International Conference “Islands, land of innovative solutions for all territories” will serve as the backdrop for discussions on the implementation of climate actions and building a common message to COP23
From the 4th to the 6th October 2017, in Saint-Denis, Reunion Island, a French territory in the Indian Ocean, the second International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, entitled “Islands, land of innovative solutions for all territories” will take place. The conference is organized by the government of the Reunion Island in partnership with the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development – nrg4SD, in conjunction with the 2017 nrg4SD General Assembly.
In light of the recent reality check pressed against the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the second edition of the International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation is focused on the acceleration of climate action, through highlighting the challenges and the strategic role of island and regional governments, especially in adaptation. Islands and coastal areas are at the front line of the impacts of climate change: sea level rise, coastal erosion, the loss of low-lying systems and coastal ecosystems, migration, etc. Due to their high vulnerability, urgent adaptation action leads many of these territories to be at the vanguard of developing innovative solutions in adaptation. Size and remoteness also make many islands to constitute a forward-looking mirror for the issues faced by all territories. On the other hand, islands and regional governments can serve as pilot territories to harness innovation and develop effective strategies to increase resilience. By building upon their natural resources and energy sources, like water and wind, islands and coastal areas are able to address the unique challenges faced.
The program of the Conference also includes the presentation of flagship initiatives like RegionsAdapt, a framework for regional governments to take action, cooperate and report efforts in climate adaptation. On the top of demonstrating the strategic role of regional governments in climate adaptation, the initiative shows a concrete response from regional governments to the call for action of the Paris Agreement.
The International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation “Islands, land of innovative solutions for all territories” will bring together multiple parts of society committed to work together to advance the development and implementation of solutions. It will feature a wide range of stakeholders, including island and regional governments, civil society, the scientific community and other prominent experts in the field to discuss and showcase the expertise of islands and regional governments. To cover this broad range of topics, the event will contemplate the following sessions:
- Climate change adaptation in regional governments and islands: RegionsAdapt and other experiences
- Islands and coastal areas, innovative solutions in adaptation – resilience and energy
- Societal challenge: climate change impacts to social and economic sectors
- Environmental challenge: biodiversity, forestry and protected areas
Road to COP 23
The International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation “Islands, land of innovative solutions for all territories” will be an official preparatory event for regional governments towards the 23rd session of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 23), taking place in Bonn, Germany, November this year. With Fiji as the COP 23 President, the negotiations will gain the perspective of those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, small states and islands. Therefore, regional governments and islands will take this occasion to unite and adopt a common position paper as an outcome of the Conference, which will be presented at COP23, sharing with the global community their vital role in adaptation. Besides, the document will also showcase regions’ leading actions and main challenges in securing climate finance and building resilience, and thus suggestions for the effective realization of the Paris Agreement.
The Host and Venue
Reunion Island, French and European territory in the south of the Indian Ocean, is a member and Vice President for Africa of nrg4SD. The Island is an active member and a reference for other regions, especially the extremely vulnerable island territories and ultra-peripheral regions (UPR), in terms of energy autonomy and innovative sustainable solutions. In 2010, the Reunion Island adopted a voluntary policy on energy excellency with an eye towards limiting the ecological footprint.
Thursday 05 October 2017
15:00 – 16:00 Round Table:
Climate change adaptation in regional governments and islands: RegionsAdapt and other experiences
Climate change is a global problem, but its impacts are felt mostly on a subnational scale, representing a special concern for islands. Therefore, adaptation needs to be location-specific, building strategies that take into account the specificities of the territories where climate change impacts are being felt. The challenge of addressing these impacts effectively demands not only the commitment of nation states, but a multi-level approach, considering the significant role that regions and islands play. Considering their good strategical position between the national and local level, regional governments are able to transmit their populations’ needs to the national level, as well as to translate the national strategies and policies to their inhabitants and implement them on the ground.
16:00 – 16:15 Coffee Break
16:15 – 17:30 Parallel session 1:
Islands and coastal areas, innovative solutions in adaptation – resilience and energy
Climate change is a global challenge with particular impacts on islands and coastal areas. Sea level rise, coastal erosion and the loss of low-lying systems, not only constitute great impacts by themselves, but also induce increased migration of the local population. The impacts of climate change will also increase the risk of flooding and storm surges, as well as saltwater intrusion and the loss of coastal ecosystems. Due to their high vulnerability, urgent adaptation action is needed in islands and coastal areas. In this regard, islands and coastal areas are at the forefront of developing innovative solutions in adaptation. Due to the size and remoteness of many islands, they constitute a forward-looking mirror for the issues faced by all territories that will have to address climate change. On the other hand, they can serve as pilot territories to harness innovation and develop effective strategies to increase resilience. This insular component is at the heart of the Twinning Agreement between the Reunion Island and the Republic of Fiji, that was signed in 2016 at COP 22 in Marrakech.
16:15 – 17:30 Parallel session 2:
Societal challenge: climate change impacts to social and economic sectors
The issue of climate change might seem less important to certain stakeholders than other pressing issues like economic development, job creation or the establishment of affordable health care. However, there is clearly a need to place climate change considerations into the mainstream of public policies as they are highly connected to climate change and its impacts. The effects of climate change in the recent past have undermined socio-economic development either indirectly through the degradation of natural resources or directly through the impacts on human well-being and working capacities.
18:30 – Adjournment
19:30 – Dinner
Friday 06 October 2017
8:30 – Welcome reception
9:00 – Session 3:
Environmental challenge: biodiversity, forestry and protected areas
Climate change, biodiversity and forests are interconnected. While climate change constitutes additional pressure on biodiversity and forests, worsening the impacts of mankind on the natural environment, biodiversity and forest loss can aggravate the extent of climate change in the future. The impacts of climate change for biodiversity are varied. Warmer regional temperatures affect the timing of reproduction in animals and plants, the migration of animals, the length of the growing season, the species distribution and the frequency of pests and diseases. On the other hand, biodiversity can support climate adaptation through the ecosystem services it supports.
10:00 – Network coffee
11:00 – Closing Plenary: Road to COP23
Signing of the position Paper: ‘Regions and islands – innovative solutions towards adaptation and the Paris Agreement’
As an outcome of this International conference, participants will agree on a common position paper to be presented at the COP23. This paper will highlight the main consideration of regional governments to the issue of climate change adaptation, the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and the particular importance of taking action in islands.
12:30 – Brunch
14:00 – Field visit
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