Tackling the climate crisis and transforming development futures in Asia Pacific and ASEAN towards inclusive, equitable, sustainable, and resilient societies
We, the organisers and participants of the Asia Pacific Sociology Association Conference 2022 coming from universities, civil society, research organisations, and international research institutions across Asia Pacific:
- Acknowledge the urgency to transition and transform development futures in the context of the climate crisis as the agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals is approaching 2030.
- Recognise that all societies and sectors are faced with intensifying climate change effects, colliding with the conflict, human insecurity and inequitable development nexus. The impacts of climate change are unevenly felt and distributed across communities, cities, and countries and regions. Those who are marginalised and disadvantaged/poor are the most vulnerable to climate impacts.
- Appreciate that water, food, planetary health, ecosystems, and biodiversity are critical for the livelihoods and wellbeing of all people and living organisms. Climate impacts will be largely felt through drastic changes in water and food (availability, distribution, and access). The effects of climate change can lead to permanent losses of critical ecosystems, biodiversity, culture, traditions, and livelihoods. Climate loss and damage is a serious emerging crisis.
- Understand that climate change is not just a technical issue. Hard infrastructure, engineering formula, and digital technologies are not the only approach or solution to climate challenges. Climate change is an issue of justice and rights. Solutions to some climate change issues need to be justice-based and rights-based. Ecosystem-based adaptation measures and approaches to tackle climate change need to be at the forefront.
- Admit that climate change is a political challenge. Perspectives on and responses to climate change have been influenced by political culture. Civic and academic communities urgently need to enhance their capacity and play a stronger role in shaping transformative political culture.
- Concede that existing peace, human security and development pathways are unsustainable and unjust, leading to social inequalities and marginalisation, particularly in conflict and security impacted countries including Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kashmir (India/Pakistan). Development trajectories indicate bleak and inhospitable futures with rising rates of poverty and informality further impact by increasing conflict, human insecurity and inequity.
- Agree that new forms of knowledge production are required through bottom-up and participatory approaches including agro-ecology to strengthen the knowledge-policy-practice interface. Vulnerable and marginalised community groups as well as civil society organisations need to be directly involved in knowledge co-production with other stakeholders.
- Grant that international research collaboration is essential in driving and strengthening evidence-based knowledge production and application of scientific knowledge in policy and decision-making processes.
- Realise that women, youth, indigenous and minority groups are important knowledge stakeholders and their voices and support to their actions are critical in shaping decisions, responses, and actions to tackle conflict, human security, development and climate change futures.
In light of the views above, we call upon
- APEC, ASEAN to support collaborative efforts and actions to co-design regional plans driving economic and social development towards more sustainability, climate resilience, inclusive, peaceful and just futures, with focused regional support to heavily impacted countries like Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kashmir (India/Pakistan).
- World Bank, Asian Development Bank, other international and local banks to scrutinise, monitor and evaluate large-scale infrastructure and industrial development projects that contribute to global warming and environmental degradation.
- UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations to support capacity building, knowledge transfer, and collaborative actions at the local to regional level to enhance the knowledge-policy-practice interface in climate, peace, human security and development.
- National and sub-national governments to increase knowledge and technical skills in understanding the impacts of climate change, the linkages between climate, peace, human security, social justice and development, and planning actions for ecosystem-based and nature-based adaptation.
- Green Climate Fund and international donors to provide financial support and accessible mechanisms to fund ecosystem-based and nature-based approaches and measures to reduce people-centred vulnerability and systemic risks.
- Academic and research communities to collaborate across disciplines, provide usable scientific knowledge and technical information to inform planning and decision-making processes, and support bottom-up and participatory research and knowledge production.
- Academic and research institutions to strongly focus on autonomous research and strengthen international collaboration to advance evidence-based knowledge production and develop new methodologies for tackling development futures and climate crisis.
- Civil society and community-based organisations to play a critical role in driving inclusive and equitable development and climate actions and promote and foster learning space for multi-stakeholder dialogues and engagement to build capacity of local communities and generate new knowledge.
- Women, youth, indigenous and minority groups to demand inclusion and recognition in planning and decision-making processes and better development pathways that are more inclusive and equitable and take actions in responding to climate crisis.
To move forward to the next steps, we specifically request that
- The APEC 2022 and ASEAN Secretariats lead in forging regional collaboration for climate mitigation and adaptation, urgently act on climate crisis, taking climate loss and damage seriously, and minimise corporate greenwashing through carbon credit schemes.
- The Thai Government, in particular the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), Department of Public Works, Town and Country Planning, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy Planning (ONEP), Royal Irrigation Department (RID), Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), and Water Board, to increase understanding, knowledge and technical skills in climate change, and risk management and reduction, and integrate climate plans and actions into peace, human security and development strategies and budget plans.
- Sub-national governments, the Department of Local Administration, Department of Provincial Administration to increase understanding, knowledge and technical skills in climate change, and risk management and reduction, and to have functions and responsibilities for planning and implementing local climate actions, ecosystem-based adaptation, nature-based solutions, disaster risk reduction, and conflict related mitigation.
- The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI), the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT), and other funding agencies to support international research collaboration and participatory research to produce evidence-based knowledge, multi-disciplinary research that focuses on cross-cutting issues of development, climate change, disaster risk reduction and preparedness, conflict mitigation, and strengthen climate change research through the perspectives of sociology and social science.
- Academic and research institutions in Asia Pacific to strongly demand and drive autonomous research and increase international research collaboration that will strengthen and advance the knowledge-policy-practice interface.
- Civil society, non-governmental, and community-based organisations (CSO/NGO/CBO) to increase understanding, knowledge, technical skills and a collaborative mechanism to innovate and drive inclusive and equitable climate actions, and people-centred climate vulnerability assessments, and monitor industrial and large-scale infrastructure development plans and projects that contribute to global warming, environmental degradation, social inequalities and unjust development, and carbon credit programmes to minimise ‘corporate greenwashing’, and social and environmental impacts. In addition, a sustainable mechanism is collaboratively developed to mitigate climate change fuelled conflict fault lines in, for instance, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kashmir (India/Pakistan).
- International and local organisations that support women, youth, indigenous and minority groups and young leaders to strengthen youth mobilisation and actions in responding to development and climate issues.
- The Asia Pacific Sociology Association (APSA) to play a key role in supporting sociologists and social scientists as knowledge stakeholders and mobilizers to enhance and advance development and climate research and evidence-based knowledge production and strengthening international research collaboration.