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A Daily Report of the Second International Conference on Climate, Sustainability and Sustainable Development in Semi-arid Regions
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Volume 177 Number 4 - Friday, 20 August 2010
ICID 2010 HIGHLIGHTS
Thursday, 19 August 2010

On Thursday, ICID 2010 convened in thematic panel sessions and roundtables organized around the four sub-themes of the conference: climate information; climate and sustainable development; climate governance, representation, rights, equity and justice; and climate policy processes. During the morning and evening, poster sessions were presented.

In the morning and afternoon, 18 thematic panel sessions and roundtables convened to address issues related to climate change adaptation, vulnerability and sustainable development. In addition to these broad themes, panels addressed specific case studies and some focused on elements such as rainwater harvesting, technologies for development and impacts on oceans. A selection of panel sessions is presented below.

THEMATIC PANEL SESSIONS

SESSION 4.1.1 LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT LESSONS LEARNED: Chair Michael Glantz, Consortium for Capacity Building, US, opened the morning session, observing that the “lessons learned” listed in post-disaster assessments are rarely implemented. He urged that such recommendations should always discuss increased risk from not heeding lessons.

S. H. M. Fakhrunddin, Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System, Thailand, discussed three key problems with early warning systems: warnings not understood; warnings understood but ignored; and warnings understood and not ignored, but no response made.

Fernando Briones, Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), Mexico, discussed the problems of communicating modern climate forecasts to subsistence farmers in Chiapas state, where traditional signals are becoming unreliable and reliance on traditional knowledge can therefore lead to maladaptation.

Tsegay Wolde-Georgis, Consortium for Capacity Building, US, discussed biofuel promotion in Africa, warning of consequences for land use, land ownership, nomadic communities and food security.

Peter Usher, consultant, UK, outlined lessons for the UNFCCC that must be learned from the Montreal Protocol process, namely that: cooperation among relevant stakeholders promotes efficiency and effectiveness; science and politics cannot be compartmentalized when assessing global issues; scientific research and assessment must inspire confidence; environmental integrity must not be sacrificed for economic and political advantage; and solutions must be mindful of those most vulnerable.

Marcos Filardi, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, discussed the struggle for the human right to food. Leah Orlovsky, Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Israel, discussed unlearned lessons from drylands development in the Aral Sea Basin, noting unheeded lessons because of bureaucratic inertia and strict top-down control, as well as an absence of market economies allowing farmers to take independent decisions.

SESSION 4.1.4 FROM IMPACTS TO VULNERABILITY – LOCATING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION IN THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: The morning’s session Chair Lisa Schipper, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Thailand, hoped that the session would show why adaptation is not development, and how adaptation cannot be implemented without development.

Netra Chhetri, Arizona State University, US, discussed smallholder agriculturalists’ approaches to increasing system resiliency. Noting outcomes of a case study in Nepal, he emphasized that adaptation programmes should: incorporate local knowledge; innovate location-specific technologies accompanied by policy changes; and use local initiatives for biodiversity and technology development.

John Morton, University of Greenwich, UK, on pastoralism and climate change, stressed the need to move beyond categorizing pastoralists as either victims or adaptors to climate change. He called for: a broader view of impacts; the promotion of nuanced discussions relating to present drought cycles; and an increased understanding of the complexity of real-world pastoral production systems.

Purabi Bose, Wageningen University, the Netherlands, presented on community-based adaptation of tribal women in semi-arid India to climate change. She noted that governments need to: recognize historical dispossession through forest tenure rights; allow access rights for vulnerable communities; and allow forest people’s decisions and participation in policymaking, design and implementation.

Dawit Abebe, University of Greenwich, UK, on climate variability and building pastoral socio-ecological adaptive capacity in Ethiopia, said that increased climate variability, in addition to mobility restriction, loss of pastoral resources, settlement policies, access to markets and conflict in the region, has meant pastoralists cannot implement their adaptive strategies.

