Adaptation and Loss and Damage Update: COP 23 Brings Small Islands’ Vulnerability into Focus, UN General Assembly Adopts DRR Indicators
UN Photo/Logan Abassi
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Recent news related to adaptation and loss and damage includes a statement by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa emphasizing the vulnerability of small island States to climate change.

UNICEF launched ‘Humanitarian Action for Children 2017’ setting out UNICEF’s 2017 appeal totaling US$3.3 billion for providing children in 48 countries affected by conflict and disasters with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection.

The Netherlands announced it will collaborate with Japan and UN Environment to establish a Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation to support countries in their adaptation efforts.

6 February 2017: The past weeks saw a flurry of adaptation and loss and damage-related activities ranging from prep work for the 23rd session of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the issuance of major reports on climate risks in Europe and the UK.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted indicators on measuring global progress on disaster risk reduction (DRR), while regional initiatives focused on a range of issues, including index-based agriculture insurance, drought management and coastal adaptation. The present Update outlines these and other recent developments, and provides a list of noteworthy publications in the ‘Must Reads’ section at the end.

COP 23 Preparations: Small Islands’ Vulnerability in Spotlight, UNFCCC Calls for Submissions on Indigenous Peoples Platform

At the end of a three-day preparation meeting convened in Suva, Fiji, from 30 January – 1 February 2017, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa emphasized that Fiji’s assumption of COP 23 Presidency highlights the need to address the vulnerability of small island States to climate change. [Fiji Sun Online Article]

The UNFCCC Secretariat issued an online guide outlining the institutional framework for loss and damage under the UNFCCC, including the functions of the Executive Committee (ExCom) of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) and its Paris mandates. [Loss and Damage Online Guide]

The UNFCCC Secretariat invited submissions on the purpose, content and structure of the local communities and indigenous peoples platform by 31 March 2017. [UNFCCC Call for Submissions] [UNFCCC Submissions Portal] [UNFCCC Decision 1/CP.21]

Publications Highlight Climate Change Risks for Human Health, Economy

Two recently-released publications have highlighted the risks posed by climate change for human health and the economy in Europe. The UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) issued a report titled ‘UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017’ setting out six priority areas for the country, including further action on: flooding and coastal change risks to communities, businesses and infrastructure; risks to health, well-being and productivity from high temperatures; risks of shortages in the public water supply, and for agriculture, energy generation and industry, with impacts on freshwater ecology; risks to natural capital, including terrestrial, coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems, soils and biodiversity; and risks to domestic and international food production and trade. The report identifies as a “research priority” new and emerging pests and diseases, and invasive non-native species, affecting people, plants and animals.

The Climate Change Act 2008 requires that a climate change risk assessment report be produced every five years. The first such report was published in 2012. [UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017] [Publication Landing Page] [DEFRA Website]

An EEA report concludes that climate change has wide-ranging impacts on ecosystems, economic sectors and human health; and climate change impacts interact with other developments inside and outside Europe.

Taking a European-wide view, the European Environment Agency (EEA) released an indicator-based report titled ‘Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2016,’ assessing past and projected climate change and its impacts on ecosystems and society. Among other findings, the report concludes that: climate change has wide-ranging impacts on ecosystems, economic sectors and human health; different regions and sectors in Europe are affected differently by climate change; and climate change impacts interact with other developments inside and outside Europe.

Published every four years, the report seeks to support the implementation and review of the 2013 EU Adaptation Strategy, as well as the development of national and transnational adaptation strategies and plans. [Publication: Climate Change, Impacts and Vulnerability in Europe 2016: An Indicator-based Report] [Key Findings] [EEA Press Release]

Also on climate change risks and adaptation efforts in Europe, the World Bank has released a report titled ‘Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal Areas of the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region: A contribution to the Umbrella Report on adaptation to climate change in ECA.’ The report places the focus on coastal adaptation in the ECA region. [Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal Areas of the ECA Region: A Contribution to the Umbrella Report on Adaptation to Climate Change in ECA] [Publication Landing Page]

Climate Resilience News: UN Adopts Resolution on DRR Indicators, Calls for Support for Children, Small Farmers

On 17 January 2017, the UNGA adopted indicators for measuring global progress on reducing disaster losses and a revision of terminology related to DRR. The resolution comes two years after the adoption of the Sendai Framework for DRR. [UN General Assembly Resolution A/71/L.54] [Report of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Expert Working Group on Indicators and Terminology Relating to DRR] [UNISDR Press Release on Accountability for Disaster Losses] [UNISDR Press Release on Sendai Indicators] [Sendai Framework for DRR]

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched ‘Humanitarian Action for Children 2017’ setting out UNICEF’s 2017 appeal totaling USD$3.3 billion for providing children in 48 countries affected by conflict and disasters with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection. [UNICEF Press Release] [Humanitarian Action for Children 2017] [UN Press Release]

Speaking at a G20 agricultural ministers meeting in Berlin, Germany, on 22 January 2017, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) José Graziano da Silva called for providing small family farmers with technical and financial assistance for greater resilience and climate change adaptation. [UN Press Release] [G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting Webpage]

Regional Initiatives Feature Index-based Insurance, Drought Management

Cameroon, with support from the World Bank, launched a pilot project using “index-based insurance” in agriculture – an insurance approach allowing farmers to be insured at a lower cost and in accordance to meteorological indices. [World Bank Press Release]

The South Asia Drought Monitoring System, developed by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), with support from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and others, seeks to provide comprehensive information about drought onset and progression in the region. [WMO Press Release] [IWMI and Partners Press Release]

The Netherlands announced it will collaborate with Japan and the UN Environment Programme (UN Environment, or UNEP) to establish a Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation to support countries in their adaptation efforts by collecting lessons learnt from recently-executed projects to develop guidance to accelerate climate change adaptation. [UNFCCC Press Release]

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