15 December 2010
Shaping global climate adaptation
Associate Professor Donald Feaver and Izabela Ratajczak at the Cancún summit.
RMIT University researchers have returned to Melbourne after participating in the United Nations climate change negotiations in Cancún, Mexico.
The researchers contributed to discussions on adaptation strategies outlined in the new global agreement.
Izabela Ratajczak, a Research Fellow in the RMIT Global Cities Research Institute's Climate Change Adaptation Program (CCAP), whose work focuses on global governance and the equity and transparency of climate adaptation financing, headed up the RMIT representation.
Ms Ratajczak was joined by Associate Professor Donald Feaver, from the Graduate School of Business and Law, whose interest is on the legal implications of a new global fund established to support adaptation activity in the countries considered most vulnerable to future climate change.
Program Leader, Associate Professor Darryn McEvoy, said strong, in-depth research was essential for supporting the measures adopted in Cancún, which included a new framework to foster better planning and implementation of adaptation projects in developing countries, as well as a new international fund to sustain those projects.
"The research team in CCAP will continue to provide scientific support for the development of effective and transparent financial mechanisms for climate change adaptation, while developing our adaptation research and outreach activity in the Asia-Pacific region," Associate Professor McEvoy said.
Ms Ratajczak said she welcomed the new language of the agreement, which promoted a greater inclusiveness of stakeholders.
"Cancún is a historical moment for cities and local authorities," she said.
"There is now much greater acknowledgement of the important role to be played by local stakeholders in both mitigation and adaptation.
"The engagement of a wide range of stakeholders in climate action has now been fully recognised in the post-2012 global climate change regime."
The Climate Change Adaptation Program at RMIT focuses on better understanding the likely impacts facing "elements at risk" in the urban environment, the possible adaptation responses and the corresponding institutional barriers and opportunities for change.
The program's key themes include:
- characterisation of climate-related risks and evaluation of potential adaptation options for the city of Melbourne;
- collaboration with other national institutions on strategic and multi-disciplinary research; better understanding of adaptation as an institutional process;
- collaboration with academic and non-academic partners in the Asia-Pacific region to assess risks facing vulnerable urban settlements and evaluate adaptation options;
- involvement with global frameworks and networks of cities that actively share knowledge of good adaptation practice; and
- identification and communication of barriers and opportunities to adaptation in the urban environment.