Indian Ocean Rim Climate Change Adaptation Program: Improving Regional Cooperation

CSIRO, in conjunction with the Earth System Science Organization, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, will run an IORA regional workshop on climate change adaptation. The workshop is supported by the Australian Government aid program.

Senior, influential policy makers and climate change practitioners from member and partner countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association will be invited to attend the workshop. The workshop will be held March 31 – April 3 2014.

Workshop objectives are to:

  1. Reach a common understanding among IORA countries of the impact of climate change on the livelihoods of the people of the Indian Ocean Rim, as it relates to climate change adaptation;
  2. Assess the state of knowledge of climate change and climate variability in the Indian Ocean Rim, identifying knowledge gaps, including for small island developing states;
  3. Share effective adaptation strategies and practical ways to help communities, organisations and governments adapt to regional climate change;
  4. To encourage regional collaboration, capacity building and to explore potential future funding opportunities.

The anticipated workshop outcomes are:

  • elevated capacity within the IORA member states to identify, develop and implement appropriate adaptations actions,
  • shared knowledge and experience base built on ongoing exchanges,
  • identification of gaps and needs in order for successful adaptation activities to be undertaken.

Adaptation themes considered:

© CSIRO

© CSIRO

  • Water resources
  • Agriculture, fisheries and food security
  • Coastal protection
  • Biodiversity and forests
  • Infrastructure (energy, transport, buildings, telecommunication)
  • Public health
  • Disaster risk reduction/management (related to extreme events such as heat waves, extreme sea levels, tropical cyclones, fires, floods and droughts)

Topics to be considered

  • International actions – to what extent is collaboration and information sharing occurring?
  • National policies, strategies and programs – how is coordination and communication being undertaken between agencies within countries?
  • Reaching communities – how are people who are likely to be affected being involved?

Background to themes for consideration:

Water resources:

Increasing variability in rainfall patterns are projected to affect large regions of the Indian Ocean Rim countries, manifesting as flood, drought, and changes in timing and duration of the seasonal rainfall and monsoons. These changes will have an impact on the availability of water for human and natural systems. Adapting to these changes may involve improved water use efficiency, greywater reuse, managed aquifer recharge and rain water harvesting.

Agriculture, fisheries and food security:

A man inspects a head of wheat growing in a glasshouse

© CSIRO

Variability of rainfall patterns, increasing temperatures, and salt intrusion in coastal areas are anticipated to decrease agricultural productivity and fisheries production in estuaries, thereby reducing food security. Adaption may include planting drought/ salt tolerant and deep-rooted crop varieties; changes to farm management practices to improve soil health and water retention capacity; and developing salinity tolerant fish.

Coastal protection:

A mangrove swamp

© CSIRO

Sea level rise will affect virtually all countries located on the Indian Ocean Rim, contributing to coastal inundation; coastal erosion; and, increase risk of storm surges associated with more intense tropical storms. Tackling the problem may involve shifting activities higher or
further inland, building sea walls and mangrove rehabilitation.

Biodiversity and forests:

Climate change will threaten biodiversity with changes in temperature and rainfall increasing fire risk and weed invasion; and changing species ranges. Ecosystem-based adaptation incorporates sustainable management, conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems services.

Infrastructure(energy, transport, buildings, telecommunication):

Road overpasses with flood waters around the supporting pillars

© CSIRO

Increased intensity of extreme events such as typhoons,  heat waves and rainfall events will accelerate deterioration of infrastructure. Improved use of climate and weather data, weather forecasts and other management tools are adaptation mechanisms.

Public health:

Climate change is expected to contribute to range expansion of disease carrying vectors such as mosquitoes and tick, as well as increased risks from food and water borne diseases. Options for improved public health outcomes include increasing the awareness of the effects of climate change on public health and development of early warning system for outbreaks.

Disaster risk reduction/ management:

Changes to our climate are likely to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as heat waves, extreme sea levels, typhoons, fires, floods and droughts.  Climate adaptation includes identification of places of refuge and evacuation; early warning systems; and improved use of climate and weather data and forecasts.

An Australian Government Initiative.


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