South Asian nations have been grappling with the devastating consequences of climate change, including floods, cyclones, heatwaves, and declining agricultural productivity. The economic toll of these climate-induced disasters is staggering, with projections indicating that South Asia could face losses of USD 997 billion by 2070. The need for urgent and effective action cannot be overstated.
Per capita climate finance allocation for South Asian nations ranges from US$ 0.6 for every Maldivian to an estimated US$ 155.9 for every Bhutanese.
This paper discusses the international flow of climate finance to South Asia, highlighting the disparities in funding allocation and the challenges faced by climate-vulnerable countries in the region. It emphasises the importance of mobilising grants and loans with more generous terms to support adaptation efforts in South Asia.
The Fourteenth SAARC Summit in 2007 expressed concern over global climate change and called for climate-resilient development in South Asia. The Eighth Meeting of the SAARC Environment Ministers adopted the "Delhi Statement on Cooperation in Environment" and the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change. The SAARC leaders directed the implementation of the SAARC Agreement on Rapid Response to Natural Disasters, the SAARC Convention on Cooperation on Environment, and the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change. They welcomed the establishment of the SAARC Environment and Disaster Management Centre and the implementation of the Paris Agreement. SAARC has been an accredited observer of the UNFCCC since COP 16, and the SAARC Action Plan on Climate Change identifies climate finance and investment as seven thematic areas of regional cooperation.
With regards to that, Change Initiative proposes to establish the South Asian Resilience Fund (SARF) to harness the collective strength of South Asian nations towards combating community-led climate resilience effectively, building upon the success of Bangladesh on climate finance fronts.
The position paper presents a forward-looking and practical solution to the urgent climate crisis facing South Asian nations. It is a call to action that urges us to unite and establish SARF, securing a sustainable future for generations to come.