The following events were covered by IISD Reporting Services on Tuesday, 4 December 2018:
Photos by IISD/ENB | Natalia Mroz / Diego Noguera
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Shocks and Stressors: Water’s Essential Role in Addressing Climate Change and Disaster Risk
Presented by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the World Water Council
This event focused on water as a mechanism for finding common ground within the disaster risk reduction (DRR) community. Moderated by John Matthews, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), it demonstrated how water can be a catalyst for action to confront new threats and existing long-term risks stemming from climate change.
Cees van de Guchte, Deltares, highlighted the need for improving coherence between climate change adaptation and water-related DRR, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He called for enhanced participation of DRR communities in climate processes.
Outlining UNESCO’s Global Risk Landscape Report 2018, Anil Mishra, UNESCO, emphasized the importance of increasing the understanding of the finance community on this topic and addressing trade-offs while enhancing synergies between climate mitigation options and the SDGs. He highlighted his work on identifying the needs and risks of local communities, including monitoring floods and droughts, through a participatory approach.
Kenzo Hiroki, UN High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters, highlighted that 95% of natural disasters are water related and that their impacts are felt disproportionately by low-income groups. He explained that while heavy rain often appears to be a local phenomenon, it is tied to global meteorological changes. He also suggested that DRR, water management and climate adaptation should not be treated as separate.
Karounga Keita, Wetlands International, noted that the flood area of the Inner Niger Delta has decreased dramatically and, that concurrently, there has been steep growth in the population that depend on it for their livelihoods. He explained that this has led to increased water stress, with the region becoming the “epicentre of conflicts” in the region.
Kevin Adams, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), stressed the evolving linkages between climate change adaptation and DRR, highlighting the work of the European Platform on Climate Adaptation and Risk Reduction (PLACARD), the Stockholm Climate and Security Hub, and the SEI Initiative on Transforming Development and Disaster Risk. He emphasized that water is the key mechanism to integrate the DRR agenda into the climate agenda.
Pasquale Capizzi, Arup, outlined the importance of: reconciling shocks and stressors through improving understanding and communication; and engineering decision making and institutional settings by improving coherence between DRR, climate change and sectoral policies.
During the discussion, participants reflected on the importance of considering the social and environmental costs of hydroelectric dams, and how pricing mechanisms may disadvantage the poor. Oclay Ünver, UN Water, provided closing remarks, emphasizing the need to think holistically, as neither the costs nor effects of water disasters are siloed.
Ingrid Timboe (AGWA) | [email protected]
Island Resilience Initiative (IRI)
Presented by Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF)
This event, moderated by Mark Borg, Team Leader, PIDF, considered the work of the Global Island Partnership’s (GLISPA) Island Resilience Initiative (IRI).
In her video message, Kate Brown, Executive Director, GLISPA, highlighted that the President of Palau launched the IRI, with Fiji and the Marshall Islands, to strengthen implementation of community-based adaptation efforts, which align with nationally-led sustainability commitments by building public-private partnerships. She drew attention to the importance of the public-private partnership to support and track resilience and sustainability goals through enhancing resilience projects to implement the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the New Urban Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy, IRI, spoke about the work of the Initiative so far, noting, in particular, funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme. He stressed that the IRI has created a definition of island resilience which includes traditional knowledge and multisectoral efforts, and noted that the IRI distills the big goals on the global agenda into six pillars to promote resilience: community, environment, energy, equity, food and water.
Underlining the importance of enhancing resilience at the community level, François Martel, Secretary General, PIDF, described PIDF’s multi-stakeholder board and regional strategic plan, which aims to deliver community-based programmes through an online dashboard, linking the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate action into a single focus. He also spoke on the Island Resilience Partnership, a USD 100 million investment, which he described as a public-private partnership designed to support island communities to move towards renewable energy solutions.
Arno Boersma, Aruba Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development, spoke on the Centre’s Partnership with the IRI, noting that the Centre tries to help island nations to harness best practices from other programmes so as not to reinvent the wheel. He highlighted a number of the events the Centre has run to promote best practice in creating resilience, including on financing the resilience of island states and on promoting energy strategies for resilience.
In the ensuing discussion, participants considered, inter alia: climate mitigation in SIDS; the Pacific Climate Treaty which focuses on mitigation, and loss and damage; the importance of promoting and implementing sustainable, circular economy solutions; how to communicate the impact of the IRI; and the importance of country ownership of the IRI to promote sustainability.
