Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Adaptation and Loss and Damage Update: Regions Step up DRR Efforts and Resilience to El Niño, Human Mobility, Climate Change and Development Nexus Explored

30 June 2016: As May 2016 became the 13th consecutive month to break the global temperature records, the world's regions' need to adapt to the changing climate grew stronger. 


In 2015-2016, the periodic warming of the central to Eastern tropical Pacific, known as 'El Niño,' was the strongest since 1997-1998, causing some regions to receive more rain, and others to receive no precipitation. These changes impacted agriculture, food security and nutrition among the affected populations. During the past few weeks, the world's regions, States and sectors have redoubled adaptation efforts, focusing on building resilience and managing disaster risks. The news reported in this Update also demonstrate that the role of cooperation, innovation and knowledge dissemination in advancing climate change adaptation efforts cannot be underestimated.


With health, gender, indigenous knowledge and climate migration featuring prominently among the recent weeks' adaptation and loss and damage-related developments, the initiatives reported in this update contribute to a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and accompanying targets, including 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts), 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages), 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture), 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) and target 10.7 on migration and mobility, including the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.


Regions Face El Niño Impacts, Droughts, Floods


The statement released by the 43rd Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 43), convened by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) in Naivasha, Kenya, from 30-31 May 2016, indicates that there is an increased likelihood of La Niña – El Niño's counterpart associated with cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and Eastern tropical Pacific Ocean – developing in the second half of 2016 that will affect the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region. Floods are also more likely during the rainfall peak months of August and September in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan. [Statement from GHACOF 43] [IGAD Press Release] [WMO Press Release on GHA]


To better understand risks and assess impacts from the 2015-2016 El Niño, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) conducted a 'Regional Consultative Workshop on El Niño in Asia-Pacific' in Bangkok, Thailand, from 7-9 June 2016. Participants from over 12 countries affected by El Niño received training on a standardized methodology to interpret, translate and communicate El Niño-associated risks in a timely manner. [Workshop Concept Note] [Workshop Programme] [ESCAP Workshop Webpage] [ESCAP Press Release]


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) convened a high-level meeting in Rome, Italy, on 30 June 2016, which highlighted the need for long-term action to address El Niño impacts in Central America's 'Dry Corridor,' including by building resilience for food security and nutrition for the most vulnerable populations in the countries affected by the phenomenon.


'Dry Corridor' refers to a group of ecosystems in the dry tropical forests region in Central America extending from the lowlands of the Pacific coastal area to most of central pre-mountain region of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and parts of Costa Rica and Panama. Subject to climate risks such as recurrent droughts, excessive rains and severe flooding, 'Dry Corridor' recently experienced one of the worst droughts in decades.


In the midst of the extreme drought affecting Dry Corridor, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) managing the recently expanded Panama Canal has been promoting climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) through sustainable use of water. [UN Press Release] [FAO Calendar] [UNISDR Press Release] [Panama Canal Website]


Also in relation to droughts in Central America, FAO released a report titled 'Drought characteristics and management in the Caribbean,' which calls for countries in the region to enhance their capabilities to deal with more frequent and intense droughts brought about by climate change. The report discusses drought characteristics and management in the Caribbean, identifies national and regional agencies involved in drought management, and reviews information on their work at national and regional levels. It recognizes the vulnerability of the agricultural sector to seasonal droughts and outlines the socioeconomic impacts of droughts on water resources, fisheries, tourism, hydropower and communities' coping capacity. [Drought Characteristics and Management in the Caribbean] [FAO Press Release] [UN Press Release]


Climate change impacts on the poor in coastal Bangladesh were the focus of a World Bank Policy Research Talk by Susmita Dasgupta, Lead Environmental Economist, World Bank. Dasgupta highlighted heightened cyclonic inundation, rising river salinity and increased soil salinity among the current and growing risks with severe consequences for the poor. “Climate change is going to create severe poverty traps,” she noted. “Unless we address the climate change problem now, sustainable poverty reduction will remain a dream.” [World Bank Feature StoryMore