Vol. 12 No. 340
ON ADAPTATION PLANNING AND PRACTICES UNDER THE NAIROBI WORK
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Workshop on Adaptation Planning and Practices under the Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change (NWP) was held from 10-12 September 2007, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. The workshop focused on adaptation planning and practices, one of the nine areas of work under the NWP. Approximately 150 participants were in attendance, representing governments, UN agencies and constituted bodies, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and those contributing as experts. The workshop aimed to identify action pledges from organizations to fill capacity gaps and address challenges in adaptation planning and practice. The workshop concluded with a number of recommendations for adaptation planning and practices, and action pledges from several organizations. The report of the workshop will be forwarded to SBSTA 28, scheduled for June 2008.
Adaptation planning and practices are important for governments, regional authorities and communities who must plan and decide on how best to reduce their vulnerability to climate change, and how adaptation can be implemented in the most effective manner. The objectives of this area of work under the NWP are to collect, analyze and disseminate information on past and current practical adaptation actions and measures, including projects, short- and long-term strategies, and local and indigenous knowledge, and to facilitate communication and cooperation among and between parties and relevant organizations, business, civil society, decision makers and other stakeholders. This can be done through: exchanging information on experiences, lessons learned, constraints and barriers; promoting different ways and means for information sharing and for the enhancement of cooperation among parties and relevant sectors, institutions and communities; promoting understanding of response strategies, including early warning systems and local coping strategies; and assessing ways and means to support adaptation.
Ongoing activities under this area of work include workshops, mandated submissions, action pledges, dissemination of good practices, and identification of activities that will help fill knowledge gaps.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE UNDER THE UNFCCC
Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious threats to current and future sustainable development, with adverse impacts already observed on the environment, human health, food security, economic activity, natural resources and physical infrastructure. The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992 focusing on controlling and responding to the changes in climate. Thus, the UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. Along with mitigation of greenhouse gases, the UNFCCC also supports countries’ efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change, through capacity building, technology transfer and funding to support adaptation assessments and projects. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, and now has 191 parties, who convene annually in a Conference of the Parties (COP), and twice a year in meetings of the subsidiary bodies – the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). COP 13 will be held in Bali, Indonesia, from 3-14 December 2007.
MITIGATION: In December 1997, delegates at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC that commits developed countries and countries making the transition to a market economy to achieve quantified reduction targets for their greenhouse gas emissions. These countries, known under the UNFCCC as Annex I parties, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Protocol also establishes three flexible mechanisms to assist Annex I parties in meeting their national targets: an emissions trading system; joint implementation of emissions-reduction projects between Annex I parties; and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which allows for projects to be implemented in non-Annex I parties. To date, there are 175 parties to the Kyoto Protocol, including 37 Annex I parties representing 61.6% of 1990 Annex I greenhouse gas emissions. The Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. The third Meeting of the Parties will be held in conjunction with COP 13.
ADAPTATION: Unlike mitigation of greenhouse gases, adaptation to the impacts of climate change is a cross-cutting theme under the UNFCCC. In particular, Convention Article 4.1 states that parties shall “formulate, implement, publish and regularly update national and, where appropriate, regional programmes containing measures to…facilitate adequate adaptation to climate change,” and “cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change.” Convention Article 4.4 states that developed country parties shall “assist the developing country parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting the costs of adaptation to those adverse effects.” One of the most significant articles for adaptation is Convention Article 4.8, which says that "parties shall give full consideration to what actions are necessary under the Convention...to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing country parties arising from the adverse effects of climate change." Negotiations under this article laid the groundwork for discussions on adaptation in the UNFCCC. While COP 1 in 1995 addressed funding for adaptation (decision 11/CP.1), it was not until the adoption of the Marrakesh Accords in 2001 that adaptation became a prominent area for action, as set out in decision 5/CP.7 (adverse effects of climate change).
Following consideration of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), parties initiated a discussion on adaptation at COP 9 in December 2003. At that time, the COP requested the SBSTA to work on scientific, technical and socioeconomic aspects of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change (decision 10/CP.9).
Parties reached a milestone in 2004 at COP 10 with decision 1/CP.10, known as the Buenos Aires Programme of Work on Adaptation and Response Measures. The programme of work was later elaborated on at a workshop in Bonn in October 2005. COP 10 set up two complimentary tracks for adaptation: the development of a structured five-year programme of work on the scientific, technical and socioeconomic aspects of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change under SBSTA, which was adopted at COP 11 (decision 2/CP.11); and the improvement of information and methodologies, implementation of concrete adaptation activities, technology transfer and capacity building under the SBI. As part of the latter, the COP requested three regional workshops and one expert meeting for small island developing states (SIDS) to facilitate information exchange and integrated assessments to assist in identifying specific adaptation needs and concerns, all of which have been held.
NAIROBI WORK PROGRAMME: In November 2006, COP 12 renamed the SBSTA five-year work programme the Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change (NWP). The work programme aims to assist countries, in particular developing countries, including the least developed countries (LDCs) and SIDS, to improve their understanding and assessment of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and assist countries in making informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures to respond to climate change on a sound, scientific, technical and socioeconomic basis, taking into account current and future climate change and variability. To achieve these aims, the NWP has nine areas of work: methods and tools; data and observations; climate modeling, scenarios and downscaling; climate-related risks and extreme events; socioeconomic information; adaptation planning and practices; research; technologies for adaptation; and economic diversification.
