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Glacial Flooding & Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Exchange and Field Training July 11-24, 2013 in Huaraz, Peru HighMountains.org/workshop/peru-2013

Climate resilience  in  the  eastern  Himalayas:  Integrated   approaches  to  assessing  vulnerability  and  developing   adaptation  strategies   Ryan  Bartlett  and  Sarah  Freeman   World  Wildlife  Fund-­‐US   Introduction   As   climate   change   adaptation   has   become   an   increasingly   critical   global   imperative,   a   number   of   climate   change   vulnerability   assessment   (CCVA)   frameworks,   methodologies,   and   decision   support   tools   have   emerged   for   various   audiences,   from   conservation   to   development   and   disaster   risk   reduction.   These   have,   however,   been   limited   in   their   utility   for   adaptation   practitioners   for   various   reasons:   requirements   for   robust   data   and   high   technical  capacity;  overly  broad  or  fine  geographic  scales  at  the  national  or  highly  localized   levels;   and   a   limited   focus   on   community   vulnerability   instead   of   the   larger   system   level   vulnerabilities  that  act  as  drivers  of  risk  for  both  humans  and  wildlife.     In  this  context,  WWF  is  developing  its  own  CCVA  framework  tailored  to  the  unique  socio-­‐ environmental   conservation   objectives   of   its   priority   landscapes.   This   approach,   Flowing   Forward  (FF),  provides  a  flexible  framework  for  determining  climate  change  vulnerability   and   identifying   adaptation   strategies   across   highly   diverse   landscapes.   It   is   an   integrated   approach,  emphasizing  the  role  that  both  natural  and  sustainably  managed  systems  play  in   building  resilience  in  social-­‐ecological  systems.  It  was  born  out  of  a  need  for  a  VA  approach   to  conservation  planning  that  balances  conservation  and  biodiversity  objectives  with  local   livelihood  needs  and  tackles  two  critical  challenges  in  remote  land-­‐-­‐  and  sea-­‐scapes:  a  lack   of  sufficient  climate  data  and  a  broad  diversity  of  stakeholders  and  conservation  objectives.   Flowing   Forward   was   thus   developed   to   synthesize   information   from   multiple,   diverse   sources   and   is   based   on   consensus   building   to   promote   robust   adaptation   decisions   that   increase  options  in  the  face  of  uncertainty.   Using  the  example  application  of  the  FF  framework  in  the  unique  high  mountain  Chitwan-­‐ Annapurna   Landscape   (CHAL)   of   the   Gandaki   River   Basin   in   the   Nepali   Eastern   Himalayas,   this   paper   briefly   highlights   how   stakeholder   and   participatory   approaches   at   multiple   levels   can   generate   knowledge   to   fill   key   information   gaps   and   build   consensus   on   both   climate  risk  and  adaptation  actions.       Flowing  Forward   Originally   developed   for   the   World   Bank   as   policy   guidance   targeted   at   the   water   resource   management   sector   (Quesne,   et   al.,   2010),   FF   has   since   evolved   through   multiple   applications  in  landscapes  in  Coastal  East  Africa,  the  Mekong,  and  the  Eastern  Himalayas  to  


a more  integrated,  comprehensive  assessment  framework  at  the  landscape  scale.  It  has  two   main   components:   the   assessment   framework   and   the   process   through   which   the   framework   is   implemented.   The   framework   is   an   outline   of   the   basic   components   of   the   entire  assessment,  while  the  process  details  the  steps  involved  in  determining  vulnerability   and   eventually   adaptation   interventions   from   raw   information   on   climate,   development   and   resilience   of   the   system   being   analyzed.   To   use   an   analogy,   the   assessment   framework   is   the   skeletal   base   for   the   muscles   and   tissues   of   the   process.   A   basic   schematic   of   the   framework  is  outlined  in  Figure  1.      

Figure  1.  Schematic  of  the  steps  in  the  Flowing  Forward  assessment  framework.  The  orange   and  green  boxes  are  highlighted  as  each  box  represents  multiple  steps.    

