San Francisco, United States – The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, kicking off the 2023 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, has brought together diverse voices to underscore the crucial need for community participation in addressing climate challenges.
Empowering Vulnerable Communities: Experts and officials at the APEC Multistakeholder Forum highlighted the disproportionate impact of industrial pollution and climate change on vulnerable communities worldwide. The call for better representation in climate policy discussions and decision-making processes echoed throughout the discussions.
Groundbreaking Dialogue: This year’s APEC Multistakeholder Forum marked a groundbreaking initiative, organizing a diverse, multistakeholder dialogue for the first time during the APEC week. The focus was on addressing the local impacts of climate change and ensuring a just transition for the region’s diverse communities.
Inclusive Participation: Over 150 representatives from sustainable businesses, private organizations, including charities and indigenous groups, as well as young people’s and women’s groups from APEC economies, participated in the forum. Key topics included community-level actions, experiences of indigenous people in the transition, voices of youth, public-private partnerships, and innovative low-carbon solutions.
US APEC Priority: Organized with the support of the US Department of State and the APEC Secretariat, the forum aimed to highlight community-level interventions considering the needs of vulnerable communities during the global shift toward net-zero economies. Enabling a transition to low-carbon economies in the region is a key priority for the US APEC.
Promoting Inclusion: Rebecca Sta Maria, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, emphasized the importance of dialogues like this in providing a platform for stakeholders to discuss inclusion, specifically for underrepresented groups affected by the energy crisis and technological and climate change readiness.
Challenges and Solutions: The forum addressed the challenges APEC economies face in decarbonizing supply chains, energy supplies, and transportation systems. Speakers stressed the imperative to address the local impact of this transition on diverse communities from a grassroots perspective.
Global Responsibility: California Attorney General Rob Bonta highlighted the need to support overburdened and under-resourced vulnerable communities, emphasizing the intersection of poverty and pollution. He stressed the importance of a just and equitable transition toward a greener future that includes all communities and workers.
Inequities in Climate Impact: Ambassador Matt Murray, US’ senior official for APEC, acknowledged that climate change does not affect all communities equally. He emphasized the responsibility to actively engage with diverse voices in climate discussions to find effective solutions for adaptation and mitigation.
Common Home and Collective Action: Gloria Duffy, co-president and CEO of the Commonwealth Club of California, emphasized the Pacific basin as “our common home.” She underscored the necessity of working together throughout the region for a zero-carbon future, tying trade, identity, movement of people, security, and the challenges of climate change together.