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Pioneering New Projects Announced To Help Developing

Experts meet at UNEP Headquarters to Plan Cost-Effective Adaptation Responses to Climate Change
Experts meet at UNEP Headquarters to Plan Cost-Effective Adaptation Responses to Climate Change

Nairobi, 08 February 2002 - Improved weather forecasts for farmers in Western Africa and studies into the links between temperature and deadly dengue fever in the Caribbean are among a raft of new initiatives aimed at helping developing countries overcome the worst ravages of climate change.

Other projects include a study into how the grazing grasslands in Mongolia might be helped to survive in a hotter world and one in Sri Lanka focused on this country's important tea and coconut plantations. The research aims to pin point varieties able to withstand drought and to develop a new calendar for coconut harvesting that takes into account anticipated changes in seasonal rainfall.

Adaptation to the impacts of climate change and reducing the vulnerability of countries, communities and the natural world, including forests and wildlife, have emerged as crucial issues for the coming decades.

Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said: " Industrialised countries have, as a first step, agreed to reduce their emissions of the gases linked with climate change by over five per cent by 2010. But many scientists believe cuts of some 60 per cent will be needed to really make a difference".

" Developing countries on continents like Africa and low lying, Small island States are in the firing line. They lack the resources and in many case the scientific and technological skills, to avert the worst impacts. It is our hope that these new projects will help them to cost effectively adapt to a future, climatically changed, world so that their people and environments suffer as little as possible from what is likely to come," he said.

Details of the new schemes will be at the centre of a meeting at UNEP's headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya taking place from 11 to 15 February.

Almost 100 international and national experts, involved in the Assessment of Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change in Multiple Regions and Sectors (AIACC) programme, are expected to attend.

The programme, which consists of up to 25 individual projects across the developing world, has been funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) (7.5 millions dollars) and is based upon the likely scenarios of weather patterns and temperature rise predicted by scientists advising the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). GEF is the global fund to support environmental projects in the areas of climate change, biodiversity conservation and international waters.

Countries involved include South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya in Africa, Mongolia, China, Laos and Sri Lanka in Asia, several from Latin America and the Caribbean, and ones in the Pacific Ocean including Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands.

Many of the projects, including most of those in Africa, focus on issues of food security and conserving water resources.

For example, extending weather forecasts, so as to boost the production of cereals, has been drawn up for Nigeria and Niger. The project aims to improve the quality and range of forecasts as well as offer suggestions as to how farmers may adopt different planting regimes to make them less vulnerable to the anticipated changes in seasonal weather patterns.

Another key theme of the projects is strengthening the scientific ability of countries to take the findings of the IPCC and relate them to their countries and regions. Armed with this vital information, it is hoped that cost-effective action plans aimed at reducing their vulnerability to climate change can be more sensibly devised.

A second workshop, taking place between February 18 and 20, at UNEP headquarters aims to see how climate adaptation projects and policies can be woven into the wider issue of sustainable development.

This workshop, called the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel Expert Group Workshop, plans to offer advice to the GEF on how its budget can be best spent to achieve these goals.

UNEP News Release 2002/08

Note to journalists
:Journalists are invited to attend the opening ceremony. Resource persons will be available for interviews. A Poster session will be held on Monday 11 February from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.. This session is devoted to sharing information about the objectives, project design, and methods for each AIACC project and learning about the expertise and capacities of each team. There will also be a press briefing on Friday 15 February (time to be confirmed). A press conference will be organized on 18 February, after the opening ceremony of the STAP Workshop.

Transportation will be available at Chester House, Monday, 11 February at 9:45a.m.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an international financial mechanism providing new and additional grant and concessional funding to developing countries and those with economies in transition to meet, within the framework of sustainable development, the agreed incremental costs of measures needed to achieve global environmental benefits in four focal areas: biological diversity; climate change; international waters, and ozone layer depletion.

The incremental costs of activities concerning land degradation, primarily desertification and deforestation, as they relate to the four focal areas are also eligible for funding, and it is proposed that land degradation be designated a focal area in its own right at the next GEF Assembly to be held in 2002. Since its inception in 1992, the GEF has been the financial mechanism to the CBD and the UNFCCC, and has more recently been designated the financial mechanism for the Stockholm Convention on POPs and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Currently, 171 countries participate in the GEF.

The GEF operates on the basis of collaboration and partnership among three implementing agencies, UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank, responsible for project development, implementation and management. GEF policy and programmes are determined by the GEF Council - made up of representatives of constituency groupings of member states, meeting twice per year - and reviewed periodically by the GEF Assembly of all member states. Support to the development of policy and programme, and coordination of their implementation, is provided by the GEF Secretariat.

Contact Persons at UNEP/GEF: Ahmed Djoghlaf, Director, Division of GEF Co-ordination

United Nations Environment Programme,. P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel. +254 2 624165; Fax. +254 2 624041; or Neil Pratt, Programme Officer, Data Management and Communications, Division of GEF Coordination; United Nations Environment Programme; P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel. +254 2 623377; Fax. +254 2 623696;

For More Information, Please Contact: Angele Luh, UNEP Regional Information Officer for Africa on s Tel: 254 2 624292, Email: or Mr. Ravi Sharma, Division of Policy Development and Law, on Tel: 624215, Email: or Mr. Mark Griffith, Global Environment Facility's Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, on Tel: 62 3424, Email:

Friday 08 Feb 2002
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