03 Jul 2014

A global index to monitor climate-resilient development

Retracting Glaciermouth in Valfurva 2010
A global index for climate–resilient development would help identify countries and communities most at risk.
© 2010, M.Wolf

A recently published JRC report makes recommendations on the creation of a global index to monitor the progress of climate-resilient development policies. The index should include metrics on extreme climate events, climate vulnerability and adaptive capacity, taking into account the climate vulnerability of ecosystem services and the role of natural resources in climate adaptation. As a first step towards building the index, JRC scientists propose to construct a platform which will act as interface between science and policy on climate-resilient development.

The platform will bring together global indicators and concepts for climate-resilient and low-carbon development. It will provide transparent, objective, reliable, accurate, and open source information on natural hazards related to climate change, vulnerability, adaptive capacity, mitigation and resilience. It will allow the users to select indicators and mathematical formulae for building their own index according to their political objectives. This could be a first step to building a fit-for-purpose index.

A workshop to be held in autumn 2014 will lay the foundations for such a platform, bringing together scientists, experts and practitioners in the fields of climate change, disaster risk management and development.

A global climate-resilient development index would help to identify countries, groups of people, and sectors most seriously threatened by climate change, and to put in place targeted policy actions. The study highlighted the need for international efforts to help ensure the transparency, quality and consistency of climate data, their coverage and time span, particularly in developing countries whose populations are the most vulnerable to climate change. The study was carried out following recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The authors reviewed the main metrics used to assess and manage climate change risk, namely the Global Climate Risk Index, the World Risk index, the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, the Center for Global Development Index and the Climate Vulnerability Monitor/Index. The report identifies key issues to be addressed in order to create a global index for climate-resilient development.

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