The expected outcomes of the NWP are:
The workshop on adaptation planning and practices is the second event focused on the nine areas of work. A workshop on climate-related risks and extreme events was held on 18-20 June 2007 in Cairo, Egypt. Other planned events include an expert meeting on methods and tools, to be held in parallel with a meeting on data and observations, and a meeting on socioeconomic information. An in-session workshop on climate modeling, scenarios and downscaling will be held at SBSTA 28 (June 2008). In addition, synthesis reports are being prepared on research, technology for adaptation, and economic diversification.
SBSTA 28 is expected to consider further activities, as well as appropriate timing and modalities for their inclusion in the programme of work based on the results of the initial activities, information presented in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, and other new scientific information, as well as relevant activities from international and regional institutions. SBSTA will review and report on the programme of work to COP 16 in December 2010.
SBSTA Chair Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago) opened the workshop on Monday, 10 September 2007. Welcoming participants, Kumarsingh noted that the NWP defines the regional needs and priorities for adaptation activities under consideration by the UNFCCC. He highlighted climate change risks facing developing countries and the importance of assisting the NWP in information dissemination and the promotion of monitoring and technical practices for adaptation activities.
Roberto Acosta, Coordinator of the Adaptation, Technology and Science Programme, UNFCCC Secretariat, observed that adaptation has become increasingly important. He stressed the significance of the NWP workshops for enabling developing countries to make more informed decisions.
Alexander Müller, Natural Resources Management and Environment Department, FAO, highlighted climate change links with agriculture, forestry and fisheries. He emphasized that agriculture contributes to climate change through land-use change, deforestation, livestock production and greenhouse gas emissions. He observed, however, that appropriate natural resource management practices and biofuels used under certain conditions can enhance mitigation. Turning to food security, he pointed out that climate change impacts will shift regional focus to sub-Saharan Africa, in the context of food availability, access, stability and utilization. Müller emphasized the need to “climate proof” development strategies and for adaptation efforts to focus on education, good governance, human resource development, institutional capacity building, better resource management, and the transfer of appropriate technologies.
During the three-day workshop, participants met in three plenary sessions and two sets of four break-out groups, which focused on adaptation planning and practices in different sectors and contribution of traditional knowledge, and adaptation planning and practices across different levels and sectors. Each set of break-out groups reported back to plenary on their deliberations and recommendations. On Wednesday afternoon, participants met in plenary in a roundtable session, during which organizations made pledges of actions to support the implementation of the NWP.
To prepare for the workshop, SBSTA invited parties and relevant organizations to provide structured submissions on adaptation approaches, strategies, practices and technologies for adaptation at the regional, national and local levels in different sectors, as well as on experiences, needs and concerns. Throughout the three days, the UNFCCC Secretariat requested participants to fill out questionnaires on key actions that have the greatest potential to help parties adapt to climate change, which will be compiled by the Secretariat.
Roberto Acosta said the IPCC assessment reports have been important for raising the profile of adaptation by describing future climate change impacts. He described the institutional framework under the UNFCCC to support adaptation, including funds and Convention expert groups, including the LDC Expert Group (LEG), the Consultative Group of Experts on non-Annex I national communications (CGE) and the Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT). Acosta noted that parties have agreed that adaptation is one of the key building blocks for post-2012 arrangements under the UNFCCC, as evidenced by the outcomes of the Vienna Climate Change Talks from 27-31 August 2007. He said the NWP can provide the necessary scientific basis to support increased efforts on adaptation.
Olga Pilifosova, UNFCCC Secretariat, gave a brief overview of the NWP. She explained the importance of such high-profile workshops, highlighting that the outcomes are intended to identify adaptation activities and gaps and catalyze actions. She pointed to inputs for the workshop, including: submissions from parties and organizations; outputs from UN constituted bodies; outputs from activities in other NWP focus areas; and information on other UNFCCC adaptation activities.
María Gutiérrez, UNFCCC Secretariat, outlined submissions on adaptation planning and practices, noting that they mostly reflect that activities are in the early stages of implementation. Gutíerrez said approximately half the submissions identify national adaptation plans or frameworks, mainly focused on flood and drought management. She observed that needs and concerns are relatively consistent among different actors, including capacity-building and budget needs, encouraging political buy-in, engaging stakeholders, coordination, spatial and temporal scaling issues, and lack of flexibility in available funds.
Annett Möhner, UNFCCC Secretariat, described relevant activities and outputs of the LEG, CGE, and EGTT. She pointed to the LEG database on local coping strategies and the EGTT practitioners’ guide on preparing technology projects for financing. She said the groups have identified two categories of barriers: financial constraints; and lack of scientific and technical capacities.
Jeff Tschirley, FAO, discussed building on past lessons and experiences, filling gaps and overcoming constraints, and exploiting opportunities for action. He stressed the need to act holistically across key sectors and for economic diversification. Regarding climate change’s implications for agriculture, he said global agricultural production is likely to increase, but not in the most vulnerable areas, and emphasized the importance of improved water storage and more efficient water use. He stressed developing flexible national adaptation plans as different responses may be required over time. Regarding food security, he said supply, access, availability and quality must be sustained in the context of climate change. He stressed linking adaptation actions to mitigation, disaster risk reduction, emergency responses and development assistance initiatives. Regarding gaps and constraints, he mentioned lack of experience in successfully integrating adaptation and mitigation.
Regarding opportunities for action, Tschirley stressed linking adaptation and policy frameworks, identifying vulnerable populations and ecosystems, maintaining the viability of economically important activities, transboundary collaborative mechanisms, and bioenergy. He urged merging policy and regulatory frameworks with activities at the local level. In conclusion, he said adaptation has its place within a post-2012 agreement, noting that the NWP is not the only approach to adaptation, but rather an intermediate step.
