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Themes and Issues

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The programme of the conference will offer a variety of plenary and parallel sessions, round tables, excursions, exhibition, side events and back-to-back meetings. To maximise the impact of the conference, seven themes and three cross cutting issues have been identified that reflect the prominent subjects in climate adaptation of today and the coming decade.             

Themes

1.Cities and infrastructure
2. Food, forestry and rural livelihoods
3. Fresh water availability and access      
4. Public health
5.Ecosystems and ecosystem based adaptation
6. Disaster risk reduction
7. The Arctic 
              

Cross-cutting issues

8.Risk assessment, adaptation planning and evaluation
9.Institutions and governance
10.Finance, investment and business

           
Themes

1. Cities and infrastructure
Cities and infrastructure are under stress from population growth, urbanisation, austerity measures, inadequate water management and environmental degradation. Changes in rainfall patterns and temperatures as well as sea-level rise add to this stress. Adaptation of the existing and newly developed urban fabric, public space, infrastructure (grey and green), energy networks, water and wastewater systems, biodiversity and buildings is essential to protect cities and their inhabitants. Adaptation requires diverse approaches that integrate and reconcile various economic, social and environmental objectives across institutional, spatial and temporal scales. This theme focuses on recent research and emerging practical experience regarding adaptation measures, policies, strategies and institutional and governance structures that anticipate  climate change impacts on urban areas and infrastructure.

Topics theme 1

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this theme. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session.

  • Protecting critical infrastructure (e.g. transport, harbours, energy, hospitals)
  • Integrating adaptation and disaster risk reduction in urban planning
  • Building resilience by design
  • Water supply, wastewater treatment and urban drainage
  • Heat stress and air quality
  • Livable and safe cities through healthy ecosystems
  • Integrating adaptation and mitigation in urban planning
  • Participatory governance for adaptation

2. Food, forestry and rural livelihoods
Food, agriculture and rural development are already affected by climate change. Agricultural systems have to transform to take account of changes in rainfall, floods and droughts, higher temperatures, salt water intrusion, loss of coastal habitats and new pests and diseases. Food security and livelihoods, often of the poorest and most vulnerable populations, are at stake. Adaptation options that can address all these stresses require integrated land and water management strategies and systems, and a major change in mind-set and decision-making processes. Forests are also increasingly threatened by fires and pests. All these issues affect the livelihoods of people living in rural areas or depending on agriculture or forest production. This theme covers recent research and emerging practical experience on how these multiple stresses can be addressed and food and forest production be improved.

Topics theme 2

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this theme. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session.

  • Climate and ecosystems
  • Smart agriculture
  • Community-based adaptation
  • Oceans and artisanal fisheries
  • Food security at the local, national and global scale
  • Planning for adaptive landscapes - Rural landscape planning

3. Fresh water availability and access
Climate change, socio-economic development, ineffective water policies and governance, and basin-wide developmental interventions are causing increasing threats to the availability and access to fresh water for drinking, agriculture, ecosystems and industrial activities. Sea level rise, salinisation and long periods of drought are posing challenges to optimisation of freshwater supply and demand. This theme will cover recent research and emerging practical experience on how areas can enhance their adaptive capacity to these stresses and meet the increasing demand for water. The theme will highlight technical, economic, governance, policy and spatial planning solutions for fresh water management from local to global level.

Topics theme 3

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this theme. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session.

  • Rain-, flood- and groundwater harvesting
  • Financing small-scale solutions
  • Groundwater management
  • Links between local, regional, national and transboundary water management
  • Salt water intrusion
  • Water security, water access rights and conflict

 4. Public health
Public health depends to a large extent on safe drinking water, sufficient food, secure shelter and good social conditions. Climate change affects all of these conditions. The health effects of a rapidly changing climate are likely to be negative, particularly in the poorest communities, often living on marginal land and in water-scarce areas. Some of the health effects include increasing heat stress due to more frequent and intense heatwaves, increasing risks of water- and vector-borne diseases, changes in ecosystem and biodiversity, decreasing availability of staple foods, increasing allergic reactions and invading plant and animal species. This theme covers recent research and practical experience on the impact of climate change on health and on national or local health programmes and interventions that take into account measures to reduce vulnerability to future climate change.

Topics theme 4

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this theme. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session.

  • Health risk management
  • Community resilience
  • Vector- and water borne diseases

5. Ecosystems and ecosystem based adaptation
Natural ecosystems are threatened by human population growth causing growing demands on the planet’s limited supplies, affecting water and habitat quality and changes in climatic patterns. Climate change deteriorates habitat quality and puts plants and animal populations under direct pressure, while also enhancing land and water use impacts. All these pressures combine to accelerate the rapid decline of biodiversity. This theme covers  analyses of the problems ecosystems are facing in times of global change, and pathways to induce self-adaptability of ecosystems and biodiversity.  Opportunities ecosystems can offer in terms of climate change adaptation, reconciling nature protection, nature-based solutions and social adaptation will be discussed. Opportunities for improving the governance of ecosystem services will also be  covered.

Topics theme 5

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this theme. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session.

