VOL.20 NO.3, SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 2019
RRC.AP 30th Anniversary
11 September 2019
Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific (RRC.AP) celebrated its illustrious 30th anniversary on 11th of September 2019 encompassing its humble beginning as a data centre that focuses on generating environmental and statistical datasets for South Asia to its current status as an Institute-wide centre of Asian Institute of Technology that assists countries to advance their environment and sustainable development goals through the provision of capacity-building, knowledge sharing, policy advice, and research in three thematic areas namely Climate Change, Air and Atmosphere, and Waste and Resource Management.
Festivities started with an open house that showcased posters, publications, photos and memorable moments in RRC.AP's history that was visited by faculty, staff and students of AIT. Representatives of partner agencies, people who were part of the centre's achievements, former colleagues and interns were also present to commemorate the occasion. By mid-day awards were handed to the winning participants of the AIT International School painting and AIT Community photo competition.
Formal celebration continued in full swing late afternoon at Robert B. Banks auditorium. Visitors were welcomed by the video presentation of RRC.AP while program were hosted by Mr. Naoya Tsukamoto, Director of RRC.AP. Welcome remarks were given by AIT President Dr. Eden Y Woon and congratulated RRC.AP in its achievements and services for the past 30 years not only in AIT but also in the Asia and the Pacific region. Dr. Woon also reiterated the role of RRC.AP to AIT's strategic roadmap to transformation of I2E2S2, that stands for Innovation, Internationalization, Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, Stakeholders and Support.
Distinguished guests Dr. Mustaq Memon, UNEP ROAP; Mr. Suga Yoshinori, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Thailand on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment; Mr. Hideyuki Mori, Executive Director, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES); and Mr. Surendra Shrestha, former Vice President for Development of AIT were likewise present to congratulate and acknowledge RRC.AP. Prof. Mario Tabucanon, Emeritus Professor and a former Interim President of AIT gave a talk entitled "Transforming Higher Education for Greater Sustainability".
Celebration concluded with a cocktail party, reminiscing all the memorable activities and achievements of RRC.AP while looking forward to another 30 years and beyond.
Meetings and Events
EANET National Awareness Workshop
The EANET National Awareness Workshop 2019 was held in Putrajaya, Malaysia on 26 to 28 November 2019. The event was organized by the EANET Secretariat and the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC), Malaysia to facilitate sharing and learning platforms and to increase understanding of issues related to the prevention of acid deposition and air pollution that contribute to the achievement of EANET objectives. More than 100 national participants from the relevant government offices, non-governmental organizations, private sector and industries as well as from the academe, attended the event. The workshop sessions were designed to inform participants about EANET activities, and its benefits for participating countries. At the same time, the sessions also provided information on the impact of air quality on human health; the issues related to air quality efforts, such as e-mobility; and the early warning systems of air pollution, among others. A site visit to the Environmental Data Centre of the Department of Environment, Putrajaya, was organized during the last day of the workshop.
Workshop on Capacity Building for preparation of bankable concept notes for Green Climate Fund (GCF)
The workshop on "Capacity Building for preparation of bankable concept notes for Green Climate Fund" was organized by Pacific Consultants and the International Renewable Energy Agency with the support of the Ministry of Environment of Japan. The workshop convened 14 participants from ten island countries in Asia and the Pacific. Sessions supported participants develop climate reasoning, theory of change, and logical frameworks of their project proposals. Moreover, the workshop shared experiences on processes for accessing climate finance, as well as case studies and a field visit showcasing renewable energy technology solutions applicable to island settings. Mr. Jonathan Brenes of AIT RRC.AP presented and supported as a resource person during a 5-day workshop aiming to accelerate renewable energy development in Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) including through access of finance by the Green Climate Fund.
GCF Concept Note Development Training Programme
18-22 November, 2019
The five-day workshop on "GCF Concept Note Development Training Programme" was organized by AIT RRC.AP with financial support from the Ministry of Environment of Japan. The workshop convened 28 participants from five countries in Asia and four countries in the Pacific region, with an aim to strengthen the capacity of National Designated Authorities (NDAs), Direct Access Entities (DAEs), including candidate entities, as well as project developers in formulating GCF Concept Notes for climate change adaptation, including for the Simplified Approval Process (SAP).
Resource persons during the workshop included representatives from the GCF secretariat, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, AIT School of Environment Resources and Development, and USAID Clean Power Asia. Sessions covered a wide range of topics including samples of adaptation solutions and projects, case studies, and practical exercises and tools to establish a climate reasoning and theory of change of a climate action project.
