Adaptation and Loss and Damage Update: Arctic Climate Shifts, Regions Enhance DRR
UN Photo/Mark Garten
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The Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) issued a report titled ‘Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost - Summary for Policy-makers,’ which presents the policy-relevant findings of the AMAP 2017 assessments of snow, water, ice and permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA).

The European Forum for DRR (EFDRR) convened in Istanbul to accelerate regional implementation and monitoring of the Sendai Framework for DRR.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the European Commission enhanced cooperation on assistance to developing countries on climate adaptation and early warning systems.

29 April 2017: Reports of devastating landslides and flooding in Colombia and Peru, along with warnings of rapid and drastic changes in the Arctic shifting the region’s climate “to a new state” dominated the recent weeks’ adaptation news.

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) took the center stage, with local and regional efforts contributing to enhancing resilience against natural and manmade disasters. Interagency cooperation on early warning systems and food security, too, enhanced progress on adaptation. The present update focuses on these and other recent developments related to adaptation and loss and damage. It also includes a list of selected publications in the must-reads section at the end.

An Arctic Council report highlights that climate change in the Arctic has continued at a rapid pace; and that changes will continue through at least mid-century, due to warming already locked into the climate system.

The Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) issued a report titled ‘Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost. Summary for Policy-makers,’ which presents the policy-relevant findings of the AMAP 2017 assessments of snow, water, ice and permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA). Its main findings include: the Arctic’s climate is “shifting to a new state”; climate change in the Arctic has continued at a rapid pace; changes will continue through at least mid-century, due to warming already locked into the climate system; substantial cuts in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can stabilize impacts after mid-century; adaptation policies can reduce vulnerabilities; and effective mitigation and adaptation policies require a solid understanding of Arctic climate change. The report also notes that, while implementation of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement would limit the extent to which the Arctic climate changes, by the end of the century, the Arctic environment would still be substantially different from that of today. [Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost. Summary for Policy-makers] [SWIPA Webpage] [Arctic Council Website] [UNFCCC Press Release] [Decision 1/CP.21 Adopting Paris Agreement]

Disasters Hit South America; DRR Enhanced in Europe, SIDS

Hundreds of people died and thousands lost their homes in devastating floods and landslides that took place in Colombia and Peru in March – April 2017. In their comments, Robert Glasser, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for DRR and Head of the UN Office for DRR (UNISDR), and Omar Franco, Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies of Colombia, highlighted the role of climate variability and climate change, and the need to manage disaster risks at the local level. [WMO Press Release] [UNISDR Press Release on Floods in Peru] [UNISDR Press Release on Landslides in Colombia] [UNDP Press Release on Colombia] [UNDP Press Release on Peru]

While the South American disasters served as a stark reminder of what disaster risk management (DRM) is all about, the European Forum for DRR (EFDRR) convened in Istanbul, Turkey, from 26-28 March 2017, to accelerate regional implementation and monitoring of the Sendai Framework for DRR. [EFDRR 2017 Website] [EFDRR 2017 Istanbul Outcomes] [Opening Speech by UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for DRR and Head of UNISDR Robert Glasser] [UNISDR Press Release on EFDRR 2017 Opening] [UNISDR Press Release on Women and DRR] [UNISDR Press Release on People Being at the Core of DRR] [UNISDR Press Release on Europe’s Stance] [Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030]

Increasing resilience to disasters was also the focus of some recent initiatives in small island developing States (SIDS), which addressed urban resilience and the development of national DRR strategies and plans.

On 24 March 2017, the Government of Solomon Islands launched the Honiara Urban Resilience and Climate Action Plan (HURCAP) to enhance the capital’s resilience to climate change. [UN-HABITAT Press Release]

The National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) of Maldives and the UNISDR Global Education and Training Institute (UNISDR GETI) convened a three-day workshop on the national implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR, and development of risk reduction strategies and plans in Malé, Maldives, from 7-9 March 2017. [Workshop Webpage] [Workshop Concept Note and Agenda] [UNISDR Press Release] [Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030]

Partnerships Enhance Cooperation on Early Warning Systems, Food Security

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the European Commission took steps to strengthen cooperation on assistance to developing countries on climate adaptation as well as early warning systems. [WMO Press Release]

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) launched a CCAFS global coordinating office at Wageningen University and Research (WUR), the Netherlands. Closer collaboration between the CCAFS and WUR will help catalyze positive change towards climate-smart agriculture, food systems and landscapes, as well as help reduce poverty, improve food and nutrition security for health, and improve natural resource systems and ecosystem services. [CCAFS Press Release]

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