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Report: Communities Adapting to Climate

New UN-Backed Report Spotlights How Communities Are Adapting to Climate Change

New York, Dec 4 2007 5:00PM

As negotiators meet in Bali, Indonesia to frame a legally binding regime on international responses to climate change, a new United Nations-backed report was released today on how communities spanning the globe are coping with the problem.

The new study by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) includes results from case studies ranging from food security in the Sahel, pastoralists in Mongolia, rice farmers in the lower Mekong basin and artisanal fishing communities in South America.

Vulnerable communities and nations can draw on examples of ‘climate proofing’ the report – entitled “Assessments of Impacts and Adaptations to Climate Change” – provides to quickly respond to the challenges posed by global warming.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner pointed out that 2007 was the year in which science has demonstrated that climate change is unequivocally occurring.

But “one of the big missing links has been adaptation, both in terms of adaptive strategies and in terms of resources for vulnerable communities,” he added.

“This assessment, involving experts across the developed and developing world, lays a solid and much needed foundation – a foundation upon which adaptation can become part of country development plans and built into international assistance including overseas development aid.”

More than 350 scientists, experts and others from 150 institutions in 50 developing nations and 12 developed ones participated in the report, which underscores the need to develop early warning systems especially, but not exclusively, in Africa, where monitoring networks are sparse, under-funded or poorly maintained.

In a related development, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) today noted that increased investment in predicting, monitoring and developing adaptation measures for climate change is critical.

In addition to mitigation, efforts must be bolstered to help populations adapt to water scarcity, extreme weather and other natural hazards which could be exacerbated by global warming, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement at the UN Climate Change Conference underway in Bali, Indonesia.

“It is now recognized that mitigation alone is unlikely to fully address, in a reasonable time the challenges that human-induced climate change is likely to bring and that, therefore, much greater attention needs to be given to adaptation to climate change,” he observed.

ENDS

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