Land and Water Resource Management in Asia: Challenges for Climate Adaptation

The paper, prepared as background to a workshop held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in January 2009, links the issues of poverty reduction, land and water resource management, and climate adaptation in practice. Within Southeast Asia and the Himalayas, as elsewhere, land and water resource management issues are most pronounced in areas of marginal production systems, and directly connected to poverty reduction efforts. Climate change is likely to exacerbate existing challenges within these sectors in unexpected ways. The paper also reviews some of the many innovative efforts underway in the region to support land and water management and poverty reduction at multiple levels (local, national and regional). It highlights how climate change adaptation measures can complement and reinforce these innovations in land and resource management to reduce rural poverty in Asia. It concludes with the sharing of ideas regarding ways to strengthen the capacity of land and water managers to ensure their continued contribution to the sustainable development of their countries in a changing climate.

Climate Change and Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean

Changing conditions in sea turtle nesting areas as a result of climate change are potentially serious for sea turtle populations already under pressure from over-exploitation, fisheries bycatch and habitat modification. Successful reproduction is key for population survival and is strongly influenced by the nesting environment. Understanding how nesting habitats may be affected by climate change, specifically changes in temperature and precipitation, is an important early step in assessing the vulnerability of regional sea turtle populations.

Climate changes will not be uniform across the globe as they are influenced by local physical processes. WWF has used regional projections for changes in temperature and precipitation to investigate projected changes in nesting conditions in the Wider Caribbean.

The main aims of this project are:

  • to create a comprehensive, interactive, online map that can be used by conservation groups and coastal managers to examine the local changes in
  • climate that sea turtles will face throughout their range in the Wider Caribbean
  • to assess the relative vulnerability of different nesting areas in the region to climate change

Regional climate change projections for the Caribbean have been developed by the PRECIS-Caribe project and temperature and precipitation projections for thirty-eight countries within the region were analysed. The Wider Caribbean region is facing much warmer and drier conditions in the coming decades. In general, small islands show less dramatic projected changes in both temperature and precipitation than mainland countries and as such may provide refuge from hotter, drier conditions in other parts of the region. The variation in local changes seen here, particularly for precipitation, highlights the importance of examining future projections on a finer scale than global climate models can provide.

Biodiversity and Livelihoods: REDD Benefits

The biodiversity of forests—the variety of genes, species, and forest ecosystems—underpins these goods and services, and is the basis for long-term forest health and stability. Promoting ways to use forest biodiversity in a sustainable way, and with clear social and economic benefits for the poor, is the purpose of this guide.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) addresses the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity through a comprehensive programme of work, adopted in 2002 and revised in 2008 (see page 39). Many of the activities of the programme of work promote poverty reduction and creation of sustainable livelihoods. The objectives of the work programme can and should be incorporated into national and regional forest policies and strategies, for the benefit of present and future generations.

Coral Reefs, Climate Change and Resilience: An Agenda for Action from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain

Three linked workshops were held at the 4th IUCN Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in October 2008. The common theme among the workshops was the use of resilience approaches in conserving coral reefs. One workshop was focused on the science of resilience assessment, the second on applying resilience principles in Marine Protected Area Management, and the third on policy tools and approaches that can support resilience-based conservation. The workshops were organized by CORDIO (Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), assisted by the IUCN Climate Change and Coral Reefs working group (CCCR). This report highlights new themes for action identified by presenters in the workshops by collating suggestions and recommendations into one document as a platform for further action by organizers and participants. A major outcome of the sessions was the drafting and adoption of a formal resolution on supporting resilience-based management of coral reefs and other marine organisms, calling on IUCN to adopt and promote these approaches in its 2009-12 Work Programme, and for other organizations, countries and partners to do the same (Resolution 4.080).

Connecting Biodiversity and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Report of the Second Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity and Climate Change

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has, as its three objectives, the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources. Efforts towards the achievement of these objectives are, however, coming under threat from one of the world’s other major environmental, social and economic challenges…climate change.
Climate change is threatening individual species such as the King Protea in South Africa and the polar bear in the Arctic. Climate change is also threatening entire ecosystems such as the cloud forests of South America and the coral reefs of South-east Asia. Climate change will affect where species live, when they move and how they interact.

Where species and ecosystems are well protected and healthy, natural adaptation may take place, as long as the rate of change is not too rapid and the scale of change is not too great. However, where climate change stacks as an additional threat upon other stresses such as pollution, overuse or invasive alien species, natural adaptive capacity may be exceeded. It is important, therefore, to ensure that climate change is not considered in isolation.

In fact, the links between biodiversity and climate change flow both ways. Biodiversity, and associated ecosystem services are the cornerstone of sustainable development. This relationship has long been recognized through the decisions of the Conference of Parties to the CBD and through the adoption of Millennium Development Goal number seven on environmental sustainability. Biodiversity also has a very important role to play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The importance of this relationship is only now coming to light, spurred by decision IX/16 of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD.

The good management of ecosystems such as wetlands and forests, remains an effective mitigation option given the high sequestration potential of natural systems. The permanence of carbon sinks is also tied to the maintenance or enhancement of the resilience of ecosystems.

With regards to climate change adaptation, healthy, intact ecosystems have long provided critical ecosystem services, providing people with food and shelter, protecting communities from drought and floods, and building the basis of much of our traditional knowledge, innovations and practices. As climate change threatens food security, increases exposure to natural disasters and changes the very nature of the environment in which we live, these ecosystem services will become even more important and valued.

