There is an increasing need to develop indicators of vulnerability and of adaptive capacity both to determine the robustness of response strategies over time and to understand better the underlying processes. The climate change policy process has increasingly focussed on the potential for adaptation. National level indicators of vulnerability or adaptive capacity directed towards the allocation of resources to support
financial mechanisms of the UNFCCC, for example, will only find acceptance if based on agreed criteria that are transparent and robust.
In this project we find that it is possible to compare the vulnerability of people and places across time and space at different scales. It is less meaningful to aggregate vulnerability across scales since the processes that cause vulnerability are different at each scale. We have explored issues of aggregation and construction of indices, weighting of indicators, and the efficacy of these to explain observed vulnerability to weather-related natural disasters. We are now in a better position to identify robust and transparent indicator sets. We find that national level adaptive capacity is dependent on social infrastructure and the accountability of institutions more than on the level of economic activity.
The importance of cities in climate policy stems from the simple reality that they house the majority of the world’s population, two-thirds of world energy use and over 70% of global energy use emissions. At the international level, global carbon markets have become an important new source of financing for mitigation projects and programmes. Yet to date, the participation of urban authorities and of urban mitigation projects in the global carbon market remains extremely limited. The under-representation of urban carbon projects can be linked both to the difficulties to implement urban mitigation projects and to the difficulties for cities to access the carbon market. This paper reviews 10 in–depth case studies of urban projects proposed and operating within the realm of Joint Implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. It explores the drivers of success for projects, examining in particular: types of projects that have been successful and their profitability; leadership and other roles of various actors in project initiation development and operation (i.e. local, regional and national governments as well as international, private sector or other non-governmental organisations); the role of local cobenefits; and project financial structure and risk management approaches. This paper also considers how these lessons learned may inform decisions in the future about how to best tap the potential for carbon markets to offer increased levels of financial support for urban mitigation projects or programmes.
The potential of a ‘rising Asia’ has begun to dominate economic discourse as the world is witnessing the most profound shifts in the global economic landscape for a century. In the midst of the rapidly growing Asian region, South Asia has experienced striking levels of economic development within the last two decades as a result of greater openness to the world economy and overall market-oriented policy reforms with a focus on inclusivity. Average GDP growth in region leapt from 5.3 per cent in 1990 to 8.3 per cent in 2007/08, prior to the global downturn. While the region enjoyed the subsequent rewards, including declining levels of poverty in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, the global financial crisis placed pressures on these economies, with growth falling to about 6.3 per cent in 2009 and brought to the fore the fundamental challenges that they still need to address. If the region as a whole, and the countries that constitute it, are to see sustained rapid growth, take full advantage of the strategic location – amidst ‘rising Asia’, and emerge as a prosperous region, these challenges need to be tackled comprehensively. In this context, this publication seeks to understand South Asia’s development and continued challenges faced by the region through four key themes – harnessing human capital potential; managing water resources, food security and climate change; addressing intra-country growth disparities; and building competitiveness of the private sector – and put forward an agenda for action towards building a stronger, more dynamic, and more inclusive region.
To understand disasters we must not only know about the types of hazards that might affect people, but also the different levels of vulnerability of different groups of people. This vulnerability is determined by social systems and power, not by natural forces. It needs to be understood in the context of political and economic systems that operate on national and even international scales: it is these which decide how groups of people vary in relation to health, income, building safety, location of work and home, and so on.
This technical paper provides evidence-based estimates of the likelihood of disaster-induced displacement in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It attempts to better quantify human displacement risk. It brings together data from several sources – notably the Global Assessment Reports (GARs) and the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), national disaster loss inventory databases (DesInventar) and IDMC’s Global Estimates – in order to better quantify human displacement risk. Applying a probabilistic risk model, it is one of the first attempts to assess how many people are at risk of being displaced by natural hazard-related disasters. It is the first attempt to do so for South Asia.
This interim report was prepared as a collaborative effort of the Millennium Project Task Force on Poverty and Economic Development. It draws upon contributions from across the Task Force membership and from background work conducted in preparation for the Human Development
Report 2003. The report aims to serve as a basis for broad consultation and public comment, explicitly highlighting numerous areas that the Task Force aims to consider in more detail over before its final report is completed in the end of 2004. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
The ideas contained in this Interim Full Report represent the culmination of 18 months of analysis and consultation among Task Force members and others, as well as the results of substantial debate and interchange among the members of the Task Force. A first draft of this report was prepared based on the inputs of Task Force members at a Task Force meeting in May 2003 in Nairobi, a subsequent meeting of a sub-set of members in August 2003 in Stockholm, a further meeting of the task force in October 2003, and through electronic discussions. The paper
frequently draws directly on various reports, memoranda and studies, the details of which are indicated in the relevant footnotes. This Interim Report complements a companion short document prepared directly by the Task Force -- the Summary Interim Report of the Task Force, which serves both as a free-standing statement of the main propositions of the Task Force and the Executive Summary of this Report. The Full Interim Report contains substantial additional material substantiating the principal arguments in the Summary Interim Report, but no change in the argument itself. This full Interim Report has been prepared by a writing and editing group consisting of Kristen Lewis, Task Force Manager; Jennifer Davis, Task Force Member (who took the lead in the preparation of Chapter 6); and Albert Wright and Roberto Lenton, Task Force Coordinators. The editors wish to acknowledge, with thanks, the extensive contributions of several people and organizations to the development of this paper. In particular, we would like to thank UNDESA, UNICEF, UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank, whose documents we drew on extensively in several parts of this report; Guido Schmidt-Traub, for the section on financing requirements and costing methodologies; Malin Falkenmark, member of Task Force 6, for permission to include a recent memorandum on water and the MDGs in section 7.B of this report; and Christie Walkuski, for her generous assistance in the preparation and finalization of the report as a whole, including the annexes and figures, under significant time pressure. The co-coordinators take full responsibility for any errors or omissions in the contents of this report.
