Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the world today. Long-term development planning must now include measures to deal with it.
Displaying 1-20 of 100 key documents
Source: World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) | 2010
This document examines ethical and human rights-based approaches to climate change and climate-related vulnerability. It was published by the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), an independent expert advisory committee tasked with guiding the UN Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) in its implementation of ethical frameworks in science, technology and development.
In particular, the report focuses on ethical issues brought about by climate change, and discusses both general and specific principles that could be adopted to respond to these issues.
These include protecting human rights; providing equitable access to medical, scientific and technological developments, including the rapid sharing of knowledge about such developments and the sharing of benefits, with particular attention to the needs of developing countries; holding polluters accountable for the cost of their pollution; and ensuring that development is sustainable.
Source: International Council on Human Rights Policy | 2011
This report, published by the International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP) outlines how technology transfer, climate change, and human rights-based approaches explicitly come together. It focuses on how human rights-based approaches to technology transfer bear on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Twenty years' after the signing of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio in 1992, technology transfer is still a contentious term and an unclear goal for policy. The report aims to address this by examining the human rights issues that emerge — at both the theoretical and political level — in relation to technology transfer. It also examines how technology transfer can be used to secure basic human rights and set rights-based standards that can improve the living conditions of those most vulnerable to climate change.
The report suggests that human rights can provide a platform for agreement that can inform technology policy and help move it forward by prioritising needs and objectives. It concludes with relevant recommendations for governments, civil society organisations and UN bodies.
Source: IISD | June 2012
This paper gives an overview of the financing needs of smallholder farmers, their current sources of financing, and ways to deliver these funds to help them achieve the triple dividends of enhanced food security, increased resilience to climate change, and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. It offers recommendations for mobilising investment to enable further progress towards this goal.
The authors argue that there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution, and suggest that adaptation funds and the private sector could be a source of additional support, in the absence of public sector financing for agriculture or a carbon market for smallholders. They conclude with recommendations for policymakers, such as building on prior experience and knowledge, and creating an enabling environment for climate-smart agricultural investment.
This report presents the results of a study of six African agricultural carbon projects and identifies institutional innovations — such as financial management and carbon monitoring systems — that have helped make them successful. It also puts forward emerging research questions and discusses the future of the project.
The study found that direct carbon payments to farmers were low, but non-cash benefits were received after careful management. The projects successfully established systems for financial management, agricultural extension, and carbon monitoring, using a complex set of partnerships. They also found that mechanisms for settling conflict over land and benefits were crucial, as were methods for managing power dynamics to ensure equitable decision-making and participation.
Source: UNFCCC | June 2012
This report provides a summary of key financing and support opportunities — excluding multilateral and domestic sources — available to Climate Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Africa and other underrepresented regions. Funding sources covered include the KfW Carbon Fund, World Bank group carbon funds and initiatives, the carbon facility of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the African Biofuels and Renewable Energy Fund (ABREF), and the Africa Carbon Asset Development Initiative (ACAD).
Source: DFID | July 2012
This report presents the results of a project that aimed to harmonise approaches to the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of climate change adaptation in Africa. The project also aimed to test ways of improving training materials on selected methodologies, and to develop a strategy for outreach. It was implemented by a core group of representatives from regional and sub-regional organisations, climate change adaptation initiatives and funding agencies.
The authors conclude that the project successfully facilitated an increased understanding of M&E practices, methods and tools in the context of climate change adaptation, and encouraged improvements to stakeholder organisations. The report recommends that the resulting M&E toolkit should be disseminated in Africa.
Source: Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) | July 2012
These country fact sheets aim to provide updated information on the status of national climate policy and market mechanisms — including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), greenhouse gas emissions, and nationally appropriate mitigation actions — in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The goal is to provide countries with guidance on how to make progress towards low-carbon development.
Each report includes an overview of national climate change risks and policy responses for adaptation and mitigation. It outlines recent policy actions and activities, as well as the structure of designated national authorities, the approval process for CDM projects, and information on climate mitigation options and mechanisms. All reports are available in English, and the reports from Indonesia and Malaysia are also available in their national languages.
Source: OECD-FAO | June 2012
This is the eighteenth edition of the Agricultural Outlook, which outlines projected market trends (from 2012 to 2021) for major agricultural commodities and biofuels, and presents recent developments and uncertainties associated with those markets. It focuses on the challenges of meeting the rising demand for food alongside input costs, resource constraints, environmental pressures and the impacts of climate change.
