In order to have a society that is better prepared to face climate changes, the Ministry of the Environment, in a partnership with the Center for Sustainability Studies at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (GVces/FGV), a Brazilian private non-profit institution that works in scientific teaching and research, has launched an innovative tool. Built with support from Oxford University (England), the British Embassy and the Brazilian network Observatório do Clima, it provides a straightforward and educative step-by-step for institutions in different industries to use it when developing their planning and management actions, taking into consideration any impacts caused by climate change. To use it, simply follow this link and download it by clicking on Ferramenta.
At first, the ‘Entendendo o Clima’ area presents subsidies for users to list the climate changes already identified in the region. The tool also provides support tabs for identifying the climate scenarios that have been forecast for each region in Brazil, and also presents choices of adjustment actions and criteria for prioritizing the most important actions to take, the risks and opportunities of climate changes and who are the players that should be involved in the process.
“There are still many institutions that have never included climate change in their planning and this tool will fill that gap, offering a complete perspective of what should be considered in order to help communities face the impacts of climate change,” highlights Juliana Ribeiro, a preservation strategies analyst at the Boticário Group Foundation for Nature Protection, a Brazilian corporate foundation that is among the institutions that helped develop the platform.
She highlights that actions like this are essential to support the public efforts in adapting to climate changes, such as the National Brazilian Plan for Adapting to Climate Change (PNA), developed by the Ministry of the Environment in order to reduce the country's vulnerability in association with that phenomenon. Currently, the PNA is in the final stages of development by the federal government, based on information gathered from public queries that have been performed.
A practical example for using the tool would be by tourism cooperatives that work with tours in natural areas. In Paraná, a state in Southern Brazil, as an example, the expectation is that climate changes will create stronger heat waves and more intense and frequent rainfall. “In this scenario, the tool allows for including this new reality when planning a tourism project that involves things such as boat rides, as the climate change scenario for the region forecasts that more intense storms could happen more frequently, likely reducing the days when boats could operate, or decreasing ride safety, so that alternative measures are provided for when boats are stuck in port, or providing tourist safety actions, as well as informing clients on the caution to be taken due to increased temperatures,” Juliana explains.
Balanced natural environments ease adapting
The Boticário Group Foundation has suggested including Ecosystem based Adaptation (AbE), a concept created by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which suggests using ecosystem and biodiversity services as an adaptation strategy to help communities adapt to the negative effects of climate change, into the platform.
The idea is encouraging institutions to consider the environmental services provided by balanced natural environments (water and food production, soil protection) as a tool to mitigate the effects of climate changes.
“As an example, a cooperative or small business whose headquarters is located at a riverside community could choose to preserve and restore riverside woods in order to reduce the impacts of floods in the area,” Juliana explains. Ecosystem based Adaptation has gained traction in recent years, particularly after being discussed at the 21st United Nations Climate Conference (COP21) last December
Besides the Boticário Group Foundation, the initiative has received support from seven other Brazilian institutions: Engajamundo, Iclei, Amazon Environmental Research Institute, SPVS, WRI, WWF and Habitat for Humanity Brazil. Except for the latter, all NGOs are members of Observatório do Clima, a network that works on the Brazilian climate agenda.