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Adaptation to climate variability and change: proceedings of the international conference on adaptation to climate variability and change

These conference proceedings summarise the discussions held in New Delhi (January 5-7, 2006) on adaptation to climatic variability and change. The conference brought together participants that included high-level governmental decision-makers, development organisations, physical and social scientists, and field practitioners.

Discussions at the conference addressed a wide variety of conceptual as well as more narrowly applied issues. They also highlighted very different perspectives regarding the courses of action that will be required to respond to climatic variability and change. Presentations illustrated both the importance of adapting to climatic conditions and the complexity of separating climate adaptation from other socioeconomic, environmental and development issues. The conference recognised the link between adaptation to climatic change and disaster risk management and the role of risk management as a central strategy for responding to climate issues.

The report calls for greater collaboration across Asia on attempts to understand and respond to the challenges emerging as a consequence of climatic variability and change. It identifies a number of core points where collaboration could be of great benefit:

  • improvement of basic shared understanding regarding the social as well as physical science issues that must be addressed
  • development of methodologies, indicators and techniques for analysing climate impacts, patterns of vulnerability and building adaptive capacity
  • development of improved systems for mitigating risks associated with climatic change and variability, including:
    • mechanisms that can address the specific needs of vulnerable communities
    • financial mechanisms for risk pooling and spreading
    • early warning systems and data sharing
    • systems for climate disaster risk reduction in development and post-disaster recovery programmes
    • risk management in the water sector, particularly adapted structure design and resilient management approaches
    • risk management within local, regional and global economic systems through economic diversification and improved understanding of the role appropriate trade, migration, communications and other policies may play
  • sharing of experiences and testing, through pilot activities, strategies to support adaptation and resilience to climatic variability and change
  • development of professional and other networks necessary to hold key actors – in governments, NGOs and the private sector – accountable for using existing knowledge to take effective action to reduce risks

The conference was financed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and organised jointly by the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET) and Winrock International India (WII).