There are  four  major  stages  of  the  process,  each  with  their  own  distinct  objectives:     1) Assessment   Inception:   definition   of   study   objectives,   the   spatial   and  temporal   scope   and  identification  of  key  stakeholders   2) Background   Research:   collection   of   existing   information   and   generation   of   new   knowledge   as   necessary,   including   a   literature   review   highlighting   converging   and   diverging   information,   analysis   of   existing   hydrometeorological   data,   and   assessment  of  community  perceptions  of  climate  change  and  vulnerability.   3) Stakeholder  Workshop:  dissemination  of  synthesized  information,  determination  of   and   consensus   building   on   priority   vulnerabilities,   and   development   of   adaptation   interventions.   4) Follow   Up:   communication   of   the   output   of   stakeholder   workshop   to   decision   makers  and  communities.     The   next   section   briefly   summarizes   this   process   for   the   Gandaki,   highlighting   the   particular  importance  of  stakeholder  contributions  throughout.       Applying  Flowing  Forward  to  the  Gandaki  Basin   Located   in   the   central   region   of   Nepal’s   Eastern   Himalayas,   the   Chitwan   Annapurna   Landscape   (CHAL)   was   developed   to   provide   greater   north-­‐south   connectivity   across   multiple   renown   conservation   areas   and   national   parks   in   central   Nepal.   It   contains   the   entirety   of   the   Gandaki   Basin,   stretching   across   a   vast   region   of   varied   topography,   climates,   and   ecosystems.   Home   to   rich   biodiversity   and   ecosystem   services   that   are   increasingly   important   to   both   local   livelihoods   and   the   larger   national   economy,   it   is   a   landscape  of  growing  national  importance,  facing  numerous,  increasing  threats  from  rapid   economic  development  that  will  only  be  augmented  with  climate  change.  


The VA   is   part   of   a   large   USAID   funded   collaborative   conservation   and   development   program,   Hariyo   Ban,   integrating   climate   change   adaptation,   reduced   environmental   degradation   and   deforestation   (REDD),   and   sustainable   livelihoods   development   in   this   landscape.   In   the   context   of   these   dual   conservation   and   sustainable   development   objectives,  the  assessment  demanded  an  integrated  approach  measuring  both  human  and   natural   system   vulnerabilities   and   the   interactions   between   the   two.  As   a   result,   the   core   building   blocks   of   the   Flowing   Forward   framework-­‐-­‐analysis   units   and   sub-­‐units— explicitly  needed  to  include  both  human  and  natural  systems.       The   first   key   component   of   the   FF   framework,   units   and   sub-­‐units   were   developed   by   WWF-­‐US  staff  in  conjunction  with  WWF-­‐Nepal  experts  on  the  ecosystems  and  biodiversity   of   the   landscape   and   program   partners   from   CARE,   experts   on   livelihoods   and   development.   However,   as   with   all   components   of   the   framework,   these   were   further   defined  and  refined  by  key  stakeholders  in  the  basin  during  the  first  analysis  session  of  the   participatory  workshop.           In   FF,   units   act   as   the   larger   political   or   ecoregional   divisions   for   the   landscape,   both   geographically  and  thematically,  and  sub-­‐units  are  the  actual  systems  whose  vulnerabilities   are   analyzed   in   the   framework.   In   the   Gandaki,   units   represent   the   standard   horizontal   altitudinal   ecoregion   gradients   of   the   Nepali   Himalayas   that   delineate   very   different   climates   and   ecosystems—the   High   Himalaya,   High   Mountains,   Middle   Mountains,   and   Churia   Range/Siwalik   Hills   (see   Figure   2).   Sub-­‐units   are   then   those   systems   that   geographically  specific  to  each  ecoregion,  e.g.  Alpine  Forests  in  the  High  Himalaya  or  rural   settlements  in  the  Middle  Mountains.  These  are  then  analyzed  by  stakeholders  during  the   participatory  workshop  to  determine  and  prioritize  vulnerability,  and  develop  adaptation   actions.                                         Figure 2. The unit divisions of the Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape (CHAL), which approximates the   Gandaki Basin, based on altitudinal gradients that run east-west across Nepal  


Stakeholder engagement  in  the  Gandaki  Basin  VA   Stakeholder   engagement   was   achieved   through   various   activities:   direct   community   engagement  through  the  CARE  developed  Community  Vulnerability  and  Capacity  Analysis   (CVCAs)  tools  used  to  develop  Community  Adaptation  Plans  (CAPs)  at  the  local  level;  and   inclusion   of   technical   experts   and   decision   makers   in   the   preparation   and   synthesis   of   information  both  in  the  background  research  stage  of  the  process  and  the  final  stakeholder   workshop  which  brought  together  decision-­‐makers,  communities  and  technical  experts.       Community  Climate  Vulnerability  Assessments   The   Flowing   Forward   process   connects   these   community   level   CAPs   into   a   regional   assessment   of   climate   vulnerability.   These   community   assessments   also   provide   crucial   information   for   the   vulnerability   assessment   process   particularly   where   data   is   scarce.   Specifically,   there   are   six   specific   areas   where   this   information   is   used   to   inform   various   steps   of   the   vulnerability   analysis   process.   Error!   Reference   source   not   found.Error!   Reference  source  not  found.  provides  a  brief  overview  of  the  main  areas  of  information   gathered   from   communities   and   where   they   are   included   in   the   overall   FF   analysis   framework.       Table  1  Community  input  into  the  Flowing  Forward  Analysis  Framework.   Flowing  Forward  Analysis  Framework  Steps