Participants also had an opportunity for individual consultations with climate action project preparation advisors; following remote mentoring support under coordination of the AIT RRC.AP, participants will be considered for an advanced workshop aimed at helping finalize concept notes for submission to the GCF.
Kick Off Meeting: Development of inventory of mercury-containing medical
18-19 November 2019
The kick-off meeting (Project Team Meeting) on JAIF Project on Mercury Waste for Indonesia was held on 18-19 November 2019. In attendance were 13 participants from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Health, The Basel Convention Regional Centre (BCRC), Indonesia and AIT RRC.AP. The kick-off meeting was primarily organized to introduce the project and project team members as well as involvement of international consultant who will support the project. In addition, the meeting provided the platform for project team to discuss the relevance project activities and consolidate the detail work plan of JAIF project in Indonesia with corresponding calendar of activities framed and agreed; 1. The implementing agency (AIT RRC.AP) presented project implementation communication plan and management of project risks; 2. International consultant also presented the gaps between the existing policy framework and; 3. Brief actual practices in the field. Outline of the guidelines on ESM as well as outline of inventory, and the procedure for the development were introduced and discussed. Mr. Guilberto Borongan and Mr. Solomon Huno, represented AIT RRC.AP in the project team meeting.
The 2nd technical consultation on the Project "Promotion of Countermeasures Against Marine Plastic Litter in Southeast Asia and India"
15 November 2019
The Second Technical Consultation on the Project "Promotion of Countermeasures Against Marine Plastic Litter in Southeast Asia and India" - in short, the CounterMEASURE project was held on 15 November 2019 in UN Conference Center, Bangkok by UNEP ROAP. The meeting aims to create an opportunity to exchange the lessons learned and to catalyze synergy between Mekong and India through in-depth discussion on technical challenges and solutions towards plastic leakage scenario development and data collection. About 27 project members and experts from various national government, the private sector, academia, and civil society organizations, UN agencies and other inter-governmental agencies participated. Mr. Guilberto Borongan from AIT RRC.AP presented the approach to Capacity Mapping along with its research plan.
Twenty-first Session of the Intergovernmental Meeting on the EANET
12-13 November 2019
The Twenty-first Session of the Intergovernmental Meeting (IG21) on the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) was organized during 12-13 November 2019 in Beijing, China. The meeting was organized by the Secretariat for the EANET, hosted by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the People's Republic of China. The meeting during it's one and half-day Session reviewed, discussed, considered and made suggestions on the outcomes of the Nineteenth Session of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC19); the Proposed Ideas of the Participating Countries for the Next Medium Term Plan (MTP) for the EANET (2021-2025); Work Programme and Budget of the EANET in 2020; and acknowledged updates on the Activities of International Programmes related to Acid Deposition and Air Quality.
As an implementing partner to the EANET, RRC.AP supported the Secretariat for the EANET, based in UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in organizing of the IG21. The role of RRC.AP's included providing support in developing meeting documents, meeting reports, and logistic arrangements.
Representatives of the 13 participating countries, namely Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Thailand, and Viet Nam participated in the Session. The representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the Secretariat and Asia Center for Air Pollution Research (ACAP), the Network Center (NC) for the EANET; and AIT Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific also attended the Session.
SEA of Solution 2019: Partnership week for marine plastic pollution prevention
11-14 November 2019
"SEA (South East Asia) of Solutions 2019" was held at the UN Conference Centre, Bangkok from 11-14 November 2019 jointly organized by UNEP ROAP and Plasticity Bangkok. The conference which was themed 'Partnership week for marine plastic pollution prevention' brought together about 500 participants from over 40 countries to deliberate on finding solutions to plastic pollution. The event featured opportunities to leverage investments, innovative technologies, and the latest science, as well as support on good governance, and advance community actions in preventing plastic pollution at source. Sessions focused on the discussions on solutions in the illegal trade of plastic, recycling, e-commerce and packaging.
The event also featured Plasticity Bangkok on the second day where relevant private sector actors including multi- national companies in the region were engaged to discuss and explore informed eco-optimism, exciting new circular economic thinking and ground-breaking technological advances. Plasticity is the global forum for practical, progressive thinkers who are excited about the future of plastic and the planet.
