Federal Expert Panel on Climate Change Proposes 54 Indicators to Measure Adaptation and Resilience

Preparing for the impacts of a changing climate requires coordinated efforts across sectors. Many in government, business, academia and civil society have worked to build resilience in our communities and economy. But to what extent has collective action and investments actually built adaptive capacity? How ready is Canada for a climate-adjusted future?

In August 2017, the Government of Canada launched the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results (EPCARR) to provide advice to the federal government on measuring progress on adaptation and climate resilience. Members of the EPCARR were drawn from Indigenous organizations and governments, academia, the private sector, capital markets, municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, and youth organizations.

The EPCARR was tasked with developing indicators that would help to understand how resilient we are today and evaluate how effective our climate adaptation efforts are going forward. Thoughtful indicators help to set realistic goals, track our progress and course correct where efforts are determined to be unsuccessful and/or as new information comes to light.

The EPCARR released its report of recommendations, Measuring Progress on Adaptation and Climate Resilience: Recommendations to the Government of Canada, in June 2018. The report proposes 54 indicators across five chapters that are aligned with the adaptation and climate resilience pillar of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change:

  • Protecting and improving human health and well-being
  • Supporting particularly vulnerable regions
  • Reducing climate-related hazards and disaster risks
  • Building climate resilience through infrastructure
  • Translating scientific information and Indigenous knowledge into action

 

Zizzo Strategy’s Policy Director, Joanna Kyriazis, co-led the “Building Climate Resilience through Infrastructure” chapter of the report, which focuses on the development of climate-resilient codes and standards, and the integration of climate resilience into infrastructure investments and natural infrastructure solutions, among other things.

A sample of indicators selected from across these priority action areas include:

  • Percentage of Canadians living on low incomes in climate hazard areas
  • Number of health care practitioners trained to identify and respond to climate-related health effects (including doctors, nurses, social workers, first responders, pharmacists, etc.)
  • Maximum response times in northern, remote, and coastal regions related to search & rescue and emergency response programming
  • Percentage of people in northern, remote, and coastal communities whose access to the land, including country foods and traditional ways of life, is impacted by slow-onset events
  • Number of people directly affected by a climate-related disaster
  • Percentage of total financial losses restored, making citizens whole
  • Number of codes and standards reviewed, updated and developed across the full breadth of climate hazard types and asset types at risk, including Indigenous-specific building programs
  • Number of infrastructure owners and operators that have integrated climate resilience into their planning, infrastructure investments, operations and strategy
  • Extent of each province and territory covered by adaptation plans incorporating climate risk assessments, designed to be updated every 5 years
  • Number of training or capacity building programs that demonstrate the application of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and/or scientific information in the context of climate change adaptation

 

Recognizing the need for continuous improvement in light of the rapid evolution of climate change science and our understanding of these issues, the concluding chapter of the EPCARR report focuses on recommendations on how to implement effective monitoring and evaluation programs.

Finally, the report includes a detailed appendix that, for each indicator, provides a rationale and relevant context, discusses limitations, suggests potential data sources and explains the relevance of the indicator to Indigenous Peoples. This is a rich source of information and significant resource for any organization looking to set targets, implement indicators and measure its own progress on climate adaptation and resilience.

The indicators selected by the EPCARR offer a sense of the types of data and information required, the types of programs and initiatives various levels of governments may seek to implement, and the ways in which non-governmental actors will be called upon to contribute. Indeed, as the sample indicators above demonstrate, building climate adaptation and resilience is not solely the work of government; Indigenous Peoples, industry, professionals, educational institutions, institutional investors and not-for-profits, among other organizations, are necessary participants who will play key roles in helping to manage climate risks. The report’s recommendations are intended to be of interest to a broad audience and can inform the policies, processes and action plans of organizations across sectors.

Read the full report of recommendations here.

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