Friday, September 4, 2015

Newsletter Issue #6 - October 2014

Improving the scientific basis for measuring, monitoring & evaluating adaptation

Given the significant scale up for investments in adaptation interventions across the globe, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) has become an important tool for the scientific community, donor agencies and other stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of these interventions. With this in view, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and PROVIA decided to collaborate in an initiative to strengthen the scientific base for measuring, monitoring & evaluating adaptation. The initiative includes a number of commissioned papers that explore different aspects of the problem, including: the M&E of programmatic and institutional interventions; establishing two-way linkages between project-level indicators and national-level outcomes; drawing lessons from M&E of development interventions for climate change adaptation, and addressing the data and information needs of M&E.

Zero-order drafts of these papers were presented and discussed recently at a workshop in Mumbai (January 22 – 24, 2015). Participants included the authors of the papers along with representatives of funding agencies, implementing and executing agencies, and experts in the field of climate change vulnerability and adaptation. While the work is still in progress, the workshop and draft papers have already brought out a number of important and relevant messages:

  1. M&E is an important tool for establishing the validity and value of adaptation interventions. Unfortunately, it often faces barriers due to under-investment and lack of commitment from stakeholders. Given that M&E is not costless and does not happen automatically, there is a need to invest in M&E activities.
  2. Learning is important for adaptation; and therefore learning has to be one of the main (if not the principal) objective of M&E systems. The problem is that that is not the case today where the focus is primarily accountability, and to a lesser extent, performance. In this context, it is important to recognize the role of failure; intelligent failure can be very useful for learning.
  3. There is a need to evolve from the M&E of projects to building M&E systems at the national level. Since, in practice, adaptation will be supported through a variety of sources – public, private, domestic, bilateral and multilateral, there is a need to develop a country-based M&E system that will track the progress and outcomes of adaptation interventions. Such M&E systems will necessarily need to be mainstreamed into the monitoring and evaluation of development interventions.

STAP and PROVIA expect the com-missioned papers to be published in the form of a technical report by early summer 2015, subsequent to extensive review and consultation. It is hoped that this work will not only support multilateral funding agencies such as the GEF and the GCF, but also countries as they move towards scaled-up action on adaptation.

As always, we invite you take a moment to join our PROVIA network formally. This time we also encourage you to participate in the upcoming 4th International Adaptation Futures Conference to be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 10-13 May 2016 and subscribe to the Conference Newsletter. 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 Anand Patwardhan
Member, PROVIA Interim Scientific Steering Committee
Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

Three New Members joined the PROVIA International Scientific Steering Committee

The Scientific Steering Committee of PROVIA has appointed three new members to the PROVIA international Scientific Steering Committee through the nomination call sent out in August 2014. It is our pleasure to welcome new members to PROVIA Scientific Steering Committee. We hope to build stronger scientific committee to improve the coherence of research on climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation.

Short Biographical details of New Members

Ms Kristie L. Ebi, Ph.D., MPH,
Professor, Global Health,
Department of Global Health,
University of Washington, Seattle, WA USA;

Professor Ebi’s research focuses on the impacts of and adaptation to climate change, including extreme events, thermal stress, foodborne safety and security, waterborne diseases, and vector borne diseases. Her work focuses on understanding sources of vulnerability and designing adaptation policies to reduce the risks of climate change in a multi-stressor environment.
Ms Rupa Mukerji, Co-Head Advisory Services,
Member of the Management Board,
HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation,

Building on 20 years of work in the natural resource management and livelihood domains, Rupa was responsible for one of the first field projects on ‘Adaptation to Climate Change’ in India, in 2004. This provided inputs to India’s National Action Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change, and to several of the state action plans that followed. Based on these experiences, she supports the design and implementation of concrete activities that link climate research with practical actions in South America (Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador), South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan) and East Africa (Ethiopia).
Mr Yasuaki Hijioka,
Head, Environmental Urban Systems Section,
Centre of Social and Environmental Systems Research,
National Institute for Environmental Studies,
Tsukuba, Japan.

