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Assessments of Impacts and Adaptations to Climate Change in Multiple Regions and Sectors: Filling Gaps in Scientific Knowledge and Capacity


International Conference: Global Philanthropists - Partners for a knowledge-based response to climate change Portoroz, Slovenia, 1-3 June 2008 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Assessments of Impacts and Adaptations to Climate Change in Multiple Regions and Sectors: Filling Gaps in Scientific Knowledge and Capacity

Assessments of Impacts and Adaptations to Climate
Change in Multiple Regions and SectorsFilling
Gaps in Scientific Knowledge and Capacity
  • Peter McGrathActing programme officer, TWAS,
    Trieste, Italy

International Conference Global Philanthropists
- Partners for a knowledge-based response to
climate change Portoroz, Slovenia, 1-3 June 2008
TWAS Who and what we are
  • Founded 1983 in Trieste, Italy, by Abdus Salam
    and 40 other eminent scientists from the South
    (incl. 10 Nobel Laureates).
  • Inaugurated 1985 by the Secretary General of the
    United Nations, Javier Perez de Cuellar.
  • Located at the Abdus Salam International Centre
    for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy.
  • Administered by the United Nations Educational,
    Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

TWAS Who and what we are
  • 880 Members in 90 countries
  • 746 Fellows in 73 countries in the South.
  • 134 Associate Fellows in 17 countries in the
  • 15 Nobel Laureates.

The voice of science for the South
TWAS Objectives
  • Recognize, support and promote excellence in
    scientific research in the South.
  • Respond to the needs of scientists working under
    unfavourable conditions.
  • Support South-South scientific exchange and
  • Promote South-North cooperation between
    individuals and centres of excellence.
  • Promote dissemination of scientific information
    and sharing of innovative experiences.

Building scientific capacity in developing
Climate change The challenge
"At the start of the 20th century, there were one
billion people on the planet. Now there are more
than six billion people. By 2054 in just 43
years' time we will reach nine billion
people. The challenge is to meet the
requirements of all those nine billion people.
Can we make the cultural changes that will be
necessary? These additional three billion people
will put added pressure on our natural resources,
such as fresh water and biodiversity, especially
in the light of climate change the effects of
which will be felt most severely in Africa, the
region that has the least capacity to deal with
it. David King, former science advisor
to the UK government
G8-UNESCO World Forum on Education, Research and
Innovation New Partnership for Sustainable
Development10-12 May 2007, Trieste, Italy
Climate change The challenge
  • Filling Gaps in Scientific Knowledge and Capacity
  • The Third Assessment Report of the IPCC (2001)
    highlighted that developing countries are highly
    vulnerable to climate change.
  • Yet gaps exist in understanding the nature of
    this vulnerability and opportunities for
    adaptation. Furthermore, in many of these
    countries, there is a need for improved
    scientific and technical capacity to conduct the
    integrated, multi-disciplinary regional
    investigations necessary to fill these gaps.
  • Assessments of Impacts and Adaptations to Climate
    Change (AIACC)

We need science to fill these gaps and we need
scientific capacity in developing countries to
ensure that the science carried out is relevant
to the needs of these countries.
Climate change The challenge
Africa is most vulnerable to climate change
because of its fragile ecosystems, and weak
resilience and adaptation capacity.
WHO estimated mortality (per million people)
attributable to climate change by 2000.
Source Nature (2005), vol. 438, pages 310-317.
Model project AIACC
  • Assessments of Impacts and Adaptations to Climate
    Change (AIACC)
  • Developed in collaboration with the UNEP/WMO
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • implemented by the United Nations Environment
    Programme (UNEP)
  • executed jointly by START and TWAS
  • collateral funding provided by the United States
    Agency for International Development (USAID), the
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA),
    the United States Environmental Protection Agency
    (EPA), and the World Bank and
  • substantial in-kind support was provided by
    participating institutions in developing
Model project AIACC
Aim To advance the scientific understanding of
climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation
options in developing countries. Outcome By
funding collaborative research, training and
technical support, AIACC has enhanced the
scientific capacity of developing countries to
assess climate change vulnerabilities and
adaptations, and has generated and communicated
information useful for adaptation planning and
Climate change Filling the gaps Where are the
  • Climate models Need for regional models of
    relevance to developing countries.
  • Health Unknown effects on infectious diseases
    such as malaria, dengue and diarrhoea.
  • Agriculture Unknown effects on traditional
    crops and varieties. Rice cultivation in Asia
    thought to be under threat.
  • Fisheries Changes to ocean currents will affect
    fisheries. Temperature changes will affect
  • Water  There will be widespread but largely,
    as yet, unpredictable  effects on the
    hydrological cycle, especially in arid and
    semi-arid areas where people already lack
    sufficient safe drinking water and water for
    irrigating crops.
  • Other sectors Rising sea-level, disaster

Climate change Filling the gaps
A partnership between climatologists and crop
scientists will be valuable. The estimated
window for implementing mitigation and adaptation
programmes has shrunk from 30-40 years to 15
years. Martin Parry, IPCC co-chair, Hadley
Centre for Climate Prediction and Research,
UK There is a need to go beyond coarse global
models and develop specific river basin and
farm-scale models of how climate change will
affect river water availability and lake
levels. Colin Chartes, International Water
Management Institute, Sri Lanka
Scientific response Trieste
  • International scientific organizations based in
  • Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical
    Physics (ICTP)
  • International Centre for Genetic Engineering and
    Biotechnology (ICGEB)
  • International Centre for Science and High
    Technology (ICS-UNIDO)
  • TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing
  • International scientific organizations based in
    Trieste and associated with TWAS
  • InterAcademy Panel (IAP)
  • InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP)
  • Third World Organization for Women in Science

Trieste ICTP Physics of Weather and Climate
  • established at ICTP in 1998.
  • Objectives
  • to carry out research and educational activities
    in the physics of the atmosphere, ocean, and land
    surface processes and
  • to make climate models available and provide the
    know-how of their use to the scientific community
    in developing countries.
  • Research activities can be broadly divided into
    two main areas
  • regional climate change, with emphasis on
    anthropogenic effects and future climate
    scenarios and
  • natural climate variability.

