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CGIAR: Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
Nourishing the Future through Scientific Excellence

Workshop on Climate-Related Risks, Cairo, Egypt, June 18-20, 2007

Following is a brief report, kindly provided by ILRI scientist Philip Thornton, on a workshop organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which Phil attended on behalf of the CGIAR.

This workshop on "climate related-risks and extreme events" was the first in a series under the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. The program aims to assist all parties to improve their understanding and assessment of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and to make informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures to respond to climate change on a sound scientific, technical and socio-economic basis. The NWP is structured around nine areas of work, under action-orientated sub-themes, and the workshop addressed issues under the sub-theme of climate related risks and extreme events.

The objective of the workshop was to identify best practices that will help countries better prepare for climate-related risks and extreme events as part of their overall efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The workshop was attended by some 80 participants from diverse countries and organizations. Background materials were circulated before the workshop to all participants (available at http://unfccc.int/adaptation/sbsta_agenda_item_adaptation/items/3953.php ).

After introductions to the workshop, participants split into three discussion groups, focusing on agriculture and food security, coastal zones (including human settlements and mega deltas) and health. Discussions focused on sharing experiences of best practice and identifying gaps and needs in relation to assessment and prediction, management, and traditional knowledge. The sectoral groups then formulated a set of recommendations for action, and these were presented to the whole workshop and discussed in terms of their implications for sustainable development.

The NWP works essentially by organizations, institutions, experts and communities undertaking activities at their own initiative in support of the objectives of the NWP and catalyzed by the work of the NWP. Accordingly, workshop recommendations were accompanied by lists of planned and on-going work, many of which may become "action pledges" that will contribute to the aims of the NWP.

Further workshops are planned by the UNFCCC secretariat under the NWP. In September 2007, there will be a workshop on adaptation planning and practices (at FAO in Rome), and one is planned on methods and tools in February 2008.

The Government of Egypt was a very gracious host of the workshop, and the UNFCCC Secretariat ensured that the sessions were well-organized, focused and productive. A full workshop report will be posted on the UNFCCC Web site shortly.

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