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Climate change: impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation in developing countries

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The impact of climate change will have a detrimental effect on the livelihoods and survival of billions of people. This book provides an overview of the concerns and needs of four regions: Africa, Asia, Latin America and small island developing countries presenting the challenges, vulnerabilities and impacts of climate change; current adaptation plans, strategies and actions; and future adaptation options and needs. The book is based on information compiled from three regional workshops and an expert meeting held in 2006-2007, national communication and submitted adaptation programmes of action and reports. Key issues considered include:

the role of UNFCCC in assisting developing countries in adaptation
how assessments are developed by countries, and major gaps and challenges faced in compiling the information
cross-cutting themes that apply across countries and regions affected by climate change, which include agriculture, water resources, human health, terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity and coastal zones
current and future impacts and vulnerabilities across these sectors in developing countries
possible steps forward for the UNFCCC, including a future climate regime beyond 2012

UNFCCC emphasises the need for international assistance to developing countries to support adaptation for national planning for sustainable development, further capacity-building, transfer of technology and funds, and systematic planning to reduce the risk of disasters and raise the resilience of communities. It is also argued that future decisions within the UNFCCC negotiating process must assist developing countries in a streamlined and transparent way, with the transfer of knowledge, technology and financial resources to adapt at all levels and within every sector. Recommendations on the way forward include:

integration of adaptation plans and strategies into sustainable development planning and risk reduction planning from community to international levels
promoting good practices of developing the National Adaptation Programmes of Action, NAPA, by developing countries
improving and streamlining the application procedures for accessing financial assistance by developing countries
ensuring that future financial resources will be adequate and sustainable in order to facilitate adaptation by developing countries
further supporting collaboration and cooperation between South-South and North-South to directly engage multiple stakeholders in dealing with climate change and coordinating planning and actions
raising awareness among the key sectors and mass media to help promote adaptation measures and its benefits.