Online Climate Change Consultation: Disaster Reduction Statement to UNFCCC Parties
9-16 November 2005



Background Information on UNFCCC Adaptation Provisions

The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992. The UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases in order to avoid "dangerous anthropogenic interference" with the climate system. Controlled gases include methane, nitrous oxide and, in particular, carbon dioxide. The 193 parties (as of October 2005) to the UNFCCC typically convene once a year in a Conference of the Parties (COP), and twice a year in meetings of its subsidiary bodies.

From the start, work under the Convention has given high priority to mitigation actions. While COP 1 in 1995 addressed funding for adaptation (decision 11/CP.1), it was not until the adoption of the Marrakesh Accords in 2001 that adaptation began to be more widely seen as a prominent area for action complementing work on mitigation, as set out in decision 5/CP.7 (adverse effects of climate change). The importance of adaptation was reaffirmed in the Delhi Ministerial Declaration.

The actual process for the development of a structured programme of work on adaptation began in Milan at COP 9 in December 2003, following the conclusion of consideration of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In what is sometimes referred to as the "Milan process on adaptation," COP 9 requested the SBSTA to initiate work on scientific, technical and socioeconomic aspects of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change (decision 10/CP.9). SBSTA conducted one pre-sessional workshop on this matter at SBSTA 19 in December 2003, and two in-session workshops
at SBSTA 20 and 21.

With decision 1/CP.10 (Buenos Aires Programme of Work on Adaptation and Response Measures), parties reached a new milestone in terms of work on adaptation, as the COP called for SBSTA to develop a structured five-year programme of work on the scientific, technical and socioeconomic aspects, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. The programme should be adopted at COP 11 and should address three thematic areas, namely impacts and vulnerability; adaptation planning, measures and actions; and integration; methodologies, data and modelling appearing as a cross-cutting issue.

The Buenos Aires programme emphasizes the need to build capacity, including institutional capacity, for preventive measures, planning, preparedness and management of disasters relating to climate change, as well as for contingency planning, in particular for droughts and floods and extreme weather events. It furthers the implementation of activities contained in decision 5/CP.7, including early warning systems and work on insurance and risk assessments to highlight a few.

Funding under the FCCC process is operated by the GEF; sources for adaptation include the GEF strategic priority “Piloting an Operational Approach to Adaptation”; the small grants programme; efforts to address adaptation in the climate change focal area and to mainstream it into other focal areas of the GEF; the Least Developed Countries Fund and efforts to finance the preparation of national adaptation programmes of action; the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF).

The Adaptation Fund was established under the Kyoto Protocol to support the implementation of concrete adaptation projects and programmes as well as activities identified in 5/CP.7. GEF is initiating steps to mobilize resources for the Fund.

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