Daily report for 11–13 April 2007

UNFCCC Asian Regional Workshop on Adaptation

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Asian Regional Workshop on Adaptation took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Beijing, China, from 11-13 April 2007. The workshop aimed to highlight Asian concerns related to climate change adaptation and vulnerability reduction, with a view to identifying specific adaptation needs to be considered under the UNFCCC.

The workshop was convened following a request by the tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) in decision 1/CP.10, calling for the UNFCCC Secretariat to organize three regional workshops and one expert meeting for small island developing states to enable information exchange and integrated assessments to assist in identifying specific adaptation needs and concerns. COP 10 further requested the UNFCCC Secretariat prepare reports on the outcome of these workshops, to be considered by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) at its twenty-sixth session in May 2007, with a view to making recommendations on further actions to COP 13 in December 2007.

A total of 62 participants attended, mostly from Asia but also other regions, as well as representatives from UN agencies and intergovernmental organizations. The UNFCCC Secretariat, under the guidance of the Chair of the workshop and the SBI, Bagher Asadi (Iran), will prepare a report summarizing the outcomes and recommendations of the meeting.


Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious threats to current and future sustainable development, with adverse impacts expected 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. 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. Controlled gases include methane, nitrous oxide and, in particular, carbon dioxide. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, and now has 189 parties. The parties to the UNFCCC typically convene in an annual meeting of the COP, and twice a year in meetings of the subsidiary bodies the SBI and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: In December 1997, delegates at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a protocol to the UNFCCC that commits developed countries and countries making the transition to a market economy to achieve quantified emissions reduction targets. 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 cost-effectively: 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 169 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, and the first Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 1) was held in conjunction with COP 11 in Montreal, Canada, from 28 November to 9 December 2005.

ADAPTATION: Adaptation is a cross-cutting theme under the UNFCCC and is referred to in different articles. 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. 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), COP 9, held in Milan in December 2003, initiated a discussion on adaptation. At that time, the COP requested the SBSTA initiate 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 (see http://enb.iisd.org/climate/vulnerability-and-adaptation/). 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, COP 10 requested the UNFCCC Secretariat to organize 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. COP 10 further requested the UNFCCC Secretariat to prepare reports on the outcome of these workshops, with a view to making recommendations to COP 13 on further necessary actions. The first of these regional workshops, for the Latin American region, took place in Lima, Peru, from 18-20 April 2006, while the African workshop was held in Accra, Ghana, from 21-23 September 2006. Two separate expert meetings were held for SIDS: the first, aimed at Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean SIDS, was held in Kingston, Jamaica, from 5-7 February 2007; the second, aimed at Pacific and Indian Ocean SIDS, was held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 26-28 February 2007. The Asian regional workshop is therefore the final mandated workshop of its sort.

In Nairobi in November 2006, COP 12 renamed the SBSTA five-year work programme to the Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change. 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.

CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY AND ADAPTATION IN ASIA: The major limitation on assessments of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Asia is the availability of adequate data on all regions. Assessments conducted to date indicate that vulnerabilities vary widely throughout the continent in light of physical, social and economic differences. The most vulnerable sectors to sea-level rise and other hazards appear to be agriculture and food security, water resources, natural ecosystems, forestry and biodiversity, coastal zones and human health. It is likely that the projected impacts of climate change will exacerbate water shortages in some areas and increase the frequency and intensity of floods and droughts in others.

Adaptive capacity varies across Asia, based on social structure, culture, economic capacity and the level of environmental disruptions. Limiting factors include poor resource and infrastructure bases, poverty and income disparities, weak institutions, and limited technology. Financial, technological and institutional barriers hamper the implementation of adaptation measures in many Asian countries, particularly LDCs. More information on vulnerability and adaptation in Asia can be found in the background paper commissioned by the UNFCCC for this workshop, at http://unfccc.int/files/adaptation/methodologies_for/vulnerability_and_adaptation/application/pdf/unfccc_asian_workshop_background_paper.pdf.


The Asian Regional Workshop on adaptation began on Wednesday, 11 April, with opening statements and presentations on recent developments under the UNFCCC, the workshop objectives, and climate change in Asia. Participants then addressed integrated impact and vulnerability assessments. On Thursday, 12 April, under adaptation planning and implementation, participants discussed agriculture and food security, water resources, coastal zones, health, mountainous regions, and support for adaptation in the context of sustainable development. On the morning of Friday, 13 April, two roundtables on regional collaboration were held, one on South-South collaboration and another on North-South collaboration. That afternoon, workshop participants broke into groups to discuss outcomes and ways forward. The results of these discussions were presented to the workshop, before the meeting closed.


Welcoming participants, the Chair of the opening session, Wang Qingli, Ministry of Agriculture (China), noted that the Ministry of Agriculture considers the workshop to be a priority. On behalf of Wei Chaoan, Vice Minister for Agriculture (China), Wang said that adaptation, especially in the agricultural sector, forms an important part of responding to the adverse impacts of climate change. He expressed hope that participants would exchange views on solutions for building the adaptive capacity of developing countries in Asia.

Gao Feng, UNFCCC, on behalf of Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, thanked the Government of China for hosting the workshop and noted recent findings by the IPCC on the negative impacts of climate change. Stressing that climate change is a long-term challenge, he said the Kyoto Protocol addresses approximately 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and that 2007 is a critical year for the climate change process, as parties consider how to move forward. He highlighted that this and other workshops will inform the outcomes of COP 13 on next steps for adaptation.

