Creating a More Resilient Yellowknife: Climate Change Impacts & Municipal Decision Making

Canada’s municipalities are increasingly facing the realities of climate change impacts, none more so than northern communities. Early understanding of local climate change impacts and a pro-active approach to reducing the community’s vulnerabilities to them is essential to build a more resilient community.

The municipal decision making process has many components: staff reports; the work of standing committees and ad-hoc task forces; recommendations from external agencies; issues brought directly to the municipalities attention by committee members, community or Councilors; and ultimately Council decisions that set the course for the future of the community and its residents. Many of these decisions have a durable impact many years into the future. This future has significant uncertainties with regard to climate change impacts and how they might affect the longer-term outcome of those council decisions. Understanding these climate change scenarios, their degree of uncertainty and how they might affect major capital investment decisions is essential to ensuring efficient use of tax dollars.

The intent of this project is to set Yellowknife on a path to prudent risk management of climate change vulnerabilities. It will result in improvements to decision-making that gives appropriate significance to climate change impacts, and enables the municipality to adequately consider community safety, security and livability in every decision. The overall objective is to develop the tools, capacity, and decision-making processes necessary for the City of Yellowknife to systematically address any community climate change impact as it emerges.

National Adaptation Plan of Action Republic of Maldives

This is the first National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) for the Maldives relating to the adaptation to adverse effects of climate change. Maldives is among the most vulnerable to climate change and non-action is not an option. Assessing the magnitude of climate hazards to Maldives has already begun. Although it is not possible to accurately predict climate change and its adverse effects at the local level, the first Climate Risk Profile (MEEW 2006) and the Disaster Risk Profile (UNDP 2006) justifies the need to take preventive and adaptive action now. Thus NAPA identifies urgent and immediate actions for climate change adaptation.

The preparation of NAPA began in October 2004 with assistance and support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The preparation process was halted by the South Asian tsunami of December 2004, worst natural disaster to hit the country. Efforts to prepare the NAPA recommenced in December 2005.

NAPA process was based on the principles of broad stakeholder engagement, partnership building among focal agencies and ownership by the people of Maldives especially the atoll population. A multidisciplinary National Climate Change Technical Team was established as a first step to foster stakeholder engagement. Community consultations and awareness building activities were held for representatives from seven atolls of the Maldives and the capital Male’. Targeted awareness raising and activity-based learning was conducted for five secondary schools. Existing climate-related data for the Maldives was analysed with international expertise culminating in the first Climate Risk Profile for the Maldives. National experts produced vulnerability and adaptation related technical papers for priority sectors identified by the NAPA Working Group. Extensive stakeholder consultations were undertaken based on a prior agreed methodology to identify vulnerabilities and adaptation activities and prioritize these activities.

The NAPA is intended to be concise and brief and contains eight chapters. Following this introduction Chapter Two presents the goals and describes the National Adaptation Policy Framework. Chapter Three describes the country characteristics relevant to climate change adaptation. Chapter Four depicts the global and local climate hazards and risks. Chapter Five analyses vulnerabilities and the biophysical impacts of climate change. Chapter Six lists the adaptation needs and options identified through stakeholder consultations and present the set of locally-driven criteria that was used to select priority activities. NAPA concludes with Chapter Seven that presents key priorities and project profiles for adaptation to climate change in the Maldives.

Climate Proofing: A Risk-based Approach to Adaptation

[Executive Summary] The Pacific islands region faces increasing environmental and socioeconomic pressures exacerbated by global climate change and climate variability. Adaptation to climate change and variability (CCV) is ultimately an issue of sustainable development. Even without climate change, Pacific island countries are already severely affected by climate variability and extremes, and they remain extremely vulnerable to future changes in the regional climate that could increase the risks. Countries in the Pacific have clearly recognized the need to (i) reduce their vulnerability to these increasing risks through adaptation, and (ii) strengthen their human and institutional capacities to assess, plan, and respond to these challenges. Six case studies designed to assist countries to adapt to current and future climate risks have been prepared. The case studies were prepared through a regional technical assistance under the Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Change (REACH) programme of the Asian Development Bank, and funded by the Canadian Cooperation Fund for Climate Change – Greenhouse Gas Abatement, Carbon Sequestration and Adaptation. The technical assistance was administered by the Asian Development Bank as the executing agency, and implemented in partnership with the Governments of the Federated States of Micronesia and of the Cook Islands (implementing agencies), Maunsell (NZ) Ltd (environmental and engineering consultancy) and the International Global Change Institute, University of Waikato, New Zealand. The ultimate aim of the case studies is to show why and demonstrate how reducing climate-related risks is an integral part of sustainable development. The overall goal of a risk-based approach to climate change adaptation is to manage both the current and future risks associated with the full spectrum of atmospheric and oceanic hazards. Through a consultative process the following case studies were selected: (i) the Federated States of Micronesia - “climate proofing” a coastal community in Pohnpei; a roading infrastructure project in Kosrae; and the infrastructure, human health and environment components of the National Strategic Development Plan; (ii) the Cook Islands - “climate proofing” the design of the breakwater for the newly developed Western Basin, Rarotonga; a community inland from Avatiu Harbour; and the National SustainableDevelopment Strategy. As part of the case studies, assessments were made of both the risks arising from current climate variability and extremes and from the future, incremental changes in those risks as a result of longer-term changes in climate extremes and variability. While the field studies and other activities to develop the six case studies were undertaken in Pacific Island Countries, the innovative methodologies and tools, as well as the findings, are applicable to all Small Island Developing States, and even to larger developing and developed countries.

