UNU-EHS experts at Our Common Future Conference

  • 2015•07•07     Paris

    UNU-EHS researchers will be presenting key research projects at the largest forum for the scientific climate change community before the negotiation of a new climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris. Here is a list of sessions that our experts will participate in:

    Dr. Matthias Garschagen: Measuring the dynamics of risk at the global and local level: information for transformative change, Wed, 8 July at 3.20 pm
    (together with Joern Birkmann, Torsten Welle, William Solecki, Mark Pelling, Julius Agboola)

    Key risks identified in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group 5 report encompass various themes and dimensions, however, all these risks underscore the influence of climate change on hazards and the significance of exposure and vulnerability as determinants of risk. Based on selected risks identified in IPCC report, the presentation examines how core determinants of these key risks and their dynamics, namely hazard patterns, exposure and vulnerability at the global and local scale, can be measured and quantified.

    Dr. Julia Kloos: The role of ecosystems in Disaster Risk reduction, Wed, 8 July at 3.20 pm
    (together with J. Frélichová (Czechglobe, Brno, Czech Republic), S. Van Der Meulen (Deltares, Utrecht, Netherlands), F. Renaud (United Nations University, Bonn, Germany), E. Lorencová (Czechglobe, Brno, Czech Republic), Z. Sebesvari (United Nations University, Bonn, Germany))

    Ecosystems have the capacity to play an important role in disaster risk reduction (DRR) as well as in climate change adaptation (CCA). Although engineered structures are still preferred and promoted by planning authorities dealing with disaster risk reduction in many cases, there is an increasing number of applications of ecosystem based solutions in disaster risk reduction worldwide. Similarly ecosystem based adaptation (EbA) measures in CCA are gaining recognition. Examples of such measures are wave dampening by willow or mangrove forests, functional green infrastructure in urban areas or sustainable land management in drylands. This presentation will highlight some of the existing research activities within the working group of the Ecosystem Services Partnership on Ecosystems and DRR. The presentation will also highlight linkages to other ESP working groups that provide solutions for disaster risk reduction from specific ecosystems perspective, such as for fresh water and marine environments and established links to international networks such as the Ecosystems for Adaptation and DRR (PEDRR)-network.

    Söhnke Kraft: Adaptation principles and their application: Effective determinants for multilevel climate governance?, Thurs, 9 July at 5:30 pm

    The UNFCCC COP 21 climate summit in Paris at the end of 2015 is expected to yield a new agreement on climate change, that will provide the framework for international climate policy cooperation in the coming decades. Advancing adaptation to climate change is a political priority for many countries, especially island states and least developed countries, and a major expectation towards the outcome of COP 21.

    At the international level there are emerging norms on the conduct of adaptation interventions – for instance through adaptation principles stipulated by the UNFCCC’s Cancun Adaptation Framework decided in 2010. The presentation addresses the question of how these principles are taken into account in programming adaptation actions by international climate funds and bilateral initiatives. Initial results based on a standardized analysis of board and programme policy documents as well as project documentation point to an uneven uptake and effect of internationally agreed adaptation principles on these institutions. I use these insights to discuss the effect of broad level policy principles on multilevel climate governance and adaptation practice, and to debate the relevance of an evolution of adaptation norms in the context of advancing the climate regime in Paris.

    Joanna Pardoe and Dr. Matthias Garschagen: Social responses to climate change: What can participatory games and scenarios tell us?: Thu, 09 July at 6.20pm

    The presentation will focus on how game and scenario methods can be used to reveal a clearer picture of social responses to more frequent floods and droughts as a result of climate change. EHS experts will show how the impacts of more frequent hazard events are particularly complex and how the gradual nature of climatic change is likely to result in local communities sliding into rigidity traps as they continue to rely on their current coping strategies to address changing weather patterns.

    Dr. Matthias Garschagen: Social and economic tipping points in adaptation processes: Reason for concern?, Poster Presentation

    Tipping points have become popular epistemic elements within the assessment of climate change. The study of tipping points helps decipher the complexity in climate change dynamics. Yet, despite the increasing engagement with tipping points in hazards and expected impacts there has been little work to empirically assess tipping points in adaptive capacity and adaptation processes. Along the same line, tipping points have been linked predominantly to large-scale bio-physical systems (e.g. the instability of large ice sheets and the breakdown of ocean circulation systems). Little attention has, thus far, been paid to potential adaptation tipping points in social and economic systems and at lower scales. Resulting knowledge gaps are particularly relevant for coastal areas and cities where socio-economic change is often rapid, coupled with heightened levels of exposure and vulnerability to climate change hazards.

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