Six Key  Questions  from   Community  VAs

Identify Analysis  Units 1 2 3 4 5 6

Community resource  use/  livelihoods   patterns Change  over  time  in  resource  base  and   underlying  reasons Perceived/  experienced  climate   'hazards'/events  &  climate  patterns  &  and   Impacts  of  the  above  on  livelihoods  and   resource  use Existing  coping  strategies/  adaptive   capacity Perceived  needs  to  enhance  adaptive   capacity

Determine Resilience

Determine Exposure Climate   Scenarios

* * *

* * *

Climate-­‐ Development Development   Scenarios Impacts

* * * * *

* * *

Social Adaptive  Capacity Impact   Severity   Rating

* * *

Vulnerability

* * * * *

Institutions

Policies

*

*

* *

* *

Data

Adaptation Planning

*

* *

  In  Nepal,  there  is  already  strong  community  level  participation  in  the  adaptation  process,   which   helped   facilitate   the   inclusion   of   communities   in   the   VA   process   in   the   CHAL.   Recently,   there   has   been   an   emphasis   on   the   impacts   of   climate   change   on   diverse   social   groups,   resource   availability   and   distribution,   community   access   to   public   services   and   general   issues   of   equity.   In   2012,   the   National   Framework   on   Local   Adaptation   Plan   for   Action   provided   a   broader   framing   for   community   level   adaptation   planning   and   implementation  through  Community  Adaptation  Plans  (CAPs).     Within   this   context,   the   Hariyo   Ban   program   conducted   community   vulnerability   assessment  and  adaptation  planning  exercises  in  six  different  sites  in  the  CHAL  from  2011   to  2012.  These  sites  were  selected  to  be  representative  of  different  ecological  zones  of  the   landscape   (i.e.   high   mountains,   middle   hills   and   low   lands).   The   outputs   of   these   community   assessments   were   then   used   to   inform   the   larger   stakeholder   workshop   through  presentations,  workshop  exercises,  and   through   the   direct   engagement   of   some   of   the   community   representatives   in   the   workshop   itself.   The   final   outputs   of   the   landscape  

* *


level assessment   are   now   in   the   process   of   being   fed   back   into   ongoing   community   adaptation  planning  and  implementation.     Background  Information  Generation  and  Synthesis   Gathering  and  generating  background  information  to  inform  the  vulnerability  assessment   process  is  another  critical  point  of  involvement  for  stakeholders  and  partners  from  the   landscape.  This  step  begins  with  an  evaluation  of  information  assets  and  gaps,  including   trends  in  climate  (temperature  and  precipitation),  economic  development,  basic   information  on  ecosystems  and  infrastructure  in  the  landscape,  and  trends  in   socioeconomics  and  demographics.  Relevant  experts  in  these  areas  are  then  engaged  to  fill   these  gaps.     In  the  case  of  the  ChAL,  additional  studies  were  conducted  on  infrastructure  development,   modeled  projections  of  vegetation  and  habitat  change  due  to  climate  change,  and  a   summary  report  of  the  community  VAs  conducted  in  the  landscape  by  CARE,  as  mentioned   in  the  previous  section.  The  individuals  involved  in  these  studies  were  included  in   subsequent  work  and  meetings  leading  up  to  and  during  the  stakeholder  workshop.   Additionally,  brief  presentations  were  made  during  the  workshop  itself  to  communicate   these  studies,  thus  allowing  room  for  feedback  during  the  workshop,  which  was  also  crucial   for  validating  the  approach  and  information  being  used  in  the  assessment.     The  treatment  of  climate  data  in  the  VA  process  deserves  specific  mention  due  to  both  its   centrality  in  the  process  and  its  often  contentious  nature.  WWF  staff  analyzed  existing   peer-­‐reviewed  studies  on  climate  in  the  basin  to  determine  consensus  and  divergence  in   the  literature  on  key  climate  trends  (i.e.  precipitation  and  temperature).  Due  to  the   uncertainty  around  climate  projections,  this  was  complemented  by  a  rapid  review  of   primary  data  on  precipitation  and  temperature  trends  and  compared  with  both  the   literature  and  community  perceptions  collected  during  the  community  VA  process.  Then,   the  areas  of  confluence  between  the  three  sources  of  information  were  emphasized  in  the   climate  scenarios  developed  in  the  workshop.  Areas  of  divergence  were  used  to  determine   where  robust  adaptation  actions  that  expand  options  under  a  variety  of  futures  should   emphasized  during  the  adaptation  planning  exercises  of  the  stakeholder  workshop.     Stakeholder  Workshop   The  core  of  the  FF  assessment  process,  the  participatory  stakeholder  workshop  is  the  key   venue   for   engagement   with   community   leaders,   decision-­‐makers,   scientists,   NGOs,   and   other   important   actors   in   the   landscape.   While   considerable   analysis   is   done   prior,   including   the   identification   of   analysis   units,   filling   information   gaps,   and   direct   engagement   with   local   communities   through   the   CVCAs,   it   is   designed   to   feed   into   the   workshop   where   stakeholders   rapidly   assess   vulnerabilities   and   prioritize   adaptation   actions.       Stakeholder  participants  in  the  Nepal  workshop  included   representatives   from   Hariyo   Ban   program   partners   WWF-­‐Nepal,   CARE,   the   Nepali   National   Trust   for   the   Conservation   of   Nature   (NTNC),   and   the   Federation   of   Community   Forestry   Users   of   Nepal   (FECOFUN);   various   government   institutions   including   the   Departments   of   Forestry,   Irrigation,   and   Agriculture,  District  and  Village  Development  Committees;  and  local  NGOs.  Divided  by  area   of  expertise  into  six  separate  thematic  breakout  groups  based  on  units  and  different  sub-­‐


