As the world gradually emerges from the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine is setting the Pacific back from recovery with rising energy and food prices, driving up inflation and living costs. The fallout from these external events has implications far beyond threatening the energy and food security of the Pacific. The ever-present extreme climate events have further exacerbated these development impacts. Together, these ongoing and emerging challenges have not only undermined the progress many Pacific countries have made toward achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals but are also pushing the most vulnerable segments of societies further behind at all levels.
As the region grapples with these challenges, the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) provides an opportunity to focus on climate actions. This is in line with the theme topic of the 2023 seventy-ninth session of the ESCAP Commission on “Accelerating climate action in Asia and the Pacific to 2030 and beyond”. The EGM will focus on the priority actions recommended at the Fifth Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (PFSD) held in November 2021, through a cross-cutting four-pronged approach centering on: (i) Disaster-Climate-Health Framework; (ii) ocean and climate synergies ; (iii) climate-smart digital trade; and (iv) energy transition (see Figure 1).
Scaling up climate action through greater regional cooperation ensures each climate action achieves more, creating synergies to achieve climate goals sooner. Climate action can also serve as a catalyst, creating a more enabling environment to ignite or boost other climate actions.