Yang Xiongnian, Ministry of Agriculture (China), said the workshop will play an important role in building the capacity of Asian countries for adaptation. He noted the vulnerability of China to climate change and outlined domestic adaptation measures, including: water saving programmes; crop redistribution; rainwater harvesting; weather modification operations; and research into impacts of and adaptation to climate change. He called on developed countries to speed up research on adaptation, transfer adaptation technologies, and cooperate with developing countries to build adaptive capacity.

Sun Cuihua, National Development and Reform Commission (China), said that the Chinese Government attaches great importance to climate change, and is taking both mitigation and adaptation measures. She explained that under the leadership of the National Coordination Committee, Chinas National Climate Change Programme has been completed and will soon be publicized. She also suggested that the workshop would contribute positively to Chinas adaptive capacity.

Lu Xuedu, Ministry of Science and Technology (China), said Chinas agriculture, water resources and coastal zones are particularly affected by climate change. He highlighted the importance of strengthening research on adaptation and response measures, and said his Department has made progress in adaptation research. He noted that the National Assessment Report on Climate Change was published in December 2006. He expressed hope that the workshop would promote cooperation in research, and that the funding mechanisms will support research and capacity building for developing countries in Asia.

Highlighting that China has experienced increased temperatures in recent years, SBI Chair Bagher Asadi (Iran) praised its efforts to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. Emphasizing that the negative effects of climate change are being experienced by the entire continent, he said the objective of the workshop was to exchange experiences and lessons, identify adaptation priority areas and produce practical and applicable recommendations.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON ADAPTATION UNDER THE UNFCCC: Olga Pilifosova, UNFCCC Secretariat, said the Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change (NWP) has three equally important dimensions, namely resources, knowledge and capacity. She explained that its dual focus areas are enhancing developing countries capacity to assess vulnerability and adaptation and to take informed decisions. She highlighted the NWPs links with the SBI, including through its mandate to provide advice to the SBI. She also noted that the NWP provides a useful framework for enhancing capacity and contributing to any package of implementation related activities under the UNFCCC.

Roberto Acosta, UNFCCC Secretariat, discussed other recent developments on adaptation under the UNFCCC. He outlined current funding for adaptation, including: funding under the strategic priority for adaptation of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the LDC Fund, and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF); and the Adaptation Fund, to be financed by proceeds from the CDM. He highlighted the review of the financial mechanism initiated at COP 12, which requested GEF to report on its approach to LDCs and SIDS, and said post-2012 activities would also be considered at COP 13. He suggested participants consider their discussions on adaptation in light of these ongoing processes.

OBJECTIVES OF THE WORKSHOP AND BACKGROUND: Youssef Nassef, UNFCCC Secretariat, explained that decision 1/CP.10 mandated regional workshops to reflect regional priorities, facilitate information exchange and integrated assessments, and identify specific adaptation needs and concerns. He said the outcomes of the workshop would feed into negotiations at SBI 26 and COP 13 on future actions for advancing adaptation in developing countries.

Mozaharul Alam, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, introduced a background paper on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Asia. He said even though Asia is the worlds largest continent and spans four climate zones, it has common environmental and socioeconomic problems that are exacerbated by climate change. He said the negative effects of climate change on the continent include: changes in temperature and rainfall; extreme weather events; increases in glacial runoff and Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs); and other hazards such as droughts, floods, cyclones and tsunamis. He provided information on capacities for national climate change studies and the use of their results in Asia. He also suggested adaptation options for different climate zones in Asia.

Discussion: Roberto Acosta said there are currently no comprehensive indicators for measuring the effectiveness and costs of adaptation, but that GEF is working on this issue. He confirmed that the NWP does not address funding, but noted that COP 13 will review financial mechanisms and that GEF is considering how to address adaptation via the LDC Fund and the SCCF.

Several participants queried differences in definitions of adaptation and its link to development. Olga Pilifosova explained that while the previous regional workshops did not directly address definitional issues, presentations and discussions provided clarity on what adaptation means for different countries and national priorities for enhancing adaptive capacity. She also clarified the details of the NWP and explained that SBSTA will consider next steps based on a report of activities implemented and up-to-date information, such as the IPCCs Fourth Assessment Report.

Participants also discussed: public-private partnerships; data sets administered by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR); expectations for the future of the 1/CP.10 agenda item; minor amendments to the workshop background paper; and the effectiveness of traditional coping strategies in light of changed conditions in some local communities.


SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATION, DATA AND MONITORING: Buruhani Nyenzi, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said the WMO approaches climate activities in an integrated manner and that activities include, inter alia, observations and monitoring, data rescue and management, climate predictions and research, climate products and services, capacity building, and education and training. He said access to high-quality data is fundamental to the activities of the WMO and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NHMSs). He stressed the importance of monitoring and prediction by regional climate centers, enhancing the networking of NHMSs and the timely dissemination of early warning products.