Four sectoral break-out groups were held under this session, on: agriculture and food security; water resources; coastal zones (settlements, ecosystems and infrastructure); and health. In plenary on Monday afternoon, break-out group facilitators briefly highlighted key questions and issues for discussion in their respective groups. Participants then broke into the four groups that met through Tuesday morning. Discussions were structured around stocktaking, barriers and constraints, and possible further actions with respect to adaptation planning and practices in the sectors. On Tuesday afternoon, facilitators presented discussion outcomes and recommendations to plenary. The discussions, outcomes and recommendations are summarized below.
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY: This group was facilitated by Habiba Gitay, World Bank Institute, and Ian Burton, independent consultant. Participants addressed the prevailing situation in the context of adaptation and shared lessons learned and country experiences. They discussed the inadequacy of rural agricultural extension services and the lack of respect for local knowledge, linked with a typical top-down approach. One participant informed that India has implemented policies that reduce risks and enhance adaptive capacity, as well as implementing a food distribution strategy, which entails maintaining a buffer stock of crops to be distributed during droughts and floods. Another participant described a district in Kenya where climate data is downscaled to provide information for timing fertilization and watering. Participants also discussed educating farmers to use climate information to design coping strategies and the possible conflict between indigenous knowledge and scientific climate information. The issue of deteriorating meteorological data, particularly in developing countries, was also raised.
On barriers and constraints, participants stressed the absence of dialogue between government officials and local communities, where local information is gathered for national purposes, but is not necessarily fed back to local communities. Participants also identified: the difficulty in changing entrenched agricultural practices; knowledge of adaptation at the local level being contingent on understanding the science of climate change, especially for extension services and farmer organizations; the interface between pastoralists and sedentary farmers in the context of land-use change; and adapting agribusiness to climate change.
Four subgroups then discussed: developing functional institutions; national strategies for mitigation and adaptation; creating an alternative agricultural paradigm; and developing relevant expertise to meet the adaptation challenge. On functional institutions, the group identified the need for an appropriate legal framework, continuous empowerment at various levels, public-private partnerships and building capacity for cross-sectoral communication and information sharing. The group also suggested: raising awareness at various levels; an institutional framework, which incorporates both a top-down and bottom-up approach; and implementation of strategies and programmes concerning scientific and research programmes on adaptation. Participants identified ensuring the commitment of key stakeholders as a major challenge in relation to incorporating climate change into a relevant policy framework in the areas of energy, agriculture and food security. The possibility of using a cost-benefit analysis was also mooted as a buy-in strategy.
On the issue of rethinking the current agricultural model, the group reported that the current agricultural system undervalues local knowledge of biodiversity and decreases the resilience of smallholder farmers. Payment for ecosystem services was raised and the relevance of traditional knowledge affirmed. The characteristics of a new paradigm include: shifting local and regional food systems to use the most appropriate knowledge; engaging with big business and other stakeholders; and moving from a current emphasis on short-term profits to long-term benefits. On modalities for building capacity, the group suggested that farmers would benefit from technical capacity development to enable them to shift to more appropriate farming methods. The group emphasized that organizations that support farmers also need to understand the science of climate change.
Participants also discussed overcoming behavioral inertia and resistance to adopting climate change knowledge for adaptation, and urban and peri-urban agricultural challenges. On influencing behavioral change at the individual and institutional levels, the group identified the need for visionary people or “champions” to spread the message on adaptation for agriculture and the necessity of incorporating climate change into development plans. Regarding food security, participants stressed the importance of appropriate knowledge for resilient rural agriculture, to avoid mass-migration to cities. Other issues addressed included: threats posed to farmers due to urban expansion; land-use conflicts; participatory land-use planning; increasing the diversification of livelihoods; and increasing off-farm activities.
Addressing specific actions and expected outcomes, participants identified a wide range of recommendations, including providing microcredit and crop insurance to overcome adaptation resource constraints, and improving access to, and utilization of climate data. Other strategies mentioned included:
WATER RESOURCES: This group was facilitated by Taule’ale’ausumai La’avasa Malua, Isikuki Punivalu and Associates, Samoa, and Khaled Abuzeid, Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE). Participants broke into four subgroups, focusing on water-supply protection, water harvesting, watershed management, and salinization.
Regarding water-supply protection, participants identified efficiency and equity as cross-cutting themes in the context of water availability, accessibility, scarcity and quality. Participants identified challenges, including information gaps, downscaling difficulties, and limits to monitoring all aspects of the water cycle. Attitudinal constraints were also acknowledged, including perceptions of water as free and infinite, and lack of recognition that “one person’s wastewater is another person’s resource.” On possible further actions, participants pointed to the importance of communication through different media outlets. They recommended, inter alia:
On water harvesting, participants considered “for whom” and “for what purpose.” They noted that water harvesting is taking the flow of water and turning it into a stock of water for a specific purpose, but cautioned that doing so could mean giving water to one group at the expense of another, including the environment, which can be maladaptive. Conversely, they noted that water harvesting can be a legitimate and useful component of adaptation. Successful local approaches were highlighted, such as sand dams in Kenya, but they underlined the difficulty in applying one solution across many locations. Participants pointed to the role of forecasting in supporting decisions regarding how much water to harvest. Regarding constraints, they noted the importance of public perceptions and governance issues, in particular relating to the value of water. On possible further actions, participants highlighted the need to change the perception about rights to water and to water-intensive livelihoods, especially in situations of drought or water scarcity. They also suggested coordination across government agencies. They noted, however, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Participants recommended a focus on how the UNFCCC can promote the concept of integrated water resources management, and the use of goodwill ambassadors to make links between the UNFCCC and adaptation.