Mark Borg, PIDF | [email protected]
From Science to Policy: Achieving the SDGs in a 1.5°C Warmer World
Presented by Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), the German Committee Future Earth, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)
The event focused on the impacts of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and the avoided risks on ecosystems and human wellbeing compared to a 2°C scenario. The discussions highlighted cooperative actions required to communicate, mitigate, adapt and reduce risks, and how to finance climate resilient development. Panelists also addressed the outcomes of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC (SR15) and the upcoming UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), set to be released in 2019.
Ione Anderson, IAI, introduced the event, announcing that her organization is launching a communication competition to raise awareness on the SR15 and GSDR. Bettina Schmalzbauer, German Committee Future Earth Executive Director, moderated the event.
Luis Alfonso de Alba, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2019 Climate Summit, said the Summit will elevate climate change to the highest level on the environment agenda, and will allow for accelerated climate action required to mitigate climate-related disasters.
Thelma Krug, IPCC Vice-Chair, discussed the linkages between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement, drawing from the SR15. She cited a chapter addressing sustainable development, poverty eradication and the reduction of inequalities, and emphasized that, if unchecked, current climate trajectories will increase the likelihood of not achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, GSDR, emphasized the linkages between climate action and sustainable development, saying the development models in the next decade will influence the way climate will evolve. He pointed to synergies in energy efficiency in the building sector that offer reduction of energy bills and pollution, and enhance human wellbeing.
Daniela Jacob, IPCC, said the last five decades have seen the intensification of climate change impacts, observed through intensified extreme event,s such as floods and droughts. She said that in a 2ºC scenario, losses would be observed in all sectors, including the loss of agricultural land caused by salt intrusion due to sea-level rise.
Douglas Leys, Green Climate Fund (GCF), said his institution has observed that transformative adaptation can be achieved. The Fund, he said, can help achieve 1.5°C goals by supporting country-driven paradigm shifts towards low emission and climate-resilient development pathways.
Science and Policy Must Come Together to Successfully Implement Countries’ NDCs
Presented by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Cornell University, and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
This event explored the implementation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in the agriculture sector across scales, and posed questions about how agriculture and climate researchers can most effectively interact with policymakers.
Timothy Thomas, IFPRI, presented the results of a seven-year study on the impacts of climate change on agriculture in Central America. He called attention to the negative impacts of climate change on crop production, stressing that impacts are not evenly distributed across regions, and that NDCs must therefore mirror the diversity of effects.
Angelina Espinosa, Ministry of Agriculture, Chile, presented Chile’s NDCs on agricultural mitigation and adaptation. Stressing that, while actions are important, impact measurement and monitoring are key to generating resilience in agriculture. She cited Chile’s National Adaptation Plan, which is structured such that future resilience policy is iteratively informed by monitoring results.
Carolina Balian, Ministry of Agriculture, Uruguay, highlighted her country’s livestock sector as both vulnerable to climate change and an important area for emission reductions. She noted that Uruguay is developing a sectoral adaptation plan for agriculture. Raising the persistent challenge of obtaining high-quality activity data, she nevertheless emphasized that mitigation, adaptation and agricultural productivity can be synergetic.
Diana Harutyunyan, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Armenia, presented water management in Armenia as an example of the drivers of “evident and very hurtful” agricultural losses. Supporting proactive rather than reactive support schemes, she drew close links between food security and national security, and noted the important role of extension services in connecting policy and practitioners.
Catherine Mungai, CCAFS, described her organization’s Policy Action for Climate Change Adaptation in East Africa (PACCA) project, which includes non-state actors and smaller-scale parties in discussions around climate change and agriculture. She also cited CCAFS’ Climate Smart Villages programme, which allows policymakers to observe climate-smart agricultural practices in action.
Allison Chatrchyan, Cornell University, addressed the challenge of scaling up climate-smart agriculture when disparity exists between locally-specific adaptation requirements and global mitigation policies. She called for more policy support from research institutions, underlining that the challenge was not in developing support mechanisms, but in implementing them, adding that “we know what we need to do.”
In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed, among others: financial instruments necessary for agricultural adaptation and resilience; the importance of support for and by research institutes in incorporating adaptation in NDCs; acknowledging the vulnerability of smallholder farmers, and the necessity of including them in decision-making processes; and the challenges of communicating science to agriculture policymakers.
