Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Department for International Development

What practical steps were taken following the publication of the latest IPCC reports and what were DFID's various divisions expected/asked to do with the information?

  1. Following the publication of the Third Assessment Report (TAR), DFID invited experts involved in the process to give a presentation of the key points to the Environment Policy Department and Engineering and Environment advisers. This assisted in raising awareness and stimulating discussion on policy responses. Many regional departments reacted to the TAR with discussion amongst senior advisers of what the results may mean for their work. This process is ongoing and momentum is being maintained through ongoing dissemination of new research findings, individual meetings and group presentations. Heads of Department requested hard copies of the IPCC report and also a summary of key aspects for their region/sector and suggestions for identifying ways forward. DFID is working with DEFRA to provide accurate and useful summaries as well as summaries of the International Process.

How is awareness of climate change and climate risk raised with country level programme managers and development practitioners?

  2.  Senior management Development Committee recently received a DEFRA/DFID joint presentation on the science of climate change, its impacts and its implications for DFID's work. Work on integrating climate change issues into country programmes is primarily through Environment Advisers working with advisers on regional and national programmes. In addition, DFID is producing an internal briefing document on climate change, which it is developing in conjunction with all major sections within DFID, including regional and country desks. The process of producing this document will also help raise awareness and stimulate discussion on how best to respond to some of the issues raised.

  3.  Looking more widely, DFID has commissioned work to identify how action to reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is likely to be affected by climate change. The study involves representatives from across DFID and DEFRA. The research team will also conduct meetings with development practitioners during the course of the study.

  4. DFID is also working with a number of agencies including the World Bank, UNDP and the EC in the preparation of a multi-agency paper entitled: "Poverty and Climate Change—Supporting Poor Countries and Poor People to Cope with Climate Change." The Paper is expected to issue around May 2003.

How does DFID link climate change with climate risk?

  5. The TAR outlines the way in which climate change will lead not only to changing frequency and extremes of climatic events such as flooding, hurricanes and drought, but also to more gradual changes in key environmental and resource based processes, such as water availability and vector borne diseases. The climatic risks a country faces may therefore also change as a result of climate change.

  6. In order for countries to cope with climate change, adaptation measures require information to be available on the changing variability in climate and then the identification of people and places most at risk. Through its funding of the PRECIS portable regional climate model, DFID is supporting capacity development to improve local level information and better inform policy decisions as well as disaster preparedness. Experience in Bangladesh shows the importance of investment in monitoring systems in reducing the risk of displacement and death as a result of climatic hazards

  7. Planning for climate change and changing risks requires interaction and coherence between different policy sections, eg health, agriculture, infrastructure etc. For example, in Ghana, DFID is working with other donors to support the Environment Protection Agency in carrying out a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) to look at the links and possible conflicts between proposed actions in health, agriculture etc and the environment.

  8. The economic costs of sea level rise, drought etc are likely to become greater as the risk of the climatic hazard occurring increases together with increasing population, urbanisation and wealth. A focus upon poverty reduction creates a framework in which resilience to environmental shocks can be built into growth and help deliver more robust development.

What is DFID's policy on support for disaster mitigation and preparedness work?

  9. Disaster preparedness is central to reducing the impact of disaster on poor people's livelihoods. This is recognised by DFID and reflected in our policies which aim to:

    (i)  enhance the effectiveness of the international system that carries out work on disaster preparedness (this includes UNDP, the World Bank Prevention Consortium, the International Federation of the Red Cross, and the Pan-American Health Organisation); and

    (ii)  ensure that disaster preparedness principles are integrated into country specific policies and plans, including our own country programmes, national policies within developing countries, and co-ordinated efforts such as PRSPs.

How are resources split between funding for relief operations related to climate disaster and funding for DMP activities like early warning systems or drought proofing, for example?

  10. The two funding channels are separate. Disaster relief is funded on the basis of response to need, as disasters occur, so this cannot be constrained to an annual budget. During the financial year 2001-02 DFID's Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department (CHAD) spent £6 million on disaster preparedness. In some cases country programmes have added to this funding from CHAD.

Has there been a shift away from DMP with the focus more on relief work?

  11. No. On the contrary DFID's commitment to disaster preparedness has increased since the 1997 White Paper commitment that "disaster preparedness and prevention will be an integral part of our development co-operation programme. We shall work with disaster-prone partner countries to develop systems for the better management of man-made hazards and, where feasible, natural hazards, so as to reduce their human impacts."

  12. A tangible example of this commitment is flooding in Mozambique. Following the devastating effects of the first floods in 2000, early warning systems were implemented. The second floods were not as severe, but the reduced threat to livelihoods was significant.