In October 2007, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to former US vice-president Al Gore and to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with a citation “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”. The award recognizes that climate change represents a threat to mankind on a similar level to violent conflict and war, and indeed can lead to a breakdown of peace because of the increased competition for the earth’s resources. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are undoubtedly part of the cause of global warming as witnessed, for instance, by the millions of computer screens that are left switched on overnight in offices around the world. But ICTs can also be part of a solution, because of the role they play in monitoring, mitigating and adapting to it. The framework for ITU’s concern with the role of telecommunications and information technologies in the protection of the environment was provided initially at the Plenipotentiary Conference, 1994 (Resolution 351, Kyoto) and at the World Telecommunication Development Conferences, in 1998 (Resolution 82, Valletta), in 2002 (Recommendation 73, Istanbul) and in 2006 (Resolution 544, Doha). In 2007, ITU and its membership and partners launched a major programme to investigate the specific relationship between ICTs and climate change. At the meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) in December 2007, a Technology Watch Briefing Report on this topic was reviewed5. TSAG provided advice to the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) on a number of actions, including the holding of two symposia during the first half of 20086. They will take place in Kyoto, Japan, 15-16 April 2008, co-organized and hosted by the Ministry of International Affairs and Communications (MIC) and in London, UK, 17-18 June 2008, supported and hosted by BT plc. This report has been prepared by the ITU secretariat as a background paper for the two symposia, drawing upon the Technology Watch Briefing Report as well as material from the ITU Telecommunication Development and Radiocommunications Sectors. It looks at the potential role that ICTs play at different stages, from contributing to global warming (section 2), to monitoring it (3), to developing long-term solutions to mitigate its effects, both
directly in the ICT sector (4) and in other sectors like energy, transport, buildings etc (5), and finally to helping to adapt to its effects (section 6). This corresponds to the main sessions in the agenda of the two symposia. In addition, an annex to this report looks in more detail at the work currently being carried out in ITU and the campaign for a climate-neutral UN.
Semi-arid areas are found in a large number of countries and regions of Africa and South and Central Asia. They display high vulnerability to climate change with
considerable adaptation needs. In this paper, we review country-level and multi-country projects supported by international agencies. We examine the priorities and goals presented in national adaptation planning documents and in sectorial planning documents. Through this analysis, we seek to compare adaptation needs with current trends in national, regional and global projects and collaborations. Our results suggest that initiatives supported by international agencies play a considerable role in achieving national adaptation priorities, especially in areas such as agriculture and water management. However, compared with specific adaptation options such as drought-resistant species and irrigation (which tend to be the scope of the projects), the analyzed documents tend to see challenges in agriculture more in the contexts of food security, livestock and rural development. They emphasize the strong connection between rural livelihoods and sustainable land and ecosystem management. Priorities listed in the national documents but not captured in current initiatives include human health, astoralism, security and migration. Our results also show high levels of mainstreaming adaptation into sectorial planning documents, especially those on poverty reduction; however, compared with the focus on the project level, they here emphasize adaptations focused on institutional development and governance. Finally, the outcomes indicate that global, regional and national initiatives are distributed unequally and that countries in Central and West Africa and Central Asia currently exhibit low participation, especially in national projects.
The 9th issue of Thinking Aloud is based on one of the most pressing issues of 21st century, Climate Change and Environment. The first article on “How costly are the impacts of climate change in Bangladesh?” reflects that Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts due to its vast low-lying lands, large coastal population, densely populated areas, insufficient infrastructure and strong dependence on the natural resources. The study gives an insight into the possible impacts of climate change on the economy of Bangladesh during 2015 and 2100 using a dynamic CGE model. The article also portrays possible adaptation strategies. The second article, “Gains from liberalization of intra-regional trade in environmental goods in South Asia”, using different economic models, depicts that despite the low level of trade of Environmental Goods (EGs) among the South Asian countries, there are areas of gains from the liberalization of intra-regional trade in EGs in South Asia. The article, however, highlights that not only tariffs but also sensitive lists and NTBs are holding back much of the potentials. Therefore, the South Asian countries should pursue the liberalization agenda with more interests. The interview of Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel shows the recent debates on climate change issues, vulnerability of South Asia and the need for regional cooperation to address these issues. A review on ADB’s recentreport titled “Assessing the Costs of Climate Change and Adaptation in South Asia” has been published in this issue. SANEM’s 8th birthday celebration is the highlight of 4th page of the February issue.
Climate change is a priority in Costa Rica’s national policy. The country has been actively involved in UNFCCC initiatives since the mid 1990s, particularly in projects that generate carbon credits, and has more recently developed several mitigation projects under the Clean Development Mechanism. The country’s national climate change strategy consists of six strategic areas (mitigation, adaptation, metrics, capacity building, public awareness and education, and financing), with the common goal of mainstreaming climate change policy in line with the national strategies for achieving long-term competitiveness and sustainable development. A key target is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2021, by strengthening efforts to achieve an economy that is less fossil-fuel-intensive and to reduce GHG emissions. These efforts are part of a broader approach based on sustainable development, integrated within the Peace with Nature Initiative. This initiative, based on the country’s historical tradition of conservation and protection of natural resources, is aimed at creating suitable conditions for sustainable development, and integrating the environment (natural capital) into the long-term equation of economic growth and human development.