William Westermeyer, Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Secretariat, said GCOS comprises the climate components of various global observing systems, including satellite and in situ observations. Describing recent GCOS regional workshops, Westermeyer noted that the outcomes of the Asian workshops resulted in regional action plans to improve observations, information, climate applications and regional coordination. He outlined the GCOS programme, Climate for Development in Africa, which aims to mainstream climate information into decision making for African development, and suggested an opportunity may exist to develop a similar programme in Asia.

Ren Guoyuo, Beijing Climate Centre, discussed the importance of systematic observations and explained that in China, there is a need to: construct observational systems; improve observational settings; develop meta data for key variables; and strengthen capacity. He said measures to improve observations include encouraging regional cooperative observations and raising awareness among policy makers. Ren cited other key challenges in China, including that: some historical data is stored on paper, not all variables are measured in the integrated terrestrial observation network; and there is a lack of data from western China.

Discussion: The ensuing discussion focused on the availability, coordination and use of data. Buruhani Nyenzi noted the role of regional and national coordination committees and said that with new technologies, observation stations could be located in remote areas, which would increase data availability. He also emphasized the need to educate people to make use of available data. UN/ISDR noted that a lot of disaster management data exist and that different agencies must work together at international and national levels to ensure its usefulness. William Westermeyer outlined GCOSs activities in the coordination and use of data, while Ren Guoyuo highlighted the need for: more observations and model calculations; dense observations; and the construction of more stations. Japan noted examples of good practices for coordinating and sharing data from Africa.

IMPACT, VULNERABILITY AND ADAPTATION ASSESSMENTS: Tatyana Ososkova, Second National Communication (Uzbekistan), presented on Uzbekistans experience with vulnerability and adaptation assessments. She discussed assessments and ongoing gaps for the most vulnerable sectors, namely, water resources, agriculture, public health and certain ecosystems. She said that analysis of the efficacy of adaptation measures remains difficult due to uncertainties in socioeconomic data and development scenarios. She suggested the UNFCCC could assist through, inter alia: training on the use of satellite information; training for groups of countries with the same language and similar problems; and allocating small grants for conducting field experiments, subject investigations and assessments with relevant models.

On assessing climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, Lu Xianfu, UNDP, stressed the importance of clarifying the purpose, policy and research questions of an assessment to ensure appropriate methods are used, and engaging stakeholders in all stages of the assessment. She also noted that, when applied appropriately, simple methods can be helpful for identifying critical thresholds and assessing risks. On gaps in assessment methodologies, she noted, inter alia: lack of integration across sectors; uncertainties about the use of some methods; and that the validation, testing and application of imported models and tools is hindered by the lack of available data and technical expertise. She suggested the UNFCCC could assist in addressing these gaps by: disseminating information on good practices; targeted training on selected methods and tools; and tailored support to countries with specific needs.

Discussion: Buruhani Nyenzi stressed the need to involve representatives from various ministries in discussions on adaptation and vulnerability. Roberto Acosta snoted that climate change is a cross-cutting issue and that as it is not practicable to bring large delegations to small workshops, the critical challenge is effective national coordination. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) commented that in order to simplify project implementation, donors often work with only one ministry and suggested that this approach be revised to promote greater coordination. Participants also discussed the difficulty of separating climate change impacts from adaptation measures, and accessing guidance on the types of models to be used for national communications.


AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY: Nguyen Mong Cuong, Research Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Development (Vietnam), said his country is one of the most disaster prone while also heavily reliant on agriculture. He outlined Vietnams vulnerability and adaptation assessments and noted adaptation measures, including: restructuring agriculture production plans and cropping patterns; adjusting cropping calendars; improving irrigation efficiency; developing new crop varieties; and developing farming systems and techniques appropriate to climatic change. Mong Cuong also discussed bilateral vulnerability and assessment projects carried out at the local level, and ongoing concerns, including: weak national capacity for comprehensive quantitative and qualitative assessments; inadequate adaptation implementation plans; limited staff capacity; poor quality data on adaptation options; and a lack of effective mechanisms for information sharing and management across sectors.

Lin Erda, Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture (China), discussed the adaptation of Chinese agriculture to climate change, and policy implications for mainstreaming adaptation issues. He highlighted adaptation measures, such as adjustments to the cropping calendar, crop rotation, improving irrigation and water-saving technologies, and selecting crops based on changed climate conditions and crop prices. He stressed the importance of addressing the institutional or process aspects of developing and implementing adaptation measures and also noted the importance of: partnering with stakeholders and researchers in regional and national contexts; including adaptation considerations in local environmental assessment reports; and incorporating adaptation into all levels of government planning.

Nandintsetseg Banzragch, Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (Mongolia), discussed the climate change impacts and adaptation options for livestock activities in Mongolia. She noted the importance of livestock to Mongolias development, explaining that the livestock sector directly engages half of the Mongolian population and provides food to the other half. She described initiatives undertaken under Mongolias National Action Plan on Climate Change, including educating herdsmen, transferring technology to them, and conducting research into agricultural development. She said barriers to adaptation are institutional, financial, technical and legislative, and suggested the UNFCCC provide complimentary financial resources for adaptation and increase the number of regional workshops on training, and vulnerability and adaptation assessment.