Making Climate Action More Transparent and Ambitious: Lessons Learned From the NDCs
Presented by the German Development Institute (DIE)
This event was grounded in the notion that current nationally determined contributions (NDCs) lack sufficient ambition and clarity for achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Moderated by Arunabha Ghosh, CEEW, the panelists shared preliminary findings for a special issue of Climate Policy, which aim to help improve future NDCs.
Pieter Pauw, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, stressed the importance of climate finance and support, noting that 134 NDCs are conditional upon receiving additional finance. He highlighted that the estimated cost of implementing existing NDCs exceeds the USD 100 billion per year of climate finance that has been pledged for 2020-2030.
Angel Hsu, Yale University, articulated the importance of non-state actors to climate mitigation, pointing to research suggesting they can plug much of the ‘emissions gap’ between NDCs and pathways that will limit warming to 1.5 or 2ºC. She also noted that while few Annex 1 countries mention non-state actors in their NDCs, most non-Annex 1 countries do, especially in reference to adaptation. Making this reference, she suggested, is key to facilitating the link between state and non-state actors.
Niklas Höhne, NewClimate Institute, shared research on lessons learned from the process of NDC preparation, saying that it has kick-started national mitigation policy processes. He also argued that political momentum for NDC development must be maintained, and highlighted translating high-level considerations to the sectoral level as the key challenge for creating the next NDCs.
Saleemul Huq, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), pointed out that while including adaptation in NDCs was optional, most countries did. He argued that the ability to adapt is not necessarily tied to wealth and that rich communities and countries have much to learn from the poor, who are often forced to develop adaptive capacity due to having faced climate impacts with more regularity.
Clara Brandi, DIE, presented on the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and NDCs, highlighting many overlaps between the two, while also drawing attention to room for improved policy coherence. Future NDCs, she suggested, could become more ambitious by taking into account national sustainable development strategies.
In the discussion, participants considered the NDC financing gap, noting that while it may appear huge, there are reasons to believe it may decrease due to technology development. They also noted that the ‘global goal’ for adaptation has yet to be defined and that this should be a priority for adaptation researchers. Participants also raised the point that in examining NDCs, we should not lose sight of actual national climate policies, which are ultimately more important.
Community Based Adaptation in Islands: Recycling Plastic to Mitigate Climate Change
Presented by Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Environmental Quality Protection Foundation (EQPF) and theTaiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE)
This event highlighted the vulnerability of island coastal areas and ecosystems to climate change, and examined island partnership schemes that build ecosystem resilience through a community awareness and livelihood sustainability-recycling programme.
Cheryl Jeffers, Department of Environment, Saint Kitts and Nevis, moderated this event. She reported that plastic waste management is an emerging problem for her country, due to the high dependence on single-use plastic bags and bottles. She welcomed the support and collaboration provided to her country for recycling plastics.
Tao-Sheng Lee, EQPF, shared experiences from the Taiwan Forestry Bureau in the rehabilitation and management of forests, which account for 60.7% of the country’s landmass. He said sustainable management of forests in collaboration with communities in Taiwan has ensured integrity of forest ecosystems, while preserving the rights of indigenous peoples.
I-Chan Cheng, EQPF, noted the Foundation’s efforts to provide innovative education to schoolchildren on environmental issues and said that the focus on climate education came as a result of responding to Article 12 of the Paris Agreement. He stressed that they are trying to combine children’s rights and environmental sustainability using principles from the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). He noted that children are encouraged to share their opinion and get more involved in environmental education and urged more educators to join this endeavor. He also said that the CRC could link the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) together.
Alex Shyy, International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), said that ICDF has 84 ongoing projects in 38 countries and is cooperating with various partners. He stressed the difference between small island developing states (SIDS) and non-SIDS regarding production losses from natural disasters, with the Caribbean ranking third. He presented two case studies in Saint Kitts and Nevis, describing how Taiwanese meteorologists and agriculture specialists helped to enhance the country's capacity in adapting to climate change.
Yuh-Ming Lee, Center for Corporate Sustainability, TAISE, outlined Taiwan’s low-technology adaptation measures to respond to floods, including through improvement of evacuation routes and early warning system, and to overcome overheating through cooling and preserving vegetation. He said that Taiwan’s “Four-in-One Recycling Programme” has contributed to hazard mitigation and climate change adaptation, involving government, manufacturers, consumers and licensed recycling enterprises.
In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed the role of the private sector in Taiwan’s experience and opportunities for South-South cooperation.