In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted as the basis for a global response to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. With 195 Parties, the Convention enjoys near-universal membership. The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
The UNFCCC is designed to assist developing countries to adapt to the inevitable adverse effects of climate change, and catalyzes action on climate change, including action on adaptation. It also commits all Parties to formulate, implement, publish, and regularly update national and, where appropriate, regional programmes containing measures to facilitate adequate adaptation to climate change. The UNFCCC secretariat assists member countries in meeting their commitments under the Convention, makes practical arrangements for meetings, and compiles and distributes statistics along with other climate-related information, as well as assists in the implementation of the mandates of the Convention, the subsidiary bodies and ad-hoc working groups.
Adaptation work is undertaken within a range of work programmes under various Convention bodies including The Cancun Adaptation Framework which includes provisions for:
• A process to enable LDC Parties to formulate and implement National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), building upon their experience in preparing and implementing National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), as a means of identifying medium- and long-term adaptation needs and developing and implementing strategies and programmes to address those needs
• A work-programme to consider approaches to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change;
• The Adaptation Committee to promote the implementation of enhanced action on adaptation in a coherent manner under the Convention.
Support to the LDC work programme which includes NAPAs, and support to the LDC Expert Group (LEG).
The Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, Research and Systematic Observation.
Disaster Reduction Goal
Through these work programmes, the UNFCCC aims to facilitate disaster risk reduction (DRR) and risk management as part of enhanced action on adaptation to climate change. The Cancun Adaptation Framework calls for all Parties to undertake, inter alia:
1. Enhancing climate change related DRR strategies at local, national, sub-regional and regional levels, taking into consideration where appropriate the Hyogo Framework for Action, early warning systems, risk assessment, management, as well as sharing and transfer mechanisms such as insurance; and
2. Measures to enhance understanding, coordination and cooperation with regard to climate change-induced displacement, migration and planned relocation, where appropriate, at the national, regional and international levels.
Policies and Programmes in DRR
The Nairobi work programme promotes understanding of impacts of, and vulnerability to, climate change, current and future climate variability and extreme events, and the implications for sustainable development. It also enhances knowledge on ways to integrate practices, tools and systems for climate risk assessment and management, and DRR strategies into national policies and programmes.
The work programme on loss and damage assists countries to deepen their understanding of and expertise on loss and damage associated with climate change impacts. It does this through the generation and synthesizing of related knowledge as well as knowledge sharing and learning across countries, regions and among different stakeholder groups. It works in the areas of:
1. Assessing the risk of loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including relevant methodologies and data requirements; and
2. Developing a range of approaches (e.g. prevention, reduction, retention, transfer and rehabilitation) to address loss and damage from climate change impacts, including extreme weather events and slow onset events.
Under the work programme on loss and damage, the Parties to the UNFCCC will establish at COP 19 (November 2013) institutional arrangements, such as an international mechanism, to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
Membership in Key Networks
Inter-Agency Group (IAG)
National climate change focal points
Making disaster risk reduction a policy priority, institutional strengthening (HFA 1)
A number of the NAPAs prioritize issues related to building resilience and/or DRR. The NAPA priorities database is a good source of information on this. New projects submitted to the GEF in 2012 that are related to the HFA priority areas include:
1. Benin, Burkino Faso, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sierra Leone: Strengthening climate information and early warning systems in Western and Central Africa for climate resilient development and adaptation to climate change.
2. Bhutan: Reducing climate change-induced risks and vulnerabilities from glacial lake outbursts in the Punhakha-Wangdi and Chamkhar Valleys; and addressing the risk of climate-induced disasters through enhanced national and local capacity for effective actions.
3. Burundi: Community disaster risk management.
4. The Gambia: Strengthening climate services and early warning systems in the Gambia for climate resilient development and adaptation to climate change.
5. Uganda and Zambia: Strengthening climate information and early warning systems in Eastern and Southern Africa for climate resilient development and adaptation to climate change.
The following projects were endorsed by the GEF CEO in 2012:
1. Haiti: Strengthening climate resilience and reducing disaster risk in agriculture to improve food security in Haiti post-earthquake.
2. Vanuatu: Increasing resilience to climate change and natural hazards.
The National Adaptation Plans (NAP) process under the Cancun Adaptation Framework, aims to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, by building adaptive capacity and resilience, in particular in least developed countries.
The work programme on loss and damage associated with climate change impacts assists climate change adaptation practitioners in developing countries to advance their understanding on and expertise in managing climate-related risks including extreme weather events, and promotes comprehensive risk management approaches, including ways to address residual risks from climate change impacts.
The Nairobi Work Programme has been a catalyst for Parties and other stakeholders to generate and share knowledge and information on the following areas of work on adaptation: methods and tools, data and observations, socio-economic information, climate-related risks and extreme events, climate modelling, scenarios and downscaling, and adaptation planning and practices. Under the Nairobi work programme, a range of work has been undertaken since 2005 to assist countries to improve their understanding and assessment of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change; and to make informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures to respond to climate change on a sound scientific, technical and socio-economic basis, taking into account current and future climate change and variability.
HFA Priority for Action 1
The Partners and Action Pledge Database and the Adaptation Practices Interface provide central access to resources on partner organizations including their actions on DRR, climate-resilient development planning and early warning systems;
Risk assessment and early warning systems (HFA 2)
The Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change provides key information on available frameworks, methods and tools, and their features to assist adaptation practitioners at all levels in selecting the most appropriate methodology for assessments of impacts and vulnerability, and preparing for adaptation to climate change;
Education, information and public awareness (HFA 3)
The Local Coping Strategies Database aims to facilitate the transfer of long-standing coping strategies and knowledge from communities which have adapted to specific hazards or climatic conditions, to communities which may just be starting to experience such conditions as a result of climate change;
Reducing underlying risk factors (HFA 4)
The technical workshop on water resources, climate change impacts and adaptation strategies which took place in 2012, and a synthesis publication on Climate Change and Freshwater Resources, contributed to improving understanding and assessment of climate change impacts on water resources management.
Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point(s)
Ms. Miwa Kato, Impacts, Risk and Vulnerability subprogramme, Adaptation Programme (firstname.lastname@example.org)