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Experts Call for Collective, Integrated Actions to Mitigate Risks of Environmental, Climate Crisis

Date:
22 March 2023

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Jakarta 22 March 2023: Environmental and climate crisis experts called on stakeholders to act collectively and cohesively to address the interconnected risks of environmental and climate crisis. The call was made during an online conference to tackle environmental issues and share best practices across the ASEAN and East Asia region. The conference, held on 22 March 2023 in Jakarta, was organised by the Entrepreneurship, Startup, and Innovation (E-S-I) Knowledge Lab of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and The Asian Network.

The conference panellists brought up ways of positively interacting with and affecting the environment, such as promoting sustainable transportation, encouraging green finance, and raising awareness on food–water–energy nexus solutions. They urged governments, businesses, and civil society to collaborate on promoting sustainable policies and practices to mitigate environmental risks.

Session 1, Technological Trends to Mitigate Climate Change, discussed how renewable energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and bio power, are increasingly critical to push green recovery. Another innovation mentioned was the development of electric vehicles and the introduction of carbon farming. The latter can play a role in precision agriculture. The panellists cited the environmental group Baeru, whose use of technology has made data relevant to the end users and communities. The speakers discussed the need for solutions that stakeholders can apply across macroeconomic, city, and micro levels through education, awareness building, and engagement with end users.

The speakers were Mr Orchlon Enkhtsetseg, Founder and CEO of Ureca; Ms Divya Hegde, Founder of Baeru; and Dr Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, Director for Research Strategy and Innovation, ERIA. The session was moderated by Mr TJ Ooi, ERIA E-S-I Knowledge Lab Lead Consultant. Mr Alber Oung, Founder and President of World Green Organization, delivered the opening remarks.

During session 2, Interconnected Risks: Environmental Dangers Threaten Economic Growth and Viability, the speakers discussed the interconnected risks of environmental crises, specifically for water, food, and energy. They enumerated the challenges faced by countries, including managing water quality and quantity, archiving food security amidst the disruption of food supply chain, and minimising the cost of low-carbon technologies especially for developing and emerging economies. The speakers highlighted the importance of balancing innovation and inclusive technology, so countries can adapt and learn from best practices to enhance their own capacity and implement climate commitments. They reiterated the need for policy to push more collaboration and cross-sectoral coordination as green solutions cannot be implemented in a silo.

The speakers were Mr Robert Brears, Founder of Our Future Water; Ms Dian Lutfiana, Research Associate, ERIA; and Ms Elyssa Ludher, Senior Fellow and Coordinator at the Yusof Ishak Institute. The session was moderated by Ms Amelia Litania, Program Officer, ERIA. Ms Nidhi Nagabhatla, Senior Research Fellow at the United Nations University, delivered the opening remarks.

Session 3, Environmental Future in Asia: Opportunities and Hope, highlighted decoupling growth from research use and climate change adaptation, and mitigation. The speakers underscored the importance of comprehensive coordination across government to deliver high-impact climate initiatives and predicted the rise of green technologies in Asia over the next 30 years. They agreed that collaboration amongst governments, policymakers, public and educational institutions, and the youth is key to tackling environmental issues. The speakers reiterated that innovation is important for advancing these sustainable energy solutions. They said that transparency, leadership, green financing, and accountable public and private institutions are critical to green development and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The speakers were Ms Meg Argyriou, Head of the International Climate Works Centre; Mr Vannarith Chheng, President of Asian Vision Institute; and  Ms Katarina Galic, Founder and CEO, X|ergy SusTech Powerhouse. The session was moderated by Mr Ravindra Ngo, Founder and CEO of the Asian Network. Mr Erik Solheim, former Minister of Climate and the Environment of Norway, delivered the opening remarks.

Session 4, Green Financing and ESG Investment, urged the public and private sectors to adapt, drive profit, and deliver on a sustainable future through green finance and investment for clean energy transition, amongst others. The speakers discussed how additional financing is needed to fund various projects, and remarked that whilst financing and investments have traditionally focused on larger and more scalable projects, organisations such as the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) had in recent years supported more grassroots projects. The speakers emphasised the need for more stakeholder engagement to ensure that properly channelled financing and investments will make an impact.

The speakers were Dr Renard Siew, Head of Corporate Sustainability; Mr Anouj Mehta, Country Director Thailand, Unit Head Green Innovative Finance-ASEAN, Asian Development Bank; and Ms Nirnita Telukdar, Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific, UNEP FI. The session was moderated by Mr TJ Ooi. Ms Gaya Herrington, Vice President of the ESG Research Schneider, delivered the opening remarks.

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