UNDG Regional Workshop for the Asia-Pacific Region Advances Integrated Approaches to Mainstream DRR, Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change

The workshop took place at the United Nations in Bangkok.25-29 July 2011, Bangkok, Thailand. Integrating and mainstreaming climate change adaptation, environmental sustainability and risk reduction can have profound effects in poverty reduction and improved livelihoods. To advance this approach, share lessons and good practices, the UN Development Group (UNDG) Task Team on Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Rio+20, in collaboration with several partners, organized a regional workshop for the Asia-Pacific region from 25-29 July 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop brought together 15 participants from 10 UN Country Teams who are embarking on the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) roll-out process. It was the last in a series of three regional workshops scheduled for 2011 that also covered Africa and the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The workshop aimed at enabling participants to identify opportunities and tools for mainstreaming environmental sustainability (ES), climate change (CC) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) in country programming.  Alexander MacKenzie from Canada, who led the workshop together with a diverse facilitation team, emphasized that “this event built on the lessons from the previous workshops in Nairobi and Panama. It advanced our understanding about how to integrate these three approaches, and how to tackle a range of complex issues to position or 'sell' it to governments in the region”.

Like the two previous workshops, the event was not a formal training, but rather created opportunities for participants to share their experiences and identify good practices. Participants were directly involved in adapting the workshop to address their unique country situations and learning needs. Dr. Ananda Mallawatantri from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) offered lessons from Sri Lanka about how to use Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as a way to structure and focus the country analysis process. Mr. David Mcloughlin from the United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF) shared the experience from India on how to position DRR as a strategic priority for the UNDAF.

A series of 'Country Clinics' sessions enabled participants to brainstorm concrete solutions for ‘thorny’ mainstreaming challenges for the UNDAF. Many of the solutions involved the early recognition of opportunities to offer evidence and build ownership for mainstreaming, and to identify ‘champions’ in both the UN Country Team and amongst the ‘power’ ministries and commissions in government, such as Planning, Finance, and International Cooperation. Country participants prepared work plans to engage the full UN Country Team and guide their mainstreaming efforts.

The content of the workshop was based on three interrelated UNDG guidance notes:
  • “Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into the CCA and UNDAF” (2009);
  • “Mainstreaming Environmental Sustainability in Country Analysis and the UNDAF” (2009); and
  • “Integrating Climate Change Considerations in the Country Analysis and the UNDAF” (2010).

The team for the workshop comprised Madhavi Ariyabandu from the Secretariat of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), Hachim Badji from the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI), Jonathan Gilman and Alam Mozaharul from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office, and Alex MacKenzie who served as the lead facilitator.

The three regional workshops are organized by the UNDG Task Team in cooperation with CADRI, UNEP, UNDP, UNISDR, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR with resources from UN CC:Learn), and the UN System Staff College (UNSSC). On the basis of the positive response from participants and UN Country Offices, the UNDG Task Team is actively exploring ways and means to hold the regional workshops on an annual basis for UNDAF roll-out countries.

For additional information please contact: Marjolaine Côté (marjolaine.cote@undp.org).