RegionsAdapt: First report on climate risks and adaptation launched

On January 30th, the “RegionsAdapt 2016 Report: an assessment of risks and actions” was launched in an open online event. The report portrays the assessment of physical, water supply and socioeconomic risks, as well as adaptation responses of 27 regional governments. Reporting data annually through CDP’s states and regions platform represents 1 of 3 commitments RegionsAdapt members agree to when joining the initiative. This guarantees that the report can be prepared based exclusively on the information that regional governments submitted to this platform.

The presentation of the report in the online event gained a lot of interest not only among RegionsAdapt members but also from partners and external audience. The event was hosted by nrg4SD with participation of CDP.

After a brief introduction and a presentation of nrg4SD by Natalia Vera, Chris Thorpe, from CDP, explained the importance of disclosure for adaptation actions. He described disclosure as a valuable management tool and a transparent annual framework for accountability that can help to bring climate negotiations in the right directions. According to him, adaptation is an underrecognized and underdiscussed topic given that mitigation initiatives have dominated negotiations in the past. In this sense, he explained that RegionsAdapt is bringing a new area of information into international discussions. Mr. Thorpe also spoke about the importance of regional governments in climate change adaptation. With their significant regulatory and legislative power regional governments can play a significant role to influence change. Political will is crucial for action and that is why initiatives like RegionsAdapt are so important in bringing recognition of political leadership to light and encouraging the adequate sort of climate action. Thereby RegionsAdapt is bringing adaptation into mainstream.

After Mr. Thorpe’s presentation, the key aspects of the report were discussed by Sara Kupka, nrg4SD, and Joan França, RegionsAdapt. They revealed that the group of the 27 disclosing governments is comprised of fourteen governments from the Americas (ten of which are from Latin America), seven from Africa, three from Asia and Oceania and three from Europe. Their reported data shows how diverse the impacts of climate change can be, but also how territories around the world frequently face similar problems.

More specifically, these regional governments not only face a variety of physical risks resulting from climate change, but also risks to their water supply and socioeconomic risks. Among these, the majority is perceived as either serious or extremely serious.

In total 128 physical risks resulting from current or anticipated impacts of climate change were identified. Nevertheless, regional governments are determined to tackle these adverse effects: more than 150 different adaptation measures taken were described. Such measures include a broad variety of actions, ranging from awareness campaigns and community engagement, to technical solutions -like storm water capture systems-, as well as holistic approaches, like mainstreaming climate change into all policy sectors.

Around 70% of the regional governments revealed substantive threats to their water supply resulting from climate change. Here, increased water stress or scarcity was the main concern. In order to increase the resilience of their water supply systems regional governments implement a variety of adaptation actions within their territories.

The socioeconomic risks from climate change relate to the decreasing ability of businesses to operate successfully, as well as structural damages due to extreme events. 21 out of the 27 disclosing governments reported that they are already facing or are going to face social risks related to climate change. These may aggravate existing problems, including increasing the public health system demand. Other issues relate to deteriorating economic conditions, as higher unemployment rates resulting from the impact of climate change on the agricultural and industrial sectors.

As the report reveals, regional governments are determined to tackle these adverse effects. The significant number of adaptation actions that has been reported shows the bold action of the disclosing governments. By sharing their policies and programs, these members encourage other governments to learn from their experiences, exchange ideas on further improvements and create common knowledge on how to adapt to a changing climate. Regional governments´ specific scale of action presents a unique perspective to tackle cross-cutting issues that are crucial for climate adaptation, such as water supply, food security, and rural-urban linkages.

Click here to download “RegionsAdapt 2016 Report: an assessment of risks and actions


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