Each year, the group organizes a number of
educational activities, such as workshops and
conferences on specific topics related to weather
and climate research. The group also maintains
strong contacts with international programmes and
leading laboratories worldwide to maintain a
state-of-the-art level of research and to enhance
communication between scientists in developing
and developed countries.
Trieste TWAS and ICGEB Joint Programme on
Abiotic Stress in Plants
  • Overview
  • Initiated in 2006
  • 5 research networks funded
  • One member of each network must be from an ICGEB
    member state, and one must be from a science- and
    technology-lagging country (STLC)
  • US10,000 a year, provided to each research
    network for three years, most of which must be
    spent supporting research in and training young
    scientists from the STLC partner
  • Currently funded entirely by TWAS and ICGEB.

Trieste TWAS and ICGEB Joint Programme on
Abiotic Stress in Plants
  • Research programmes being supported
  • Tolerance strategies of Quinoa plants under salt
    stress Chile with collaborators from Argentina,
    Mali and Italy
  • Use of bacterial H pyrophosphatases for the
    development of salt-tolerant plants Russia with
    a collaborator from Uzbekistan
  • The development of maize and other crops tolerant
    to abiotic stresses South Africa with
    collaborators from Kenya and Zimbabwe
  • Over-expression of genes encoding ion transport
    proteins as a strategy to improve salt- and
    drought-tolerance in wheat Tunisia with
    collaborators from Ghana and Syria
  • The identification of key genes involved in salt
    and osmotic stress tolerance in model plants
    Uruguay with collaborators from Argentina,
    Nicaragua and Hungary.

Trieste TWAS, TWNSO Conservation and
Sustainable Use of Dryland Biodiversity
  • Overview
  • Three-year project 2000-2003
  • Aimed at identifying and disseminating Best
    Practices case studies
  • Aimed at linking and networking research
    institutes from the worlds arid and semi-arid
  • Involved 3 regional workshops and 2 international
  • 70 case studies published aimed at different
    levels of interest/understanding (scientists
    policy-makers and NGOs general public)
  • Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

  • Third World Network of Science Organizations
    (TWNSO), founded in 1988, Trieste, Italy.
  • January 2007 TWNSO to become the Consortium on
    Science, Technology and Innovation for the South
  • Decision announced by Foreign Ministers of the
    Group of 77 at meeting held at UN headquarters
    in New York City on 22 September 2006.

TWNSO/COSTIS regarded as the political wing of
TWAS enabling the Academy to promote the need
for science at the highest government levels.
  • COSTIS Membership
  • Ministers responsible for ST
  • National Research Councils
  • National Science Foundations
  • National Science Academies
  • Science-based private sector institutions
    (observer status).

Trieste TWAS Regional Offices
  • TWAS Regional Office for Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Hosted by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS),
    which also hosts the Network of African Academies
    of Science (NASAC).
  • AAS is currently implementing a project with
    START (TWASs AIACC partner) to offer fellowships
    to young scientists from sub-Saharan Africa in
    the area of climate change science.

Trieste TWAS and Networks of Academies of Science
  • Statements
  • Joint statement by academies of G8 countries and
    NASAC toG8 summit in Scotlandin June 2005.
  • NASAC statement to AU summit in Addis Ababa,
    Ethiopia, in January 2007.
  • NASAC statement to G8 summit in Germany in June

Climate change Filling the gaps
  • There are gaps evident in these highlighted
  • TWAS-ICGEB Relatively low level of funding for a
    project that could be expanded greatly.
  • TWNSO drylands biodiversity Funding has ceased
    but needs continue for the second phase, on
    sustainable land management.

Climate change Filling the gaps
  • Tearfund Climate Change Briefing Paper 1 (2006)
  • Institute of Development Studies
  • Overcoming the Barriers Mainstreaming Climate
    Change Adaptation in Developing Countries
  • Major recommendations
  • Funding for adaptation should be increased well
    beyond that currently available via the GEF and
    other adaptation-specific bilateral aid.
  • Donors should support research and monitoring and
    evaluation of the mainstreaming process, to
    develop understanding of what contributes to
    effective enabling environments.

Climate change Filling the gaps
  • Conclusion
  • Many challenges remain indeed, it is likely
    that many challenges are only now emerging.
  • Developing countries are most at risk and
    developing countries have less scientific
    expertise available to be able to define that
    risk and to provide advice on adaptation and
    mitigation responses.
  • Developing countries scientific capacity must be
    increased across the board, from basic
    chemistry and theoretical physics, to the
    agricultural sciences and integrated water
    management etc
  • TWAS is already addressing these problems through
    its current programmes research grants,
    fellowships programmes, support for scientific
    meetings etc...

But much more still needs to be done.
Thank you for your attention
  • Peter McGrathTWAS Acting programme officer
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