Over the last two years, the Asia-Pacific region has been reeling from successive disasters amidst multiple waves of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. While the region has made significant progress in managing disaster risk in the past two decades, the pandemic, combined with the persistent reality of climate change, is reshaping the Asia-Pacific disaster riskscape, i.e., the extent of disaster risk faced by the region from a spectrum of natural and biological hazards, and demanding a more systemic approach to risk management.
In 2021, the Asia Pacific Disaster Report demonstrated the emergence of a disaster-climate-health nexus, where the convergence of multiple risks, particularly from climate change, is leading to a more vulnerable region. Thus, adapting to a global warming of 1.5 and 2°C scenarios will be critical to building resilience and accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals while further operationalizing the Common Agenda. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Reports of Working Group 1 and 2 released in August 2021 and February 2022 state that every fraction of a degree in warming translates into additional risks of increasing precipitation, tropical cyclones, heat waves, drought, desertification, and land degradation as well as related health issues stemming from the increases.
However, while the overarching trends in climate change are global, the translation of the impacts of the warming trends of 1.5 and 2°C translate in different subregions of the Asia Pacific are varied. Therefore, each sub-region requires its own risk profile or ‘riskscape’ with sub-regional specificities, both regarding the risks faced and the key adaptation priorities required to build sub-regional resilience from multiple hazards. Towards this, ESCAP has downscaled the analysis of the Asia Pacific Disaster Report 2021 to the ESCAP subregions demonstrating the subregional specificities for climate risks as well as the adaptation priorities. The sub-regional reports and their ensuing Summary for Policymakers will form the key documents for the discussions during the side-event.