Dr Yasuaki Hijioka’s research topics cover modelling analysis for environmental issues related to climate change impacts and adaptation, and he is involved in the development of the Asia-Pacific Integrated Model (AIM) to estimate climate change impacts and to assess policy options for stabilizing global climate. He is a coordinating lead author for working group II of the IPCC fifth assessment report.

WMO appoints Andrew Tait and David Carlson in the Scientific Steering Committee of PROVIA

WMO adopted PROVIA as a new component of the World Climate Programme (WCP) by Resolution 6 of the Sixty-fifth session of the WMO Executive Council (EC-65) in 2013. Since then, PROVIA has been reporting to the Executive Council on progress of work and interactively participating to other components of the WCP; namely, World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), and the 16th Session of the Commission for Climatology (CCI-16).

Dr David Carlson is the Director of the Joint Planning Staff of World Climate Research Programme representing WCRP in the Scientific Steering Committee of PROVIA. Dr. Carlson has devoted more than 25 years to international science: in 1990-94 he was the Director of the International Project Office for the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere programme (TOGA). After that and through nearly a decade he was the Director of Atmospheric Technology for the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, supporting climate, atmospheric chemistry and meteorology research around the world. Dr. Carlson holds a PhD in Oceanography and led successful research on upper ocean physics and chemistry, oceanic microbiology and carbon cycling, and marine chemical ecology at Oregon State University.

Dr Andrew Tait, Principle Climate Scientist with the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWA) in New Zealand representing WMO’s Commission for Climatology in the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) of PROVIA. He specializes in applications of climate data and products and climate change impacts and adaptation research for New Zealand and the South Pacific. He recently led a 4-year project on Climate Change and Urban Impacts in New Zealand and is currently co-leading a project on Climate Change Impacts and Implications for NZ to 2100. Andrew is a lead author of the Australasia chapter of the IPCC Fifth Assessment WGII Report, a member of the WMO CCl executive and co-chair of the Open Panel of CCl Experts (OPACE) on ‘Climate Information for Adaptation and Risk Management’, a theme leader of the WMO Regional Association V Working Group on Climate Services, and the chair of the Pacific Islands Climate Services Panel.

Forty-first Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

UNEP hosted the 41st Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 24 – 27 February 2015 at the UN Gigiri Complex in Nairobi. The opening ceremony was attended by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment in the Government of Kenya, UNEP’s Executive Director, and the Secretary General of WMO. The Session discussed inter alia, future work of IPCC and lessons from the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

The session discussed, in particular, the future work of the IPCC and the importance of IPCC as a leading international body for scientific accuracy, rigour, comprehensiveness and robustness of IPCC in providing a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner highlighted the importance of an outcome of this IPCC session due to the interconnection and inter-linkages between climate change and other environmental and socio-economic concerns relevance to the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He further expressed the need to improve the ability and flexibility of the IPCC to provide timely response to emerging topics or new concerns of government, policymakers and international organizations; improve the user-friendliness of its products for diverse audiences; use of technological advancement and trends to make its products more accessible and appealing to diverse audience.

With regard to UNEP’s work on climate change, Mr Steiner acknowledged PROVIA’s contributions in providing direction and its support to ensure coherence at the international level for research on vulnerability, impacts and adaptation to climate change. Similarly, WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud also referred to PROVIA under the World Climate Programme and its contribution to the identification of research and observations gaps and emphasized the need for collaborative efforts among the four components the WCP.

PROVIA agenda at 41st Session of the IPCC

The Panel at its 40th Session agreed to convene a “Lessons Learnt workshop”. In response to the PROVIA proposal, IPCC has considered a joint activity by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA) for workshops on lessons learnt from the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) to identify scientific gaps in knowledge that cut across Working Groups I, II and III.

E-Prototype of PROVIA Guidance on assessing VIA

Recognizing stakeholders’ demand for knowledge on vulnerability, impacts and adaptation to climate change that must be matched with the supply of clear technical guidance on assessing vulnerability, impacts and adaptation that combines robust science with explicit consideration of user needs at the local, national and international levels, in both developed and developing countries, PROVIA developed a Guidance on assessing climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation, covering the wide array of approaches, methods and tools with focus on particular implication to the develop of specific, sectorial or place-based approaches with case studies and good practices for effective adaptation.