Chair Schipper, on why examples of adaptation are so elusive, noted that practitioners need to: consider what they are trying to achieve with adaptation actions; use adaptation only when referring to climate change; and stop equating development with adaptation. 

SESSION 4.2.3 ADAPTATION STRATEGIES IN DRYLANDS: In this session, Coumba Ndoffène Diouf, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal, discussed local forest management in river basins as a means of addressing climate risk. Olurunfemi Felix, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Nigeria, on vulnerability and adaptation to extreme weather events, noted that successful programmes: improve understanding of the context of vulnerability and its stressors; recognize and mediate different adaptation interests; and invest in local knowledge and capacity.

Shailendra Kumar Mandal, National Institute of Technology Patna, India, said that projects require local collective action as well as an integrated effort by governments, civil society and the private sector. He said decision-making should be inclusive and mindful.

Mogodisheng Sekhwela, University of Botswana, underscored that modern agricultural techniques increase climate risk and emphasized solutions, such as diversification, reducing harvesting pressure by creating value added products and understanding interactions between ecosystem services.

José Luis Gonzalez Barrios, National Center for Research on Water, Soil, Plants and Atmosphere (CENID-RASPA), Mexico, described a Mexican case study, which conserved soil, controlled erosion and helped capture rainfall.

SESSION 4.2.5 VULNERABILITY, IMPACTS AND ADAPTATION IN DRYLANDS: In the morning session chaired by Renato Ferreira, Ministry of Environment (MMA), Brazil, Esther Dungumaro, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, gave a presentation on the challenges and opportunities of climate change and urged decision-makers to support local-level action instead of creating new “top-down” policies.

Andrei Marin, University of Bergen, Norway, presented on building development under climate change in arid Mongolia and stressed the need to frame adaptation within the economic and political circumstances in each region. Chair Ferreira then spoke on the Brazilian policy on semi-arid areas with respect to water, describing a desalinization project called Àgua Doce. He described the training of communities in maintaining the desalinization equipment, but noted that the process will be threatened in future years due to increased temperatures and thus increased evaporation rates.

Tcharbuahbokengo Nfinn, Federation of Environment and Ecological Diversity for Agricultural Revampment, Cameroon, presented on climate change and the cocoa sector, noting that the adaptive capacity of rural communities farming cocoa is threatened by poverty, lack of knowledge and information, and poor governance.

Nicolino Trompieri Neto, Institute of Research and Economic Strategy (IPECE), Brazil, made a technical presentation on the impact of precipitation on the economy of Ceará, comparing rain-fed agricultural production to that from irrigated lands, and contrasting the gross domestic product of the region with that of the country, concluding that irrigated lands are more profitable for the region but not necessarily for the country due to increased production costs.

SESSION 4.3.1 EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS FOR DROUGHTS: The afternoon’s session on early warning systems for droughts was chaired by Don Wilhite, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, US. He noted essential components of early warning systems include monitoring networks, data retrieval systems, data quality control and data analysis.

Mike Hayes, National Drought Mitigation Center, US, noted that understanding the impacts of droughts is essential for understanding the components of drought early warning systems.

Paulo Cesar Sentelhas, University of São Paulo, Brazil, on drought monitoring systems in South America, noted that in addition to atmospheric conditions, soil moisture and rainfall are considered when assessing drought conditions.

Bob Stefanski, World Meteorological Organization, noted that the Nebraska-Lincoln workshop on indices and indicators for monitoring and assessing drought conditions worldwide called for: national meteorological and hydrological services to use the standardized precipitation index in addition to current tools; development of a user manual; and implementation of indices and early warning systems with the end user in mind.

Richard Heim, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, US, presented on the development of an international drought clearinghouse. He said that the global drought monitoring web portal would be the basis of the clearinghouse, with continental, regional and national portals layered on top. He stressed that the clearinghouse will: support drought mitigation preparedness and response, as well as water management decisions; provide a tool for drought education; and have a tool for the display and analysis of climatic and hydrologic data.