One of the sessions featured business models which bring consumers along, recycling options which ensure quality and safety - particularly for food packaging - and the engagement of the informal sector in the circular plastic management. Some of the major highlights of the SEA of Solutions 2019 include the state of the science: how scientific research support action to combat marine plastics in South-East Asia?; transboundary movement of plastic waste; how to access data on plastic flows and leakage points will allow for better understanding of how to keep plastics at the highest possible value chain - how we avoid polluting oceans and rivers. Standardized data collection and new technologies, such as drones and remote sensing can be employed to better conduct and disseminate research. Innovative solutions could also be attained through a global data base, or project repository incorporating information on production and consumption into analysis of plastic leakage and wastage to better assess to address the extent of plastic debris. Mr. Guilberto Borongan and Solomon Kofi Mensah Huno of RRC.AP participated during the 4 days event.
Worship on Implementing Co-benefits Solutions in Asia and 10th Asian Co-benefits Partnership (ACP) Advisory Group Meeting
7-8 November 2019
Nearly ten years ago, several key organizations and countries came together to launch a new platform aimed at supporting the mainstreaming of co-benefits into policy and project decisions called the Asian Co-benefits Partnership (ACP). RRCAP is a member of the Advisory Group since its inception and the Secretariat of ACP is the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Headquarters based in Hayama, Japan. Over that ten-year period, the ACP has made significant progress in raising awareness and sharing information on co-benefits. However, it has become increasingly clear that there is significant potential to move beyond awareness raising and information sharing to implementing co-benefits solutions.
The "Workshop on Implementing Co-benefits Solutions in Asia" held on 7th November 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, the most recent in a yearly gathering between International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and several institutions based in Japan purposed to help close the gap between research that focuses on understanding air pollution and climate impacts and experiences with implementing solutions based on this research.
A related objective is to share research in each of these areas from prominent researcher institutions working on air quality management and climate change in Asia. The final objective is to communicate cross-disciplinary and cross-national findings on the multiple benefits of clean air to policy makers and the general public in Asia.
The next day, Ms. Adelaida B. Roman of AIT RRC.AP was the resource speaker/panelist on the topic "Building capacities for co-benefits solutions: Lessons learned at the project level" led the 10th ACP Advisory Group Meeting, held on 8th November 2019 also in Tokyo, Japan. The meeting discussed and considered the following: 1. Feedback on Work Plan (ACP Organization and Functions; 2. Feedback on White Paper; and 3 Steps for Finalizing Work Plan and Relaunching ACP.
Youth Energy Academy
28 October - 3 November 2019
The first Youth Energy Academy (YEA) in Asia was held at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) between 28 October and 2 November 2019 by AIT RRC.AP. The programme was sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation and convened 28 young participants from 13 countries across Asia, selected from a pool of nearly 800 applicants. The YEA followed participative, non-formal, and empowering methods aimed to equip young leaders from Asia with an overarching understanding, as well as soft and practical skills to help address the climate action, energy access, and other crosscutting sustainable development challenges via community renewable energy solutions. The intensive seven-day programme divided sessions into theoretical mornings, practical afternoons, and informal evenings. Morning sessions were held in the AIT library and featured interactive presentations, group discussions and practical exercises, case studies, an exhibition by a pico-solar technology enterprise, and a field trip to the Community Learning Centre in Klong 6, Pathum Thani where participants visited a farm integrating solar thermal and biomass energy into their business model.
Delivery partners included AIT faculty from the Department of Energy Environment and Climate Change, Yunus Centre AIT, Nexus for Development, Chiangmai University's Energy Technology for Environment Research Centre, UNESCAP, UNDP Alternative Finance Lab, Harvesting Hope, among others.
Afternoon workshops were held in the AIT Energy Lab, facilitated by the Sustainable Energy Youth Network, where participants learned to design and build solar energy systems following a Do-it-together approach. In under 30 hours, participants learned how to design and build 15 power banks, a solar box cooker, two parabolic solar ovens, a solar dryer, one solar sound system/charging station, a solar water pump, the latter of which was installed in the AIT community farm. Lastly several informal evening sessions included an open documentary screening of "Tomorrow's Power," held in the Milton E. Bender Auditorium, and sessions on Design Thinking, Youth Led SDG projects, and the gender dimensions of working in energy.
