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During the the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn (May 8 - 18), policy-makers, implementers, supporters and investors from all over the world met for Technical Expert Meeting on Adaptation to talk about “Integrating climate change adaptation, including under the Paris Climate Change Agreement with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction”.

With the announcement of the World Meteorological Organization last week of new world records for the highest reported historical death tolls from tropical cyclones, tornadoes, lightning and hailstorms, it’s timely that countries, with the help of the global community take a closer look at how they can integrate efforts to build climate resilience and develop sustainably.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) underscored the great potential in enhancing resilience, reducing disaster risk and promoting sustainable development to lift people out of poverty, increase equity and ensure economic and social growth that does not harm other people or the planet.

“Transformation is not just possible; it is already happening. This is what the TEMs are about. The action presented here is excellent, but we must do more. We must turn all commitments into action. We must transform reality on the ground,” she said.

“This will only happen if we take what has been shared and learned here – and in all the technical expert meetings – and put it into practice in the real world,” she added.

Early action can protect the lives and livelihoods of millions of people throughout the world. Collaboration, cooperation and coordination is vital for countries and the global community to take urgent action.

 Participants discussed action already underway to make vital progress to increase climate resilience and advance sustainable development, and identified various opportunities for linking adaptation with SDGs and disaster reduction efforts, including through:

  • using the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans as a framework for practical integration of the three post-2015 agendas across various sectors and levels of governance;
  • joint decision-making processes, tools, metrics and strategies;
  • ensuring that relevant data, science and knowledge, including traditional knowledge, is generated and made available to inform progress collectively across the agendas;
  • working in coordination, collaboration and cooperation with all relevant stakeholders including local governments and communities to ensure that the three agendas are successfully achieved with complementarity and efficiency of efforts; and
  • taking a systems approach to integrating efforts and looking for cross-cutting entry points such as risk management.

Participants learned about many specific activities already making a difference to the lives of people on the ground, such as:

  • in Brazil, the Centre for Climate Intelligence for Agriculture will promote sustainability, reduce disaster risk and help farmers;
  • Egypt will use data from their ongoing effort to combat land degradation – which protects ecosystems and livelihoods – as a starting point for integrated action;
  • in Japan, the national government established an Adaptation Information Platform which provides data sets on future climate impacts for 47 local prefectures to support local governments and the private sector to take adaptation action based on information customized for each region; and
  • in the Pacific, joint national action planning is helping communities on the front lines of sea level rise, salt water intrusion and natural disasters to build resilience.

Through their rich exchange, participants took vital steps forward in taking action towards the ambition enshrined in the Paris Agreement, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, to collectively achieve the SDGs, Sendai Targets and deliver on the global adaptation goal of the Paris Agreement. Simply put, the more we adapt to climate change, the better prepared we are for disasters and the closer we get to sustainable development.

This week, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa will attend the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to pass on the learning and outcomes from the adaptation technical expert meeting, and highlight the collective challenge, and great opportunity to improve the lives of so many.

Further reading and information:

Governments decided to launch, in the period 2016-2020, a technical examination process on adaptation (TEP-A) under the leadership of the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee. The TEP-A is achieved through collaboration between Parties, international organizations and non-Party stakeholders to identify concrete opportunities for strengthening resilience, reducing vulnerabilities and increasing the understanding and implementation of adaptation actions.

The key messages and outcomes of discussions from the TEM-A will be incorporated into a technical paper and summary for policymakers as background for a high-level event that will take place during the upcoming COP, and widely disseminated among the sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation communities.

Read more about TEM-A here.


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