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Empowering Developing Nations to Boost Their Own Climate Resilience

At the U.S. Institute of Peace, the United States and partners from around the world are delivering on President Obama’s commitment to help empower developing nations to boost their own climate resilience.

Today, at the U.S. Institute of Peace, the United States and partners from around the world are delivering on President Obama’s commitment to help empower developing nations to boost their own climate resilience.

The Climate Services for Resilient Development Partnership, initially announced by the President at the UN Climate Summit in New York last September, will provide actionable science, data, information, tools, and training to developing countries that are working to strengthen their national resilience against the impacts of climate change. The Partnership is launching with more than $34 million in financial and in-kind contributions from the U.S. government and seven other founding-partner institutions from around the world: the American Red Cross, Asian Development Bank, Esri, Google, Inter-American Development Bank, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, and the U.K. government.

Climate change threatens our entire planet. The impacts of climate change – including more intense storms and storm surge damage, more severe droughts and heat waves, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and biodiversity losses – are already being experienced in different ways around the world. These impacts can be particularly damaging in developing countries, which often lack the resources and technical capacity to effectively prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The Partnership that is launching today recognizes that no single entity is capable of addressing the vast needs for improved climate services across the world’s developing nations – and that needs may vary from country to country and region to region. Communities, governments, and decision makers on the ground need a range of tools and services in order to effectively plan for the future. These may include projections of future sea-level rise that help planners identify places to build and develop that are out of harm’s way, to maps that overlay population, infrastructure, and climate data to help decision makers target resources to areas of greatest vulnerability.

To start, the new Partnership’s initial efforts will focus on developing and applying scalable, replicable climate services in Colombia, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh. Over time, these services will expand to the broader subregions represented by these three countries: the Andean region and Caribbean; East Africa and the Sahel; and South Asia and Southeast Asia. Throughout each step of the process, the Partnership will work hand-in-hand with stakeholders and entities on the ground, ensuring the utility and long-term sustainability of services provided.

The work of the Climate Services for Resilient Development Partnership builds on extraordinary progress already being made both internationally and here in the United States. For instance, the U.S. government already supports a number of successful programs that this new partnership will leverage and augment, including the Climate Services Partnership, NOAA’s International Training Desks and International Research and Applications Project (IRAP), NASA and USAID’s SERVIR program, and the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP). Likewise, there are many institutions and programs in focus countries that the partnership will build on as a core component of its efforts.

Here at home, the Obama administration is continuing to support communities across the United States as they strengthen their resilience to the impacts of climate change – including by supporting climate resilient investments, planning for climate related risks, and providing tools and information for decision-makers.

We are thrilled to launch this historic partnership with entities from around the world and to continue working together to ensure our planet, a shared and treasured resource, remains strong and resilient for generations to come.

Brian Deese is Senior Advisor to the President. John P. Holdren is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.