The report finds that world prices for many agricultural crops are expected to remain high over the long-term, in spite of a short-term decline. It highlights progress in improving the sustainability of agricultural practices, and calls for the private sector to take a leading role in creating the right environment.
The report concludes by arguing for better agronomic practices and commercial, technical and regulatory environments, and strengthening agricultural innovation systems, as essential policy challenges. It calls for developing countries to invest in agricultural infrastructure in rural areas and in human capital, and to put in place policies for reducing food loss and waste.
Source: The International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) | June 2012
This report presents a new index, which could become an alternative to gross domestic product (GDP) and the Human Development Index as a means of assessing a country's economic development. The Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) measures nations' wealth by taking into account natural resources and ecological conditions, and a long-term view on wellbeing and sustainability.
The IWI was applied to 20 countries — representing over half the world's population and three quarters of global GDP — revealing changes in inclusive wealth between 1990 and 2008. The report found that an accurate representation of development depends on accounting for factors such as population change, the effect of global variables, and the price of natural or social capital. It recommends that governments integrate the IWI into planning, development and economic policies; protect their natural capital; and establish research initiatives to help evaluate natural capital components.
The report will be published every two years, offering policymakers practical frameworks and encouraging more holistic approaches to economic development assessments.
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) | June 2012
This report examines how refugees and displaced people from several countries in the East and Horn of Africa have perceived, experienced and responded to climatic variability and the negative impacts of climate change. Through interviews and focus groups, and supported by a literature review, the report assesses how people manage the impact of climate change and environmental stress, how these factors affect livelihoods and vulnerability, and to what extent they influence people's decisions to move from their homes.
Key findings include that climate change had negatively impacted farming and livestock husbandry, and triggered conflict by further exacerbating existing resource scarcity. However, people tended to employ a wide range of adaptive strategies, only moving home as a last resort. The report also states that migration was often viewed as temporary, and very rarely occurred across national borders. It concludes that political conditions, civil disorder and state oppression inhibited people's coping strategies.
Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization | June 2012
This report argues that more sustainable use of forestry resources can help reduce poverty and hunger, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and create more sustainable sources of bio-products and bio-energy. It was released at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), where many of these challenges were discussed.
The report highlights that 350 million of the world's poorest people depend on forests for survival, and that investing in wood-based enterprises creates jobs and improves livelihoods. It argues that when sourced sustainably, wood products can store carbon and be easily recycled, and highlights that sustainable forestry offers a renewable, alternative source of energy. It says that more resources need to be invested in creating small and medium forest-based enterprises that benefit local communities.
The report concludes that promoting a sustainable forest-based industry can both improve local economies and meet sustainability goals. But this will require policies, programmes and incentives.
Source: UNESCO and UNU | June 2012
This report highlights scientific literature relating to the contribution of indigenous and traditional knowledge to understanding climate change vulnerability, resilience and adaptation. It aims to strengthen consideration of indigenous knowledge in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due for release in 2014.
The report, written for climate policymakers, includes topic overviews that include the identification of indigenous communities, understanding climate risks, vulnerabilities and adaptation, and the role of traditional knowledge in analysing vulnerability. It includes chapters on indigenous knowledge and science, and challenges in correlating indigenous and scientific observations.
Its authors note that despite the recognition of traditional knowledge as a vital tool for developing adaptation strategies, indigenous knowledge has remained largely outside the scope of IPCC assessments. Yet indigenous knowledge, practices and coping strategies can reinforce the adaptive capacity and resilience of communities. They warn that policies that undermine this capacity should be avoided.
Source: Forest and Climate Change Programme of FAO | May 2012
This report presents the results of the survey of forest stakeholders, soliciting their views, opinions and observations on issues that influence the ability of forest managers to respond to climate change. It is aimed at forest managers, policymakers, researchers, communications specialists and those interested in forests and climate change.
The survey was conducted to develop guidelines to help forest managers respond effectively to climate change challenges through actions consistent with sustainable forest management. Survey questions covered a range of areas including climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation measures, laws and regulations, and relevance of existing guidelines. The respondents indicated how much support they receive, and how much they need, in order to implement adaptation and mitigation measures. A complete set of the results are available on the FAO Forests and Climate Change Programme website.
Source: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | April 2012
This report analyses pledge on emissions reductions put forward by Parties in the Cancún Agreements, including information emerging since the negotiations took place in 2010.
It focuses on the uncertainties and risks of achieving the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, and provides a detailed overview what the pledges and actions of the 12 countries and regions with the largest emissions could mean for reduction targets.