There is a great deal of discussion about mainstreaming climate change and integrating it fully into policy considerations. Can this really be achieved globally within the current negotiating framework which seems dominated by the concerns of the north and is largely mitigation focussed? Is adaptation going to be adequately considered at a global level and will there be sufficient funding for adaptation activities or will this be limited largely to capacity building activities?

  13. DFID believes that the impacts of climate change are fundamental to the development prospects of many poor countries; hence adaptation measures need to be placed firmly in the context of national poverty reduction strategies and other development processes.

  14. While the problem of GHG emissions is a global issue requiring collective resolution, the responsibility to implement measures to address its impact (ie, adaptation) most effectively lie with individual sovereign states. The extent to which adaptation measures require a global framework or are indeed influenced by the climate change negotiations—with the exception of developing country requests for financial support—is therefore questionable.

  15. Determining the costs of adaptation measures is difficult. It is hard to separate the truly additional costs of responding to climate change from those required to effectively manage "normal" climatic variability. In this respect, many of the measures required to address climate change are the same as those required to reduce the vulnerability of poor countries and poor people to normal climatic variability and other shocks to their livelihoods.

  16. Many of the most important adaptation measures are not necessarily capital intensive. Capacity building to understand the impact of climate change and identify the best way of adapting to through appropriate policies and measures may in fact be a highly valuable and the most appropriate use of financial resources. In Bangladesh the recorded reduction in deaths from successive cyclones may reflect better prediction and response measures rather than investment in improved sea defences and other structures. In other parts of Africa resilience of the agriculture sector could be much improved through better policies that encourage effective investment in land management and drought resistant strains.

What is DFID doing to support the development of NAPAs and does there need to be some framework or guidance for developing countries on what a NAPA should include?

  17. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognises the specific needs and special situation of least developed country (LDC) parties to the Convention. National Action Plans for Adaptation (NAPA) to, "meet the urgent and immediate adaptation needs of the LDCs" was an early Convention response to this need. Guidelines for the preparation of NAPAs already exist and financial assistance for their preparation is available through the Global Environment Facility.

  18. In recognition of the importance of developing country issues, the UNFCCC at its seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) agreed to establish a least developed countries expert group. This group comprises 12 experts—including a DFID representative, having recognized competence and appropriate skills. It is mandated to assist in the development of NAPAs through performing the following functions:

    (i)  to provide technical guidance and advice on the preparation of and the implementation strategy of NAPAs upon request by LDC parties;

    (ii)  to serve in an advisory capacity to the LDCs for the preparation and strategy for implementation of NAPAs;

    (iii)  to advise on capacity-building needs for the preparation and implementation of NAPAs and to provide appropriate recommendations, recognising the Capacity Development Initiative of the GEF and other relevant capacity-building initiatives;

    (iv)  to facilitate the exchange of information and to promote synergies (both regional and between various multilateral environmental conventions) in the preparation and in the implementation strategies for sustainable development; and

    (v)  to advise on the mainstreaming of NAPAs in development plans and national strategies for sustainable development.

  19. The group is also mandated to provide input into the review (and possible revision) of the existing NAPA guidelines at UNFCCC's COP 8 to be held in Delhi in November 2002. In addition to participating in the group DFID is financially supporting its work.

  20. DFID's key aim through its participation is to ensure that NAPA's become an effective part of a mainstreamed response to climate change. Experience with other similar (action plans) such as those prepared in respect of biodiversity and desertification is that they have been somewhat abstract assessments of a situation: technically competent but of limited effective use and rarely acknowledged by policy makers. We are conscious of the need to avoid the same happening again.

Much of the detailed planning and policy making on disaster mitigation and preparedness needs to happen at a local or community level but much of the information on climate change impact exists only at a global or national level. How can the gap be bridged? What can be done to ensure that those involved in planning and policy making at local level have access to appropriate, accurate information? In responding to crises, how does DFID ensure that it helps to build local capacity and resilience? What emphasis does DFID place on training local communities in disaster mitigation and preparedness?

  21. The IPCC uses global and regional climate models for its predictions. While these provide valuable information in scientific fora, this information needs to be available and accessible in order to inform adaptation policies and plans.

  22. DFID, together with the FCO and UNDP, are funding the Hadley Centre, in the UK Met Office to prepare a portable regional climate change (RCM) model. This model runs off a laptop computer and can therefore be transferred between local technical institutes, meteorological centres etc. The model supplies sufficiently high-resolution data for prediction of temperature and rainfall on a national and sub-national scale. This data can then be interpreted to inform adaptation programmes, both in terms of disaster preparedness and longer-term development planning, e.g. analysing how water availability will affect irrigation and agriculture.

