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The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Program on Risk and Vulnerability
The IIASA Program on Risk and Vulnerability conducts conceptual and applied analyses that contribute to decreasing the risk and vulnerability of societies and ecosystems, and promoting their adaptation and resilience, to stresses imposed or aggravated by global change phenomena.

Action Pledge

To draft and submit a guidance paper with the title “Using climate data, observations, and forecasts to improve adaptive decision-making in multiple sectors in Africa.” This paper will draw on work conducted over the last year, but will include a new set of analyses specific to the objectives of the Nairobi Work Programme.

Overall objectives
This action will relate to the use of data and observations, with the objective of assisting Parties to make informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures to climate change on a sound scientific, technical and socio-economic basis, taking into account current and future climate change and variability.

Project Purpose
The specific objectives of this project are to inform the Parties, and other participants in the Nairobi Work Programme, about the demonstrated benefits of applying climate data, observations, and forecasts across multiple sectors in Africa, the reasons why those benefits are not greater, and the immediate steps that could be taken to improve adaptive decision-making through the use of data, observations, and forecasts.

The team of researchers has already organized stakeholder meetings, conducted a review of published and unpublished literature, attended numerous workshops, and written a draft report, in cooperation with WMO affiliated organizations in Africa (DMC, ICPAC, ACMAD). The team will synthesize these findings in order to be of use within the Nairobi Work Programme, most importantly formulating policy-relevant conclusions relevant to the UNFCCC institutional setting.

Expected results
We expect to submit a salient and independent guidance paper on or before 21 September 2007, which will make clear policy recommendations about the immediate steps required to improve the use of data, observations, and forecasts.

Indicators of achievement
This action will have been successful if it leads to concrete actions not already proposed by Parties or the WMO to improve the use of climate data, observations, and forecasts to assist adaptation to climate change and climate variaibility.

pdf-icon Action pledge (218 kB)

Further relevant work

Extensive analysis of the uses of seasonal and shorter term climate forecasts for sustainable development and climate adaptation, focused mostly on Africa, are available including:

  • An assessment, commissioned by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on the existing uses and benefits of seasonal climate forecasts across multiple sectors in Africa. The assessment draws from an analysis of over 50 papers, studies, and pilot projects that have been conducted in Africa, and reaches conclusions about where climate forecasts have been useful so far, where they potentially could be in the future, and what the immediate challenges for policy makers are in the coming years.
  • A set of lessons learned from 10 years of experience in Africa applying seasonal forecast to sustainable development efforts. The lessons are particularly important for considering the use of climate forecasts for climate adaptation.
  • An analysis of when and in what ways the application of seasonal climate forecasts improves the capacity of individuals and organizations to adapt to climate change, as part of a conference on climate adaptation held at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
    As the analysis is still under revision, please contact Dr. Patt for details:


IIASA Program on Risk and Vulnerability