Climate-related hazards are intensifying in the Asia Pacific region, disproportionately affecting vulnerable rural communities, according to a new report.
Policymakers must prioritise climate resilience and adaptation measures in order to protect rural communities from losing economic advancements, said the report released on Monday by the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The building climate resilience in the Asia Pacific region report reviews the key results and lessons learned from the IFAD-supported Adaptation for Smallholder Agricultural Programme (ASAP).
The project, which ran between 2012 and 2017, saw an investment of $305 million in targeted rural development projects that needed support in adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change on rural communities.
The ASAP programme made significant progress in the region, supporting more than 510,000 small-scale farming households to adapt to climate change in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam.
The report highlights the diverse, effective, and innovative approaches that IFAD has developed in cooperation with rural communities to adapt to and mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change on rural people's lives and livelihoods.
It analyses approaches and actions that were successful and can be "scaled up" in the region, providing a solid foundation for the new phase of the programme called the Enhanced Adaptation for Smallholder Agricultural Programme (ASAP+), potentially channelling an additional US$500 million in climate finance to support the climate resilience of 10 million vulnerable people, particularly women and youth.
"Small-scale producers often know what they need to be more resilient to the effects of climate change, we can support them by helping them to access the appropriate finance and technology," said Kisa Mfalila, IFAD's regional climate and environment specialist for Asia and Pacific.
"The report confirms that farmers have developed many successful adaptation techniques over time. We need to act fast to draw upon local knowledge," she added.
There will also be a live event at the IFAD Pavilion at COP26 on Wednesday 3 November 2021 that includes a virtual field trip to Bangladesh (featured in the report) to discover what steps small-scale farmers are taking to adapt to climate change. Accompanied by documentary filmmaker Qasa Alom, the audience will virtually travel to the country to meet and interact with farmers who are participants of IFAD-supported projects, to discuss their climate challenges and how they and their rural communities are adapting.
In Bangladesh, IFAD had a project titled "Introducing integrated flood risk reduction in the Haor Basin".
The goal of the project is to enhance livelihood opportunities in the Haor Basin and make poor people less vulnerable by increasing their resilience.
This project implemented in five districts aims to improve transport links, reduce output losses and enhance protection against extreme weather events, while teaching participants how to become more resilient.
Over 344,000 households benefited through its interventions, more than half of them being women.
More than 180,000 poor smallholder households have been trained to adapt to the effects of climate change. Under the livelihood protection component, the project has provided vocational training to 8,701 people.