Southern Voices on Adaptation : Regional Workshop for Asia

By Vositha Wijenayake

Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), with partner networks of Southern Voices on Adaptation organised the Regional Workshop for Southern Voices on Adaptation, on October 04, 2014 at the Seri Pacific Hotel in Malaysia. The event was organised as a back to back event of the Asia Pacific Adaptation Forum held in Malaysia. The event participants represented partner networks of the third phase of Southern Voices on Climate Change Programme. Among those present were Cambodian Climate Change Network, Climate Change Working Group of Vietnam, NGO Forum of Cambodia, National Steering Committees of CANSA in Sri Lanka and Nepal and CARE Nepal.

The Southern Voices on Adaptation (SV-Adapt) project aims to produce a code of good practice for national adaptation planning ensuring that the needs of poor communities most vulnerable to climate change are met. This code of practice is currently referred to as the Joint Principles for Adaptation” (JPA).  Version 1.0 of the JPA was developed through collaboration between civil society organisations from different countries. In 2015 we expect to engage in dialogue between civil society and other actors, including government to set the direction towards pro-poor adaptation policies, with a view to having a final version presented at COP 21.

CANSA is the regional facilitating body for Asia, for the Southern Voices on Adaptation. The region has four countries where JPA will be used as an advocacy tool for promoting pro-poor and pro-vulnerable adaptation policies. Of the countries of focus in Asia,  two are South Asian i.e Nepal and Sri Lanka.

These principles are intended to complement and strengthen existing adaptation processes and will serve as tool for civil society to assess the status of national adaptation policy and planning in their countries. They are intended to be in one or more of the following three ways:

  • To set advocacy objectives for civil society, by identifying necessary changes to national and international policy and practice; (advocacy mode)
  • To promote civil society dialogue with government by providing a common language for ongoing dialogue between civil society organisations, government and other stakeholders; (dialogue mode)
  • To determine capacity building needs of public institutions (capacity-building mode)

In addition the final product, which will be developed through input received on advocacy efforts in selected countries of Southern Voices for Adaptation is expected to have many potential uses. These include promoting a coherent approach between different government departments and climate-sensitive sectors, and to identify necessary changes to national and international policy and practice.

The workshop  held in Malaysia provided space for partner networks to interact with other members of Southern Voices on Adaptation in Asia, as well as interact with the Members of the Advisory Board. The participants discussed on how the tools developed for incorporating inclusive and pro-poor adaptation policies in the region and how the Joint Principles on Adaptation could be promoted among policy makers in the region. The workshop also consisted of discussions on challenges faced by networks when advocating for the  incorporation of  JPA to national policies on adaptation.

Vositha Wijenayake is the Policy and Advocacy Co-ordinator of CANSA and, Regional Facilitator for Asia for the Southern Voices Programme. She is a lawyer by profession and has an LLM from University College London. She specialises in International Environmental Law and Human Rights Law. She has been tracking the UNFCCC negotiations since 2009 with a legal and gender focus.