Nineteenth Session of the Scientific Advisory Committee on the EANET
8-10 October 2019
Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Nineteenth Session on the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC19) of the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) was held on 8-10 October 2019 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Session were organized by the Secretariat and the Network Center (NC) for the EANET and hosted by the General Directorate of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Environment, Cambodia. The 3-day meeting of the SAC19 reviewed the Progress of the EANET since SAC18; discussed and adopted Data Report 2018 that included progress, achievements and country-specific issues pertaining to monitoring of wet deposition, dry deposition, soil and vegetation, inland aquatic environment and catchment-scale, Report on the Inter-laboratory Comparison Projects 2018; acknowledged updates on the national monitoring plans of the participating countries. The Session provided recommendations for proposed ideas of participating countries for the next medium-term plan for the EANET (2021-2025) from the scientific and technical viewpoints.
The Session also acknowledged progress on the cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization, including other updates such as preparation of Acid Rain 2020 and Clean Air Week and joint research activities on model inter-comparison. The outcome of the SAC19 including suggestions and recommendations will be presented during the Intergovernmental Meeting of the EANET to be held in Beijing, China in November 2019.
As an implementing partner to the EANET, RRC.AP supported the Secretariat for the EANET, based in UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and the NC, based in Asia Center for Air Pollution Research (ACAP) Niigata, Japan, in organizing the SAC19. RRC.AP's role includes providing support in developing meeting documents, meeting reports, and logistic arrangements.
The SAC19 meeting was attended by more than 35 participants, including the members of the SAC from 13 participating countries, namely, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Thailand, and Viet Nam and representatives from partner institutes, resources persons, and local participants from the government of Cambodia.
Asia-Pacific Climate Week: Knowledge to Action Day by the Paris Committee on Capacity-Building
2-6 September, 2019
The Capacity-building Knowledge to Action Day was held during the Asia-Pacific Climate Week on 2-6 September 2019 and convened by the Paris Committee on Capacity Building. Discussions focused on resources, opportunities, and approaches to strengthen the engagement of universities and research institutions in capacity building for the preparation and implementation adaptation planning and Nationally Determined Contributions.
The event resulted in a draft list of recommendations to inform ongoing efforts by the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) to leverage a platform to enhance coherence and coordination in capacity-building efforts under and outside the UNFCCC. The one-day closed-door event was organized by UN Environment and UNESCAP with support of the Stockholm Environment Institute, International Centre for Climate Change and Development, United Nations University, Least Developed Countries Universities Consortium on Climate Change, NDC Partnership, International Institute for Sustainable Development, the NAP Global Network, among others. Updates on these developments are expected during the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP25). Mr. Jonathan Brenes and Mr. Lyan Villacorta from AIT RRC.AP participated the event.
Working Group Meeting on Preparation of the Medium-Term Plan (2021-2025) for the EANET
20-22 August 2019
The Working Group Meeting on the preparation of development of the Medium-Term Plan (MTP) for the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) for a period of 2021-2025 was organized during 20-21 August 2019 at United Nations Conference Center, Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was to gather the ideas from the participating countries and partners for the development of the five-year plan of EANET. During the 2-day meeting, each participating countries presented their ideas for the next MTP of EANET (2021-2025) which includes proposed ideas, benefits for EANET countries, institutional arrangement, challenges, and ways to overcome the challenges. The draft of collected ideas will be further discussed during the Nineteenth Session of the Scientific Advisory Committee on the EANET (SAC19) to be organized in October 2019 in Cambodia. The draft of the MTP will be acknowledged during the Twenty-first Session of the Intergovernmental Meeting on the EANET (IG21) to be held in China in November 2019.
As an implementing partner to the EANET, RRC.AP supported the Secretariat for the EANET, based in UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in organizing of Working Group Meeting. RRC.AP's role includes providing technical support and logistics arrangement. More than 30 participants from 13 participating countries, namely, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Representatives from partner institutes and resource persons also participated in the meeting.
During the month of September 2019, Ms. Lola Kengen interned with the Climate Change cluster of the Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific, at the Asian Institute of Technology. During this short engagement, Ms Kengen supported preparations for the Youth Energy Academy through the compilation of reference materials and recording and producing a mini-series of interview discussions on the subject of Solar Energy technologies with professionals and academics inside and outside of AIT. Ms Kengen is currently an undergraduate student of Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick (UK).
Ms. Oraibi Imabibo joined the Waste and Resource Management Cluster (WaRM) of RRC.AP as student assistant from October 1 to December 30, 2019. With a good background in conducting systematic desk review and data analytics, she supported the cluster to collate relevant data on best practices in solid waste management in Asian region. Oraibi Imabibo is an MBA student at AIT School of Management.