This document has been produced by a suite of world-renowned experts in the fields of biodiversity and climate change. It was welcomed by the fifth meeting of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD and helps up to better understand how these two great challenges interact and how we can best work together to achieve our common goals. The scientific information contained in this report clearly demonstrates that the synergies among the three Rio Conventions are no longer an option but an urgent necessity. A joint work programme among the three Rio Conventions is an idea whose time has come.

Preparing for Climate Change in the Rogue River Basin of Southwest Oregon

The Rogue River Basin, located in southwest Oregon, consists of a diverse array of communities, economies and ecological systems. The Basin’s rich history, beautiful setting, and recreational and employment opportunities, attract visitors and residents to the region year-round. Climate change is likely to produce significant new stresses and alterations to water quantity and quality, fish, wildlife, plant life, forests and fire regimes of the Rogue Basin. The Rogue will not be the only region to experience the effects of climate change. Every region of the West, nation, and the world will be affected. These changes will, however, have important consequences for the economy, infrastructure, and human services on which the people and communities within the Rogue Basin rely on for their quality of life. 

In the summer of 2008, the University of Oregon Climate Leadership Initiative, in partnership with The National Center for Conservation Science & Policy and the MAPSS Team at the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, initiated a project to assess the likely consequences of climate change for the Rogue River Basin. The project began by downscaling three climate models (CSIRO, MIROC, and Hadley) and incorporating a global vegetation change model (MC1) used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A panel of scientists and land managers then assessed the likely risks posed by changing climate conditions to natural systems and made recommendations for increasing the capacity of ecosystems and species to withstand and adapt to those stressors. In turn, a panel of policy experts used the information provided by the scientists to assess the likely risks to economic, built, and human systems within the Rogue Basin posed by climate change and recommended ways to increase resistance and resiliency of those systems.

Forests for Climate Change Adaptation in the Congo Basin: Responding to an Urgent Need with Sustainable Practices

An innovative framework is needed whereby goods and services from sustainably managed Congo Basin forests are integrated into climate change adaptation strategies. Such strategies should also contribute to poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in a way that enhances the forests’ ecological resilience to climate impacts. For a region where livelihoods and national development are closely linked to natural resources, choosing the best pro-poor pathway for climate change adaptation is fundamental to sustainability and poverty alleviation. An understanding of ecosystem services and their trajectories in future climate scenarios will be required. Participation by multiple stakeholders, including women and minority groups such as indigenous communities, is crucial to ensure their interests are reflected in national planning and policies. This information brief reiterates the opportunities for integrating poverty alleviation and climate change adaptation strategies into an ecosystem approach1 to regional forest policy and management.

Developing Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change Impacts on Tropical Forest Systems

The annual report describes the third year activities of the ‘Tropical Forests and Climate Change Adaptation’ (TroFCCA) project. The report, which covers the period from August 2007 to 31 August 2008, highlights the activities undertaken in accordance with the plans for year 3 and the financial transactions accompanying those activities.

The primary objective of TroFCCA is to contribute to national processes of adaptation to climate change, particularly by streamlining adaptation into national development processes through the assessment of vulnerability and the identification of adaptation strategies for the prioritised forest-based development sectors in the different regions. The project is implemented in eight countries across three continents: Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mali in West Africa; Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua in Central America; and Indonesia and the Philippines in South East Asia.

The project comprises three phases, each with a central theme guiding the implementation of the overall project objective. The phases are surrounded by activities that stretch over more than one year; thus there are overlapping activities in phases 1 and 2 and also in phases 2 and 3. The third year report covers activities of phases 2 and 3.Other cross-phases activities also covered in this report are capacity building, development of climate scenarios, visibility and outreach actions, network and policy analysis, a science–policy dialogue process, and the consolidation of relations with partners etc. The main activity of the third year was the selection of pilot sites for testing the methodologies for vulnerability assessment, including identification and screening of adaptation strategies.

The report provides highlights of project status and current progress and gives a summary of the actual realisation versus the planned activities for the period. The progress made in each of the 12 steps of the methodology guiding the implementation of the project is also documented in the report. There is a discussion on the approach to the development of adaptation strategies that constitutes the central theme of phase 3, the last phase of the project following pilot studies in participatory testing of the methodologies for vulnerability assessment of the prioritised development sectors linked to the forest. Changes in the composition of the various teams are also described including communications and visibility actions. There were significant contributions from the project to scientific meetings, the Thirteenth Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, etc including the organisation of special sessions at two international meetings on tropical forests and climate change adaptation. Activities with partners and collaborations with other institutions brought a high measure of success during this period and they are discussed. In continuation of phase 3, project activities planned for year 4 are shown.

Included is a section on each region, highlighting the activities implemented and their contributions to each output target. The great achievement in capacity building through graduate students research programmes are covered in the regional reports. As an indication of the status and realisations of the project, there is a summary table of the progress made so far for each of the output targets. Finally, there is a financial report summarising the expenditures in year 3 and the budget requirements for year 4.

Adaptation to Climate Change in Africa: Synergies with Biodiversity and Forest

Forests, and the biodiversity contained within them, play key roles in supporting national economic activities and providing livelihood portfolios for many in Africa. They provide valuable ecosystem services such as climate regulation, hazard protection, water conservation, watershed protection, and also provisioning goods such as fuelwood, foods and nutritional supplements, and medicinal products etc. Forests are therefore at the frontline in moderating climate impacts on Africa by reducing exposure to climate extremes such as heat, drought and floods, and also the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of forest dependent people. Inarguably, forests should play a major role in national development strategies and be the entry point for climate changeadaptation in Africa.