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World Resources Report Launches Initiative on Decision Making for Climate Adaptation

A new website brings together expert views on responding to climate risks in developing countries.

As dilemmas go, this is as tough as it gets. Between now and 2050, predictions suggest that yearly rainfall in Ghana could plummet to 60% less than it is today or increase by as much as 49%. How can the government of a resources-restrained West African nation deal with such overwhelming uncertainty in planning for the future? How can it decide, for example, where to focus agricultural development, and how to manage future water supplies? And how can public officials throughout Africa and Asia deal with other climate-related impacts such as altered monsoon patterns and long-lasting droughts?

The timely issue of how national governments make decisions for a changing climate is the topic of the latest World Resources Report (WRR), which today launches its interactive website www.worldresourcesreport.org.

The World Resources Report has been jointly published every two years since 1986 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) the World Bank, and the World Resources Institute. This latest edition boasts an innovative, interactive model. Audiences have been engaged from the outset, creating a broad range of research involving over 100 government officials, climate experts, international leaders and field practitioners from around the world. All the research--including expert papers, adaptation case studies, in-country scenario exercises, and roundtables--will be posted as it becomes available.

This commissioned research, together with comments and contributions provided by visitors to the WRR web site, will inform the findings and recommendations of the World Resources Report, to be published in April 2011. The Report will provide guidance on integrating climate change risks into planning and policies across sectors such as agriculture, electricity production and forestry and water management. It will present approaches for dealing with different types of climate risk, including increased variability, surprise events (such as novel pest outbreaks) and long term change (such as sea level rise). Findings will be particularly targeted at national level public officials in Africa, Asia and Latin America whose countries will bear the brunt of climate change impacts.

Some vulnerable developing countries are already experimenting with such approaches. The report will highlight more than a dozen case studies including innovative information dissemination practices in Mali, the inclusion of biodiversity information into development planning in South Africa, and the use of community-based institutions to combat desertification in Namibia.

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