Due to growing demand of the PROVIA Guidance, PROVIA has commenced an activity aimed at developing and testing a prototype of an interactive electronic version of the PROVIA Guidance on Assessing Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change (an early design of the Guidance to test a concept), so that user can navigate through the decision trees and is presented only with the information relevant to his or her assessment need, and allowing to improve and update the electronic tool with new information and functionality, thus making it a “living PROVIA Guidance document”.

The PROVIA Guidance electronic prototype has been designed and tested through two consultations with stakeholders who are the end-users of the e-tool, including adaptation planners and experts. The decision trees, methods and tools included in the PROVIA guidance are built on research conducted within the project MEDIATION: Methodology for Effective Decision-making on Impacts and Adaptation, funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme. The technical support provided by the MEDIATION project in the development of e-prototype has been of great value.

The e-prototype uses the decision tree and toolbox structure of the PROVIA Guidance in a set of interlinked webpages to support adaptation planners, decision-makers, experts and academics in selecting best options to carry out climate change vulnerability, impact and adaptation assessments.

At COP20 in Lima, Peru, PROVIA and the National Institute for Environment Studies (NIES) from Japan jointly organized a side-event on “Recent Developments in Adaptation Planning”. The event highlighted the e-prototype of PROVIA Guidance including consultation sessions in which the participants were divided into two groups for hands-on testing of the e-prototype. The consultation sessions were participated by international organizations, academics, media and governmental bodies. In addition to the positive feedbacks given at the consultations, constructive suggestions on how to modify and improve the e-prototype as well as the PROVIA guidance itself were also received.

These recommendations are the key outcome of the consultations and will be considered when turning the prototype into a fully-fledged tool. And once it is finalized, the e-tool will be made available widely through different channels, focusing specifically (but not exclusively) on LDCs and other developing countries. Participants from Benin and the Gambia have already expressed their interest in using the tool when preparing their third National Communication to the UNFCCC.

Now the Summary of PROVIA Guidance on Assessing Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change is available in Spanish version. Click here to access Spanish version of the Summary report.

The First Global Adaptation Network Forum

On 6-7 March 2015, in Panama City, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) organized the first Global Adaptation Network (GAN) Forum, sponsored by the governments of Japan, Spain and Norway.

The participants from various Adaptation Knowledge Networks, Government Officials and experts working in the field of Climate Change Adaptation shared their experiences in exchanging adaptation knowledge, challenges in coordinating and facilitate the dissemination of the knowledge, such as sources and networking activities for adaptation knowledge and means to improve the availability and accessibility of such knowledge to the users (demand-driven side).

As a part of on-going consultation to explore and identify possible areas of synergy between PROVIA and GAN, PROVIA actively participated and presented its on-going works and strongly advocated the GAN as a potential means to facilitate the dissemination of VIA knowledge more effectively and efficiently. In addition, GAN can help PROVIA to strengthen communication within VIA research community to improve the availability and accessibility of such knowledge through its regional networks.

PROVIA Session on Effective Adaptation Communication at the First Global Adaptation Network Forum

The project seeks to better understand the most effective communication strategies to ensure that users will engage with and adopt the outputs from climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation research. The project successfully engaged with participants at the 4th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum, 1-3 October 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, (held in collaboration with the Korean Environment Institute) and at the first Global Adaptation Network (GAN) Forum 6-7 March 2015, Panama City, Panama. Participants provided examples of good practice examples of adaptation communication and discussed why these were effective. The next workshop session is planned at the 9th Community Based Adaptation Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, 24-30 April 2015.

The research team would value your input tremendously and is keen to share the project’s results with the VIA community. Please send your examples of one good practice in climate change adaptation. Also tell us why you think your example is good/effective? The research is due to be completed by January 2016. Please send your examples by 30 June 2015 to

Upcoming Events

12 – 14 May 2015

European Climate Change Adaptation Conference
Copenhagen, Denmark

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12 – 14 May 2015

2nd National Adaptation Forum
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

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7 – 10 July 2015

International Scientific Conference:
Our Common Future Under
Climate Change
Paris, France

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newsletter archive
Issue#6 October 2014
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Issue#5 June 2014
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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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