Thursday, September 18, 2014

Newsletter Issue# 5 - June 2014

PROVIA Guidance on Assessing Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change

In 1994 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published Technical Guidelines for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations. These guidelines were complemented in 1996 by the UNEP Handbook on Methods for Climate Change Impact Assessment and Adaptation Strategies. The IPCC Guidelines and the UNEP Handbook were applied in a range of studies during the decade following their publication.

The past decade, however, has seen a shift from centralised assessment guidance to the development of specific, often sectoral or place-based approaches. There has been a proliferation of assessment methods and tools, and it has become increasingly difficult for potential users to understand the utility, benefits, requirements and tradeoffs of those methods and tools.

PROVIA recognised that stakeholders’ demand for knowledge on vulnerability, impacts and adaptation must be matched with the supply from the research community of clear technical guidance that takes into account both the academic developments of the past 20 years as well as user needs at local, national and international levels, in both developing and developed countries.

The PROVIA Guidance on Assessing Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change was produced by a team of ten authors and supported by a large group of experts and reviewers. The PROVIA Guidance updates and improves on earlier guidance. It discusses key issues at each stage of the adaptation cycle and covers the wide array of approaches, methods and tools available to address them.

The PROVIA Guidance is meant to be informative rather than prescriptive, and is conceived as a “living document”: the current version is a consultation document that will benefit from feedback from users. Two consultation sessions will be held over the course of the next few months: one in Johannesburg involving government experts from the southern African region, and one in Washington, DC involving representatives of bilateral and multilateral donors and other international organisations.

PROVIA works together closely with the National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP), a joint initiative of UNDP and UNEP, funded by the Global Environment Facility and targeted at the least-developed countries. With support from the NAP-GSP, PROVIA has prepared a user companion that explains how the PROVIA Guidance may be used to better understand key concepts and available methods and tools throughout the National Adaptation Plan process.

To save trees and to strengthen its functionality and user-friendliness, future versions of the PROVIA Guidance will be made available primarily as an interactive electronic tool. A prototype tool is currently under development and will be tested as part of the aforementioned consultation sessions.

As always, we encourage you to get involved with the PROVIA initiative. We invite you take a moment to join our PROVIA network formally. Your contact information allows us to keep you informed of PROVIA activities, and will assist us in targeted responses to support our stakeholder community.

Professor Richard J.T. Klein
Member, PROVIA Interim Scientific Steering Committee
Senior Research Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute

Third International Futures Adaptation Conference, Fortaleza Ceará, Brazil, 12-16 May 2014

Co-hosted and convened by the Earth System Science Center of the National Institute for Space Studies (CCST-INPE) and The Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA).

The Conference follows on the success of the past two Conferences held in Australia in 2010, and Arizona, USA in 2012. Inspired by the success of these conferences, the 3rd International Adaptation Futures Conference aimed to build on the community of practice to foster a collaborative and creative international network of adaptation researchers, decision makers and practitioners from developed and developing countries to share research approaches, methods and successful stories.

The Conference was attended by more than 498 participants from 50 countries, with 23 key note speeches and 37 thematic sessions and 7 side events. Chris Field, the Co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II, also a member of PROVIA Interim Scientific Steering Committee highlighted the key outcomes of the IPCC WGII Fifth Assessment Report, noting that human interference with the climate system is real, and climate change poses risk for human and natural environment, especially impact of climate change would hit hard on poor and marginalized people directly through impacts on livelihoods.

The Conference focused on climate impacts and adaptation options, especially presented impacts and adaptation research from around the world; explored success in contribution of adaptation science to planning and policy making; challenges in adaptation decision marking in the face of uncertainty; presented cutting-edge research and practical adaptation policies and approaches for decision making from international to local scale.

Various topics, such as the impact of climate change and adaptation research in the science-policy interface, urban adaptation to climate change, adaptation and development, governance and climate change with experiences from South Africa, climate change disaster risk reduction and responses, role of private and commercial sectors, institutional arrangements for adaptation and preparation for the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) were discussed, including poster presentations. The Conference also covered themes on adaptation in coastal areas and islands, ongoing political negotiations, interaction between mitigation and adaptation, and one of the discussions were on a future planet with warming above 4 degree centigrade.

PROVIA shared its two recent publications and announced commencing new activities that would help to advance policy-relevant research on VIA, coordinate and facilitate dissemination and practical applications of research, and development and training activities for 2014 and 2015. The Scientific Steering Committee identified and approved these activities as a contribution to the research programme featured in PROVIA Report: Research Priorities on Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation: Responding to the Climate Change Challenge (UNEP, 2013).

