Monday, November 30, 2015

Newsletter Issue #8 - September 2015

PROVIA helps to found advisory board: Better interaction with climate modelers

PROVIA Anchors New Advisory Board on Vulnerability, Impacts, Adaptation, and Climate Services for CMIP6

As part of the World Climate Research Programme, th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) was developed to better understand past, present, and future climate changes arising from either natural, unforced variability or in response to changes in radiative forcing in a multi-model context. CMIP is now in its sixth phase (CMIP6). To help form a more coherent and productive interaction between the climate modelers in CMIP, the Vulnerability, Impacts, and Adaptation (VIA) community, and the Climate Services (CS) community, the Vulnerability, Impacts, Adaptation, and Climate Services (VIACS) Advisory Board for CMIP6 was created. The VIACS AB will contribute to the design of CMIP6-endorsed Model Intercomparison Projects (MIPs) and online analysis capabilities that will enhance the benefit of CMIP simulations. The Advisory Board will be anchored in PROVIA and include direct participation of representatives from numerous regions, impacts sectors, and prominent international groups such as the IPCC Task Group on Data and Scenario Support from Impacts and Climate Analysis (TGICA), the International Committee On New Integrated Climate change assessment Scenarios (ICONICS), the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), and the World Climate Research Programme Working Group on Regional Climate (WGRC). The Co- Chairs of the Advisory Board are Alexander Ruane from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Claas Teichmann from the Climate Service Center.

The VIACS Advisory Board will facilitate efforts to address the key science questions of CMIP6. The VIA and CS communities have an acute interest in and high reliance on the best possible information about how the earth system (in particular the impacted elements crucial to societal sectors) will respond to forcing, how model biases potentially influence decision-making in impacted sectors, and how climate variability, predictability, and uncertainty may be handled in preparing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies that benefit impacted sectors.

The first action of the VIACS Advisory Board was to task its members to solicit feedback from their respective communities as to the variables and experiments of highest priority for their planned applications of CMIP6 model output. The Advisory Board will provide input in particular on the development and application of the representative concentration pathways and shared socioeconomic pathways. Along with the historical period so called DECK (Diagnostic, Evaluation and Characterization of Klima) simulations, they are the basis for most state-of-the-art projections of climate changes utilized in assessments such as in the IPCC Working Group II.

Cynthia Rosenzweig
Member, PROVIA Interim Scientific Steering Committee
Senior Research Scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

PROVIA Sixth Scientific Steering Committee Meeting, 5-6 July 2015

UNEP sponsored the 6th PROVIA Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) meeting which took place in Paris, France. The Committee reviewed and adopted the revised vision and objectives of PROVIA (now posted on the website). Jacqueline McGlade (UNEP’s Ex-officio member) highlighted the importance of the Adaptation Futures Conference 2016 which is the PROVIA branded bi-annual conference and suggested for the right kind of partnerships. She expressed UNEP’s support to PROVIA and requested the Committee to prepare an overview of future activities, indicating priority areas for research to be considered for future research projects. The overview document could be used for resource mobilization. It also helps to link PROVIA’s priorities with other potential partners, such as Future Earth to support VIA research as joint research projects. The first day of the meeting mainly focused on future prospect of PROVIA including drafting of a long-term implementation plan, as well as resource mobilization for PROVIA.

The second day the SSC focused on possible areas for partnerships with other organizations. Around 12 organizations attended the meeting (most of them at high level), including various UN organizations, international agencies and governments, among them WMO, Future Earth, UNESCO, the European Commission, Belmont Forum, International Social Science Union, and the government representatives from the UK and the Netherlands. One of the highlights of that day was a presentation by Sybil Seitzinger, Executive Director of the International Geospere-Bioshere Programme, on key elements for successful projects with respect to designing a science program and attracting funding. She shared her experiences on strategy, engaging with a broader community, through conferences, workshops, summer schools, communications. In her view research activities should be initiated through open call workgroups.

Our Common Future under Climate Change, Paris 7-10 July 2015

This four-day international scientific conference was the largest forum for the scientific community to address key issues concerning climate change challenges and opportunities ahead of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parities (COP21). It was organized under the umbrella of the International Council for Science, Future Earth, UNESCO and major French research institutes, with the support from the French Government. The Conference was chaired by Chris Field, Co-chair of Working Group II of the IPCC and a former member of the PROVIA Scientific Steering Committee. The Conference addressed key issues concerning climate change based on the results of IPCC 5th Assessment Report, and provided an opportunity for the scientists to share useful knowledge and discuss solutions that are urgently needed to support the negotiation process in the run up to COP21. A wide range of issues was discussed such as climate and biodiversity, desertification, food security, poverty, scarcity or degradation of resources (including land and water), human health, and sustainable cities.

In a keynote speech to the plenary Saleemul Huq, co-chair of the PROVIA Scientific Steering Committee, reflected on adaptation solutions and an emerging adaptation science. The IPCC assessments are shifting from impact of climate change to adaptation, from problem analysis to solution. In terms of coordinating adaptation knowledge, he mentioned PROVIA as a strategic partner in the biennial Adaptation Futures conferences that have nurtured the evolution of scientific community in adaptation science.

The fourth Adaptation Futures Conference which takes place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in May 2016, focuses on adaptation science to adaptation practice and solution.

Understanding risk and vulnerability: from knowledge gaps to action

During the Paris conference UNEP organized a side-event on how we can achieve risk-informed decision making and move knowledge to action. Jean Palutikof and Saleemul Huq, Co-chairs of the PROVIA SSC, shared the finding of two PROVIA’s ongoing projects. “Evaluation of Strategies to Communicate Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation Climate Change Science” aims to better understand the most effective strategies to ensure that users engage with research and adopt the outputs from research. Yinlong Xu, PROVIA SSC member presented a ”Policybrief on VIA Research Process and the Future Direction”.

A short video of UNEP’s Climate Early Warning System (CLIMWARN) project presented locally adopted early warning responses collected directly from the local communities in Kenya, Ghana and Burkina Faso and highlighted issues and challenges of climate impacts in remote villages and how their livelihoods are impacted.

An Electronic Tool Prototype of PROVIA Guidance assessing VIA

The PROVIA Guidance report has been well received and seen as a particularly timely contribution to the National Adaptation Plan process under the UNFCCC. Due to growing demand, UNEP has commenced a project to develop and test a prototype of an interactive electronic version of the Guidance so that user can navigate through the decision trees and is presented only with the information relevant to his or her assessment needs, and allowing to improve and update the electronic tool with new information and functionalities, thus making it a “living PROVIA Guidance document”.

The PROVIA Guidance electronic prototype has been designed and tested through two consultations with stakeholders in several countries 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.

2015 PROVIA Nomination Call

The PROVIA Nominations Committee welcomes both selfnominations and nominations by a third party to the Scientific Steering Committee. A complete nomination package must be received by 20 October 2015, 12:00 noon, Nairobi time. Please refer to the Nomination Call in order to be considered.

PROVIA Biennial Conference: Adaptation Futures 2016

Adaptation Futures is the biennial conference of PROVIA. It is jointly hosted by the European Commission, the Government of the Netherlands, and PROVIA. A call for abstracts and sessions has closed, but registration is open.

Upcoming Events

30 November – 11 December 2015

UNFCCC COP 21 (The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC)
Paris, France

Visit the Website
10 – 13 May 2016

4th Adaptation Futures Conference
Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Visit the website

Questions or Feedback?
newsletter archive
Issue#8 September 2015
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Issue#7 March 2015
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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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