May 2010

Adapting to Climate Change: ADB’s Transport Work
The impacts of climate change are increasingly being felt in Asia and the Pacific. Analyses of the longest available sea-level records, which have at least 25 years of hourly data from 27 stations installed around the Pacific basin, show an annual increase in sea-level rise throughout the region. Under such conditions, much of the infrastructure in these countries would be at serious risk from inundation, flooding and physical damage associated with coastal land loss. In the Pacific islands, more than 50% of the populations live within 1.5 km of the shore. Giving Climate-Vulnerable Investments a Boost Many of Asia-Pacific’s investments are vulnerable to damages from these impacts and the communities in which ADB works are increasingly in need of support to recover and adapt to changes in rainfall patterns, temperature increases and extreme events. International efforts have ramped up in recent years to help countries manage the impacts of climate change in order to maintain and contribute to achieving development progress. As part of a technical assistance project, ADB undertook a series of pilot projects to develop knowledge and experience in integrating considerations of climate change impacts into the design of ADB-financed projects in vulnerable areas such as Timor Leste, Solomon Islands and Cambodia. The initial focus of work has been in the transport sector. However, this work will be expanded to all sectors across the bank in the coming months. Piloting Climate-Proofing Approaches An overall approach to climateproofing these projects was developed, aiming to increase understanding of vulnerability and expected impacts of climate change, and a thorough identification and selection of adaptation options. Unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” or off the shelf approach to adapting to climate change as the impacts will be very location specific. Also, perfect information is difficult to come by, and accurately describing how climate will change is a particularly difficult task. After all, it’s trying to predict the future. The science and methods have improved substantially in recent years. And uncertain scientific information can be supplemented by understanding how people and places are currently under threat and how they cope. These tools and approaches will continue to develop with


managing risks with Adaptation Location and local conditions influence review of climate change impacts and identification of adaptation measures. Available: managing-climatic-risks-adaptation

Climate-Proofing timor-leste’s roads Small investments to climate-proof road projects can lead to substantial future savings. Available: www.adb. org/publications/climate-proofingtimor-lestes-roads

time, and ADB is contributing to assisting developing member countries along this learning curve. Each pilot project undertaken so far presents it own unique set of challenges related to the stage of project development, the skill sets of the project teams, resource availability, data availability, scope of the project and capacities and mandates of the executing agencies. The Knowledge Showcases featured above give a snapshot of the unique experiences for the pilot projects.. Way Forward This body of work is being used now as a basis for developing technical guidelines for project teams to replicate in other projects. While each project or program will need to tailor these to their particular context, these guidelines are some of the most detailed and operational tools to have been developed in the adaptation community so far.
James Roop and Lisa Leclerc
Read the original think piece at

ContACt Knowledge Sharing and Services Center Asian Development Bank 6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550 Metro Manila, Philippines Tel +63 2 632 6710 Fax +63 2 632 5236

DisClAimer The views expressed in the article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank, or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this article and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. The countries listed in the article do not imply any view on ADB’s part as to sovereignty or independent status or necessarily conform to ADB’s terminology.


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