On the last day May 16, as a part of the Adaptation Futures Conference, the high level representatives from the Government of Brazil, World Bank, WMO, UNCCD and FAO attended the International Workshop on High Level Drought Policies on Arid and Semiarid Lands, also co-hosted by CCST- INEP and PROVIA.

Announcement of the 4th International Adaptation Futures Conference 2016

The PROVIA Interim Scientific Steering Committee at its fifth annual meeting assessed all the bids received to co-host the next Adaptation Conference and decided to offer the European Commission and the Netherlands Ministry of Environment and Infrastructure to co-host PROVIA International Adaptation Future Conference in 2016. The Committee also announced the decision at the Conference in Fortaleza and invited the EC and the Dutch Ministry of Environment and Infrastructure to present their bid at the Conference’s side-event in Fortaleza, May 2014.

5th PROVIA Scientific Steering Committee Meeting, 10-11 May 2014, Fortaleza, Brazil

UNEP hosted the fifth PROVIA Interim Scientific Steering Committee meeting in Fortaleza, Brazil. The Committee reviewed PROVIA 2013-2014 workplan, and developed the work-plan for 2014-2015, called PROVIA priority activities for 2014-2015, which is broadly divided into three areas: i) research activities: advancing policy-relevant research on VIA, ii) engagement activities: coordinating and facilitating dissemination and practical application of research, and iii) development and training activities.

The Committee decided to bring three new members to join PROVIA Scientific Steering Committee through an open call for nominations and subsequently stepping down of three old members by the end of 2015. The call for nomination will be repeated next year and after. The Secretariat has sent out organ open call for nominations to recruit three new members to join the PROVIA Scientific Steering Committee.

The Committee requested activities and plans to disseminate two reports that PROVIA has published in 2013:
  1. Research Priorities on Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation: Responding to the Climate Change Challenge
  2. PROVIA Guidance on Assessing Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change
On the second day, the discussion on possible areas for collaboration with potential partner organizations and the governing bodies provided much needed cooperation. The presentation by individual organizations focused on what they have been doing that could serve as a catalyst within PROVIA work along with a list of possible areas that PROVIA would be able to collaborate with them. World Meteorological Organization (WMO), World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the European Commission, Future Earth, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change and UNEP shared their views and ideas provided much needed support to move forward working with partner organizations, especially joint research projects, knowledge sharing and dissemination, cooperation at institutional level and advisory roles to support UNFCCC processes.

In regards to partnerships, PROVIA with the European Commission and the Dutch Ministry of Environment and Infrastructure will co-host the Fourth International Adaptation Futures Conference in Rotterdam, May 2016. The Committee members will follow-up on the discussion for collaboration with the UNFCCC at the Climate Talk in Bonn and COP20 in Lima. Further discussion at institutional level collaboration with WMO will be at the meetings of the WMO Executive Council-66 meeting in Geneva, June 2014, followed by exploring possible interlinkages at 16th Session of the Commission for Climatology (CCI-16) 3–8 July and WCRP JSC-35 Joint Scientific Committee Thirty-Five Session in July 2014, Heidelberg, Germany.

An online training materials based on PROVIA Guidance for SIDS

The United Nations has declared 2014 the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). UNEP is developing a GEO report on SIDS which will be launched at the beginning of September in Samoa. In this regards, UNEP is also supporting PROVIA to develop an online climate change adaptation tool for the SIDS. Together with the University of Geneva, UNEP’s support will be used to create an online training material for SIDS based on the PROVIA Guidance report on assessing vulnerability, impacts and adaptation to climate change. It is seen to be a pilot step that may ultimately serve to build capacity of researchers, policy makers, sectoral planners and practitioners to select appropriate methods and tools in the context SIDS for effective adaptation. In a continued phase, the online training material could be scaled up into Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for large scale moderated training.

Upcoming Events

1-4 September 2014

The 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States
Apia, Samoa
View Website
23 September 2014

Climate Summit 2014
UN Headquarters
New York, USA
Visit the Website
1 - 12 December 2014

Lima COP20, United Nations Climate Change Conference
Lima, Peru
Visit the website

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newsletter archive
Issue#4 February 2014
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Issue#3 October 2013
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Issue#2 July 2013
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Issue#1 April 2013
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