11 July 2016: News in recent weeks related to climate change adaptation, disaster risk management (DRM) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) brought the issue of urban resilience to the forefront. NAP Expo 2016 and the Second Global Conference on Health and Climate contributed to the implementation of the Paris Agreement by giving renewed impetus to efforts to formulate and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs), and build healthier societies.
The events and initiatives reported here also enhanced implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts), SDG 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) and SDG 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages).
NAP Expo 2016 Advances Implementation of Paris Agreement
Organized by the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG), with inputs from the Adaptation Committee (AC), the global support programmes for NAPs and other partner organizations, NAP Expo 2016 themed, ‘Advancing National Adaptation Plans post-Paris,’ was held in Bonn, Germany, from 11-15 July 2016. The fourth in the UNFCCC series of NAP Expos, NAP Expo 2016 aimed to: provide a platform for countries to advance the formulation and implementation of NAPs and to interact with providers of support, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Global Environment Facility (GEF); serve as a forum for sharing best practices, lessons learned and information on support provided and received in relation to NAPs formulation and implementation; and serve as a global forum on NAPs where various organizations and bodies can conduct specialized meetings and workshops to ensure coherence in supporting countries in undertaking the NAP process.
The NAP process was further advanced by the second edition of Training of Trainers (TOT) on NAPs held by the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ), UN Development Programme (UNDP) and NAP Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP) in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 13 June 2016. Representatives of the UN CC:Learn Secretariat sought to foster the potential linkages between the NAP process and the national climate change learning strategies developed in UN CC:Learn partner countries.
DRM Efforts Promote Urban Resilience
‘Resilient Cities 2016: 7th Annual Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation’ took place in Bonn, Germany, from 6-8 July 2016. Organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and co-hosted with the City of Bonn, the conference focused on a range of issues related to urban resilience and climate change adaptation, including inclusive resilience strategies, financing the resilient city, measuring and monitoring progress, resilience and adaptation planning, governance and collaboration, resource management and resilient infrastructure.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) issued two publications on DRR in urban areas titled ‘Reducing Disaster Risk by Managing Urban Land Use: Guidance Notes for Planners’ and ‘Incentives for Reducing Disaster Risk in Urban Areas.
The European Union (EU) provided a €6 million grant to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) project on ‘Making cities sustainable and resilient: implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 at the local level.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) released a report titled ‘Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016: Transforming cities in a changing climate,’ which aims to provide input towards a review and adjustment of urban adaptation to climate change by supporting regional, national and European stakeholders.
The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) issued a report titled ‘Resilience of large investments and critical infrastructures in Europe to climate change’ highlighting the need for the EU’s continued support for adaptation action in EU member States and coordinated exchange of information and best practices.
WHO Conference Fosters Interlinkages among Health and Climate
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of France hosted the Second Global Conference on Health and Climate under the theme ‘Building Healthier Societies through implementation of the Paris Agreement,’ which took place in Paris, France, from 7-8 July 2016. The conference showcased ways in which the public health community intends to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, with a view to building healthier and more sustainable societies.
In his address, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas called for forging partnerships to strengthen cooperation among the climate and health communities.
UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Richard Kinley observed that approximately two thirds of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat mention health as a priority in the context of adaptation to climate change as well as in the context of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction.
UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRR and Head of UNISDR Robert Glasser highlighted the links between health and the global targets of the Sendai Framework for DRR, focusing on reducing mortality and the number of people affected by disasters, enhancing early warning systems, and promoting the safety of critical infrastructure, including health facilities.
On 11 July 2016, Glasser launched ‘The Sendai Seven Campaign – 7 Targets, 7 Years,’ an advocacy initiative to encourage implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR. It aims to save lives, reduce disaster losses and improve DRM.
The recent developments reported above took place against the backdrop of enhanced action by the UN to boost the response to and preparedness for the effects of the periodic warming and cooling of the central to Eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, known as El Niño and La Niña, respectively.