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New ESCAP Study on Natural Disasters

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Environment, Conservation/Disaster management

 

Source: DTE

 Context: According to a new study by the ESCAP, most countries in Asia-Pacific (AP) are inadequately prepared to manage the rising challenges of extreme weather events and natural disasters.

 

Highlights of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) study:

  • The AP region accounts for more than half of the world’s GHGs.
  • Over the past 60 years, temperatures in the AP region have increased faster than the global mean.
  • Extreme, unpredictable weather events and natural hazards (like Tropical cyclones, heatwaves, floods and droughts) have become more frequent and intense.

 

Impact:

  • Damaging people’s health, immense loss of life and displacement.
  • Food systems here are being disrupted, economies damaged and societies undermined.
  • Leading cause of poverty and inequality across the region by disproportionately burdening poor and marginalised groups.

 Most vulnerable: China, India, Japan, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation are projected to suffer the greatest losses under the worst-case climate scenario.

 

Challenges:

  • The AP region is one of the most rapidly developing regions of the world, with a significant proportion of the global population.
  • The region is also home to most of the world’s low-lying cities and vulnerable small island states.
  • Overlapping crises of climate change and climate-induced disasters are increasingly threatening development in AP –
    • Undermining hard-won development gains.
    • Imperils Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
  • Lack of necessary data as well as means to support adaptation and mitigation efforts.
  • The current financing is insufficient to meet the region’s requirements for investment in climate action or to contain global warming at 1.5°C.

 

Steps needed:

The emissions gap in three key sectors – energy, transport and international trade and investment – needs to be closed.

 

  1. Energy:
  • A rapid increase in renewable energy by restructuring national energy systems, new technical capacities, etc.
  • The need for cross-border electricity grids to increase the share of renewable energy.
  • Energy efficiency codes must be aligned with net-zero goals to reduce carbon footprint in the building sector.
  • Climate-proofing energy systems.
  1. The transport sector: Should be shifted to a low-carbon pathway by reducing transport distance through integrated land use, planning, shifting to sustainable transport modes, as well as improving vehicle and fuel efficiency.
  1. International trade:
  • Integrate climate considerations into regional trade agreements.
  • Trade must be climate-smart.
  • The private sector must be encouraged to work towards a low-carbon pathway and sustainability should be ingrained into business operations.

 

Some best practices:

 

About ESCAP:

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (est. 1947; HQ: Bangkok)  is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

 

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