Disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and environmental migration: A policy perspectivePosted on: 16 December 2010 - 3:57pm
While frustration over the glacial pace of progress at global conferences gets all the headlines, useful work on the ground continues to be done to help people adapt better to climate change.
Robert Wihtol Director General Pacific Department, Asian Development Bank: Vibrant private sector criticalPosted on: 14 December 2010 - 3:18pm
Wihtol leads ADB’s Pacific Department which exclusively focuses on the development needs of the bank’s Pacific Developing Member Countries—Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. In 2010, there has been an increase in the department’s operational lending, grant and technical assistance portfolio bringing it close to total of a billion dollars.
While most of the work of the greentech sector is focused on mitigation technologies that can reduce carbon emissions, from clean power to energy efficiency, given that this latest agreement will not prevent the rise of global temperatures within the range that scientists say is needed (though it made some progress on other key issues), perhaps it’s time for those in the greentech industry to start betting that adaption will one day be a hot market.
Proceedings from the Adaptation Forum 2010 held in October are now available. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, of PEP partner organization ADB, delivered the keynote address, discussing the pillars for successful adaptation: knowledge, capacity development, and finance.
In July 2009 a team of Oxfam researchers travelled to three areas of Bolivia (Trinidad in Beni, the Cochabamba valleys and Khapi under Mount Illimani, in La Paz) to take a snapshot of how poor families are experiencing the changing climate, and how they are adapting to it. Their findings and recommendations can be found in the full report.
Emerging insights from adaptive and community-based resource management suggest that building resilience into both human and ecological systems is an effective way to cope with environmental change characterized by future surprises or unknowable risks. We argue that these emerging insights have implications for policies and strategies for responding to climate change. We review perspectives on collective action for natural resource management to inform understanding of climate response capacity. We demonstrate the importance of social learning, specifically in relation to the acceptance of strategies that build social and ecological resilience. Societies and communities dependent on natural resources need to enhance their capacity to adapt to the impacts of future climate change, particularly when such impacts could lie outside their experienced coping range. This argument is illustrated by an example of present-day collective action for community-based coastal management in Trinidad and Tobago. The case demonstrates that community-based management enhances adaptive capacity in two ways: by building networks that are important for coping with extreme events and by retaining the resilience of the underpinning resources and ecological systems.
Adaptation to climate change has become an important policy priority in the international negotiations on climate change in recent years. However, it has yet to become a major policy issue within the developing countries, especially amongst the LDCs (who will be amongst the most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change). The experience cited in this report on two LDC countries, namely Bangladesh in Asia and Mali in Africa, shows that although much has been achieved in terms of describing and analysing vulnerability to climate change and identifying potential adaptation options, there remains much more to be done in terms of mainstreaming adaptation to climate change within the national policy making processes in those countries.
Future changes in climate pose significant challenges for society, not the least of which is how best to adapt to observed and potential future impacts of these changes to which the world is already committed. Adaptation is a dynamic social process: the ability of societies to adapt is determined, in part, by the ability to act collectively. This article reviews emerging perspectives on collective action and social capital and argues that insights from these areas inform the nature of adaptive capacity and normative prescriptions of policies of adaptation.