Making use of climate information for infrastructure planning

Project description

Title: Enhancing climate services for infrastructure investment (CSI)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Countries: Brazil, Costa Rica, Nile Basin Initiative, Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: Brazil: Ministério do Meio Ambiente (Ministry of the Environment, MMA); Costa Rica: Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía (Ministry of Environment and Energy, MINAE); Nile Basin Initiative (NBI); Viet Nam: Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

Context

Developing countries and emerging economies are investing billions in durable infrastructure every year. However, they often fail to take account of future climate change in their planning. As a result, new infrastructure projects are being implemented in ignorance of their vulnerability to climate change. This leads to high risks of damage, loss and misguided investment with potentially serious consequences for the economy and society.

Infrastructure adapted to the impacts of climate change is thus one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. A number of countries, including Brazil, Costa Rica and Viet Nam, have already launched efforts to increase the resilience of their infrastructure and have included this as a goal in their climate pledges.

In order to honour their pledges, the partner countries need to improve their capacity considerably at the individual, organisational and societal level. This includes the capacity to establish and apply institutional arrangements and technical processes, enabling them to independently develop climate information, advisory services and products (climate services) that are geared to the requirements of decision-making and planning processes. The partners must be able to access and apply these services effectively when planning infrastructure. However, even where needs-based climate services are already available, they are often only used to a limited extent – if at all – in the relevant decision-making and planning processes. This is because climate-related issues are not taken into account in the planning specifications, especially in infrastructure planning.

A few international initiatives have begun to address this challenge, including the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). Their goal is to offer the countries guidelines on the institutional mainstreaming and practical design of value-added climate data for needs-based climate products. The project transposes the international framework of action of the GFCS to national level in its partner countries. It promotes the country-specific institutional and technical design of structures to enable countries to make better use of climate services and to include them in their infrastructure planning.

Objective

Decision-makers in the three partner countries and the Nile Basin Initiative make greater use of climate services when planning infrastructure investment.

Approach

In cooperation with the German National Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD), the project is advising the national partners on building human resources, technical and institutional capacity and networks to improve value-added climate data, from processing climate data to developing user-focused climate products and advisory services for infrastructure planning. Particular attention is devoted to establishing sustainable cooperation structures between the relevant actors in the value chain, such as those providing and refining climate data, decision-makers, planners and engineers. The project promotes networking between them and is piloting a cooperation network in each country to this end. To test these networks and put them on an institutional footing, the actors go through an iterative process through the project-based establishment of a climate service provider-user interface. During this process, they develop tailor-made climate products to carry out a technical risk analysis of selected infrastructure. The methodology of this analysis is based on the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) Protocol provided by Engineers Canada, another project partner. This protocol sets out how objects, their components and operational procedures of specific infrastructure are affected by various climate factors and how to select adaptation measures. Experience with the risk analysis process is used to draw up recommendations for including climate change in the existing country-specific infrastructure planning methods and guidelines.

During the pilot trials of the climate services, the stakeholders are given the opportunity for direct, hands-on learning. This enables them to acquire in-depth know-how on the topic, supplemented by tailored training sessions and train-the-trainer programmes.

In order to roll out tried-and-tested approaches, national dialogue forums are organised on climate services and climate-adapted infrastructure. The results are also fed into the national planning processes on climate policy, which are laid down in the national contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The project shares lessons learned from its work through channels such as the website AdaptationCommunity.net.

Results

The CSI project promotes the interface between climate information providers and decision makers. Through pilot studies, the project supports the development of climate products customised to the needs of the infrastructure owners. At the same time, training activities sensitise stakeholders about the importance of using climate information in the various levels of the planning process. All activities are integrated into the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to promote their development and implementation.

The CSI approach considers four components:

  • Enhancement of the provision and use of Climate Services. The first step is to establish a national inventory to assess 'who does what, where and for whom' in terms of climate services in Brazil. The mapping allows identifying opportunities to expand the provision and use of climate services at the national level. A web tool will allow providers and users to identify the institutions that best fit their needs. The National Institute of Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE) is the main partner of the project and has the fundamental leadership role in the development of customised products.
  • Integration of the use of Climate Services in the planning of infrastructures. Through customised studies for the Brazilian Energy Research Company (Empresa de Pesquisa Energética - EPE), and the support of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (Ministério de Minas e Energia - MME), the project investigates how changes in the regime of winds and cloudiness can affect the country's wind and solar energy production. This information gives support to consider the threats of climate change in the National and Decennial Energy Plans. Moreover, through capacity building, the project establishes a partnership with the Ministry of Transport, Ports and Civil Aviation (Ministério dos Transportes, Portos e Aviação Civil - MTPA), through the National Agency for Waterway Transportation (Agência Nacional de Transporte Aquaviário - ANTAQ).
  • Pilot study of climate risk assessment for infrastructures. The project adopted two pilot studies, both in Santa Catarina State: the transmission lines of Eletrosul Centrais Elétricas S.A and the Port of Itajaí. As providers of climatic services, the Agricultural Research and Rural Extension Company of Santa Catarina (Empresa de Pesquisa Agropecuária e Extensão Rural - EPAGRI) and INPE take part in the study. The partnership with the Engineers Canada has enabled Brazilian technicians to apply a protocol that includes climatic extremes in infrastructure risk analysis. The Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) will help infrastructure owners to determine measures that will help to minimise the damages and losses resulting from extreme weather. At the same time, the project develops training materials to disseminate this approach and, consequently, operationalise planning procedures related to climate change.
  • International knowledge transfer and exchange. The CSI project shares its experience and best practices at national and international forums. These events allow the exchange of experiences and good practices carried out in each country. The initiative represents a unique opportunity to address the global challenges of climate change.

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