The Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum is the flagship event of the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) that brings together policymakers, scientists, donors, youth, and representatives from over 50 countries.
For 2016, the theme was “Adapting and Living below 2°C: Bridging the Gaps in Policy & Practice”, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 17 to 19 October 2016. The forum aimed to explore translating policies into practice and translating practice into policies (upscaling), while also discussing lessons learned from adaptation policy and action: looking not only at what worked, but also what did not.
The ACCCRN representative from Mercy Corps Indonesia joined the panel organized by Plan International in a session entitled ‘Meeting the Inclusion Challenge: Practical Lessons on How Adaptation Projects can Reach the Most Vulnerable’. The session drew on a diversity of experiences from organizations that have had experience in addressing the challenge of meaningful inclusion from a number of perspectives.
The panelists were Janice Ian Manlutac (Regional Resilience Lead, Oxfam GB Asia), Nicoline de Haan (Senior Researcher and Coordinator – Gender, Poverty, and Institutions, International Water Management Institute – IWMI), Reuel Maga (Project Manager, Plan International Philippines), Nyoman Prayoga (ACCCRN City Government Partnership Coordinator, Mercy Corps Indonesia), and Nayanananda Niwala (Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Service – Western Province, Sri Lanka), moderated by Kimberly Junmookda (Regional Climate Change Specialist, Plan International).
The discussion built on the experiences of the panelists as well as their reflections on the challenge of how to engage those who are typically the most excluded, such as populations of children, youth, girls and women, the poor, and how this has required unique approaches which differ from conventional adaptation projects.
One of takeaways from climate change adaptation projects carried through the ACCCRN program is that there is a critical need to build communities’ capacity to enable them to understand their situation better, the future risks that threaten them and the area where they live, and what they can do to deal with their vulnerabilities.
The vulnerable groups will always experience the unwanted impacts if they don’t have any access and sufficient capacity to face the threats. The moderator summed it up at the end: there is a critical need for adaptation programs and projects to consider inclusion and address the question of ‘Are our projects reaching those people they are intended to reach?’.
For a number of reasons, quality adaptation alone does not guarantee we reach those who are the most vulnerable.
After the session, some ACCCRN Regional Network members gathered for a quick catch-up meeting. The meeting also initiated the idea of creating a written summary of the key outcomes on inclusive UCCR accommodated through APAN Forum 2016 which would be shared via the ACCCRN network as input for the APAN committee (soon to be shared).