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  • UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia charts course for integrating climate change adaptation and DRR
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UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia charts course for integrating climate change adaptation and DRR

Source(s):  International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

By Delia Paul

ESCWA issued its seventh report on water development, which focuses on integrating actions for DRR with climate change adaptation.

The report responds to calls for integrating three global policy agendas adopted in 2015: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for DRR, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Recommendations include: developing a comprehensive risk assessment process specific to the Arab region; establishing regional scientific platforms for jointly addressing adaptation and DRR; and clearly identifying the roles and responsibilities of national institutions and stakeholders.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) issued its seventh report on water development, which focuses on integrating actions for disaster risk reduction (DRR) with climate change adaptation. The reports draws attention to the existing gap between adaptation and DRR communities as they address problems of water scarcity and seek to ensure water security in the Arab region.

The report responds to calls for integrating three global policy agendas adopted in 2015: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for DRR, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The authors observe that responsibilities for adaptation usually fall under the mandate of environment ministries, whereas DRR responsibilities lie with the cabinet, civil defense and ministries of the interior, posing a challenge for integration. They warn that lack of institutional interaction among the DRR and adaptation agendas and national development plans may lead to redundant or conflicting policy responses, and urge further action to downscale adaptation and DRR activities to target the local level. The report includes a comparative analysis of the DRR and adaptation policy agendas and the water-related SDGs.

The authors suggest that projections of extreme weather events and climate conditions could gain much from being placed in a historic context of past losses from disasters, to identify hotspots that may be particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts in the future. They outline the possibilities for joint actions to address both DRR and adaptation, for example, through establishing integrated, common databases on historic disaster losses and projections of climate-related hazards. In particular, they refer to the outcomes of a previous project of the UN and League of Arab States, the Regional Initiative for the Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources and Socio-Economic Vulnerability in the Arab Region (RICCAR). They also highlight the need for better understanding all round of social vulnerability data, and for more science-based analyses and projections of climate change scenarios.

The report recommends, inter alia: developing a comprehensive risk assessment process, based on both climate change modelling and disaster loss surveys, specific to the Arab region, which may draw on the outputs and databases of RICCAR; establishing regional scientific platforms for jointly addressing adaptation and DRR; and clearly identifying the roles and responsibilities of national institutions and stakeholders with respect to risk assessment, risk management and the implementation of DRR and adaptation policies and actions. It also highlights the need for access to technology and financing to deliver on these and many other recommendations.

The report contains six chapters, including, in chapter four, a comparative analysis of the DRR and adaptation policy agendas and the water-related SDGs. Capacity building is identified as a crosscutting issue for implementing all three agendas. 



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  • Publication date 13 Nov 2018

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