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Workshop on integrating practices, tools and systems for climate risk assessment and management and disaster risk reduction strategies into national policies and programmes

 

The three-day workshop, attended by over 110 experts from both developed and developing countries, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, improved understanding of both the current practices and the opportunities to enable the mainstreaming of climate-related risks and disaster reduction into national planning. 

The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that the impacts of climate change will increase in the future, making it necessary for countries, in particular small island developing states such as Cuba, to plan for those impacts and undertake appropriate measures to adapt to them.

The UNFCCC technical paper on “integrating practices, tools and systems for climate risk assessment and management and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies into national policies and programmes” provided background information that served as a useful input into the ensuing deliberations. 

A range of planned and operational initiatives undertaken by different international, regional and national entities were shared from different perspectives and entry points. Core messages that emerged from all presentations include:

  • The common objectives of DRR and adaptation
  • The need for simple methods and practical tools that can be used by stakeholders
  • The importance of building on existing experience in coping with current climate variability and risks
  • The need for enabling environments
  • The need for strong coordination and cooperation at all levels

Two problem areas identified were: The limited resources, methods and tools available for assessing risk in the context of climate change and the capacity to use these resources; and the lack of awareness of the need to integrate risk reduction into planning and policy making. Existing modalities that can be successfully used for integration were found to be unevenly distributed and used. However, there are existing initiatives upon which further action can be built. Participants highlighted the need for information to be delivered to policymakers in a form that they can use and digest.

A large number of action pledges were made, many of which effectively seek to bridge the areas of work of adaptation planning and practices and of climate related risks and extreme events under the Nairobi work programme. Once the texts of these pledges are received, they will be posted on the Nairobi work programme website. They will also be reflected in upcoming progress reports to the SBSTA, as well as in other relevant publications on the Nairobi work programme.

This work, and that of the Nairobi work programme in general, is of major importance in the context of the negotiations on the future regime under the AWG-LCA, of which adaptation is an important pillar. Some of the outcomes of this workshop may inform the discussions on issues related to risk management and disaster reduction as well as adaptation planning. One of the emerging elements of the negotiations is that of knowledge sharing, and Parties have recognized the potential usefulness of the Nairobi work programme as a hub for sharing knowledge in an enhanced adaptation regime.  At the end of March, negotiators will be meeting in Bonn to move the process forward.

The workshop was part of a series of events  organized under the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. The Nairobi work programme aims to assist all countries, in particular developing countries, to improve their understanding and assessment of impacts and vulnerability to climate change and to make informed decisions on practical adaptation actions.

Subsequent workshops will be held in 2009 focusing on advancing the integration of various approaches to adaptation planning. These include scaling up local and community-based adaptation, increasing economic resilience to climate change and reducing reliance on vulnerable economic sectors.