On watershed management, participants observed that developed countries prepare for climate change through policy and planning, while developing countries respond to risks. They noted the need to provide a credible institutional and scientific basis, through data, technology, and monitoring, acknowledging that this does not guarantee less difficulty in moving from policy to implementation. Participants discussed the reliability and usefulness of seasonal or decadal forecasting for planning, highlighting that poor decisions are made even with accurate information. On possible further actions, participants noted the importance of promoting and disseminating good practices, including through the UNFCCC website. They stressed the need for leadership, noting that the UNFCCC can only have a catalytic function in this regard. Participants recommended risk mapping, cost-benefit analyses, and technology transfer.
On salinization, focus was on intrusion of saline water from sea-level rise and storm surges. Participants noted current adaptation practices, such as the development of policies and regulations, regular monitoring and regulation of abstractions, and the introduction of aquaculture in brackish and saline areas. They highlighted some examples of cross-sectoral coordination and existing networks, particularly in West Africa and the Sahel region. Participants identified constraints, including: the high costs of desalinization; sociocultural issues related to displacement of people by loss of land due to salinization; biodiversity loss; and lack of capacity to maintain infrastructure and technology. On possible further actions, participants said there are many existing studies on this issue, but said findings need to be disseminated and results implemented. They noted that desalinization technology is not appropriate in all situations. They recommended rehabilitation of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and national data collection networks, and more research funding.
COASTAL ZONES: This group was facilitated by Leon Charles, Grenada, and Richard Klein, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). Charles pointed to IPCC Working Group II’s chapter on coastal zones in the Fourth Assessment Report and its division of natural and human subsystems. Participants broke into smaller groups to discuss best practices, and gaps, challenges and barriers related to: research and analysis; policy planning and response; and implementation of specific measures. The group also discussed cross-sectoral integration and coordination.
Regarding gaps and challenges for research and analysis, the group identified lack of: socioeconomic analysis when identifying priorities for actions; mechanisms to identify and respond to local data needs; and the need to understand adaptive capacity. The group also highlighted: the need to scale up environmental impact assessments (EIAs) to include climate aspects; gaps in research on factors affecting indigenous adaptive capacity; erosion of indigenous knowledge; and that available data is not always accessed or translated into action or used by decision makers.
Gaps and challenges in policy responses included the need to:
Regarding implementation, participants noted that many adaptation activities exist but have not yet been studied, stressed that continued stakeholder participation is needed, and called for increased linkages between local, national and regional responses. They suggested identifying the comparative advantage of the UNFCCC in supporting adaptation.
Participants highlighted good practices for research and analysis, including the ORCHID climate risk management methodology, piloted by the UK’s Department for International Development, which addresses the relationship between disaster risk reduction and climate change. Good practices for policy response included: ecotourism and generating revenue from conservation; the Caribbean experience of including climate change in EIAs; the Safe Island Programme in the Maldives; and a programme in Latin America that addresses climate change and information. Good practices in implementation included: low-tech responses to flooding, such as keeping drainage systems clear, building houses on stilts and reinforcing dikes with sand; ecotourism to protect coastal ecosystems and diversify tourism; and a successful hurricane preparedness programme in Cuba.
The group also addressed how to resolve sectoral conflicts and integrate coastal zone management when the sectoral emphasis is still prominent. Also addressed were issues related to multi-sectoral approaches in developing and implementing plans, and working across the MEAs through, for example, the UNFCCC, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Joint Liaison Group. The UN World Tourism Organization (UN WTO) pointed to licensing problems for new resorts in Fiji as approval from several ministries is required. A multi-sectoral study on coastal zone land suitability in Bangladesh was highlighted. UNEP drew attention to the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center’s work in Bangladesh on seasonal models for agriculture. Another participant urged looking at how implementing integrated coastal zone management (ICZM), sustainable livelihoods and other approaches can assist in minimizing vulnerability to climate change.
The group proposed the following recommendations and possible further actions related to research and analysis:
Policy recommendations included:
Recommendations for implementation included: developing and disseminating tools to facilitate community empowerment, such as tool kits and brochures in local languages; identifying actions that address both adaptation and mitigation benefits, such as solar energy; and developing management models that would facilitate the scaling up of successful projects without losing the characteristics that make them successful.
HEALTH: This group was facilitated by Pablo Suarez, Red Cross/Red Crescent, and Kristie Ebi, independent consultant. Assessing the current adaptation practices at sectoral and local levels within the health sector, Ebi noted that relatively little has occurred to date. She highlighted that the World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing a strategy document on adaptation for COP 13. Participants highlighted limited information, funding and capacity in developing countries. Questions were raised as to whether adaptation programmes should be proactive or reactive given the limited resources and that challenges and entry points for these types of programmes should be assessed to achieve greater success. In assessing the status of practices within the sector, participants emphasized the inadequacy of cross-sectoral coordination and identification of cross-cutting themes. Some participants identified the need to incorporate local and indigenous knowledge into programmes, and to examine rural and urban areas separately when developing health programmes. Frustration was expressed regarding limitations to rolling out successful adaptation programmes within countries due to lack of funding.
