On 15 May 2023 during the seventy-ninth session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Dr. Guilberto Borongan, Director, Regional Resource Centre of Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT RRC.AP), participated and presented interventions and insights at a side event titled "Streamlining Nature-based Solutions to Enhance Mitigation and Climate Resilience in the Asia and Pacific.” The side event was co-organized by IUCN Asia and the Embassy of Japan. The side event session focused on Nature-based Solutions to address environmental and sustainable development challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, the session also discussed policy challenges and best practices from the region, and highlighted needs to support the mainstreaming of NbS for mitigation, food security, climate adaptation and resilience, financing for NbS (through the GCF, Adaptation Fund, and GEF), and transparent, inclusive governance. Mr. OBA Yuichi, Permanent Representative of Japan to ESCAP, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan, Thailand delivered the opening remarks in the session. Mr Raphael Glemet, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Asia presented the Nature-based Solutions: Background, definition and the Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions. Among the panelists include Dr. Naoyuki Okano, Policy Researcher, IGES; Ms. Elizabeth Erasito, Director, National Trust of Fiji; and Dr. Dindo Campilan, Regional Director for Asia and Hub Director for Oceania, IUCN. Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, UNESCAP provided the closing remarks at the side event.
Dr. Guilberto Borongan discussed academia's contribution to scaling up Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as knowledge gaps and research priorities for AIT to scale up NbS in the Asia-Pacific region. AIT recognizes the vital role data and information, technical capacity, and human capital plays in promoting the uptake of nature-based solutions. He described a two-pronged approach that combines research-based data and information generation with knowledge transfer and capacity building on nature-based solutions throughout the region. First, AIT investigates the integration of innovative and indigenous knowledge to deliver practical and best-fit solutions in the generation of knowledge and data through research. Second, AIT prioritizes knowledge transfer through workshops, specialized training, online training, and promoting peer exchange of networks of policymakers, resource managers, data scientists, and practices, among others, in addition to building human capital through academic trainings. These are achieved through the operations of institute-wide centers at the research-policy interface. The centers foster partnerships, inform governance and policy development, and promote two-way learning through customized training programs and technical assistance support. Lastly, AIT also prioritizes supporting the development of adaptive inclusive policies on nature-based solutions that incorporate local traditional knowledge, local communities’ practices, and cross fertilization of NbS solutions to tackle apparent challenges.
AIT provide support to Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Information Platform (AP-PLAT) by knowledge sharing through the development of knowledge products such as e-learning videos, dissemination of modeling and policy/decision support tools for flood forecasting and climate modeling. Similarly, AIT has established a demonstration Freshwater Mangrove Museum for AIT campus health and sustainability – partnered with the private sector.