Measuring climate risk, A practical guide

Measuring climate risk, A practical guide

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Date: 26th August 2013
Author: CDKN Asia
Type: News
Organisations: Camp Alatoo, UNDP
Country: Asia

Understanding the short and long terms risks from climate change is necessary for planning timely action to reduce the possible impact on lives, economies, and societies. While attempts have been made to measure such risks at global and regional levels, these results are generally not sufficient to inform climate change risk management planning at sub-national tiers.

The UNDP’s Central Asia Climate Risk Assessment Program (CA-CRM) is developing climate risk profiles, below the national level where possible, to provide the basis for better climate risk management. To support the development of these profiles, a Climate Risk Assessment Guide has been developed to provide a practical process for assessing climate risk in Central Asia. This risk measuring process was developed under the Central Asia Climate Risk Assessment Project, an effort to develop and test a methodology for a data-driven assessment of climate risks in regional countries, especially at sub-national levels. The project is supported by CDKN through CAMP Alatoo (a Kyrgyz NGO), with support of the UN Development Program.

The risk assessment process laid out in the Guide brings together impacts for short (climate variability) and long (climate change) term climate conditions by using historical data as the basis for future impact scenarios. Climate change renders both short and long-term changes to social and economic conditions in society and therefore a risk assessment method must go beyond just measuring changes to the nature, magnitude, or frequency of physical events. Put another way, the individual and social impacts of a changing climate are more significant over the long term than the actual physical changes to the climate. The impact of these changes, and not the changes themselves, are what affects individuals and society.

A livelihoods assessment feature, using a Delphi-based process, is added to the methodology to increase the scope of risk measurement. In addition, a perception survey was used as part of the process to capture understanding of climate impacts and attitudes towards addressing these at the community level.

Overall, the Central Asia Climate Risk Assessment exercise demonstrates that it is possible to work around data challenges and other limitations to develop risk assessment profiles for local areas. The techniques used broaden the scope of the assessment results and provide decision makers with simple measures of past and possible future climate impacts. The livelihoods impact assessment and survey tools can be useful for risk assessments under conditions similar to those in Central Asia.

Report on Testing of Climate Risk Assessment Methodology in Kyrgyzstan, an output of the collaboration between CAMP Alatoo, UNDP’s CRM Program, and CDKN, is based on procedures set out in the Climate Risk Assessment Guide. The profile presents research results of climate risk assessment in Kyrgyzstan, particularly studying impacts on key crops and related livelihoods at the Oblast (province) level.

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