Regarding the main barriers and constraints currently encountered within the health sector, participants encouraged developing a specific strategy for adaptation to climate change, which would include standardizing key indicators to monitor changes in the health impacts of climate change and the effectiveness of adaptation programmes. Participants noted that conducting in-depth sectoral studies and discussing results at the national level ensures that all sectors are represented equally when formulating policy and strategy. It was also noted that certain adaptation measures within the health sector can have beneficial “side-effects” for other sectors and that information flow is key. Knowledge transfer at different levels was highlighted, with participants expressing concern that more is not being done to ensure that the public understands the issues. School-level education programmes were highlighted as one of the most effective means for ensuring information dissemination and understanding. Lamenting the lack of institutional memory, many participants expressed concern at high staff turnover in organizations worldwide. It was highlighted that this problem is further exacerbated by a rapidly growing sector that faces continuing budget constraints.
On gaps for successful planning and practices and possible solutions to these problems, participants raised lack of awareness, cross-sectoral coordination and capacity. A number of actions were suggested to improve these shortcomings, including:
Participants also highlighted the use of traditional knowledge to address both gaps in knowledge and extend the use of knowledge. Some expressed concern about overreliance on traditional knowledge, as some practices may have adverse effects. They also said that climate change awareness should take place at a local level in order to be effective Participants stressed the need for awareness and communication programmes among children, which requires comparatively less effort. Increased private sector involvement was also advocated in order to increase research capacity, and apply it in an effective manner.
Four break-out groups were held under this theme, focused on: adaptation planning and practices at the national level; adaptation planning at the subnational level; coordination and integration across sectors; and coordination and integration at international and regional levels. In plenary on Tuesday afternoon, presentations were given on examples of adaptation planning and practices at different levels. Participants then met in the break-out groups through Wednesday morning. On Wednesday afternoon, group facilitators presented discussion outcomes and recommendations to plenary. The sections below summarize the discussions, including the outcomes and recommendations.
SBI Chair Bagher Asadi (Iran) highlighted outcomes of the three regional workshops and expert meeting under the SBI. He drew attention to technical, scientific and socioeconomic aspects of adaptation planning and practices, regional and international collaboration, and adaptation activities. He noted that so far, the UNFCCC process has identified many gaps on adaptation planning and practices, and hoped that the adaptation planning and practices workshop would define specific actions to fill these gaps.
Richard Muyungi, Tanzania, gave a brief overview of his country’s efforts to mainstream climate change adaptation into poverty eradication activities. He explained issues that were considered when formulating Tanzania’s national plans, including budgetary and planning processes, and described methodologies for including adaptation. He noted a number of steps, such as: providing a suitable legal and institutional framework; implementing a national strategy for urgent actions on extreme weather events; increasing the budget allocation for adaptation programmes; and improving cross-sectoral collaboration. He observed that the process is ongoing, and most efforts focus broadly on enhancing capacity to mainstream.
Roger Street, UK Climate Impacts Programme, gave an overview of the UK experience on adaptation planning and practices. He emphasized that the focus should be on adaptation pathways dealing with risk, vulnerability, impacts and opportunities of a spatial and temporal nature and should also aim to deliver on adaptation, while building adaptive capacity. He highlighted UK initiatives such as the Climate Change Bill, which is expected to be passed in 2008, directing resources to support adaptation in priority areas, and the all-party parliamentary climate change group.
Bo Lim, UNDP, spoke on changing the way “business” is done in organizations, in order to put focus on adaptation. She said organizations take different approaches when including climate change in their strategic plans and investment frameworks. She suggested that change must be aligned with the organization’s mandate, involving a skilled team. Lim said one way to begin is by identifying risks and adaptation opportunities in organizations’ ongoing activities. She described the Adaptation Learning Mechanism project, which aims to improve effective integration of adaptation within development organizations. In conclusion, she suggested pooling knowledge on adaptation to promote learning, noting that organizations are currently at the stage of building capacity internally.
Rachel Berger, Practical Action, outlined her organization’s work on community-based adaptation. She explained that projects focus on helping members of marginalized communities develop and access appropriate technologies that can enhance their livelihoods. Underlining the uncertain future that many of these communities face, she stressed the importance of involving local government and stakeholders in projects as this not only improves access to resources, but also to the knowledge of all those involved. Berger noted that the NWP could endeavor to make technology available at a local level to facilitate local communities’ adaptation.
ADAPTATION PLANNING AND PRACTICES AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL: This group was facilitated by Ian Burton and Habiba Gitay. Participants identified the greatest obstacles to be addressed at the national level, and made recommendations on adaptation planning and practices. Discussion addressed how to generate political will, raise visibility and make adaptation a priority, and identify funding. Participants raised the issue of training and capacity-building needs, and pointed to the LDC National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) process as useful for guidance.
Participants broke into three subgroups, based on a compiled and clustered list of obstacles and recommendations, addressing: lack of integration and/or coordination between government ministries and departments, and lack of a national strategy; insufficient science or knowledge, and capacity building and stakeholders; and lack of leadership or political will and finance issues.
Regarding coordination and national strategies, participants recommended the development of national-level architecture, which would include institutions, national adaptation strategies, action plans and legal frameworks. They suggested the development of a handbook for integration of adaptation planning and practices for various sectors, and an indicator-based monitoring and evaluation system of adaptation planning and practices’ implementation. They called for the establishment of national focal points on adaptation, which would initiate the establishment of the national institutional architecture. They also recommended workshops on sharing good practices on adaptation planning and practices among countries, which would provide early warning of maladaptive processes.
