INCHEON: Climate change is likely to have a serious impact on the CAREC region — which includes Central Asia, Mongolia, Pakistan, China and the South Caucasus — said Asian Development Bank Director General for Central and Western Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov, Friday.
Speaking at a press conference during the launch of a study on the sidelines of the 56th ADB Annual Meeting, Zhukov urged Central and Western Asia and neighboring countries to face the increasingly dire consequences of climate change This could lead to water scarcity, food insecurity and even conflict in the region.
According to the report, the year 2022 has seen particularly dramatic and deadly examples of climate change impacts in the region, including the devastating floods in Pakistanthe punishment of droughts in Afghanistan and China, days and even weeks of extreme heat and cross-border conflicts over scarce water resources in Central Asia.
“The recent, intense weather conditions in Central and Western Asia show that we urgently need to take collective action,” he added.
Zhukov said countries in the region must work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase climate resilience and manage precious, shared natural resources for the good of all.
Higher-than-average temperature increases are likely to lead to greater water scarcity, extensive desertification and more extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, according to the study.
He said Central Asia will face a water supply shortfall of 37% by 2050 unless irrigation systems and other critical water infrastructure are improved and modernised. This gap can lead to lower agricultural productivity, increased food insecurity, poorer health outcomes and potential conflicts over scarce resources.
The study recommends that the CAREC program develop a climate change strategy that defines priority sectors for cooperation, outlines projects with the greatest mitigation and adaptation potential, and proposes a facility to fund those projects.
Publishing a common position among CAREC members at global climate negotiations such as COP will also strengthen the region’s collective call for climate action, according to the study.
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