Changing weather conditions inherent to climate change demand decision-makers to be better informed when exercising their judgement on adaptation responses. To that extend, climate services facilitate climate-risk informed decisions through the provision of useful and usable climate information and products (e.g. risk or vulnerability assessments). By making climate information more readily available and customized to end-users’ needs, adaptation responses can be tailored to the expected climate conditions and be made more robust against the likely range of changes.
Tangible climate information products range from global and regional climate model outputs to local impact and vulnerability assessment results. Generating these products requires data and information from various fields of research. Climate information can describe historical, current and future climate conditions. They can entail future predictions and projections on monthly, seasonal or decadal timescales and their impact on natural and human systems. Climate services encompass the generation and provision of this information to a wide range of users in order to support climate resilient development. The scope and detail of climate services still need to be defined in close collaboration with users.
‘Adapt to what exactly?’ is the first question a decision-maker may ask when faced with the need to prepare for the consequences of climate change. Without knowing the expected changes in climatic conditions, proactive and anticipatory adaptation approaches are difficult. Whilst measures can be based on already experienced climate change, the more we know about future impacts, the better responses can be designed to address them. Climate information and services are therefore needed to support risk management and decision-making.
The provision of climate services is a fast-growing field and involves a variety of actors ranging from national research institutes to National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to operators of global and regional information platforms. In recent years, efforts have increased to customise climate information and target it to the specific needs of users. The formal UN framework that supports the development of climate services is the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) led by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Due to different perspectives, there may be a mismatch between what providers understand as useful information and what users recognise as usable. This may be due to information providers not being familiar with users’ decision-making processes and contexts or with decision-makers being unable to process climate information in the provided form. The level of uncertainty associated with a particular projections is another important factor. Exchange and dialogue between the users and providers is therefore of utmost importance.
In this context, the term climate value chain has been created. It describes an end-to-end climate information production cycle that is characterized by one or several steps of value-adding which might be tailoring of data or provision of information and services, etc. to make climate information usable. These steps are performed by various stakeholders, characterized as follows:
In Costa Rica, the long-term vision for Climate Services was incorporated into the National Adaptation Policy that was launched in 2018. Now, CSI is supporting its partners in translating this long term vision into reality. A first success in this is a presidential decree on the climate-resilient planning of infrastructure that will make the use of Climate Services obligatory. It also includes provisions aimed at achieving Costa Rica’s of Open Data, obliging institutions collecting data to make it accessible. Depending on how the decree is going to be implemented, this is an opportunity to solve the longstanding problem of access to hydrological data in the country. Costa Rica has taken a step towards climate resilience infrastructure. By launching a presidential decree to ensure that climate change constitutes an integral part in infrastructure planning, it guarantees the continuity of public services and long-term reduction of climate related costs due damages and losses, thus public safety. Costa Rica has taken a step towards climate resilience society. By launching a presidential decree to make climate risk informed infrastructure planning mandatory, it anticipates, prepares for and adapts to climate change. By launching a presidential decree to ensure that climate change constitutes an integral part in infrastructure planning, Costa Rica has taken a step towards climate resilience infrastructure.
The link to the decree (spanish)
Vietnam is committed to achieving Goal 9 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which focuses on making infrastructure sustainable and resilient. As part of this commitment, the country is working to increase the resilience of its infrastructure nationwide through the implementation of its Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP), National Adaptation Plan (NAP), and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This article summarizes the initial findings of Vietnam’s efforts and presents an innovative approach consisting of three strategic measures.
The first measure is to enhance the provision of user-friendly climate services for infrastructure planners. The second measure is to improve the use of climate services and consider climate risk assessment in the infrastructure planning process. The third measure is to mainstream the approach of climate-proofing for infrastructure into the SEDP, NDC, and NAP of Vietnam.
This article provides an insight into Vietnam’s strategy for enhancing climate services as a basis for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into infrastructure planning. It was originally published in March 2019 in the Journal of Economy Forecast Review, No. 7, Volume 03/2019, pp.10-15, and has been translated and adapted from the Vietnamese original.