Regarding capacity building, participants recommended strengthening and/or developing regional hubs of knowledge that would build long-term capacity on a number of levels. Activities would include science-policy communication to mutually define research activities, creating a national or regional roster of experts, training and pilot projects.
On leadership and finance, participants reiterated the need to stimulate political will, involve other relevant ministries, including finance ministries, and the media. They asked how the NWP can catalyze the necessary political will, and help convey the importance of adaptation to the highest political level. They observed that a finance ministers’ meeting will be held in conjunction with COP 13, and suggested that one goal is to ensure adaptation is on the meeting’s agenda.
ADAPTATION PLANNING AND PRACTICES AT THE SUBNATIONAL LEVEL: This group was facilitated by Pablo Suarez and Kristie Ebi. The facilitators observed that lack of focus on community-level practices is one weakness of the NWP. Participants initiated discussions by assessing current practices at the subnational level. Many noted that local knowledge is important for successful adaptation practices. Some expressed concern that much of this knowledge could die out with the elders unless action is taken. Participants observed that indigenous knowledge can also have negative adaptation effects, citing examples from Mozambique, where people refused to evacuate during floods because other species had not yet reacted. They highlighted the paucity of climate-related data at the subnational level, and underscored the need for sensitive data usage in order to avoid delaying actions that have little need for additional data collection. Participants observed that short-term programmes may result in the opposite of the intended effects and that programmes with longer timeframes could be more successful. They noted that communities have decreased capacity to respond successfully to successive disasters, calling for investigation of ways to mitigate this trend.
The group discussed issues that should be addressed by the NWP at the subnational level. Participants highlighted the need for continued knowledge interchange among peers to encourage effective adaptation practices. They suggested that low-cost, easy-to-use electronic media would be useful in achieving knowledge interchange amongst peers, government and NGOs. They noted that some form of expert review would be necessary in order to ensure the maintenance of standards. Some members noted the possibility of using low-cost technology successfully in areas where suitable infrastructure is not readily available. They also acknowledged the need for the development of best practices to successfully scale up projects. The group highlighted the importance of tailoring technologies to local situations.
Participants broke into smaller groups to discuss matters relating to: urban community adaptation; communication flows; and information storage and dissemination. They agreed that three issues need to be taken into account when implementing adaptation programmes, namely: the false assumption that actions will trickle down to communities; the need to integrate local-level initiatives into UNFCCC processes; and how best to reach vulnerable communities without alienating national governments. The group highlighted the need to place greater emphasis on the urban fringes, as they are an increasingly larger proportion of society. They emphasized that the NWP can help educate towns, cities and mega-cities on climate change and adaptation. They also spoke about the need to introduce quality standards and awards to create more enabling environments for adaptation to take place.
COORDINATION AND INTEGRATION ACROSS SECTORS: This group was facilitated by Leon Charles and Richard Klein. In smaller break-out groups, participants discussed challenges and barriers to cross-sectoral integration, good practices, factors that facilitate integration, potential entry points, and recommendations on how the NWP can assist in promoting and strengthening cross-sectoral integration.
Good practices were highlighted in relation to coordination among national and sectoral decision makers, such as in Fiji where ministries and the private sector are coordinating on tourism. On coordination during the adaptation planning and design process, good practices included examples of developing spatial planning strategies that include multi-sectoral activities and specific tools to enhance capacity to deal with extreme weather events at the community level in the UK, and developing integrated adaptive strategies involving stakeholders from different sectors in Ghana.
Regarding coordination among national and sectoral decision-makers, challenges and barriers included: lack of a political mandate and commitment from, and involvement of those responsible for budgets; competing interests and cultural differences between sectors; and lack of structural flexibility in the various sectors. Challenges related to stakeholder involvement included “stakeholder fatigue,” where multiple agencies and organizations involve the same stakeholders simultaneously, and private sector reluctance to get involved and share information due to concerns about competitiveness and intellectual property rights.
Regarding factors that facilitate integration, the group highlighted: identification of areas where sectors intersect; engagement of stakeholders across all sectors and at all levels; high-level political commitment; making issues relevant and interesting for communities; using climate variability as a starting point for adaptation to climate change; and creating incentives such as funding by governments to promote linkages in programmes and projects. On potential entry points for integration, participants highlighted: linking adaptation and mitigation strategies; environmental and health impact assessments; extreme events and climate-related disasters; and national platforms for disaster risk reduction.
The group put forward recommendations related to knowledge sharing of good practices across sectors, including showcasing and identifying criteria for good practices, and understanding the temporal nature of what constitutes a good practice. The group stressed that the criteria and nature of the case studies is more important than the studies themselves, since building community resilience and people’s adaptive capacity is key.
The group recommended that, under the NWP, the UNFCCC Secretariat should:
The group also recommended that the NWP should encourage cross-sectoral work on adaptation and development of national action plans on adaptation, and provide guidance toward developing effective national adaptation plans. Other recommendations included:
Participants also suggested:
COORDINATION AND INTEGRATION AT THE INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL LEVELS: This group was facilitated by Khaled Abuzeid and Taule’ale’ausumai La’avasa Malua. On promoting the integration and coordination of adaptation, various organizations highlighted their activities. The UN’s International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) discussed initiatives to build capacity for reducing disaster risk such as the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, in addition to joint work programming and coordination between ISDR, other UN agencies and NGOs to identify priority areas for actions. A participant discussed PRECIS, a software package to assess local climate risk developed at the Hadley Centre, UK, aimed at developing countries, which facilitates technology transfer coupled with capacity building and training. The US Agency for International Development described SERVIR, a web portal serving Central America and Mexico, which develops and disseminates climate information such as real-time tide predictions, storm tracking and fire warnings, while encouraging information sharing across borders.
