AOSIS comments on decision tools for evaluating alternative adaptation strategies

1999-10-25 Samoa on behalf of AOSIS Download PDF

Topic: Climate

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) welcomed the informal report provided
by the Secretariat at the last meeting of SBSTA in Bonn this year. AOSIS is very interested
in furthering the work on adaptation, especially for coastal areas. AOSIS Member States
have been grappling with the need to find cost-effective and technically feasible options for
adaptation, both physically and strategically, in order to meet the challenges that AOSIS will
face in dealing with climate change and sea level rise.
AOSIS has made several submissions and interventions in the past on the issue of
adaptation, and this submission should be read in conjunction with those views.
AOSIS is of the view that the Secretariat has made a significant contribution to the
debate on adaptation by pulling together these various aspects of the current thinking in the
scientific and engineering communities. While the work is still in the early stages, it is clear
to AOSIS that much more applied research will have to be made. It would be useful if the
Secretariat could formalize the current paper incorporating views expressed, and bring it to
the attention of the 5th Conference of the Parties. This could then serve as the basis for a
more in-depth and formal approach to dealing with the issue of adaptation across the range of
the agenda of the Conference of the Parties.
Many aspects of the informal paper gave rise to specific questions from several
experts within AOSIS countries. As the process of developing national communications
progresses in many Small Island Developing States, it is becoming clear that adaptation
aspects are still in the process of development. There are many important efforts underway in
terms of evaluation of integrated coastal zone management and how adaptation links with
other processes such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), but considerations such as
relative GDP costs and human resources have often stifled progress in the actual
implementation of such efforts. The problematic cost benefit analysis that inevitably has to
be developed is also of concern to the AOSIS personnel working at the local and national
AOSIS sees the need for the development of regional climate models and
strengthening of regional climate monitoring, particularly for Small Island Developing States
regions. There are currently no working regional climate models with specific application to
SIDS regions, and this makes it difficult to progress with the work on characterizing the
nature and extent of adaptation. It would also be useful to have individual sectoral models
developed, for example in agriculture, hydrology and certain coastal areas such as lagoons, as
these may apply differently to SIDS. The availability of such models would greatly assist in
assessing the expected climate scenarios, and hence assist with the further development and
application of adaptation strategies. The IPCC could be requested to play an active role in
this process by carrying out some initial work, to be followed by a more formal consideration
at the SBSTA or through a workshop. It would be important for the parameters of this work
to be guided by the present work of the FCCC Secretariat and by views expressed by Parties.
In this regard, AOSIS would strongly urge that a dedicated meeting or workshop of
the FCCC be held on the issues of adaptation technologies, adaptation strategies and for
developing a practical long-term approach to adaptation within the context of the FCCC. An
important part of such an approach would also enhance regional participation and capacity
building if regional workshops could be held for national climate change teams and
committees that would specifically deal with the issue of adaptation. Another consideration
would be to include adaptation as an important task for regional training centers to become
involved in.

In the Pacific, the University of the South Pacific will be offering a degree course in
vulnerability and adaptation, which could be an important contribution to the overall work on
this issue under the FCCC. Work has also been done at the University of the West Indies,
but this requires much stronger support in order for the development of regional approaches
to become workable for the Small Island Developing States concerned. In contrast, much
needs to be done in the Indian Ocean and in Africa, the least studied of all climate-ocean
systems. Consideration must be given as to how these efforts can be brought together to
ensure synergy and harmony. There could also be a role for regional organizations such as
the South Pacific Regional Environment Program, the University of Malta, and other
institutions designated by Small Island Developing States to participate in this work. Any
work of this nature and information developed from such workshops needs to be
disseminated to all interested parties and organizations, such as IPCC, among others.
Funding for adaptation will be a limiting factor in the overall process of developing
adaptation strategies and implementing options. While the promise of adaptation funds
through the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol may become a reality in
the future, there is a clear distinction between that source of funds and funds available for
adaptation under the FCCCC. AOSIS sees work beginning as soon as possible to see how
adaptation could be funded under the FCCC, in accordance with the relevant articles of the
Convention. COP5 provides an opportunity for all countries to work towards adaptation
funding in the context of the financial mechanism (Decision 2 of COP4) and under national
communications. Although guidance was provided to the GEF based upon this decision it is
worthwhile to hear from the Global Environment Facility how they intend to respond to
adaptation projects requests from non-Annex 1 Parties as contained in their national
AOSIS looks forward to further discussion on these issues at the 5th Conference of the

Sub Topic: Adaption


Meeting: COP5