UNFCCC Process Looks at Climate Change Adaptation, Sustainable Development and DRR Integration
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The Adaptation Technical Expert Meeting highlighted that early action can protect the lives and livelihoods of millions of people throughout the world.

The event showcased the use by various countries of the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans as a framework for practical integration of these three post-2015 agendas across various sectors and levels of governance.

Countries are also using joint decision-making processes, tools, metrics and strategies, and ensuring that relevant data, science and knowledge, including traditional knowledge, is generated and available to inform progress collectively.

17 May 2017: Policy makers, implementers, supporters and investors from all over the world met during the UNFCCC Bonn Climate Change Conference at the Technical Expert Meeting (TEM) on Adaptation to discuss ‘Integrating climate change adaptation with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.’

Held against the backdrop of the announcement by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of new world records for the highest reported historical death tolls from tropical cyclones, tornadoes, lightning and hailstorms, the TEM on adaptation focused on integrating efforts to build climate resilience and develop sustainably.

Participants discussed action already underway to make vital progress to increase climate resilience and advance sustainable development. They identified various opportunities for linking adaptation with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts. These opportunities included: using the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs) as a framework for practical integration of the three post-2015 agendas across various sectors and levels of governance; using joint decision-making processes, tools, metrics and strategies; ensuring that relevant data, science and knowledge, including traditional knowledge, are generated and made available to inform progress collectively across the agendas; working in coordination, collaboration and cooperation with all relevant stakeholders including local governments and communities to ensure that the three agendas are successfully achieved with complementarity and efficiency of efforts; and taking a systems approach to integrating efforts and looking for cross-cutting entry points such as risk management.

Noting that “transformation is not just possible; it is already happening,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa explained that this is “what the TEMs are about.”

Participants learned about specific activities already making a difference to the lives of people on the ground. Presentations described: the Centre for Climate Intelligence for Agriculture that aims to promote sustainability, reduce disaster risk and help farmers in Brazil; use of data from ongoing efforts to combat land degradation – which protects ecosystems and livelihoods – as a starting point for integrated action in Egypt; the establishment by the Japanese Government of an Adaptation Information Platform that provides data sets on future climate impacts for 47 local prefectures to support local governments and the private sector to take adaptation action based on information customized for each region; and joint national action planning helping communities on the front lines of sea level rise, salt water intrusion and natural disasters to build resilience in the Pacific.

Through their rich exchange, participants took vital steps forward in taking action towards the ambition enshrined in the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for DRR, to collectively achieve the SDGs, the Sendai Targets and deliver on the global adaptation goal of the Paris Agreement.

Speaking at the closing of the TEM, Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, underscored the great potential in enhancing resilience, reducing disaster risk and promoting sustainable development to lift people out of poverty, increase equity and ensure economic and social growth that does not harm other people or the planet. Noting that “transformation is not just possible; it is already happening,” she explained that this is “what the TEMs are about.” She called for “turning all commitments into action” and “transforming reality on the ground.” Espinosa will attend the Global Platform for DRR taking place from 22-26 May 2017, in Cancun, Mexico, to pass on the learning and outcomes from the adaptation TEM.

During the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) held in Paris in 2015, UNFCCC parties decided to launch, in the period 2016-2020, a technical examination process on adaptation (TEP-A) under the leadership of the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee. The TEP-A is achieved through collaboration among parties, international organizations and non-party stakeholders to identify concrete opportunities for strengthening resilience, reducing vulnerabilities and increasing the understanding and implementation of adaptation actions. [IISD RS Coverage of the Bonn Climate Change Conference] [IISD Web Coverage of the TEM on Adaptation – 16 May] [IISD Web Coverage of the TEM on Adaptation – 17 May] [TEM on Adaptation Website] [Global Platform for DRR] [WMO Press Release]


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