge through these discussions.

Let me close by wishing you a fruitful workshop. If each country delegation is able to identify the main steps for advancing the NAP process – this then is a small but significant way, you will make Asia, including its Least Developed Countries, a more climate-resilient continent, in a more sustainable world.   

Thank you.

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