The report highlights that since the Cancún negotiations, developing countries have published new information about their emission projections which have led to higher than expected emission levels, and have increased the emission gap.
It suggests that a selected set of mitigation options in addition to existing pledges could result in emission reduction which would narrow the gap towards achieving the two degrees Celsius goal. It also concludes that uncertainties in accounting rules and projections could mean that global emissions remain at business-as-usual projections for 2020.
Source: Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change (CSACC) | March 2012
This report lays out a set of policy recommendations for the sustainable intensification of agriculture and reduction of food waste to create a resilient global food system. Based on a review of scientific evidence, it pinpoints seven actions that policymakers — including those attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) — should adopt to foster sustainable agriculture and efficient food supply chains.
Recommendations include integrating food security and sustainable agriculture into global and national policies;
intensifying agricultural production while reducing negative environmental impacts; and creating comprehensive, shared, integrated information systems.
This policy roadmap will require the reshaping of food production, distribution and consumption patterns, and empowering vulnerable populations to build a sustainable global food system.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report presents important environmental events and developments of 2012, and provides an overview of the status of key environmental indicators. It highlights the benefits of carbon storage in soil and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants as issues of emerging significance, and aims to strengthen science policy in these areas.
According to UNEP's executive director, although these may seem like separate issues, they go to the heart of questions about ensuring enough food and fuel while combating climate change and handling hazardous waste.
The report points out that the draining of peatlands is producing carbon dioxide emissions that amount to around six per cent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions; and their degradation is occurring 20 times faster than peat is accumulated. It also suggests that the nuclear industry needs to develop safer, faster and cheaper decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
Source: World Resources Institute
This report provides an overview of the National Adaptive Capacity (NAC) framework to help governments incorporate institutional capacity development into planning for climate change adaptation.
The report introduces the framework, which is a tool that can be used to systematically assess institutional strengths and weaknesses relevant to adaptation, support planning through the identification of specific gaps in capacity that can be filled through investment and action.
It helps to evaluate national institutions' performance of five key functions, including: assessment, prioritisation, coordination, information management, and climate risk management. These functions are considered indicators of a country's adaptive capacity.
The report also describes three pilot assessments conducted using NAC in Bolivia, Ireland, and Nepal, noting that the countries used the framework in different ways, suggesting that the tool can be adapted to different process of planning and evaluation.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization | March 2012
This report provides a visual overview of the trends and factors shaping global food and agricultural systems, including their interactions with broader environmental and socioeconomic concerns. It presents a selection of indicators on food and agriculture by country, aiming to be a reference point for policymakers, donor agencies, researchers, analysts and the public. These indicators are based on the FAOSTAT statistical database, which includes survey data submitted by countries, supplemented by national data.
Four sections cover provide an exhaustive overview of key themes: the state of agricultural resources, including pressures from demographic and macroeconomic change; food insecurity and malnutrition; the role of trade in meeting demands for food and feed; and the sustainability of agriculture in the context climate change and the need to provide ecosystem services.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) | March 2012
This report gives an overview of climate change impacts on forests as part of a process to prepare management guidelines, based on a review of the literature and a survey of forest managers. It reviews how changes such as temperature alterations and availability of water might impact growth changes, wildfires, pests and diseases. The authors identify what is needed to create an environment that would support forest managers' efforts in mitigation and adaptation.
The document concludes that, although some forest managers are already taking measures to combat climate change, there is a lack of proper monitoring to assess their effectiveness, efficiency and impacts. It highlights that these measures are designed in response to perceived risks rather than incentive schemes such as certification. And it provides a number of recommendations for forest managers to better prepare for climate change.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report, which is part of the UN Foresight Initiative, describes the 21 most pressing emerging global environmental issues — those recognised as very important to well-being by the scientific community, but are not yet receiving enough attention from the policymakers. These cover a range of themes, from food security to biodiversity, energy and technology.
One of the most important cross-cutting issues identified in the report is the need to rethink international environmental governance. Other areas in need of improvement include the science–policy interface, and coping with incremental damage to the environment.
Improving food security in light of changing climate is also high on the list of priorities, with the report suggesting a need for more comprehensive early warning systems, support for smallholder farmers, efforts to reduce food waste and increasing agricultural efficiency. Other issues highlighted include managing the impacts of glacial retreat; improving ocean governance; accelerating the implementation of renewable energy systems; and considering the environmental implications of nuclear reactor decommissioning.