• International Cooperation
  • Adaptation

New adaptation approaches in the age of the SDGs: Asia's Needs and Priorities


  • Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)

Event Overview

The 2030 Development Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underscore the complex nature of the interlinkages between various environmental, social and economic challenges. They also stress the need to embrace integrated approaches characterised by horizontal and vertical coordination. Integrated approaches should be designed to address multiple issues, including adaptation, simultaneously in order to maximise synergies and minimize trade-offs, delivering optimal outcomes in the most efficient manner.
With its focus on the needs and priorities of the Asian region, the proposed session aims to discuss necessary actions, including approaches for new integrated solutions, for climate change adaptation (CCA) that is aligned with the spirit of the SDGs to realise transformative changes and sustainable development. For this, regional collaboration and partnership could be the key vehicles for accelerating adaptation actions in an integrated manner and bridging science and policy for effective decision-making. The presentations and discussion at the session will consider the following questions: (1) What are the key lessons learned from on-the-ground adaptation actions and disaster risk management efforts in Asia? (2) How can we capitalise on global frameworks, in particular the SDGs, to enhance knowledge partnerships and facilitate decision-making on and investments in CCA and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in an integrated manner? (3) Why is regional collaboration on CCA necessary, how can it address common climate threats and upscale new approaches to CCA, and how can it build regional resilience in an integrated manner?


  • Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, President, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
  • Mr. Osamu Mizuno, Principal Fellow, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
  • Dr. Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow of IIED/Director of ICCCAD , International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)/International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD)
  • Dr. Hoon Chang, Director, Korea Adaptation Centre for Climate Change (KACCC), Korean Environmental Institute (KEI)
  • Mr. Sum Thy, Director, Climate Change Department, Ministry of Environment, Cambodia
  • Mr. Arif Wibowo, Deputy Director , Directorate for Climate Change Adaptation, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia
  • Dr. Arnico K. Panday, Regional Programme Manager, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
  • Dr. Binaya Raj Shivakoti, Senior Policy Researcher, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)

Event Materials

Event Summary

One of the key messages of SDGs framework is that we should explore the integrated approaches further for enhancing synergies and reducing the trade-offs of various efforts to address different issues. It recognizes the close interlinkages of all the social, economic, and environmental issues. Innovative concept such as Regional Circular and Ecological Sphere (Regional CES), embraced in Japan’s 5th Basic Environmental Plan by the Japanese cabinet, highlights a vision to operationalize the integrated approach suggested by the SDGs and now it becomes a guiding principle of all the environmental policies in Japan. The Regional CES tries to create the regional circular economy and environment to address multiple issues simultaneously and could be a good guide for our future efforts to implement SDGs and climate change adaptation (CCA). Future efforts on climate change adaptation (CCA) could learn a lot from the philosophy of SDGs as well as the integrated concept such as Regional CES. It was proposed that we, in fact, need to think of 20 goals (17 SDGs, one on the disaster from Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and two on mitigation and adaption from the Paris Agreement). Participants discussed on-the-ground collaborative experiences of CCA and DRR integration. IGES introduced three specific cases on linking science and policy in the local level integration of CCA and DRR in the Laguna Lake Basin, Philippines, DRR and CCA integration in ASEAN, and Satoyama Initiative for enhancing the resilience of Socio-ecological production landscape and seascapes (SEPLS).
Participant acknowledged that Asia-Pacific region is ahead of other regions on CCA and DRR agenda and its network such as Asia Pacific Adaptation Network are instrumental in promoting the regional collaboration. Dr. Saleemul Huq mentioned that Bangladesh developed National CCA Strategy 10 years ago and it has been investing 100USD every year since then (1 billion USD so far!!) for DRR and CCA using domestic resources and now bringing over 50 universities together to identify research outcomes useful for DRR and CCA. However, he also stressed that besides DRR, CCA and SDGs, we also need to look into loss and damage considering the dire warning from IPCC 1.5 degrees report and increasing disaster events across Asia. Dr. Hoon Chang told that is about increasing our capacity to respond to climate change impacts, but first, we need to be clear whether we are doing adaptation, climate mitigation, DRR or just development. He stressed on the need for a holistic approach for DRR, CCA, climate mitigation as well as SDGs, in particular at the local level, to address the inefficiency caused by different budget streams for each agenda in most of the countries. We need multidisciplinary planning to deal with common risk and strong regional collaboration, such as AP-PLAT partnership, proposed by the Government of Japan for maximizing synergies. Mr. Arif Wibowo shared that Indonesia has already taken concrete steps on SDGs, CCA and DRR. Indonesia has established SDGs presidential decrees. There is a good coordination for DRR and CCA at all levels such as a national taskforce for DRR and CCA. There are also technical guidelines for CCA and DRR at the national, provincial, and local levels. Mr. Sum Thy mentioned that Cambodia as a least developed country is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. The government of Cambodia has integrated CCA into annual budget and plans and started mainstreaming CCA down to the local and community level. Regional collaboration is very important for CCA and integration with SDGs. Cambodia is in the process of localising SDGs to make it workable. Dr. Arnico K. Panday told that except geohazards all other disasters are related to climate change impacts. ICIMOD has experience in building cross-collaboration such as transmitting for early warning from upstream to downstream between countries. HYMAP, a regional assessment of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, is another example of regional collaboration. He also stressed the need to integrate mitigation in the discussion giving the example of air pollution, which has been identified as a slow-motion health disaster in the region. Dr.Binaya Raj Shivakoti stressed on the capacity building as an important area for regional collaboration on DRR, CCA and SDGs especially to equip the countries in the region to design and upscale bankable projects, programs and actions. By investing on capacity building for DRR and CCA we could also minimise the loss and damages. Dr. Saleemul Huq told that there is no substitute of face-to-face communication to understand the CCA and DRR needs and initiatives on the ground and we need to learn more from doers than experts. Every country can work, learn and teach and bringing national and regional institute together could be an effective mechanism to share know-how and involve stakeholders.
Closing the session, Mr.Osamu Mizuno highlighted three take-away messages from the discussion: 1) There is a consensus to promote integrated approach which is encouraging and many efforts are already happening in that direction. This is helpful to find new pathways and approaches for CCA as well as for SDGs; 2) Everybody stressed the importance of regional collaboration and partnership and shared various ways to do that. Partnerships are effective through face-to-face communication, we should make the best use of information platforms, and regional institution can play a critical role. In the meantime we should fully take into account for mainstreaming the views and concerns of women, children, disabled and vulnerable groups for adaptation as well as for addressing loss and damage: 3) Information and know-how sharing are critical for easing the integrated approach for adaptation. Not only scientific assessments but also we need guidelines and tools to support local needs.


Responding to a query by audience on mainstreaming gender issue, participants mentioned that not only women we also need to take into account children and other vulnerable group. It was also noted that gender issues are usually taken into account in CCA and DRR projects because without considering gender issues adaptation actions won't be complete. Gender issues are default and cannot be separated irrespective of if they are explicitly mentioned in the project proposal and action plans or not. It is often the case that overwhelming beneficiaries and target group of the CCA and DRR intervention turn out to be women.

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