  23. The RCM is being developed with local implementation capacity as a fundamental principle. Bangladesh has been selected as one of the pilot sites and in autumn 2002 will benefit from local training workshops to enhance capacity to interpret the data available from the RCM. Training will allow government policymakers and local organisations such as Surface Water Modelling Centre, Bangladesh Meteorological Department, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre under the Bangladesh Water Development Board, and the Environmental and GIS Support Project for Water Sector Planning to utilise their own skills for more specific sector level predictions and analysis. In collaboration with the installation of the regional climate change model, DFID is supporting specific research between UK and Bangladesh hydrological institutes to examine the implications of changes in climate and sea level on water resources availability and coastal flooding.

Should there be a climate impact assessment for development projects in the same way that there are environmental impact assessments?

  24. DFID is currently reviewing its environmental screening procedures, and within this exercise will consider how climate change impacts should be incorporated into the process.

How can work on sustainable and poverty development planning, which exists at a mainly national level, take account of adaptation processes that exist within communities?

  25. DFID is committed to country-owned poverty reduction processes. A healthy example of this process can take into account the national-local balance; firstly by ensuring that the development, implementation and monitoring of the PRS is country driven, with governments in the lead of a genuinely participatory process, and also by promoting partnerships between different sectors of society, including informal networks that often develop in the context of poor people adapting to change. As is the case in any country, local needs can be met if responsibilities are devolved, particularly when implementing policies based on need in a specific geographical area.

How should adaptation and mitigation strategies be linked in developing countries?

  26. Mitigation and adaptation are two sides of the climate change coin, but it is not clear that strategies in respect of either can be brought together, or should be seen as needing to be brought together.

  27. Mitigation is key to reducing the extent and speed of climate change. If unabated, increasing GHG emissions will result in significant change to global climate with the worst impacts being felt by the poorest in the world's poorest countries. Success with mitigation is therefore a major development policy issue. However, with relatively few exceptions (notably India, China, Brazil and Mexico), few developing countries make any significant contribution to global emissions. Mitigation is consequently unlikely to be an issue for most developing countries but their need to implement effective adaptation measures most definitely is.

  28. Where mitigation does concern developing countries—in particular the possibility of extending commitments under any future Kyoto arrangements to include the large developing countries increasingly responsible for global GHG emissions—these measures need not of themselves be associated with any adaptation needs or measures adopted by those countries. It is important however to note that many GHG emissions reducing policies and measures can have positive developmental impacts. For example a shift to cleaner fuels can significantly reduce the prevalence of air pollution a major cause of morbidity and mortality in many developing countries. This has certainly been the case in China.

The use of contraction and convergence as a way forward in climate negotiations

  29. Current UK policy on mitigation is focussed on bringing the Kyoto Protocol into force as a starting point for further more significant reductions in emissions. DFID agrees with this objective, but accepts that the target level of emissions reductions in the first commitment period under Kyoto (a 5 per cent reduction of 1990 emissions during the period 2008-12) is probably inadequate. However, it represents a starting point from which to make future progress.

  30. For a number of years the Global Commons Institute has advocated the Contraction and Convergence (CC) approach. Within CC "contraction" refers to the need to reduce emissions to a level, which will not impact adversely upon the global climate. This level would represent a global "budget" of GHG emissions and "convergence" represents the process by which shares in that budget would be equitably allocated to all nations on a per capita basis over a period of time. These allocations would be unrelated to current emissions levels.

  31. CC advocates propose that in addition to its inherent equity, the approach provides the only way of bringing together developed and developing countries within a single emission reduction framework. They argue that as Kyoto only addresses developed country emissions, it is unattractive to many developed countries that point to the fact that the developing world is an increasingly important source of emissions and will—if current trends remain—be the major source by 2015. Consequently, it is claimed that Kyoto's targets are set at an inadequately low level in order to achieve developed country agreement. Under a CC regime, the increasing impact of developing country emissions is explicitly recognised. At the same time, they argue, CC would accommodate the developing country perspective that their development should not be held back in order to rectify the damage caused by the existing rich countries to the global climate.

  32. The approach has an intuitive logic, but it is based on the simple premise that developed countries will agree to cut their emissions significantly. Regrettably, there is little evidence of their willingness to do so thus far under any form of agreement. Time lines for the completion of convergence have also never been proposed. The concept is therefore interesting but without agreement from the US in particular (along with other Kyoto reluctant parties) to agree to major cuts in GHG emissions under any regime it remains little more than that.

Department for International Development

May 2002

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