12th Special Session GC/GMEF Website

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GC Day 1 - 21 February 2012

Side Event

Launch of the Cape Verde Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment study (Summary for Policy Makers)

The event launched the Summary for Policy Makers report, presenting the main findings and policy options identified on climate change vulnerabilities in in Cape Verde.

Commenting on the report, the Minister for Rural Development of Cape Verde said: "It is a key contribution to the solid science that will inform and prompt sound policy actions. This report helps us realize how gaps and inconsistencies in our legal framework can be a source of vulnerability to the country. Laws are essential to encourage good practices and discourage actions that put people at risk. We need policy decisions that respond to the multi-dimensioned challenges identified in this study as a matter of urgency".

The study, funded under the One UN Fund in Cape Verde, was led by the Government of Cape Verde, with support from the United Nations Country team, The United Nations Environment Programme and Enda Tiers Monde.

A panel discussion sharing experiences on climate change adaption took place including Mrs Taina Tagicakibau, Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Housing, Urban Development and Environment, Fiji; Tufuga Gafoaileata, Associate Minister for Natural Resources, Samoa; Pr Jose Rafael Almonte, Vice Minister of Environment, Dominican Republic, and Mr. Kallee, Vice Director of Environment of Mauritius.

Main findings and key concerns highlighted were: a) Cape Verde has dual vulnerability to climate change, both as a small island developing State, and as an arid country in the Sahel region; b) Water resources are already extremely scarce with pressures increasing. Renewable water availability is only 537m3 per person per year in Cape Verde, the second lowest of any country in sub-Saharan Africa. Future rainfall trends are uncertain—increases and decreases are projected by different models.

The population of Cape Verde has more than doubled in the past 50 years, and is estimated to include 491,875 inhabitants in 2010. At present, nearly half of the population lacks access to a public water supply, and over half lacks access in rural areas; c) Extreme events have increased in frequency in Cape Verde.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found it is very likely that heavy precipitation events will increase in frequency globally in the future, with associated impacts including increased risk of deaths, and damage to property and crops; e) 80% of Cape Verde’s population lives in the coastal zone. Unregulated removal of sand from beaches for construction is eliminating one of Cape Verde’s most important natural defenses; and f) the service sector has been the main engine of growth in Cape Verde, but is vulnerable to climate change. Tourist facilities are concentrated in the coastal zone of low-lying islands such as Sal and Boavista and many are vulnerable to sea-level rise and coastal hazards. Beaches on which the industry depends are threatened by sea-level rise and sand extraction. Agriculture, the main source of livelihood in Cape Verde, could be impacted by variability in rainfall and rising temperatures. Aquifers near the coast have been overexploited leading to saltwater intrusion into wells and salinization of farmlands.

Policy options discussed at the event and highlighted as key areas for action included:
  • Increasing water use efficiency;
  • Climate change adaptation programmes focusing on poor and vulnerable populations;
  • Reducing vulnerabilities in coastal zones; and d) Making climate change a part of development planning;

The outcome of the event concluded that UNEP will support Cape Verde in the formulation of the climate change adaption strategy through the ongoing UNDAF based on the findings of the study. Climate change mitigation and/or adaption will be integrated into all national plans in Cape Verde with the focus on Water management, Tourism and Energy.

Recommendations following from the event concluded that; a) The SIDS issues in relation with Climate change should be part of the Rio +20 discussions; b) Green Economy should be used as a means to achieved sustainable development in order to tackle climate change impact on Small Islands; c) UNEP should support countries in resources mobilization to implement Climate change national strategies; and d) UNEP stands ready to partner with countries in the area in GE as well as in other relevant sectors at same time strengthen it collaboration with other UN agencies at country level.

The report is accessible online at: http://www.governo.cv