To strengthen resilience to climate change, ASEAN should involve civil society

Jakarta – Indonesia, as ASEAN Chair in 2023, can engage the role of civil society in enhancing ASEAN’s relevance in various aspects that are aligned with global development challenges, including increasing the ambition of regional climate targets, renewable energy development and sustainable development, activists said.

“Not only that, Indonesia can also build joint efforts in strengthening resilience to various threats and impacts of climate change through sustainable development,” said IESR Executive Director Fabby Tumiwa at the public discussion “Making Energy Green and Low Carbon to Support Sustainable Growth: Advancing the Role of Civil Society in Southeast Asia Energy Transition During Indonesia ASEAN Chairmanship 2023”, last week.

After completing the energy transition agenda at the G20, Indonesia encourages ASEAN countries to work together to make an energy transition that is aligned with the Paris Agreement targets. Not only that, Indonesia can also build joint efforts in strengthening resilience to face various threats and impacts of climate change through sustainable development.

Tumiwa said Indonesia can play its role as Chair of ASEAN to provide space for civil society to be involved in the process of its chairmanship agenda in 2023, especially for energy and climate issues. ASEAN itself, he continued, already has the ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change (AWGCC) and the ASEAN Working Group on Forest and Climate Change (AWGFCC) as well as the ASEAN Energy Cooperation.

However, achieving climate mitigation and renewable energy development targets requires extra effort and cooperation between working groups, as well as collaboration with civil society organisations and communities across countries to increase their contribution in the region.

As one of the regional organisations projected to experience 4.7 percent economic growth by 2023 amidst weak global demand, ASEAN is a promising region to invest in, particularly in the renewable energy sector.

Economic growth in the ASEAN region needs to be aligned with the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. ASEAN itself has a target to pursue a 23 percent renewable energy mix by 2025.

IESR Climate Diplomacy Project Coordinator Arief Rosadi said that until now, ASEAN does not have a formal channel for civil society to express their aspirations, especially on climate and energy issues. Therefore, Indonesia needs to lead ASEAN to provide an inclusive and constructive dialogue space for civil society in the regional decision-making process.

“The real step that can be done now is to increase the intensity of communication between civil society in the region, to share information and the latest developments in each country related to energy and climate issues. This aims to strengthen solidarity and ownership of ASEAN as a common region,” Rosadi said. (Hartatik)

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