17 November 2017 Press Release No: G/56/2017
UN meeting in Bonn calls for countries to scale up regional climate action to meet global goals
Bangkok (ESCAP News) -- Countries from Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Middle-East, met on the sidelines of the UN
Climate Change Conference in Bonn, to explore opportunities for scaling up climate action to meet the ambitious targets
set out in the Paris Agreement. The high-level participants recognized the need to boost climate action across the
region if the aim of staying within a 2C of temperature increase is to be attained. If we maintain business-as-usual,
rising seas could affect 1.4 Billion people by 2060.
Asia and the Pacific accounts for more than 50 per cent of global emissions, and while many countries in the region have
ambitious climate plans, collective efforts under Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), are not nearly enough to
meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. It has been estimated that humanity is left with a ‘carbon credit’ of between 150
and 1,050 GtCO2 to meet the Paris target. However, at the current emission rate of 41 GtC02 per year, the lower limit of
this range would be crossed in 4 years, and the midpoint of 600 GtCO2 would be passed in 15 years.
In his keynote speech, Mr. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Founder and Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact
"In the Asia-Pacific region - population growth, environmental degradation and climate change could be a major challenge
for the countries in the area. This is the negative future scenario. We have detailed these substantial risks in a major
report for the Asian Development Bank just recently. But there's a positive scenario too. Asia-Pacific could be at the
forefront of human ingenuity to achieve change. This could really make the region a worldwide innovation leader."
At today’s event organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in
partnership with the other four UN regional commissions, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary
of ESCAP, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, stressed vulnerable countries have a critical stake in ensuring that global emissions
trajectories are corrected downward. Many countries in the region are showing leadership in putting into place policies
and measures to mitigate emissions and to strengthen resilience. Carbon markets and their increased linkages across
national boundaries can play a critical role to achieve these climate ambitions at least-cost.
“NDCs show countries are willing to raise their ambition, but need more financial, technological and capacity-building
support. Regional commissions are committed to supporting this effort by convening all the relevant actors to deliver
more ambitious policies to mitigate climate change, strengthen regional partnerships, and promote South-South
co-operation,” said Dr. Akhtar.
“ESCAP will continue to support the development of the energy policy framework in the region to achieve Sustainable
Development Goal 7. We can strengthen regional co-operation in carbon pricing to further exploit cost savings. And we
will step up our efforts with the financial sector to ease countries’ barriers to access to finance and risk-transfer
Mr. Sun Zhen, Deputy Director General on Climate Change Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission, China
provided his perspective:
“China is strongly committed to cope with climate change and to meet our greenhouse gas control commitments. Our
experience shows that if we make the right political decisions and trust the potential of low carbon development, our
policies should not limit economic growth. Rather they will create opportunities for sustainable, climate friendly and
Participants also highlighted the key role of the UN regional commissions in supporting implementation of the NDCs,
especially through their regional convening platforms where they bring together all stakeholders including governments,
private and public sector and other international organizations, to leverage regional cooperation and promote learning.
Download the ESCAP report: ‘Responding to the climate change challenge in Asia and the Pacific: Achieving the NDCs.’