Adapting to change

ENVSEC holds regional stakeholder consultation on climate security risks in SEE

July 17, 2015

ANM_6754A regional stakeholder consultation on climate security risks and adaptation measures in South Eastern Europe (SEE) was held in Belgrade, Serbia on June 30 and July 1, 2015, in cooperation with REC Country Office Serbia and with the financial support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of the Austrian Development Cooperation. This event was organised in the framework of the programme "Transforming environmental and risks into cooperation in the South Eastern European Region". The aim of the event was to foster the regional consultative process on climate security risk management and adaptation measures, as well as to promote expert-level dialogue on the ecological networks and adaptive capacities of Dinaric Arc countries.

The first day's opening session featured Danijela Bozanic, Head of Climate Change Division Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia and UNFCCC National Focal Point Serbia, as well as Hubert Neuwirth, ADA programme manager in SEE. Gordana Kozhuharova, ENVSEC Regional Desk Officer for SEE and REC Regional Director for SEE, chaired the session and also delivered an overview of ENVSEC activities in the SEE region. The afternoon presentations focused on the concept of security, observed evidence of climate change and regional scenarios with emphasis on extreme events, and included an overview of approaches to climate security. Panellists from Albania, Kosovo* and Serbia headed the first panel session; afterwards, participants discussed pressing national and transboundary issues in the context of climate and environmental risks.

The following day's session, focusing on solutions to climate security problems, included discussions on adaptation good practices. Over the course of two panel sessions, six SEE countries presented activities in connection to climate change adaptation: agriculture (Albania), early warning systems (Bosnia and Herzegovina), forest fires in the region (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia); forest fire prevention (Kosovo*), national climate adaptation activities (Montenegro), and civil protection (Serbia). The third session addressed the ecosystem approach to adaptation and security, and also included a presentation on the use of open standards for practicing conservation, delivered by the EPA/University of Donja Gorica. The third session concluded with a WWF presentation on increasing adaptive capacity through awareness raising and education. The fourth session addressed adaptation financing, with Kozhuharova delivering some closing remarks.

There was an emphasis throughout the consultation on the need to strengthen mainstreaming and adaptation planning as a way to decrease investment costs, the need to enhance regional cooperation and inter-institutional collaboration among SEE organisations through exchanging information and joint project implementation, and also on the need to increase financial resources to implement climate change policies

ANM_6685In total, there were 43 participants from six countries, representing public institutions, research centres, academia, and NGOs connected to the field of climate change, environmental protection and meteorological services. Besides the presence of REC experts, there were also various representatives of regional and international organisations, such as the Austrian Development Agency, the European Commission (DG Climate Action), WWF, ECRAN, OSCE, Red Cross (Serbia), the Regional Fire Monitoring Centre, and the South East European Virtual Climate Change Centre.

A questionnaire on potential climate change adaptation and adaptive capacities was distributed among participants during the event, and the full results of this survey will be accessible in the near future.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.