Transboundary Cooperation Vital to Address Climate Change Impacts in Asia

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transboundary adaptation planning and cooperation asia

There is a need for transboundary cooperation when dealing with climate change impacts because the impacts of climate change can sweep across regions, irrespective of national boundaries.

Also, the fact that Asia as a continent is transboundary in nature, sharing the benefits from their natural resources, ecosystems, economic and social trades, human movement and migration.

Teleconnection is mentioned in the paper as a factor or phenomenon that is shared between regions.

It is defined by a study, as referring to climate variability links between non-contiguous geographic regions (Science direct, 2015).

Another scientific site describes it as ‘changes in the atmosphere in one place can affect the weather over 1000 miles away’. One example of this is the El Nino phenomenon (Scied. UCAR, 2008).

The paper entitled, Transboundary Impacts of Climate Change in Asia: Making a Case for Regional Adaptation Planning and Cooperation, examines the transboundary nature of Asia and the impacts of climate change.

The paper discussed the following points:

  • Climate change impacts across borders: biophysical, such as transboundary rivers, water bodies, glaciers, wetlands, forests and migratory species; trade; people; and finance.
  • Alteration of temperature, air currents, ocean systems, and hydrological flows that can cause large-scale disaster events across the regions.
  • Climate change impacts on teleconnection which can result in serious climate threats if it not understood and addressed efficiently by individual countries.
  • There is insufficient knowledge of climate impacts on transboundary natural resources and teleconnection.
  • The National Adaptation Planning (NAP’s) processes of each country are unaware of climate change impacts on sub-regional and regional teleconnections means insufficiency of adaptation measures.
  • There are serious gaps in the governance of common resources; lack of estimates on the extent that countries are benefitting from these common resources.

The paper also discussed the Benefits of Transboundary cooperation in dealing with climate change:

  • Opportunities to pool expertise, knowledge, experiences. Countries benefit from resource-sharing and more defined collaboration framework from countries facing similar challenges.
  • Minimizing trade-offs from individual countries efforts deal with climate change
  • Pool financial and technical resources
  • Access to international funding and technical resources in a more coordinated manner
  • Complement the Paris agreement through a joint regional stocktaking process.

Challenges to transboundary cooperation among Asian countries

The following are the challenges that were discussed in the paper:

  • No formal agreements of mechanisms for regional collaboration for climate change adaptation although the need is getting stronger.
  • Differences in national priorities and geopolitical interests in the region.
  • Climate change needs to be addressed as a regional issue while national adaptation planning (NAP) are still in a transitionary stage

Some positive developments in Asia’s transboundary cooperation

Despite the challenges, there are positive developments that are going on that foster transboundary cooperation in Asia.

For instance, a bilateral agreement on water resources problems exists between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Pakistan, and Nepal. Also, the need for coordinated risk management between China, Nepal, and India has been recognized.

Regional organisations like the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) have identified six transboundary landscapes that border the Himalayan ranges stretching as far as the northern border of Afghanistan, Pakistan India, Nepal, to Bhutan and Bangladesh. This program aims at enhancing the socio-ecological resilience to environmental change that encompasses these regions.

What are the gaps that need to be addressed?

In order to strengthen existing and emerging transboundary agreements between Asia, the paper has identified some gaps that need to be addressed.

  • A need for transboundary cooperation in the Himalayan region particularly the sharing of scientific knowledge, information and technology.
  • The changing topology of extreme events that are increasingly happening across borders and disasters especially with happening upstream and downstream directions, has to be addressed.
  • Long-term issues with resources that are ‘shifting’ or becoming unstable like water, agriculture, and biodiversity.  A transfer of technologies and innovations to improve with managing resources like water and climate-resistant is an option.
  • Social concerns like the migration of people affected by climate change and are looking for opportunities in another region.
  • A regional conflict mechanism to avoid possible conflicts over land and resources when it happens.

Climate change actions and reflections

Climate change is a global phenomenon that affects everyone. The most vulnerable are those countries or areas that are more exposed to the impacts of sea-level rise such as those living along the coasts, delta regions, low-lying regions. Also, the poor countries and have inadequate mitigation and adaptation measures are going to suffer.

The Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019 has identified the Asia-Pacific region as facing a daunting spectrum of natural hazards and disasters both the rapid and the slow-onset of climate change consequences.

A call for urgent action to prepare and mitigate climate change has never been prevalent and enthusiastic from environmentalists and global leaders alike.

International funding institutions are stepping up to meet the challenge as well, extending funding and support to the most vulnerable countries to climate change.

These ongoing developments can really compliment the transboundary cooperation in Asia and can promote unity among the regions facing a common challenge and threats.  

The entire report can be read by clicking on the image below:

impacts of climate change in asia


Nigam, S. & Baxter, S. (2015). General Circulation of the Atmosphere [Synopsis]. In Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences. Retrieved from
Prabhakar, S.V.R.K., B.R. Shivakoti and A.F. Corral. (2018, October). Transboundary Impacts of Climate Change in Asia: Making a Case for Regional Adaptation Planning and Cooperation. IGES Discussion Paper. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and Global Development Network: Hayama, Japan. Retrieved from
Teleconnections:Changes in Weather Linked Together (2008). Retrieved from

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Image by Quang Nguyen vinh from Pixabay

By Koyos + Ssolbergj (talk) – National Geographic. Map by The map has been created with the Generic Mapping Tools: using one or more of these public-domain datasets for the relief:ETOPO2 (topography/bathymetry): (topography): (topography):বাংলা | English | Français | Italiano | 日本語 | Македонски | +/−Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License., CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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