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Inclusive Resilience Outlook

This background document focuses on how to build inclusive resilience in the Asia-Pacific region – that is, resilience-building processes and practices that work for everyone.
Multiple Authors
Growing vegetables above the floods
Technical session on Inclusive Resilience during the 7th Asia Pacific Adaptation Network Forum
Inclusive Resilience Dialogue: From Words to Action


Climate change and disasters affect people differently depending on their socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, abilities, age, gender and sexuality, access to resources and decision-making power. Individuals and groups who are marginalised are often disproportionately vulnerable to climate hazards, and less capable of adapting to changing conditions. Moreover, climate change can deepen inequalities, further impoverish the poor, and undermine human rights, much like COVID-19 has.

This background document focuses on how to build inclusive resilience in the Asia-Pacific region – that is, resilience-building processes and practices that work for everyone. This paper presents information on progress, gaps and challenges in strengthening inclusive resilience, around the five key enablers that guided the discussions at 7th Asia Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Network (APAN) Forum: policy and climate governance; planning and processes; science and assessment; technologies and practices; and finance and investment. It concludes with priorities for more inclusive resilience-building across the Asia-Pacific region in this “critical decade of action”.

*Download the full publication from the right hand column. The key messages from the publication are provided below. See the full text for much more detail.


The analysis in this section follows the same structure for each enabling condition of resilience in the Asia-Pacific region, identifying “bright spots” (promising developments and practices) and “hot spots” (areas of concern).

The five key enablers are:

  1. Policy and Climate Governance:Notwithstanding the progress made in the development of policies, institutional coordination mechanisms, and processes to build climate resilience, gaps remain within how to integrate science into policy and practice. Resilience is interpreted in multiple ways, bringing together otherwise disparate groups, institutions, disciplines, and scales. Improving transparency of information on climate change adaptation measures provides a driving force for integrating policy measures and implementation, and for committing to greater ambitions and shared actions with encouraging narratives.
  2. Planning and Processes:In planning and approval processes, science has a critical role in tackling the impacts of extreme events and the slow onset of climate phenomena. Adapting successfully also requires collaborative effort in targeting capacity constraints in planning, policy, and processes, along with a more humane and just approach in formulating and implementing policies.
  3. Science and Assessment:There will always be an element of uncertainty in adaptation planning and decision making. The intrinsic variability in the climate and in the human, social, economic, and environmental systems impose this to a certain degree, as does the fact that the knowledge may be imperfect.
  4. Technologies and Practices:New and innovative climate-smart technologies, big data applications, and social and integrated media for awareness and outreach, can create effective cross-learning and knowledge-sharing opportunities, and practical opportunities for cooperation.
  5. Finance and Investment:The means to connect finance and investments to projects that build national, local, and community climate resilience and support socio-economic national development, are real but implementation gaps exist. Actions to improve adaptive capacities can generate mutual benefits, as well as help achieve the other sustainable development co-benefits, such as improved health, reduced hunger, and better food security, women’s empowerment, and access to clean water and air, among others.

The enablers were identified by the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network secretariat and were the ‘daily themes’ of the APAN forum.

Key messages

The priority actions presented here will be further updated by incorporating suggestions and action-oriented recommendations discussed and explored at the various Inclusive Resilience stream sessions of the 7th APAN Forum.

For the Asia-Pacific region, climate change is an urgent and immediate threat – one that requires not only country-level action, but substantial regional cooperation. APAN provides a key platform to work together to build inclusive resilience across the region. There is a need for an ambitious adaptation and resilience agenda that embodies the commitment of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind” and the human rights principles of the Paris Agreement.

Priorities to achieve more inclusive resilience in the region include:

  • Actively ask who is being left out, and bring them in. For example, is the development of NAPs and NDCs participatory and inclusive in both design and implementation? If the process is not engaging vulnerable groups, it needs to be changed. Resilience interventions must be evaluated from an intersectional perspective to ensure that the views and concerns of all relevant groups are being addressed.
  • Provide funding, frameworks and tools to support inclusion. Proven approaches can ensure that resilience-building efforts led by government and civil society alike engage with specific groups (e.g. children, the elderly, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, LGBTQI+ and migrants) who are vulnerable to climate change impacts, so they are able to articulate their priorities for inclusive resilience practice in research, policy engagement and capacity-building.
  • Hold duty-bearers accountable for protecting human rights. Resilience and human rights go hand in hand; when people are marginalised and denied their basic rights, they become more vulnerable to climate-related shocks. It is crucial to ensure that duty-bearers, specifically governments, fulfil their commitments under human rights treaties, and that people are aware of their rights and are supported in their pursuit and enjoyment of these rights. Respect for the life and dignity of everyone is fundamental to inclusive resilience.

Suggested citation:

Salamanca, A., Davis, M., Anschell, N., and Tran, M. (2021). Inclusive Resilience Outlook. Prepared for the 7th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum, 8-12 March 2021. Bangkok: Asia Pacific Adaptation Network

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