Discussion: Japan questioned the validity of the UNFCCC functioning as an aid agency. Saudi Arabia suggested that technical assistance and adaptation financing is the responsibility of Annex I parties and not the UNFCCC. Azerbaijan observed that there is a need for additional support for adaptation and suggested the UNFCCC could help to facilitate this. Highlighting training activities already being undertaken, Buruhani Nyenzi queried whether studies on the effectiveness of training and their local impacts have been conducted. UN/ISDR recommended research focus on the real impacts of climate change, as opposed to predicting impacts. Canada suggested the role of the UNFCCC in assisting countries to overcome technical and legislative barriers could be further explored.

WATER RESOURCES: Noting that the water resources sector is the most vulnerable to climate change in Asia, Ancha Srinivasan, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), discussed mainstreaming adaptation concerns in water resources management. He suggested this could be achieved through National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA), national communications and planning for implementing the MDGs. He said national approaches could include: undertaking national consultations; planning for the prioritization of hazards and related adaptation measures; and allocating responsibility to related agencies.

Srinivasan said water mangers in most Asian countries pay little attention to adaptation and explained that this is due to insufficient regulatory frameworks and institutional fragmentation and a lack of awareness, effective participation and incentives. He suggested ways forward, including: greater support from donors and international organizations for adaptation in this sector; capacity building, awareness raising and exchanging experiences among countries; fostering institutional linkages; strengthening existing coping strategies; enhancing the role of stakeholders; and establishing a legal framework to strengthen the implementation of adaptation measures.

Nailya Mustaeva, Climate Change Centre (Tajikistan), highlighted the important role played by glaciers in agriculture and water supply in the Central Asian region. She noted that climate change has lead to increased temperatures in high mountain areas, intensified the frequency of droughts and affected natural resources in Central Asia. She said this has resulted in glacial loss, which is adversely affecting water supply and agriculture. She concluded that adaptation is a priority for the region and suggested adaptation measures, including: constructing hydraulic and observation stations; rationalizing water usage; establishing early warning systems; developing hydropower engineering technologies; and improving water reservoirs.

Rafig Verdiyev, Second National Communication Office (Azerbaijan), said Azerbaijans first national communication identified the water resources sector as the most vulnerable, and noted a decrease in water resources and related effects on land productivity and forest boundaries, and the rising level of the Caspian Sea. He discussed adaptation measures that are expected to lead to significant water savings, namely: constructing reservoirs and increasing the efficiency of existing ones; improving water management systems; and reconstructing existing water and irrigation systems. Discussing the developing of Azerbaijans second national communication, he said the main priorities include: adaptation measures; preparing a greenhouse gas inventory in accordance with IPCC guidelines; raising public awareness and support for the implementation of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol; and fund raising.

Discussion: Nepal emphasized the impact of resource constraints on implementing adaptation plans. The Philippines emphasized that even a small rise in sea level can contribute to flooding and impact on water quality, and noted the considerable attention being given to climate change by her government. Indonesia queried whether there has been any collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on adaptation in the agricultural sector. Xianfu Lu said many countries have developed lists of adaptation options, but, with Ancha Srinivasan, said that evaluation and prioritization is necessary.

The UK and Canada highlighted the possible role for the insurance sector in mainstreaming adaptation, and Canada suggested the UNFCCC could facilitate work on this. Azerbaijan stressed the need for integrated basin management and suggested the introduction of insurance as an important component. Ancha Srinivasan observed that the current role of insurance in developing countries is limited and said discussion on the role of insurance in maintaining adaptation might be premature.

COASTAL ZONES: Senaka Bandara Basnayake, Department of Meteorology (Sri Lanka), described the assessment of adaptation responses to climate change in the costal zones of Sri Lanka. He said the most significant impacts on agriculture in these zones were, inter alia: salt water intrusion into cultivated land; reduction of per capita land availability; encroachment of the coastal community into agricultural lands; salinization of river water; and disturbance of the interface between fresh and brackish water. He reported on adaptation options being explored, including identifying alternative land uses, switching to traditional systems and intensifying the breeding programme for salt-tolerant rice varieties.

Rosa Perez, Department of Science and Technology (the Philippines), reported on the national Community Based Flood Early Warning System (CBFEWS), explaining that it aims to empower local communities and localize early warning systems. She outlined activities, including coordinating with the local government, organizing training, sharing information, monitoring rain and water levels, mapping, and providing legislative support to local communities. Perez also summarized lessons learned from the CBFEWS, including the importance of: respecting the demands of grassroots organizations; giving decision-making power to local communities; and combining advanced technologies with indigenous knowledge. She identified current needs, including: South-South and North-South cooperation; appropriate technologies, such as hydraulic modeling; adequate knowledge, including on the implications of climate change for the hydraulic cycle, on environment impact assessments and on disaster management; and better communication.

Discussion: Responding to a question about the capacity of communities to relocate and where such communities are relocated, Rosa Perez said that information from national agencies is relied upon to identify safe areas for relocation, and noted two types of relocation: temporary evacuation at the time of a disaster and permanent relocation after a disaster. She also confirmed the need for a socioeconomic approach to relocation, as suggested by Indonesia, to ensure that people do not return to their original, unsafe locations. In response to a question regarding how to ensure the ongoing sustainability of funded projects, Perez noted several measures, including the signing of a memorandum of understanding between national and local governments and other partners, and the passing of a local council resolution for the maintenance of a system after a project ends.

