Countries in the East Asian Seas (EAS) region and its neighbouring Pacific countries are highly vulnerable to rising sea levels, due to its low-lying communities and densely populated coastal cities. Additionally, the region also has the highest proportion of weather-related disaster displacement in the world. A recent climate change vulnerability assessment for the Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS) region has also identified hotspots (or highly vulnerable marine habitats) and species in the region.

In response, several Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) initiatives have emerged in the EAS and ATS regions. These include the implementation of climate-responsive integrated coastal management (ICM) and the application of a practical CCA decision-making guidance document for policy-makers and other stakeholders. Lessons learned and good practices generated from these efforts will be shared amongst the EAS and ATS networks through a virtual pre-2021 EAS Congress collab that will discuss best practices and enable their replication across other sites.

Entitled “Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal Communities: Learning from East Asia and Arafura and Timor Seas Regions,” the webinar was held on 25 October 2021 from 9:00 am to 11:30 am (GMT+8) and was organised by the GEF/UNDP/PEMSEA Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Phase II (ATSEA-2) Programme. Co-organisers were the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia Resource Facility (PRF) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) of Japan.

Ms. Christine Ingrid Narcise from ATSEA-2 Programme, presenting ICM during the Webinar on Climate Change Adaptation Measures to Benefit Coastal Communities in East Asia, Arafura and Timor Seas

The event had several aims, namely (1) to raise awareness and develop a better understanding of climate change impacts on coastal communities in the EAS and ATS regions; (2) to share climate change vulnerability assessment results and introduce a decision-making guide developed for the ATS region; (3) to showcase best practices and share lessons learned from the EAS and ATS regions in developing and/or implementing local climate change adaptation strategies; and (4) to contribute to enriching discussions and synergise CCA efforts in support of the EAS region’s Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA), the ATS region’s Strategic Action Programme (SAP), as well as the wider objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Featured key speakers included:

  • Dr. Brian Johnson, Deputy Director, IGES
  • Dr. Johanna Johnson, Director, C20 Consulting
  • Ms. Cristine Ingrid Narcise, Policy and Result-Based Management Specialist, ATSEA-2
  • Ms. Nisakorn Wiwekwin, ICM Program Coordinator, Saensuk Municipal Office, Chonburi, Thailand
  • Mr. Ikbal Alexander, Director, Kertabumi Recycling Center

The event was open to the general public and attended by climate change scientists and practitioners, local decision-makers and coastal community members from the EAS and ATS regions.

Original article by PEMSEA.