The group addressed challenges and opportunities facing integration and coordination of adaptation planning. They prioritized the need for clear mapping of the different actors in adaptation and their respective roles. Differing timescales, with some organizations being interested in immediate-term adaptation and others taking a longer-term view, was viewed as an obstacle coupled with the differing planning cycles within organizations. The disparity of requests by parties to the different conventions was cited as a challenge because it results in ineffectual coordination, overlaps and conflicting mandates between conventions. Another challenge is linking national capacity self-assessment to international initiatives.
Regarding opportunities, the group suggested:
On ways forward, the group proposed: actions and recommendations; modalities for facilitating access to data and tools, including models and their outputs: and developing regional adaptation projects and activities. On proposed actions, the group suggested mapping agencies and their activities, including bilateral projects and national needs to facilitate coordination of actions, and requesting the UNFCCC to coordinate and broker action on adaptation through the NWP, involving financing and implementing agencies and other organizations. Under facilitating access to data and tools, the group suggested providing an interface to access data from different sources for specific adaptation needs to overcome data access constraints experienced by many countries and regions. They also recommended the establishment of a portal under the NWP on key adaptation needs linked to existing resources. Finally, under regional adaptation projects and activities the group suggested mapping regional organizations and institutions that can participate in the NWP, for example the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment and the African Ministers’ Council on Water. They also recommended the coordination of activities and the development of mandates under different multilateral processes as a basis for inter-agency collaboration. Coordinating CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice proposals on adaptation planning with UNFCCC adaptation work under the NAPAs and the NWP was also proposed as a possibility.
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON RECOMMEND-ATIONS AND ACTION PLEDGES: Chair Kumarsingh requested participating organizations to respond to two questions:
Over 20 organizations spoke, including the three Convention expert groups.
The EGTT described tools and activities developed, including the technical paper on technologies for adaptation published in 2006. He noted that the EGTT supports the NWP at the interface between planning and strategies through concrete pilot projects. The CGE pointed to experience with tools and methodologies used for vulnerability and adaptation assessments in national communications, and the training of trainers. The LEG said that it is willing to work with non-LDCs to use methodologies developed for the LDC NAPAs, of which 21 have been completed, with the majority of the rest expected before COP 13. He also pointed to the early stages of implementation of NAPA projects, which he said could also be good input to the NWP.
CEDARE mentioned ongoing work with the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) focused on capacity building and said its decision support system for the NBI can be made available for replication elsewhere. ISDR reiterated commitment to the NWP, highlighting two relevant activities: efforts among several agencies to align work on disaster risk reduction and adaptation; and a drought risk reduction network. She said ISDR pledges to assist in the coordination of a campaign to raise awareness among children on health impacts of climate change. The Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) highlighted intentions to conduct a pilot study in developing countries to assess what insurance-related initiatives can take place. She said MCII would benefit from the NWP due to the increasing demand for risk management that can enhance adaptation planning and practices. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development highlighted that adaptation is progressively more important for member states but that many divisions in the organization still do not prioritize adaptation. Practical Action emphasized commitment to continuing the development of the current fieldwork model, and more widely disseminating project results. She also expressed willingness to facilitate the involvement of a greater number of stakeholders for community-based projects.
SEI described work on “building a bridge between assessment and technical capacity,” and, among other activities, setting up a climate adaptation network based in Africa. UNEP said it is developing a climate change strategy, in addition to developing appropriate data and information to increase “scientific robustness.” The UNESCO Institute for Higher Education (UNESCO-IHE) outlined activities for water education, which aim to increase the knowledge and skills of professionals working in the water sector, as well as building a climate change and adaptation programme. The Cooperative Programme on Water and Climate explained that it is stimulating the introduction of climate issues into the water sector. United Nations University/Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU/EHS) said elements of the NWP have been written into the organization’s work programme for the coming two years, including projects on water and adaptation, and maladaptation and human security, in addition to 15 case studies on adaptation to climate variability. She said the NWP will benefit UNU/EHS by facilitating dissemination of research findings to policy makers.
UN WTO suggested five concrete actions that it could take: developing guidelines and tools for the tourism sector; developing climate change risk assessment tools for the tourism business; including the tourism sector in national adaptation strategies; discussing and sharing good practices; and facilitating access to and dissemination of tools. WHO highlighted mechanisms for contributing to the NWP, including: contributing socioeconomic health information to climate vulnerability assessments; supporting research; technical support; and facilitating the availability of lessons learned. WMO expressed willingness to contribute to the NWP through activities such as data management activities and regional climate services. He also underscored commitment to building capacity. The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) said his organization is aiming to address climate scenarios and downscaling. He noted that the WCRP is developing a systematic approach to address regional downscaling. The World Bank stressed relevant contributions to the NWP, including a study to estimate the costs and financial flows of adaptation. He stressed that the World Bank is aiming to earmark specific funds and create new financial instruments for adaptation.
The Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START) noted efforts on research capacity building, highlighting ongoing activities in Africa and South-East Asia to support post-graduate studies. He requested guidance through the NWP on research capacity gaps where START can contribute. FAO explained that the NWP enables his organization to fit ongoing agricultural development and food security activities into the climate change and adaptation realm. IW: LEARN outlined project activities and linkages to adaptation and climate change. ICLEI pointed to the ongoing activities in cities, which he said are increasingly at risk from climate change. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research highlighted relevant activities, including an upcoming conference on “Are there limits to adaptation?” to be held in London in February 2008.