HEALTH: Jeffrey Spickett, Consultant, World Health Organization (WHO), explained that climate change has led to changes in the frequency, distribution and severity of familiar health impacts and that although a high degree of uncertainty remains, this should not be an excuse for inaction. He highlighted that the health impacts of climate change are expected to be diverse, long-lasting, uncertain, potentially severe and unevenly distributed. He outlined a project on adaptation policies and programmes using a health impact assessment approach, which involves screening, scoping, profiling, assessing and managing health impact risks.

Discussion: Japan noted the recent identification of malarial mosquitoes in mountainous areas and queried whether there was a link with climate change. Jeffrey Spickett responded that the relationship is uncertain and that further research is required. Ancha Srinivasan requested information on lessons from countries or regions more advanced in health-sector adaptation and said these examples could serve as models. Spickett explained that there are few examples, but that he hoped the health impact assessment project might serve as a model for replication in other areas in the future.

MOUTAINOUS REGIONS: Iyngararasan Mylvakanam, UNEP Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific, said climate change is contributing to the shrinkage and retreat of glaciers and to an increase in the size and number of glacial lakes. He explained that impacts include threats to water security, flooding in lower basins, and damage to settlements, livestock populations, infrastructure, agricultural land and forests. He outlined a study by UNEP and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which aims to establish an inventory of glacial lakes, a monitoring and early warning system and adaptation measures. He noted the study has, inter alia, identified potentially dangerous glacial lakes in Bhutan and Nepal. He said future action will include completing the inventory for certain regions and further developing adaptation measures, such as: assisting with the establishment of early warning systems; developing evacuation plans; siphoning; and establishing sluice gate structure canals.

Purushottam Ghimire, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (Nepal), outlined adaptation measures for different sectors, such as: resource conservation in the agricultural sector; efficient management of water supply infrastructure and the establishment of a hydrological forecasting system in the water resources sector; and extensive plantations in the biodiversity sector. He said the observed impacts of climate change include: ice melting as temperatures increase and other effects on water availability, agricultural land use and food security; changes to the frequency of extreme weather events; and an increased prevalence of exotic and new crops. On the approach and needs of local people, he noted that local communities respond to weather events without understanding their broader causes and that the scientific community has yet to fully explore traditional coping methods.

Discussion: Responding to participants comments on the scarcity of data on climate change impacts in mountainous regions, Iyngararasan Mylvakanam said there is no problem of data scarcity. He explained UNEPs activities, including projects in Nepal and other countries in the region, and the Asian Brown Clouds project. He said UNEP has collected climate data as well as data on biodiversity, and has made this available on the Internet. Recognizing that a large amount of data is available but not systemized and recorded, Nepal suggested that all available data be posted on the Internet. In response to a question about the linkage between climate data and tourism, Nepal said that a system should be developed to provide data to tourists.

ROUNDTABLE ON MULTILATERAL SUPPORT FOR ADAPTATION IN THE CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Part I: GEF Implementing Agencies: Kishan Khoday, UNDP, China, noted that many people are suffering from disasters and famine in Asia, especially in low-lying areas, and that response capacities are low. He highlighted that sustainable development is the solution to reducing vulnerability to climate change, and that adaptation measures should be integrated with sustainable development. He reported that the 2007 UNDP Human Development Report focuses on climate change, including on: coping strategies for vulnerable communities; country-specific problems; linkages with social justice and equality; and empowering communities to respond to climate change. He said lessons can be learned from Chinas climate change measures, and noted that in partnership with UNEP and other agencies, UNDP will continue to work on building adaptive capacity in Asia.

Anne Olhoff, UNEP Ris Centre, explained that UNEP has carried out climate checks to analyze how mainstreaming adaptation can link climate change and development. She stressed that the design and implementation of adaptation options must be context specific, and noted the need to expand knowledge on probable climate impacts in specific geographic areas and to downscale climate models. She recommended integrated analysis for understanding the relationship between poverty, development and climate change. She also noted that adaptation initiatives are in their infancy and that the lack of available finance may result in financing those projects most firmly anchored in sustainable development.

Neeraj Prasad, World Bank, highlighted the gap between the funds required for adaptation, as published in the Stern Review, and funds available for adaptation initiatives. Regarding the Adaptation Fund, he explained it is still unknown when the Fund will have sufficient capital to begin operating or what its funding priorities will be. He said the World Bank perceives adaptation as a development issue, as opposed to a climate change specific issue, and has introduced a climate risk approach. He noted that approximately a quarter of the World Banks total lending could be at risk from climate related developments.

Discussion: Kishan Khoday explained the UNEP-UNDP partnership for mainstreaming climate change established during COP 12, and noted the establishment of a UN inter-agency group on climate change that aims to ensure a common UN climate change policy. He also noted that Spain has contributed money to create a fund for UN projects to meet the MDGs at the national level, and that this fund will include climate change as a focal area. Lu Xianfu added that eight Asian countries have been chosen for the first round of projects under this fund. Anne Olhoff highlighted the establishment of a UNDP-UNEP adaptation help desk, which Lu explained would initially focus on parts of Africa, with a view to future expansion.

