Publication: Policy paper

A Southeast Asian Perspective on Trade and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation


By Alice Pham

Due to its unique geography, combined with underlying factors such as the presence of extreme poverty and high dependence on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture and natural resources, Southeast Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have thus undertaken ambitious commitments and implemented several actions on climate change mitigation and adaptation at the national and regional levels.

This policy paper examines the various adaptation and mitigation efforts of ASEAN in prioritized sectors (agriculture, energy, and land-use, land-use change, and forestry). It discusses how international cooperation on trade and trade-related policies could complement or support these efforts and identifies priority areas for action and recommendations at the regional and multilateral level.

The publication is part of a series of policy papers commissioned by TESS with partners on Regional perspectives on trade, climate change, and sustainable development, which includes papers on Africa, the Caribbean, South America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the broader category of least developed countries. Each paper has been prepared by experts and institutions from the region and seeks to highlight regional perspectives and priorities on the role of international trade cooperation in supporting climate mitigation and adaptation and climate-resilient sustainable development.

While many discussions are now taking place on trade and climate change at the WTO and in a range of other international settings, most are dominated by concerns, policies, and proposals from more advanced economies. In an effort to spur a more inclusive dialogue, the series supports the bottom-up identification and formulation of developing country perspectives and priorities on trade and climate change adaptation and mitigation including how to advance them at the regional and multilateral levels.

This paper is co-published with CUTS International Geneva.

You can download a presentation by Alice Pham at a regional consultation on this topic hosted by TESS and CUTS International Geneva. A video of a working session on regional perspectives on trade and climate change co-hosted by TESS and regional partners at the 2022 WTO Public Forum is also available.

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