To ensure the provision of current and future water-related services, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) recognizes the need for well-functioning, climate-resilient infrastructures that support the sustainable use of Nile water resources. This includes flood control, irrigation, and energy production. To achieve its mandate of establishing governance mechanisms and promoting decision support systems for sustainable water management and development, climate-proofing of water-use-related infrastructure is a necessary condition. In line with the Nile Sustainability Framework and the Nile Basin Strategy, a semi-technical guideline has been developed to facilitate the mainstreaming of climate-proofing into all short- or long-term bankable investment decisions at the Nile Basin level. This guideline provides step-by-step guidance to project owners, developers, operators, consultants, decision-makers, policy-makers, financial institutions, and technical advisors on how to incorporate climate resilience into all phases of the project development cycle. Each phase of the infrastructure investment cycle – identification, preparation, implementation, resources mobilization, and operation – should apply all five stages of climate risk management, namely scoping, risk assessment, risk treatment, monitoring, and evaluation. The approach, methodology, and scope will vary within each step. A key characteristic of the development process has been the testing of the PIEVC risk assessment methodology using two case studies from the Nile Basin transboundary context. Through multiple stakeholder dialogues and feedback loops, the guideline has created strong ownership among process participants.
Although there is agreement that infrastructure must become more resilient to climate change, action to incorporate climate change into infrastructure planning and management is lacking.
Around the world, the proper function of infrastructure designs and systems is keen to public and economic safety. In the past, engineers and architects has relied on historical for the development of long-lasting, safe and reliable infrastructure, notwithstanding changing weather conditions inherent to climate change demand new design and operational practices. As such, the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) established in 2005 by Engineers Canada and partners, developed a vulnerability assessment (PIEVC Engineering Protocol for Infrastructure Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change) to ensure that climate change constitutes an integral part in all stages of civil infrastructure and thus improves its resilience towards current and future climate. This methodology enables an interdisciplinary team to identify the infrastructure components with the highest risk or the likeliest threat and henceforward decision-makers shall be better informed when exercising their judgement on adaption measurements. The identification of risk, defined as the interaction between exposure with probability, results on a risk matrix whereby each climate parameter and infrastructure component is analyzed. Additionally, project owner and planners gained information about the adaptive capacity of the individuals infrastructure which is dependent on its design, operation and maintenance. Since 2008, the Protocol has been applied on wide range infrastructure including: wastewater systems, roads, bridges, transmission lines, electricity distribution, buildings and water supply and managements systems. Beside the implementation in Canada, CSI has conducted four pilot risk assessment on each of the partner country. Lastly, since 2020 the ownership and control of the PIEVC Program has been transferred to the cooperation between the Institute of Loss reduction (ICLR) , the Climate Risk Institute (CRI) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
• Vietnam: Cai Lon – Cai Be sluice gate
A climate risk assessment based on the PIEVC Protocol was piloted for the Cai Lon -Cai be sluice gate. The recommendations to prevent saltwater intrusion induced by climate change have been mainstreamed in the new design.
• NBI: Borenga Multipurpose Dams
A climate risk assessment for the Borenga Multipurpose Dams in the NBI was conducted based on the PIEVC Protocol. The NBI is making the methodology a core element of its new climate proofing guideline.
• Costa Rica: Bridge over Tempisque River
A participatory risk assessment tool for infrastructure named PIEVC, was used to decide between rebuilding or retrofitting an existing bridge in Costa Rica. The experience has led to develop their own official tool.
• Brazil: Electrosul, Transmission Line, Santa Catarina
To address the vulnerability of transmission lines to climate change, a climate risk assessment based on the PIEVC tool was piloted in Santa Catarina, Brazil. The results highlight the need of climate-risk-informed planning.
You can read the guidance in VN or EN.