  • Ecosystem-based adaptation and landscape approaches
  • Role of protected areas in adaptation
  • Ecosystems restoration as an adaptation strategy
  • Local governance and ecosystem-based adaptation
  • The business case for nature-based solutions
  • Conservation and development synergies and trade-offs

6. Disaster risk reduction
In spite of the fact that the risk of floods, droughts and other weather-related disasters is influenced by a combination of climate change and socio-economic factors, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation are often quite separate fields of research, practice and policy. Yet the two fields have much in common. This theme discusses how climate change affects disasters; it explores links, synergies and differences between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Lessons are presented from disaster risk reduction research, practice and policy that are relevant to climate change adaptation, and challenges and opportunities for novel adaptation and risk management partnerships are discussed. The session focuses especially, but not exclusively, on floods and droughts.

Topics theme 6

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this theme. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session.

  • Linking adaptation and disaster risk reduction
  • Disaster risk reduction in urban settings
  • Human security and conflict
  • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Disaster risk reduction and adaptation from a social-ecological system viewpoint
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation along vulnerable coasts
  • Preparedness and early warning

7. The Arctic
In the Arctic, the effects of climate change have been among the most striking to appear to date. People living in the Arctic are adapting to rapidly changing conditions, yet may still see their livelihoods and cultures disappear. This is not only due to the direct effects of climate change: commercial interests from extractive industries, shipping and tourism are benefiting from improved access to the Arctic, which adds to the direct climate stress but also creates economic opportunities. This theme presents the latest research on adaptation needs, options and constraints in the Arctic, from the community level to the supranational scale. It also highlights the analytical approaches and methods developed by a range of scientific disciplines to conducting adaptation research in the Arctic.

Topics theme 7

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this theme. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session.

  • Traditional and indigenous knowledge and cultures
  • Adaptation to new economic opportunities
  • Geopolitical challenges
  • Formal and informal institutions across scales
  • Resilience of social-ecological systems

Cross-cutting issues

8. Risk assessment, adaptation planning and evaluation
Planning for climate change calls for risk assessment methods that take a longer-term perspective. Uncertainty about climate change increases the complexity of assessing and evaluating risk. Various methods have been applied to develop adaptation plans and strategies from local to national and regional scales. Adaptation plans and strategies are often most effective when integrated with other policy fields and inclusive of all relevant stakeholders. Better methods and tools for simulating and communicating climate risk to those who take decisions and influence outcomes, might help bridge the gap between science and decision-making. Visualisation techniques are helpful when interacting with stakeholders, elicit their knowledge and increase their commitment. In addition, climate services can play an important part in assessing risk and in planning for adaptation. In this cross-cutting issue, risk assessment methods and techniques are discussed, and the effectiveness of adaptation plans and strategies is assessed. Special attention is given to the evaluation of adaptation projects: how can progress and success in adaptation be measured? What are lessons learned?

Topics issue 8

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this cross cutting issue. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session.

  • Evaluation of adaptation projects
  • Visualisation and decision support tools
  • Assessment methods and planning tools
  • Understanding and integrating climate risk in development planning
  • Limits to adaptation
  • Connecting across scales – from community to catchment
  • Climate services for adaptation

9. Institutions and governance
Adaptation to climate change is not only a technological and financial challenge, but also a social, political and normative one. Adaptation governance is multi-level, cutting across different sectors and policy domains, and involving a wide range of actors and stakeholders. These and other factors increase the complexity of decision-making. Institutions need to be able to handle the challenges of climate change adaptation and capacity building needs. This may require changes in societal preferences and priorities, and their interactions with knowledge development. This cross-cutting issue discusses the potential for new governance arrangements from local to the global level for effective adaptation, the conditions of their emergence and adoption, capacity building, new decision-making tools, the social justice implications of adaptation policies, framing of adaptation and forms of science–policy interactions.

Topics issue 9

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this cross cutting issue. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session.

  • Mainstreaming adaptation into planning and investments
  • Framing adaptation
  • Social justice implications of adaptation policies
  • National institutional coordination and fragmentation
  • Community-based and participatory governance
  • Private sector involvement and other novel multi-stakeholder partnerships
  • Capacity building

10. Finance, investment and business
Some of the most challenging questions relate to the financing and economics of adaptation: What are the financing and investment needs for adaptation? What are the costs and benefits of adaptation? Are domestic and international resources adequate and easy to access? How do they affect, when and how best to adapt? What do we need to do now and what can be postponed? What are effective, equitable and legitimate strategies to finance adaptation measures? When are investments in adaptation profitable?
Whether large or small, businesses often are affected by climate change through disruptions in supply chains. Challenges are many when links in the chain not under their direct control are affected. How can supply chains be made more resilient? This cross-cutting theme discusses issues such as methods to be used to develop and appraise adaptation options under conditions of climate uncertainty, the most cost-effective measures to gain the most socially desired benefits, innovative financing models for adaptation, possible partners for financing alliances and resilience of businesses for climate change.

Topics issue 10

The topics mentioned below are typically to be dealt with under this cross cutting issue. The list is not limitative. The topics are examples of issues to be discussed during the conference. They serve to inspire the submission of an abstract or a session. And they give some guidance under which theme or cross-cutting issue you can submit an abstract or a session. 

  • Business opportunities in adaptation
  • Protecting business and supply chains against climate change and disasters
  • Innovative financing models and business cases
  • The role of private finance in investing in adapting societies
  • Distribution and transfer of risks and costs
  • Domestic and international sources of funding
  • Increasing social resilience by incorporating climate risk insurance
HOSTS OF THE CONFERENCE