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DNV GL expert appointed to UN working group on climate change adaptation

During COP22 in Marrakesh, DNV GL's Asun Lera St Clair was appointed as the representative of global business and industry to a working group under the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee. The working group will support the identification of concrete opportunities for strengthening resilience and enhancing adaptation action.

Dr Asun Lera St Clair.

Bente Pretlove, head of the Climate Change Programme in DNV GL’s Technology & Research unit says, “We are thrilled for Asun, and proud that a member of our team is active at the very highest level globally on climate change adaptation. This is a richly deserved appointment for Asun, who was a lead author for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. She has long experience on the interface between poverty, development and climate change, and currently works on climate change services for the private sector. Her appointment presents an excellent opportunity for DNV GL to share insights and strategies on key issues related to business and climate action.”

The UNFCCC Adaptation Committee

The Adaptation Committee, created in 2011, is the overall advisory body to the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on adaptation to climate change. It is tasked with promoting and supporting action on adaptation, including tasks such as providing technical support to countries, sharing of best practices, monitoring actions and review processes, and promoting synergies and strengthening engagement with multiple stakeholders. 

The Paris Agreement, which entered into force on 4th November 2016, makes the work of the Adaptation Committee central for climate action. The Paris Agreement sets requirements for transparency and the disclosure of strategies for the identification of climate risks, as well as actions taken by governments to address those risks.  This has led to the creation of a working group exclusively dedicated to the so-called “technical examination process” on adaptation.

Working Group for the Technical Examination Process on Adaptation

The Working Group for the Technical Examination Process on Adaptation (referred to as TEP-A) has the mandate to “identify concrete opportunities for strengthening resilience, reducing vulnerabilities and increasing the understanding and implementation of adaptation actions.”

This mandate will be fulfilled by:

  1. Facilitating the sharing of good practices, experiences and lessons learned;
  2. Identifying actions that could significantly enhance the implementation of adaptation actions, including actions that could enhance economic diversification and have mitigation co-benefits;
  3. Promoting cooperative action on adaptation; and 
  4. Identifying opportunities to strengthen enabling environments and enhance the provision of support for adaptation in the context of specific policies, practices and actions.

The working group is composed of 8 members of the Adaption Committee and includes political representatives of different countries, representatives from key UNFCCC committees and representatives from each of three key non-state actor constituencies: research, civil society, and business and industry.

A central message of the first technical paper of this committee is: While the private sector is increasingly engaged in adaptation efforts, stronger linkages between the private and public sectors could further support the acceleration of adaptation action. Further work is also needed to improve the understanding of the private sector’s full potential in addressing adaptation (Adaptation Committee Technical Examination Process Paper 2016).

“As a business and industry (BINGO) representative in this committee I am especially aware of the need to reflect the interests of business as key actors in resilience and adaptation," says Asun St Clair. "So far, there has been little interaction between the private sector and the UNFCCC community on adaptation. I see this is a great opportunity to bring into the discussions how business can contribute not only to their own resilience but societal resilience.”

For more information, please visit the TEP-A page.

DNV GL's position on climate change and risk management

Adaptation to climate change and strengthening resilience have become fundamental components of risk management. Through adaptation we address climate change risks emerging from impacts that have already occurred, as well as those that are just over the horizon. We still have not fully felt the changes in climate caused by the emissions already in the atmosphere and their consequences for assets, infrastructure, ecological and human systems, or their consequences for business operations and financial stability. The effects of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have a time lapse, and risks across all these frontiers intensify with continued emissions of GHGs. 

For more information, please visit the DNV GL climate change programme page

Background: Dr Asun Lera St. Clair

Dr Asuncion (‘Asun’) Lera St Clair is Senior Principal Scientist at DNV GL Strategic Research & Innovation Climate Change Programme. She is an expert on science and technology, epistemological and social science perspectives on climate change, in its interface with other societal issues and development trajectories. Asun was a professor at the University of Bergen and former Research Director at CICERO. She was Lead Author of IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on climate change impacts. She holds a PhD in sociology and two Masters degrees in philosophy from the Universities of Bergen, Florida and Barcelona. Asun is member, amongst others, of ICIMOD Board of Governors, member of JPI Climate and Future Earth Norway Advisory Committee, and member of the editorial board of several international journals. She has published widely – see Asun’s current work is focused on climate services, governance, standardization of adaptation, and strategies for private sector engagement with research and multilateral organizations.