Saudi Arabia said help with economic diversification should be the cornerstone of adaptation assistance. On the environmental impacts of development projects and integrating climate change into development assistance, Neeraj Prasad noted that the World Bank has merged all environment related sub-agencies into a single sustainable development department, allowing it to take better advantage of synergies and to better identify environmental concerns. Kishan Khoday said UNDP has been working with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the incorporation of strategic environmental assessments into development assistance. Neeraj Prasad explained that the World Bank has tested its adaptation package on nine country portfolios but that it is still in the assessment phase for use as an instrument for all countries.

Part II: Other Development Agencies: James Roop, Asian Development Bank (ADB), noted the ADBs interest in adaptation, including in: regional and sub-regional cooperation; providing national adaptation support; and mainstreaming adaptation into the ADBs own strategies and plans. He outlined relevant activities, such as taking account of projected climatic changes when developing infrastructure, and preparing a technical guide to help countries integrate adaptation into their planning processes.

Thomas Elhaut, IFAD, stressed the importance of multilateralism, which he said means working together to address climate change risks, and highlighted the need for each agency to contribute to a common goal based on its own strengths. He emphasized the importance of adaptation for meeting the MDGs, saying that the 2015 poverty reduction goal remains a challenge for Asia, and cited options, such as drawing on indigenous farming knowledge. He stressed the importance of support from multilateral institutions, partnerships at global, national and local levels, and thinking globally while acting locally.

Masakazu Ichimura, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), explained that UNESCAP has assisted countries with national communications and NAPAs, but that numerous requests have been received from members to strengthen activities on adaptation. He said UNESCAP seeks to promote more environmentally sound patterns of growth and highlighted that UNESCAPs advantage is that it is intergovernmental, multi-ministerial and multidisciplinary, such that it has access to finance, planning and development ministries. Ichimura said UNESCAP would consider means and modalities, such as a policy dialogue forum, to expand information exchange on adaptation policies.

Miao Hongjun, UN/ISDR, said ISDR understands disasters as a combination of hazards and vulnerabilities, and that there is a strong relationship between disaster reduction and climate change. He explained that both are development issues with similar complexities and challenges, and that win-win measures, such as early warning systems, can be taken to both increase adaptation and prevent disasters. He suggested the workshop list disaster risk reduction as an important priority.

Discussion: James Roop confirmed that the ADBs work on technical assistance with selected developing member countries will address: the costs and benefits of adaptation strategies; the entire costs of a project not just the marginal costs of adaptation; and training and capacity building. Thomas Elhaut explained that international and regional financial institutions are not directly involved in financing insurance schemes, rather, that they facilitate dialogue with insurance institutions. Masakazu Ichimura highlighted that the advantage UNESCAP has in working on adaptation is that it can address the broader socioeconomic dimensions of climate change.


ROUNDTABLE ON SOUTH-SOUTH COLLABORATION: Heru Santoso, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), reported on a project, implemented by CIFOR with developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, that promotes adaptation to climate change and focuses on adaptation assessment. He identified the lack of a common understanding and institutional capacity as key gaps, and stressed the role of regional workshops, attended by all relevant ministries and agencies, for information exchange. He said another gap relates to the availability of climate scenarios, which are important for formulating long-term response strategies, and suggested cooperation could generate more scenarios.

Shen Yiyang, UNDP, noted common problems faced by developing countries, including poverty, environmental degradation and vulnerability to climate change. He stressed the need to inform people of risks and how to mitigate them, because only when people understand that climate change affects their development will they take action. He identified the lack of appropriate models to monitor and evaluate climate change effects, and reported on collaboration between UNDP and China to strengthen Chinas capacity to address adaptation and mitigation.

Medea Inashvili, Ministry of Environment Protection (Georgia), discussed adaptation in Georgia and said climate change impacts highlighted by other countries are also occurring in Georgia. Inashvili said Geogria initiated its second national communication in 2006 and that its three major climate change problems are desertification, impacts on forests in western Georgia, and coastal zone problems, including the rise of the Black Sea. She stressed the need to focus discussions on replicable solutions for adaptation.

Raweewan Bhuridej, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (Thailand), discussed priority issues in South-South collaboration. She said countries should work together sub-regionally, as opposed to regionally, to effectively accelerate the mainstreaming and prioritization of adaptation. In making progress on adaptation, Bhuridej underscored the importance of: addressing data gaps and understanding needs; ensuring institutional partnerships, such as between the UNFCCC and active regional partners; and using tools, such as economic incentives or disincentives.

Discussion: Armenia and Indonesia suggested a regional adaptation project to identify common problems and appropriate solutions. Indonesia also suggested developing cooperative adaptation projects for neighboring countries with similar conditions. Roberto Acosta provided the example of the Latin American climate change network, Ancha Srinivasan offered suggestions for cooperation over regional water resources and education, and William Westermeyer gave the example of regional workshops that resulted in regional work programmes. Anne Olhoff highlighted: South-South cooperation over accessing the CDM; developing South-South cooperation models; barriers to financing; and collating available information.

Heru Santoso emphasized lessons learned, and suggested holding more workshops to which people from the development sector should be invited. Shen Yiyang stressed the need for: local-level action and involvement; appropriate assessment models; an appropriate data collection system; and information exchange. Georgia stressed the benefits of collaborating and sharing experiences for neighboring countries with similar problems, while Thailand suggested an initial focus on cross-cutting issues.

