The effects of climate change are readily apparent in ASEAN as witnessed by the increasing number of extreme weather events, temperatures fluctuation and sea level rise. ASEAN cities are at a particular risk as many of them are located along coasts and river deltas. With half of ASEAN’s population already living in cities, ASEAN city governments are taking a proactive approach to counter this threat through programs that aim to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

On January 18 and 19, 2011, representatives from ASEAN city and national governments and the ASEAN Secretariat as well as climate change experts gathered in Jakarta for an open exchange of ideas,  best practices and lessons learned in addressing current and future impacts of climate change. The Governor of Jakarta in his opening statement delivered at the workshop noted that climate change is a human issue and is therefore our joint responsibility to share our experiences in addressing it.

The exchange allowed cities to learn from one another by discussing current programs, such as municipal building retrofits in Jakarta, and Puerto Princesa’s initiative to go carbon neutral in the Philippines.  Commenting on the discussions, Ms. Liana Bratasida, Special Assistant to the Minister, Ministry of the Environment, Indonesia, and the Chairperson of the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities stated “As the discussions show, ASEAN cities are taking innovative approaches to counter the effects of climate change through initiatives in adaptation, mitigation, and climate proofing…with different results (that reflect their) different capabilities and capacities.