ESCAP’s Asia-Pacific Business Forum Sets Out Proposals for Asia-Pacific Region’s Climate Change Response
22 January 2009: The Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2009/Climate Game Change – Innovations and Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation convened in Bangkok, Thailand, on 21 January 2009. The Forum was organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and it brought together 300 representatives from the private sector, government, civil society and international organizations, with the aim of promoting new partnerships, ideas and resolve for combating climate change.
The Asia-Pacific business sector is expected to face serious risks as a result of climate change, with South and Southeast Asia considered to be climate change “hotspots,” at particular risk from cyclones, flooding, and drought. Noeleen Heyzer, ESCAP Executive Secretary, highlighted the need for discussions on climate change to shift from normative statements to concrete actions. She underscored the business sector's capacity in shifting the region away from the “present highly dangerous course,” and proposed the establishment of an Asia-Pacific business network to devise business solutions to the climate crisis.
A Sida report “Making Climate Your Business – Private Sector Adaptation in Southeast Asia,” was also launched at the event. It notes that, while government and non-profit organizations in the region are busy tackling climate change, the business sector is notably behind. The outcome of the Forum includes an urgent call for businesses and governments in Asia and the Pacific region to make climate change adaptation central to their core operations. The outcome will be fed into preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference, due to take place in Copenhagen in December this year. [UN Press Release] [Climate Game Change Website]