unit types   (forests,   freshwater,   sub-­‐catchments,   agriculture,   infrastructure,   and   species),   workshop   participants   moved   through   the   FF   framework,   rating   sub-­‐units   according   to   factors  that  measure  exposure,  sensitivity,  and  adaptive  capacity.1  Facilitated  by  WWF  and   partner  program  staff,  these  breakout  groups  discussed  and  rated  each  sub-­‐unit  on  a  scale   of   1-­‐5   (5   being   the   most   vulnerable)   for   each   factor,   including   brief   explanations   as   to   why   the  rating  was  chosen.  These  scores  were   then  calculated  to  determine  final  vulnerability   rankings  to  allow  for  simple  prioritization  in  developing  adaptation  actions.       After   re-­‐evaluating   and   revising   these   rankings   as   part   of   the   prioritization   process,   participants  then  developed  adaptation  actions  to  address  either  the  most  resilient  or  most   vulnerable   systems   (depending   on   their   management   priorities),   outlining   rough   geographic   areas   to   focus   the   work,   potential   partners   to   involve,   synergies   with   existing   efforts,   and     timelines.   WWF   and   Hariyo   Ban   program   staff   are   now   in   the   process   of   integrating   these   recommended   actions   into   work   plans   for   the   coming   years   of   the   program.       Conclusions   The   Flowing   Forward   CCVA   process   takes   a   unique,   integrated   approach   in   adaptation   planning     by   triangulating   information   from   multiple   sources,   including   peer-­‐reviewed   science,   and   most   importantly,   direct   stakeholder   input.   The   entire   framework   is   directly   dependent   on,   and   guided   by,   stakeholders   who   provide   critical   inputs   throughout   the   process.  Most  critically,  they  help  determine  and  prioritize  the  key  system-­‐level  drivers  of   vulnerability   and   propose   adaptation   interventions   that   guide   WWF   and   partner   work   in   future   years   of   the   program.   This   helps   build   capacity   and   create   ownership   for   those   with   the  largest  stake  in  successful,  long-­‐term  adaptation.           Works  Cited   Quesne,   T.   L.,   Matthews,   J.   H.,   Heyden,   C.   V.,   Wickel,   A.,   Wilby,   R.,   Hartmann,   J.,   et   al.   (2010).   Freshwater   Ecosystem   Adaptation   to   Climate   Change   in   Water   Resource   Management   and   Biodiversity  Conservation.  WWF.  The  World  Bank.    

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Based on extensive reviews of the vulnerability assessment literature, these have been developed and continually honed by WWF-US over the multiple applications of Flowing Forward in Africa and Asia. A forthcoming guidance manual details in much greater detail their origins and the rationale behind their development.

Ryan Bartlett: Climate resilience in eastern Himalayas, integrated approaches adaptation strategies  

As climate change adaptation has become an increasingly critical global imperative, a number of climate change vulnerability assessment (CCV...

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