Resources, capital and capacities are required for the assessment of climate risk, however the availability, quantity and expenses are beforehand unknown for decision-makers. How many people would need to be hired? What level of expertise is required? How long will it take? How much is it going to cost? The lack of answers to these questions limit or delay the decision by project owners or investment planners whether or not to conduct a climate risk assessment for their infrastructure investments. To facilitate and streamline the replica of the Cai Lon-Cai Be sluice gate climate risk assessment in Vietnam, this document provides a detail description of the kind of services needed during it as well as for two more hypothetical risk assessments in Vietnam. Based on the structure of a typical recipe, the provided services are divided in three components; procedure, quantity and costs. Within the procedure, all activities along the climate risk assessment are described. In the quantity section, a list of tasks, the workload and the time estimation within each activity is displayed, followed by the estimation of the related cost for all tasks. To illustrate the application of the proposed recipe, three different scenarios were showcased whereby a variation of the users (public or private) and the planning stages (feasibility study and after construction) highlighted which were the relevant inputs under the different circumstances. All in all, this document aims to streamline the decision-making process and facilitate the cost-benefits analysis by making available a tool which helps weight alternatives.
Key results/ take away from the climate risk assessment:
Climate information is crucial for effective adaptation, particularly in the infrastructure sector, where structures are built to last for decades.
To enhance the provision and use of climate services for infrastructure, one should first assess the state of National Climate Services in partner countries, analyzing the most vulnerable infrastructure sector in each.
The five pillars of the Global Framework of Climate Services should be used, and governance should be added as the sixth pillar for analysis.
Key stakeholders and their interactions along the climate-value-chain should be identified to provide an overview of the network, demand, use, and provision of climate services for specific infrastructure sectors.
Reports should highlight strengths, challenges, opportunities, and threats, serving as a starting point for short and long-term strategies. Handouts and training materials should be created for circulation to ensure the results reach a wide audience.
Baseline Assessment for the climate services in Germany. The study provides 6 main recommendations for an enhanced provision and use of Climate Services for adaptation planning in Germany.
Trough the participation of 88 climate services providers in Brazil as part of the baseline assessment, it was possible to map the national supply side; its capacities, available resources and interactions.
This report encompasses the current status of the main climate-services providers and users for the transmission line sector in Brazil, accordingly the identification of opportunities, challenges and threats for this sector.
The report focuses on the assessment of respective capabilities and available resources of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
The report provides a snap-shot of the current network, demand, use and provision of climate services for the coastal protection sector in Vietnam, vital for the provision of food and the prevention of disaster in Vietnam.
The road infrastructure system in Costa Rica is vulnerable to hydro-meteorological events. To minimize the risk, the provision and use of CS, as well as the challenges and opportunities, within this sector were assessed.
During the baseline and climate risk assessments, it was discovered that there are gaps in the provision of climate information. The lack of skills and capacities in providing quality services, as well as products that do not meet the specific needs of users, hinder usability.
To address these issues, a compilation of eight climate products has been created. These products analyze the current and predicted effects of climate parameters such as temperature, wind, precipitation, lighting, and sea level on the region of Santa Catarina, specifically focusing on two infrastructures: the transmission lines and the port of Itajai.
The purpose of these products is to support decision-makers in integrating climate considerations into the planning, implementation, maintenance, and operation of both infrastructures.
An analysis of the current frequency of extreme events related to the sea level and its impact on the port of Itajai is foregone. The last chapter simulated the frequency by which those events will happen in the future.
This study analyzes the occurrence and frequency of extreme winds in the state of Santa Catarina based on historical data and future climate projections and the impact of those events on Electrosul´s transmission lines.
The study examines the occurrence and frequency of lighting in the state of Santa Catarina. These information is then used for estimating the vulnerability of Electrosul´s transmission lines to climate change.
Based on a climate regional model, the study identifies potential changes in the current as well as the future availability of solar and wind resources in Brazil which helps to understand the related-risk for the energy sector.
The report focus on the meteorological phenomena, such as floods or winds, potentially responsible for damages on transmission line of Electrosul and the port of Itajaí in the state of Santa Catarina.
The study focus on the estimation of climate extreme based on Eta20km MIROC5, Eta20km CanESM and EtaHadGEM2. Eta models are used for regional climate projections alternating between different climate change scenarios with a focus on South & North America.