Accessibility links

Developing strategies for climate change: the UNEP country studies on climate change impacts and adaptations assessment

This report summarises four country studies, carried out in Antigua and Barbuda, Cameroon, Estonia, and Pakistan. The studies illustrate the importance of adopting a flexible approach to the assessment of climate change impacts and adaptations.

The studies provide a basic foundation for understanding the potential impacts of climate change and the adaptation measures necessary to address them. They indicate the scope of the problems in each of the countries studied, as well as the direction adaptation studies should take. Most importantly, they demonstrate that while each country has a unique set of problems and strategies, all countries will benefit from long-term sustainable development.

Three key messages emerge from the studies:

  • the most serious impacts of climate change will occur in regions or sectors that are already under stress as a result of human activities
  • instead of promoting resiliency, many present-day activities increase the environment’s vulnerability to climate change
  • most adaptation strategies for climate change can be considered no regrets or win-win strategies in that they promote sustainable development regardless of actual or potential changes in the climate

Adaptation to climate change must be addressed on a country-by-country basis, one that takes into account each country’s particular environmental and socioeconomic conditions, and how these conditions respond to political, economic, and environmental changes. The wealth of important detail included in each of these reports is a testimony to just how much developing countries and economies in transition can differ from one another. Estonia may well benefit from some aspects of climate change, while Pakistan is likely to lose out. The lack of data in countries such as Cameroon and Antigua and Barbuda underscore the need for long-term studies of climate impacts and adaptations.

In general, the country studies show that economic changes (along with political, social, and demographic changes) make some regions and sectors more vulnerable to climate change, and others more resilient. Current environmental problems are also shaping the context for climate impacts and adaptation strategies.