Reducing West Africa's Vulnerability to Climate Impacts On Water Resources, Wetlands and Desertification: Elements for Regional Strategy for Preparedness and Adaptation

West Africa is among the most vulnerable regions to climate change worldwide. The often disastrous impact of climate variability and extreme events over the past thirty years is a striking illustration and a harbinger of this vulnerability. It is therefore urgent that decision-makers and the general public in West Africa be fully sensitized on the climatic challenges facing the region and actions to be taken, to enhance the region’s level of preparedness in order to cope with predictable impacts of climate variability and change and the associated extreme events.

Buying Time: A User’s Manual to Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems

As we stand at the beginning of the new millennium, the threats to nature and protected areas are unprecedented. While some progress has been made and strategies such as protected areas have been successful in preserving biodiversity in some places, new threats are arising. None of these threats is as great as global climate change and none will have such large implications for the way natural resource managers plan and implement conservation strategies.While global climate change is seemingly difficult to understand and plan for, planning is essential, as the conservation approaches of the past may not work in an ever-changing warmer world. New strategies, led by deep cuts in the heat-trapping gases that causes climate change, predominately carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, may at least buy some time for ecosystems to adapt in the years and decades ahead. However, if CO2 emissions are not reduced quickly and deeply, some of those treasured ecosystems will not survive.Climate change is happening now and nature is experiencing its impacts first. Whether one looks at coral reefs, mangroves, arctic areas or montane regions, climate change poses a complex and bewildering array of problems for ecosystems. The key question is, what can be done—in addition to the rapid reduction of CO2 emissions now—to increase the resiliency of these ecosystems to climate change?WWF compiled “Buying Time: A User’s Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems” for natural resource managers who are ready to confront the impacts of climate change. While far from comprehensive, this manual brings together assessments and potential initial adaptation strategies for various biomes.Written by experts, the manual addresses all of the major biomes with practical ideas of how to begin increasing the resiliency of ecosystems and plan our protected areas in response to the threat of climate change. Some of these strategies are in line with the conservation strategies we have been working on for years—reducing fragmentation, building corridors, reducing threats, and increasing resiliency in general. Natural resource managers in the field must begin planning to buy time for these biomes while the world works to switch from coal to clean power, a key strategy to reduce the causes of climate change.Looking at the models and gathering empirical evidence, WWF is recommending that natural resource managers start now to build climate change adaptation strategies into their preservation philosophies and plans. This manual is a first step to assist managers in doing so.While testing and implementing these new conservation strategies, managers should also communicate the threat that climate change poses to their biome to local, regional and national authorities. Resource managers have an important role to play in the climate change debate by using examples of changes seen in their regions as indicators of the need for rapid and deep cuts in CO2 emissions.

Climate Variability and Change and Sea level Rise in the Pacific Islands Region: A Resource Book for Policy and Decision Makers, Educators and other Stakeholders

In recent years, global warming has come to the fore as one of the world’s most serious environmental problems. Meanwhile, over the past ten years, international negotiations and the accumulation of scientific knowledge in this field have led to remarkable progress — such as the adoption and entry into force of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, and the release of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. With regard to the Kyoto Protocol, which sets forth the commitments of developed countries for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, Japan completed its ratification procedures in June 2002, and is also working with other countries to make the Protocol’s entry into force a reality.

Pacific Island Countries are in one of the most vulnerable regions of the world. Here, international assistance is especially needed in order to carry out the appropriate adaptation strategies for global warming. For this reason, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Ministry of the Environment of Japan have implemented a variety of initiatives in cooperation with a number of the countries in this region, from the perspective of promoting implementation of adaptation measures by these countries. Vulnerability assessments of coastal zones and the feasibility of adaptation measures were the subject of studies conducted during 1992 to 1995 in a number of Pacific Island States (Tonga, Fiji, Western Samoa and Tuvalu), in collaboration with SPREP and the University of the South Pacific (USP).

This Resource Book was prepared based on the “Assessment of Possible Climate Change and Sea-level Rise Activities to be Undertaken in Pacific Island Countries in Cooperation with Japan” which was conducted in 1999 and 2000, through cooperation between SPREP and the Ministry of the Environment. The Resource Book is designed to be used widely as a tool for awareness-raising, being a summary of the latest knowledge about climate change as it relates to the Pacific Islands Region. A compilation of the latest literature, scientific knowledge and data, with frequent use of diagrams and tables, it is designed to be readily understood by readers with a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds, such as policy-makers, educators and research coordinators.

Shishmaref Relocation Strategic Plan January 2002

The community of Shishmaref has determined that the threat to life and property from reoccurring beachfront erosion requires immediate action. The community has taken the first step by establishing an erosion and relocation coalition made up of the governing members of the City, Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) Council and Shishmaref Native Corporation Board of Directors.  Faced with the decision of whether to remain at its present location or to move, the majority of the community is in favor of moving. This plan is a guideline to assist the community as well as state, federal, and other agencies in assisting Shishmaref with an orderly relocation.