SESSION 4.3.4 ROUNDTABLE – SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH AGENDA IN CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSE: Chair Jesse Ribot, University of Illinois, US, questioned the panel about a greater and more productive role for social scientists in climate debates.

Monica Amorim, Federal University of Ceará (UFC), Brazil, proposed new approaches to adaptation and diversification that combine local wisdom with scientific knowledge. Togtokh Chuluun, University of Mongolia, noted the need for greater coordination among researchers to produce higher resolution climate change scenarios that are more useful for planning.

Hallie Eakin, University of Arizona, US, emphasized the need for more systematic analyses of adaptation needs and studies on mechanisms of risk transfer and response. Papa Faye, Superior Institute of Management (ISM), Senegal, called for studying the relationship between adaptation and democracy. He said adaptation policy tends not to involve truly collective decisions, making average people doubt democracy.

Michael Glantz, University of Colorado, US, argued that the Nobel Prize award to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represented a shift in the debate to impacts, meaning a greater role for social sciences.

Renzo Taddei, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, analyzed the sociocultural dimensions of persuading populations that understand that climate change is real to actually undertake serious responses. Zuo Ting, China Agricultural University, discussed how to account for the challenges and implications of climate change in rural development studies.

Moussa Dijire, University of Bamako, Mali, discussed analyzing governance, specifically rules and institutions, and their adequacy to address climate change. Lisa Schipper, SEI, Thailand, wondered whether social scientists can work closely together with natural scientists in a truly trans-disciplinary manner.

SESSION 4.3.5 INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE OF ENVIRONMENTAL INSTITUTIONS: Max Falque, France, discussed governance of water and agriculture in France, noting changes over time in land and water use, the evolution of irrigation systems and the legal frameworks governing them. João Luis Nogueira Matias, UFC, Brazil, on governance of agriculture in his country, said that sustainable agriculture requires revolutionizing production technologically, economically and institutionally.

Maria Teresa Farias, COMPAM, Brazil, described the Mata Branca project for the sustainable development of the Caatinga Biome, saying it includes capacity building in the areas of environmental education, appropriate institutions for integrated management, use of native species, controlling forest fires and forestry management. She highlighted strategies to protect biodiversity such as the creation of protected areas, monitoring and the establishment of ecological corridors.

SESSION 4.3.6 LESSONS FROM THE ARIDAS INITIATIVE: Chair Henrique Vila, Ministry of National Integration, Brazil, introduced the session and briefed participants on the Aridas project, which deals with sustainable development in the semi-arid regions in Brazil.

Antonio Magalhães, Director ICID 2010, spoke on the methodology driving the Aridas project, noting that the committee creating the project first defined future development in the semi-arid regions in terms of economic, environmental and social sustainability. He emphasized that the Aridas project seeks to eradicate poverty and inequalities in northeast Brazil.

Maria Irles Mayorga, UFC, Brazil, presented the history of the Aridas project, tracing its roots to the first ICID meeting in 1992. She lauded the project for being socially progressive, economically viable and environmentally sustainable, and appreciated the efforts of various partners and stakeholders.

Leonel Leite, Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA), Brazil, presented on planning for sustainable development at the regional level, based on lessons learnt from the Rio Grande State. He stressed the need for legal instruments to institutionalize sustainable development in arid regions at the national and local levels.

Ramon Rodrigues, Ceará State Water Resources Secretariat (SRH), Brazil, discussed a report on water resources in semi-arid regions, concluding that water resources are in a critical state in northeast Brazil, and measures such as building additional dams to ensure sustainability in the future need to be considered, especially as there will be an increase in water stress due to population growth.

IISD SUMMARY: The IISD summary of ICID 2010 will be available on Monday, 23 August 2010 online at: http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/climate/icid2010

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The ICID 2010 Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Tallash Kantai, Kate Louw, Keith Ripley, and Anna Schulz. The Digital Editor is Angeles Estrada. The Editor is Leonie Gordon <leonie@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://www.iisd.ca/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, United States of America. The IISD team at ICID 2010 can be contacted by e-mail at <anna@iisd.org>.

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