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Webinar: Can South Asia work together to combat climate change?

Webinar: Can South Asia work together to combat climate change?

Ahead of COP26, our panellists explore opportunities to address South Asia’s most pressing environmental issues through cross-border cooperation

South Asia is witnessing unprecedented impacts of climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme weather events, climate-induced migration, widespread crop failures and dramatic shifts in biodiversity. Despite slowing down during the pandemic, global carbon emissions have continued to rise over the past two years. After the protracted public health crisis shifted attention and resources towards tackling Covid-19, climate change is now back on the agenda with greater urgency.

Countries have so far failed to harness the potential of pre-existing attempts to foster regional cooperation. Frameworks such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are failing to deliver, and cross-border tensions are holding back progress in environmental policy and scientific research. The combined disruptive forces of climate change and the global public health crisis have created a unique opportunity to focus on a green recovery and accelerate the transition to more sustainable systems.

Ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, The Third Pole explored the role of regional cooperation in creating an alternative climate diplomacy model, identifying past failures and new opportunities for dialogue and climate action on the ground. We were joined by leading experts and champions from across South Asia and beyond, to debate the utility of current targets and the role of ‘net-zero’ as a useful goal to drive real transformation. Our speakers highlighted possible avenues for progress and renewed focus, including data and information-sharing, and the use of collaborative research as a catalyst that could unify researchers across borders.

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