Adaptation and Loss and Damage Update: Technology Enhances Climate Resilience, Climate Change Security Risks Assessed
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Increasing climate resilience has been the focus of the recent weeks' events, initiatives and publications reported here.

They have demonstrated that climate resilience and disaster disk management (DRM) can be enhanced by giving prominence to the role of technology and the private sector.

The relationship between climate change and national security has also received attention.

unesco_unisdr_unhabitat_adb_wmo21 September 2016: Increasing climate resilience has been the focus of the recent weeks’ events, initiatives and publications reported in this Update. These developments have demonstrated that climate resilience and disaster disk management (DRM) can be enhanced by giving prominence to the role of technology and the private sector. The relationship between climate change and national security has also received attention.

Technology, Private Sector Contribute to Climate Resilience

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and partners convened an international workshop on ‘Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards through Information and Communication Technology’ in Paris, France, from 14-15 September 2016. The workshop was a milestone event of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) project titled ‘Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies’ (I-REACT), which aims to set an integrated platform to support emergency response to floods, wildfires and other extreme events with the help of a wide array of new information and communication technologies (ICTs).

With nearly €80 billion of funding available over the 2014-2020 period, H2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever. Among other issues, it focuses on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs. [UNESCO Workshop Webpage] [UNESCO Press Release] [H2020 Webpage]

Increased resilience was also the focus of projects in Africa, the US and Asia. In Africa, under the ‘Civil Protection and New Information Technologies’ initiative, the Government of Senegal established an inter-ministerial operational crisis management center (COGIC) to help anticipate and provide appropriate responses to disasters with the help of cutting-edge ICT. [UNISDR Press Release]

The ‘Climate Services for Increased Resilience in the Sahel’ project kicked off with a two-day meeting in Dakar, Senegal, held from 16-17 August 2016. The meeting brought together representatives from Niger, Senegal and the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD), as well as experts from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the project seeks to enable countries in the Sahel to mitigate the risks and take advantages of the opportunities brought about by climate variability and change. [WMO Press Release]

In the US, the city of New Orleans is engaging with the private sector to improve its resilience to disasters and facilitate rapid recovery. A survey of 208 businesses conducted by AECOM, an engineering company, under a contract from the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), in partnership with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), was published under the title ‘Disaster Resilience of Small to Mid-Size Businesses on New Orleans Historic Corridors.’ According to the report, although vulnerability remains high throughout the six commercial corridors, and disaster preparedness of surveyed small businesses is generally low, there is a desire for increased disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness, and there are also small businesses who are leaders in disaster preparedness. [Disaster Resilience of Small to Mid-Size Businesses on New Orleans Historic Corridors] [UNISDR Press Release]

As for Asia, UN-Habitat, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and partners launched a project on mainstreaming climate resilience into development planning that will focus on: mainstreaming climate concerns in sub-national development planning; integrating gender considerations into climate change adaptation; and building monitoring, reporting and evaluation system of adaptation investments at sub-national level. [UN-Habitat Press Release]

Publication Assesses Climate Change Security Risks

The Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG) published a ‘Briefing Book for a New Administration: Recommended Policies and Practices for Addressing the Security Risks of a Changing Climate,’ calling on the next US President and key cabinet members to “comprehensively address the security risks of climate change at all levels of national security planning.” The CSAG’s recommendations include: assigning a cabinet-level official to lead on domestic climate change and security issues; establishing senior climate security leadership within the offices of the National Security Advisor and Secretary of Defense; directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a National Adaptation and Resilience Strategy; and prioritizing climate change in intelligence assessments.

The CSAG is a voluntary, non-partisan group of 43 US-based military, national security, homeland security, intelligence and foreign policy experts from a broad range of institutions. The CSAG is chaired by the Center for Climate & Security, in partnership with the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. [Briefing Book for a New Administration: Recommended Policies and Practices for Addressing the Security Risks of a Changing Climate] [Center for Climate & Security Press Release]

In other climate and security news, WMO, UNISDR and others co-sponsored an international workshop that focused on forecasting emissions from vegetation fires and their impacts on human health and security in Southeast Asia. The workshop was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 29 August to 1 September 2016. [WMO Press Release]

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