Torsten Blackwood

Second Meeting of the External Advisory Board for the SIDS project

Torsten Blackwood

On 2 December, the External Advisory Board (EAB) of the Governance of Climate Adaptation in Small Island Developing States project met at The Hague Institute. This is the second meeting of the EAB. The first one took place in April, when the project was first introduced to the EAB members. This meeting was also attended by the core project team in The Hague and Zanzibar as well as its partners.

The meeting started with reflections on past project events and activities, current status and outlook. Among the six stages of the project, the first four has been completed, namely joint problem definition, solutions and priorities, joint vision development and building blocks for action planning, and multi-criteria analysis that lead to priority interventions. Milestones in the participatory planning process included the local multi-stakeholder workshops in three hotspots, and the National Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on Local Climate Action Planning. The team is on track to cover the remaining two stages, which include the development of local climate action plans and a roadmap towards implementation.

Other deliverables that are currently being finalized were also presented. The first one is the national stakeholder analysis part of the baseline assessment, which has analyzed the position, power, interest, resources and alliances among the national stakeholders, conflict and cooperation among them, as well as their perceptions of climate change impacts, responsibilities for solutions, and existing measures and their effectiveness. The second one is the comparative assessment, which has looked at climate change adaptation in Fiji and Barbados. Based on literature survey and interviews, the two case studies have enabled the team to distill best practices that can be applied to Zanzibar.

The EAB provided feedback on the progress so far. There was great appreciation of the achievements the project has made within a short time frame. The intensive engagement with local and national stakeholders is viewed to have granted the local action plans adequate legitimacy. The EAB made several suggestions for the remaining work, which include the balancing of bottom-up empowerment and the use of local knowledge and perceptions with technical climate change expertise, identification and use of potential synergy among adaptation interventions, and the continuation to build on existing measures and plans.

In addition, the EAB and the project team discussed strategic follow-ups to the project. In Zanzibar, there is potential for much greater advances on sustainable development, climate adaptation planning and disaster risk reduction, also in the existing spatial plans for two of the hotspots developed by the Zanzibar Department of Urban and Rural Planning. Moreover, there are several possible trajectories for mainstreaming the local climate action plans into national policy-making, including among others linkage to the Zanzibar National Adaptation Plan.

Members of the EAB include:

  • Arwin van Buuren, Erasmus University Rotterdam;
  • Rob Verheem, Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment;
  • Jeroen Warner, Wageningen University;
  • Paul Watkiss, Global Climate Adaptation Partnership.

The third EAB meeting is planned for May 2016, after the second national multi-stakeholder workshop is held in Zanzibar.

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