MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Japan, the United Kingdom and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are providing a $3.6 million assistance package to strengthen the Asia and Pacific region's ability to respond to the adverse effects of climate change.

The Technical Assistance for Promoting Climate Change Adaptation in Asia and the Pacific will receive a grant of $800,000 from the Japan Special Fund and another grant of $2.8 million from the United Kingdom. ADB will manage the funds.

The project is designed to help countries across the region incorporate measures to adapt to future climate conditions both in their respective investment planning and national development programs. The project will also address the need to coordinate and strengthen international community responses for adapting to climate change to avoid inefficient use of resources.

"The assistance aims to improve the ability of participating governments to adapt to climate change," said Nessim J. Ahmad, ADB Director, Environment and Social Safeguard Division. "Climate change will have devastating impacts in Asia, and it is the poorest who are likely to suffer most. We need to work together with our developing member countries and other partners to improve understanding of the likely impacts of climate change and identify how best to promote adaptation measures across the region."

Rapid climate changes are expected to create a range of adverse impacts in Asia and the Pacific. Many natural ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change and some will be irreversibly damaged.

Climate change poses a threat to achieving poverty reduction and economic growth in many developing member countries of ADB. The ability of these countries to adapt to climate change will be instrumental in their fight to reduce poverty and promote sustained economic development.

Three issues have to be addressed to strengthen the ability of the region to adapt to climate change. The first is the need to have a better understanding of future environmental conditions in vulnerable Asia-Pacific ecosystems. Second, developing member countries need assistance to strengthen their existing adaptation plans. Third, the international community needs to be more responsive to developing member countries' changing needs.

"At ADB, country partnership strategies, sector investments and internal bank policies need to be able to respond to developing member countries' needs for adapting to climate change," said Jay Roop, environment specialist of ADB's Regional and Sustainable Development Department.

A Country Partnership Strategy is ADB's primary planning instrument for member countries that also serves to monitor and evaluate the country's development performance during the timeframe of the strategy, which is usually five years. The strategy is developed in consultation with the government, development partners and other stakeholders.