“Asia is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change. This initiative will harness the best public and private sector climate data resources and tools so countries are fully equipped to plan for a more climate-resilient future,” said Bindu N. Lohani, Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development at ADB.
Lack of quality data and tools is holding back efforts to limit and counter climate change in many developing countries, imposing a huge human and economic toll. In Bangladesh, for example, ADB forecasts that climate change could be slashing up to 9.4% from the economy every year by 2100. Changing weather patterns will hurt crops and fisheries, risking food sources for families, put millions at risk of flooding, and undermine health.
Bangladesh will be the first country in Asia, together with Colombia for Latin America and Ethiopia for Africa, to benefit from the improved data access, which will be rolled out to other developing countries around the world over coming years.
No single entity is capable of meeting the vast needs of improved climate services in developing countries. The US Agency for International Development is the lead agency for the partnership, supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the US Geological Survey, among others.
In addition to the US Government and ADB, the founding partners of the Climate Services for Resilient Development partnership include the American Red Cross, Esri, Google, Inter-American Development Bank, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, and the UK Government. Other governments, agencies, and private sector partners are expected to join in time.
The partnership, with $31 million in financial and in-kind contributions by its partners, is one of the major commitments announced by US President Barack Obama last September at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.
ADB will provide an in-kind contribution equivalent to $2 million in the first phase of the partnership. ADB is already supporting efforts to improve access to data and climate services in Asia and the Pacific. This new partnership will leverage on and significantly scale up these efforts.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.