ROUNDTABLE ON NORTH-SOUTH COLLABORATION: Karen Sutherland, Environment Canada, said the regional adaptation workshops have been valuable in identifying priority areas for further action on adaptation within the UNFCCC process. She discussed recent adaptation projects in Vietnam, Bangladesh and India that were supported by the Canada Climate Change Development Fund. She noted two key adaptation questions for the international community, namely, how to most effectively facilitate and enable action on adaptation in all countries, and how to best support adaptation in developing countries.

Kunihiko Shimada, Ministry of Environment (Japan), noted Japan will chair the Group of Eight (G-8) from 2008 and that it will prioritize adaptation and regional climate change cooperation. He highlighted the concept of climate security and how adaptation relates to human security. Shimada outlined the Japan International Cooperation Agencys programme of climate change training for young professionals from developing country governments, and invited participants to provide nominations. He also noted the World Bank is developing screening tools for adaptation and said Japan would like to support further development of this project.

Matt Coyne, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK), described the UKs work on adaptation with India and China, explaining that the first phase involved impact assessments, but that adaptation options are now being considered. He said limitations of this work include that there has been no implementation on the ground and that much research is highly skilled and not easily transferred to LDCs. He highlighted that a working definition of adaptation, and a clear understanding of where development stops and adaptation starts, are essential for attracting funding.

Discussion: Malaysia suggested the UNFCCC be more proactive in disseminating information on climate change impacts. Roberto Acosta outlined the need for innovative ways to overcome limited resources and mentioned the possibility of using an expanded carbon market for allocating more resources to adaptation. Shen Yiyang stressed financing for adaptation and capacity building, and developing new methodologies for assessment and adaptation, and said UNDP would work with the UNFCCC to promote the development of new methods. The European Community (EC) underscored the need for research on the costs and benefits of adaptation and the costs of inaction, in light of the Stern Review. Participants also discussed: how the costs of adaptation influence allocations of official development assistance; how to create incentives for the national prioritization of climate change; and the sustainability of adaptation projects.


DISCUSSIONS IN BREAKOUT GROUPS: Discussions in each of the three breakout groups focused on integrated vulnerability and adaptation assessment, and adaptation planning and implementation.

Group I: Facilitated by Lu Xianfu and Senaka Bandara Basnayake, Group I discussed the need for, inter alia: climate observation networks; strategic capacity building; combined analysis of climate and socioeconomic data; appropriate technology transfer; facilitating the role of the insurance sector in risk reduction; increasing the involvement of the private sector, and finance and planning ministries; and tailoring information to suit the needs of stakeholders. Some participants also stressed the need to avoid repeating the language of decision 1/CP.10 and to ensure the workshops recommendations extended beyond the steps provided for in decision 1/CP.10.

Group II: Facilitated by Ancha Srinivasan and Rosa Perez, Group II noted that Asian developing countries generally do not have the capacity to undertake integrated vulnerability and adaptation assessments, and agreed that the UNFCCC should promote capacity building. On adaptation planning and implementation, the group identified gaps, including: the lack of guidelines and awareness among policy makers; the limited number of pilot projects; and limited capabilities for developing projects.

Participants discussed recommendations, including: preparing operational guidelines to mainstream adaptation; facilitating funding for preparing adaptation action plans; promoting synergies between climate change vulnerability and adaptation, and other conventions; facilitating workshops for awareness raising among policy makers; creating incentives, such as adaptation vouchers and credits, to mobilize private sector participation; and encouraging regional development agencies to mainstream adaptation into their business cycle.

Group III: On adaptation planning and implementation, Group III, facilitated by Mozaharul Alam and Nailya Mustaeva, discussed recommendations, including: minimizing costs in adaptation planning; implementing pilot projects; compiling, disseminating and building on existing knowledge; ensuring technology transfer and economic diversification alongside capacity-building activities; providing for training and education; and integrating approaches across sectors and levels of national activity.

On integrated vulnerability and adaptation assessment, participants said capacity building must address institutional, technical and infrastructural matters, and must facilitate the long-term retention of expertise. Participants also suggested, inter alia: ensuring multidisciplinary assessment teams; integrating biophysical and socioeconomic assessments; ensuring NAPAs can be implemented at the local level; and ensuring continuous systematic observation for facilitating assessment.

PRESENTATION OF THE RESULTS FROM THE BREAKOUT GROUPS AND GENERAL DISCUSSION ON NEEDS AND CONCERNS AND WAYS FORWARD: Rafig Verdiyev presented the key points from Group I, based on three categories: emerging outcomes on integrated vulnerability and adaptation assessment; emerging outcomes on adaptation planning and implementation; and recommendations for ways forward on integrated vulnerability and adaptation assessment, and implementation.

Yulia Suryanti, State Ministry for the Environment (Indonesia), presented gaps identified by Group II, including: a lack of capacity, awareness, and guidelines for adaptation planning and implementation; the limited number of adaptation projects, and a lack of mainstreaming by regional development agencies. On ways forward, she said Group IIs recommendations included: developing operational guidelines; facilitating funding for preparing adaptation action plans; promoting synergies with, and advocacy at, other forums and conventions; and organizing workshops for raising awareness.

