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Climate Risk Management

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and partnering agencies have recognized the needs of users of all kinds for relevant, actionable climate information for Climate Risk Management (CRM), and the need to improve the practical application of Climate Risk Management at local levels, in order to reduce climate impacts, build resilience to climate variability and change and contribute to poverty reduction and development. With the advent of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) (see GFCS background below), these agencies are taking steps to address those needs.

One such action, meant to support the implementation of the GFCS was launched by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Task Team on Climate Risk Management (TT-CRM), which organized a CRM Symposium in Guayaquil, Ecuador in October 2011.

Experts in a wide range of climate and risk disciplines from all the continents and key agencies working with WMO on the GFCS implementation attended. (List of Participants; Symposium photos; Symposium presentations)

The overarching aim of the Symposium was to help both providers and users of climate information in the development and application of information on climate variability and change, in an operational ‘no regrets’ sense, for minimizing climate-related risks and maximizing any opportunities that may arise, the essential principle of CRM. As a result of this international meeting, the scope of Climate Risk Management and innovative approaches for CRM were discussed, practical examples of best practice were highlighted, and guidance for appropriate processes, tools and techniques to adopt were proposed.

On the basis of the proceedings of this Symposium, participants, along with members of the CCl Task Team on CRM, developed a report that has been published as a chapter: Improving Climate Risk Management at Local Level – Techniques, Case Studies, Good Practices and Guidance for World Meteorological Organization Members (Chapter 21) in a book by InTech: Risk Management – Current Issues and challenges (Edited by Nerija Banaitiene, ISBN 978-953-51-0747-7, Hard cover, 584 pages, 12 September 2012).

As proposed by the World Meteorological Organization Task Team on Climate Risk Management (TT-CRM), based on the expert guidance from the Symposium on CRM, Climate Risk Management (CRM) is defined as a systematic and coordinated process in which climate information is used to reduce the risks associated with climate variability and change, and to take advantage of opportunities, in order to improve the resilience of social, economic and environmental systems.

Additional key points and outcomes from the WMO Symposium on Climate Risk Management are highlighted in Chapter 21, whose aim is to provide a useful document to all who are interested in establishing or improving CRM processes and systems at the local level (particularly village to country scales). Throughout the chapter, conceptual discussions are complemented with real-life case studies and lessons learnt and shared by experts who are involved in CRM across different sectors and in academia.

GFCS Background

Thousands of scientists and decision makers from climate and other disciplines met at World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3 , 31 August to 4 September, 2009, Geneva, Switzerland) to discuss the issues, and concluded that a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) was needed to organize and provide users with the climate information, products and services appropriate to their requirements. Following WCC-3, a major report (WMO-No 1065) on the GFCS outlined, inter alia, current capabilities around the world, the needs and opportunities for climate services and recommendations.

The GFCS is designed to mainstream climate science into decision making at all levels and help ensure that every country and every climate-sensitive sector of society is well equipped to access and apply relevant climate information, enabling an adjustment of planning and decisions to optimize the given situation. The application of climate services must therefore involve close interaction between all stakeholders including the providers and the users, and requires concerted multi-disciplinary efforts 2. The ultimate goal of GFCS is to: “Enable better management of the risks of climate variability and change at all levels, through development and incorporation of science-based climate information and prediction into planning, policy and practice.”

In 2011, the WMO agreed to implement the GFCS, and is working with partnering agencies to develop or strengthen the many contributions to the GFCS, in terms of observations, monitoring, research, services and capacity development, all with a user focus and engagement. As part of this effort, experts from around the world are collaborating to scope requirements for climate risk management, develop methods for interacting effectively with user communities, and improve applications of climate information for user benefit.

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