Within the framework of the Regional Initiative for the Assessment of the Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources and Socio-Economic Vulnerability in the Arab Region (RICCAR), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) is supporting a three-year multi-institutional collaborative project on the same topic. The SIDA-ESCWA Project is a central component of the Regional Initiative, which has been adopted as an inter-agency initiative by United Nations and League of Arab States organizations that is reported upon to the Arab Ministerial Water Council. Launched in December 2010, the SIDA funded project is lead by ESCWA which is responsible for coordinating and managing project implementation and reporting. ESCWA is also responsible of ensuring that the preparation and implementation of the project outputs are appropriately communicated to the regional initiative partners and associated regional mechanisms.
In view of achieving its development goals, the project will achieve four immediate objectives in terms of expected accomplishments:
Establishment of a regional knowledge hub for climate and water resource information and modeling in the Arab region - this will require the compilation and review of historic and current data related to climate and water resources in the region, with particular focus placed on information that is necessary to support climate and hydrological modeling in the Arab region. This will include the establishment of a knowledge management system for storing historical data, baseline data as well as the information generated from climate change projections, hydrological scenarios and vulnerability assessments conducted during the regional initiative, including geospatial maps.
Identification of expected climate change impacts on water resources in the Arab region and associated vulnerability hot spots - this would entail the application of an integrated assessment that would involve linking a regional climate model (RCM) to a set of hydrological models for scenario development at the Arab regional level. This will result in the generation of five climate change projections that are each linked to two to three regional hydrological models to secure a good picture of the expected impacts of climate change on freshwater resources in the Arab region during the coming years. The information generated by the impact assessment would contribute to the identification of vulnerability hotspots and inform the preparation of a socio-economic and environmental vulnerability assessment through the regional initiative.
Improved capacity and institutional networking for climate change and water resource monitoring and adaptation - this would include assisting ministries of water and environment to strengthen their institutional capacity to examine and coordinate policies and priorities for responding to the impact of climate change on freshwater resources. The project would also seek to strengthen regional networks and institutions responsible for monitoring and reporting on climate and climate change in the Arab region.
Increased awareness and access to information about climate change impacts on water resources in the Arab region - this would focus on developing policy-oriented, user-friendly tools and packages to present the key findings and messages generated by the impact assessment to targeted stakeholders and decision-makers. Geo-spatial maps will be generated to help convey technical material in accessible and policy relevant formats. Project information and documentation would be disseminated in hard copy as well as through electronic and web-based media.
- Establishment of a regional knowledge hub for climate and water resource information and modeling in the Arab region;
- Identification of expected climate change impacts on water resources in the Arab region and associated vulnerability hotspots;
- Improved capacity and institutional networking for climate change and water resource monitoring and adaptation;
- Increased awareness and access to information about climate change impacts on water resources in the Arab region.
Launched in December 2010, the project implements the following activities:
- Identification and assessment of data needs, data sources and availability to apply the climate and hydrological models to the Arab region;
- Knowledge management for the establishment of a regional knowledge hub for climate and hydrological modeling, including information for extreme events analysis.
- Delineation of Arab domain and the application of regional climate modelling to downscale climate simulations and future climate scenarios for the Arab Region;
- Linking of regional hydrological models to regional climate projections and identification of vulnerability hotspots based on impact assessment findings;
- Incorporating extreme events analyses into climate change impact assessment;
- Strengthening and networking of Arab meteorological institutions, strengthening the capacity of Arab water ministries to analyze and benefit from impact assessment findings including extreme events analysis;
- Development of regional capacity for geospatial analysis and knowledge management;
- Preparation of communication tools, including facts sheets, briefs and maps, and holding of regional consultations.
D. Understanding Extreme Events
The project is an integral part of the Regional Initiative and is implemented in partnership with several organizations
The SIDA-supported project component includes the analysis of extreme weather events as a core component of the integrated assessment and associated capacity building activities in view of increasing understanding and preparedness for reducing socio-economic vulnerability to extreme events caused by climate change impacts on the water sector in the Arab region. This include training on climate change prediction, projection and extreme events indicators. Among the activities of the project is the development of disaster losses databases detailing historical trends in selected countries expected to experience increased frequency and intensity of water-related extreme events, namely floods, flash floods and possibly drought, dust storms and cyclones.
In addition to the activities listed in the SIDA-ESCWA Project, the following activities will be conducted for the objectives of this project:
- Securing information for extreme events analysis
- Incorporating extreme events analyses into climate change impact assessment
- Capacity building and institutional strengthening for extreme events analysis
More information is available at the following address: http://www.desinventar.org
The primary beneficiaries of this regional project are the Governments of the 22 Arab countries that are members of the League of Arab States (LAS).
Water ministries and meteorological offices will benefit in terms of capacity building and institutional strengthening, as well as regional cooperation and networking on climate change matters. It is expected that the project will also target other line ministries in addition to regional research centers, Arab experts and stakeholders.