Abdullah Tawlah, Ministry of Petroleum and Resources (Saudi Arabia), said Group III suggested that priorities for integrated vulnerability and adaptation assessments include a stock-take of available data, multidisciplinary teams and fostering technology and skills transfer. On adaptation planning and implementation, he said Group III recommended, inter alia: the initiation of pilot-scale projects and NAPA-like processes for non-LDCs; adaptation plans at community, provincial and national levels; and the screening of development projects for climate change impacts.

Discussion: Chair Asadi said the aims of the breakout groups were to develop novel ideas and recommendations that could add value. He explained a final report would be prepared by the UNFCCC Secretariat and presented, with the other regional reports, to SBI 26, and expressed hope that the reports would advance discussions on adaptation.

The EC requested further information from Group II on their discussion of adaptation vouchers and credits, and Ancha Srinivasan explained it was an idea for engaging the private sector through the use of incentives, and that it would require the resolution of definitional issues surrounding adaptation. The EC also requested clarification on the perceived importance of cost-benefit analyses for adaptation by developing countries. Azerbaijan clarified that Group I considered this important and viewed cost-benefit analyses to be part of the process of integrating climate and socioeconomic data.


Chair Asadi thanked the Government of China for hosting the workshop and the participants for their contributions. He said good progress had been made through the useful exchange of experiences, and that this was a solid beginning for a process that he hoped would be continued. Cao Ziyi, on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, thanked Chair Asadi for his leadership and participants for their contributions. Chair Asadi closed the meeting at 5:17 pm.


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CLIMATIC CHANGES AND THEIR IMPACTS ON COASTAL ZONES AND RIVER DELTAS: VULNERABILITY, MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION: This meeting will be held in Alexandria, Egypt, from 21-25 April 2007. The topics to be discussed include: global climate changes; mitigation and adaptation; impacts of sea-level rise on groundwater and soil salinization in river deltas; impacts of global climatic change on river deltas and coastal zones from a geo-environmental and socioeconomic point of view; long-term vulnerability of natural resources to climate change; and soil and water treatment. For more information, contact: Conference Secretariat; e-mail: amhkhater@yahoo.com; internet: http://www.ccie.eg.net/index.html

TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE: IPCC-26 is scheduled for 4 May 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand, immediately following the ninth session of Working Group III, to be held from 30 April to 3 May 2007. For more information, contact: Rudie Bourgeois, IPCC Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-7 30-8025/13; e-mail: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int; internet: http://www.ipcc.ch/

TWENTY-SIXTH SESSIONS OF THE UNFCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES AND KYOTO PROTOCOL AD HOC WORKING GROUP: SB 26 will be held from 7-18 May 2007 in Bonn, Germany. It will be held alongside the third session of the Kyoto Protocols Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I parties (AWG) and various other events, including a third UNFCCC Dialogue on long-term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the Convention. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; internet: http://www.unfccc.int

THIRD INTERNATIONAL GREEN ENERGY CONFERENCE: This conference, organized by Mlardalen University, will be held from 18-20 June 2007 in Vsters, Sweden. It will seek to provide a multidisciplinary setting to exchange the latest technical information, research and developments. For more information, contact: Professor J. Yan, Chair of IGEC-III; tel: +46-2110-1367; fax: +46-2110-1370; e-mail: yanjy@ket.kth.se; internet: http://www.igec.info

IPCC-TGICA REGIONAL MEETING: This meeting, sponsored by the IPCCs Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA), the Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START), and the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of South Pacific (PACE/USP), will be held from 20-22 June 2007 in Nadi, Fiji. It will explore innovative research approaches for addressing the multi-scale and multidisciplinary challenges associated with climate change impacts, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation. For more information, contact: IPCC Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-730-8025; e-mail: ipcc-wg1@al.noaa.gov; internet: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/meeting/TGICA-Regional/TGICA-Rgnl_public.html

UNFCCC DIALOGUE AND FOURTH SESSION OF AWG: The fourth workshop of the UNFCCC dialogue on long-term cooperative action and the fourth session of the Kyoto Protocols AWG are expected to take place from 3-7 September 2007 in Vienna, Austria. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; internet: http://www.unfccc.int

TWENTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE: IPCC-27, to be held from 12-16 November 2007 in Valencia, Spain, will focus on the adoption of the IPCCs Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). For more information, contact: Rudie Bourgeois, IPCC Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-7 30-8025/13; e-mail: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int; internet: http://www.ipcc.ch/

THIRTEENTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC AND THIRD MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: UNFCCC COP 13 and Kyoto Protocol COP/MOP 3 will take place from 3-14 December 2007 at the Bali International Conference Center and adjacent Nusa Dua facilities, Indonesia. These meetings will coincide with SB 27 and a meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments from Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol. COP 13 and COP/MOP 3 are also expected to be accompanied by a meeting of the UNFCCC dialogue on long-term cooperative action and various other events. For more information, contact: tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; internet: http://www.unfccc.int

For more information on upcoming meetings, please visit: Upcoming Meetings > Climate and Atmosphere



Asian Development Bank
Center for International Forestry Research
Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC
Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
Global Climate Observing System
Global Environment Facility
International Fund for Agricultural Development
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Least Developed Countries
Millennium Development Goals
National Adaptation Programme of Action (for LDCs)
Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Subsidiary Body for Implementation (UNFCCC)
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (UNFCCC)
Special Climate Change Fund (UNFCCC)
Small Island Developing States
UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
World Metrological Organization

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