Chair Kumarsingh lauded the pledges, and opened the floor for final comments. The Centre for European Policy Studies called for an informal platform for the exchange of practices and expertise, as an alternative to formal submissions to the Secretariat, which she said do not accurately reflect adaptation information “from the ground.” Chile urged considering how the NWP can help countries raise the concern of climate change at the highest political levels.
Roberto Acosta outlined the next steps to be taken under the NWP. He noted an expert meeting on methods and tools, which will be combined with an expert meeting on data and observations to be held in Mexico in early 2008. Other steps include: informal consultations with parties; the possibility of a workshop to be held jointly with the IPCC on climate modeling, scenarios and downscaling; and the production of synthesis reports on economic diversification, technology for adaptation and research.
Corrado Clini, Ministry of Environment, Italy, emphasized the need for guidelines at the international level for the design and implementation of adaptation measures. He noted that Italy’s commitment is evident through the creation of special funds and continued work in all areas of adaptation at the international level. He hoped that COP 13 would give more direction to future adaptation and climate change policies.
Wulf Killmann, FAO, lamented that climate change is affecting food security, which is at the heart of FAO’s mandate. He observed that FAO is eagerly anticipating working with member states on climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk management. He also reiterated FAO’s commitment to working with all parties in implementing the NWP.
In closing, Chair Kumarsingh noted that the NWP is the only existing global adaptation framework. He expressed optimism about its progress, and looked forward to continued support from governments and organizations. Expressing appreciation to the FAO for hosting the workshop, the thanked participants, facilitators, experts, SBI Chair Asadi, the Secretariat and the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. Chair Kumaringh closed the workshop at 4:51 pm.
CLIMATE CHANGE: SCIENCE, POLITICS AND THE MANAGEMENT OF UNCERTAINTY: This conference will take place from 17-23 September 2007, at Merton College, Oxford, United Kingdom and will address the linkages of science and politics, within a context of uncertainty, and the difficulties of making policies to address the problems of global warming. The conference will review lessons learned in recent years, from the Kyoto Protocol to initiatives at the level of state governments, cities and communities. It will attempt to define what approach or combination of approaches is most likely to bring the best ecological, social and economic outcomes. For more information, contact: 21st Century Trust; tel: +44 (0)20-7323-2099; fax: +44 (0)870-056-7163; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.21stcenturytrust.org/2007.html#1
UNITED NATIONS HIGH LEVEL MINISTERIAL MEETING ON CLIMATE CHANGE: A high-level ministerial meeting will take place on 24 September 2007, at UN headquarters in New York. The purpose of the event is to promote dialogue, highlight priority issues within four broad thematic areas, and mobilize support at the highest level for a strong political signal to the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali that Governments are ready to accelerate work under the UNFCCC. For more information, see http://www.un.org/climatechange/2007highlevel/index.shtml
US-HOSTED MEETING OF MAJOR ECONOMIES ON ENERGY SECURITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: US President Bush has issued invitations to major economies to attend this meeting from 27-28 September 2007, in Washington, DC, USA. The invitee list includes the EU, France, Germany, Italy, UK, Japan, China, Canada, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa and UN. For more information, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/08/20070803-7.html
SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TOURISM AND CLIMATE CHANGE: This conference will take place from 1-3 October 2007, in Davos, Switzerland, organized by the UN World Tourism Organization (UN WTO) together with the UN Environment Programme, and with support from the World Economic Forum and the Swiss Federal Government. This meeting will seek to set in place the research and policy measures that will enable tourism to respond to the challenges of climate change and at the same time reduce the industry’s own contributions to global warming. For more information contact: UN WTO; tel: +34-91-567-8100; fax: +34-91-571-3733; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.unwto.org/climate/index.php
SHIFT IN THINKING: PERSPECTIVES ON VULNERABILITY AND HAZARD ASSESSMENT: This conference, organized by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), will be held from 4-5 October 2007, in Potsdam, Germany. For more information, contact: Malaak Kallache; tel: +49-331-288-2527; fax: +49-331-288-2600; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.pik-potsdam.de/events/scenario/
WORKSHOP ON FUTURE CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH AND OBSERVATIONS: This workshop, organized by the Global Climate Observing System and the World Climate Research Programme, will be held in Sydney, Australia, from 4-6 October 2007. For more information, contact: World Climate Research Programme; tel: +41-22-730-8111; fax: +41-22-730-8036; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://wcrp.ipsl.jussieu.fr/Workshops/Sydney2007/index.html
TOURISM MINISTERIAL SUMMIT ON CLIMATE CHANGE: This meeting will take place on 13 November 2007 in London, United Kingdom, and will consider the results of the Second International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change (1-3 October 2007, Davos, Switzerland). For more information, contact: UN WTO; tel: +34-91-567-8100; fax: +34-91-571-3733; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.unwto.org/climate/davos/en/davos.php?op=1
27TH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE: IPCC-27 will take place from 12-16 November 2007, in Valencia, Spain, and will focus on the adoption of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. For more information, contact: Rudie Bourgeois, IPCC Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-730-8025; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.ipcc.ch/
THIRTEENTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC AND THIRD MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: The thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and third Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will take place in Bali, Indonesia, from 3-14 December 2007. These meetings will coincide with the 27th meetings of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Bodies and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments from Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.unfccc.int