Southeast Asia is globally considered one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. Countries across the region will face rising sea levels, heat waves, floods and droughts, and increasingly intense and unpredictable weather events. The USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA) addresses transboundary development challenges—like climate change—by fostering regional cooperation to build resilience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Guided by USAID/RDMA’s Regional Development Cooperation Strategy (2020-2025) and the USAID Climate Strategy (2022-2030), USAID/RDMA’s environment portfolio employs a data-driven, targeted, and systems-based approach to accelerate climate action across Southeast Asia.
REDUCE, AVOID, OR SEQUESTER GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Together with the private sector and regional institutions, USAID helps Southeast Asian nations to decarbonize and strengthen the region’s power system by increasing regional energy trade and accelerating the deployment of clean energy technologies. The USAID Southeast Asia’s Smart Power Program supports the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s regional goal of reaching 23 percent of renewable energy by 2025 and will be a significant contributor to the USAID’s global emissions targets. USAID/RDMA’s efforts will contribute to the deployment of 2,000 Megawatts of advanced energy systems, and a 5 percent increase in regional energy trade. USAID/RDMA is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories under the Advanced Energy Partnership for Asia to leverage U.S. expertise and provide technical leadership that increases the adoption of best practices and deploys advanced energy systems at speed and scale.
IMPROVE CLIMATE RESILIENCE
USAID supports regional efforts to prepare for climate change and manage its impacts by improving the availability, quality, and use of weather and climate information for decision makers. SERVIR-Mekong, a partnership between USAID and NASA, works with regional institutions to co-develop demand-driven tools and services to help the region better prepare for disasters, improve early warning systems, reduce emissions, and improve air quality. SERVIR-Mekong is a critical tool in meeting the USAID’s target to strengthen the climate resilience of 500 million people by 2030.
USAID assists regional institutions to increase the resilience of key infrastructure, including in the energy and transportation sectors. The USAID and Australia Mekong Safeguards program promotes the application of stronger environmental and social governance standards for infrastructure development to scale up and increase investments in more sustainable and climate smart infrastructure.
MOBILIZE FINANCE FOR CLIMATE ACTION
USAID/RDMA’s energy portfolio targets the mobilization of $2 billion in blended financing for clean energy infrastructure. In order to address unsustainable agriculture and land use, which are leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions in Southeast Asia, USAID Green Invest Asia mobilizes private finance from companies and financial institutions operating across the region to support more sustainable, low-carbon land uses in the agriculture and forestry sectors. USAID/RDMA’s projects contribute significantly to USAID’s goal of mobilizing $150 billion in climate finance by 2030.
INCREASE EQUITABLE ENGAGEMENT
In Southeast Asia, climate change will disproportionately impact already marginalized and underrepresented communities. Strengthening the resilience of these populations is integral to USAID’s regional strategy. USAID Mekong for the Future works to enhance regional civil society coordination across the Mekong region to engage meaningfully in policy development, oversight, and advocacy. USAID Enhancing Equality in Energy for Southeast Asia aims to improve gender equality in the energy sector to advance women’s economic empowerment and strengthen energy institutions.