Regional Climate Data Conference: Experts Unite to Ensure Data Accessibility through Collaborative Efforts
GIZ Bangladesh, on behalf of the Bangladesh Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), the Bangladesh Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), and the Bangladesh Planning Commission (PC), organized a regional climate data conference in Dhaka on 12th and 13th of October 2022. The primary objective of this conference was to kick-start a dialogue focusing on the opportunities and challenges related to accessing climate data and climate risk information. The event aimed to explore avenues for ensuring the availability and accessibility of climate data while fostering collaborations among the countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region.
The countries in the HKH region share ecosystems and face similar climate change effects. Additionally, there are upstream-downstream linkages, where climate change impacts on Himalayan glaciers directly affect the delta regions. Therefore, sharing transboundary data becomes crucial in enhancing resilience to sudden climate changes and deepening our understanding of these linkages. During the conference, government representatives from Bangladesh, along with researchers, entrepreneurs, NGOs, and CSOs from the region, came together to address these critical issues.
The event served as a platform for discussing the challenges and opportunities related to climate data availability in the HKH region. Climate data, being a vital resource for understanding the adverse effects of climate change in the region, lays a strong foundation for negotiations with other nations regarding the loss and destruction of ecosystems. Representatives from different countries in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region actively participated in the conference. Their goal was to facilitate dialogue on evaluating climate-related information and to promote cross-border cooperation in data sharing.
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The two-day conference focused on understanding and addressing the challenges, opportunities, and actions related to climate data in the HKH region.
Day 1: Climate Data Challenges and Opportunities
The first day of the conference aimed to grasp the current status and critical challenges concerning climate data availability, accessibility, and utilization in the HKH region. Participants highlighted several challenges along the data value chain:
- Resource-intensive climate data generation.
- Issues related to data quality and low resolution.
- Lack of coordination among data-generating entities.
- Challenges in data format and accessibility.
- Limited inclusion of vulnerable local communities in data generation.
- Absence of gender-disaggregated data to contextualize climate information.
- Challenges in disseminating and communicating climate data.
- Gaps in understanding and utilization of climate data at all levels.
The day concluded with the screening of the award-winning documentary “Once You Know,” emphasizing the urgent need for immediate climate action.
Day 2: Climate Data Opportunities and Actions
Building on the insights from the first day, the second day of the conference focused on identifying solutions. Speakers shared successful best practices and strategies for integrating climate data and communication into effective policies for resilient development. Potential solutions discussed included:
- Adoption of data transparency and open data systems.
- Strengthening political commitment and resource mobilization.
- Promotion of multi-stakeholder coalitions and partnerships to facilitate collaboration among governments.
- Increased technical assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels to enhance transnational cooperation.
- Government leadership in developing a high-quality and reliable climate database.
- Creation of climate data products tailored for policymakers.
- Establishment of standardized data formats in the HKH region.
- Development of self-learning technical solutions to downscale climate data from global to local levels.
- Creation of a regional multilingual climate knowledge portal.
- Integration of climate data into sectoral planning.
- Targeted translation of climate data.
- Integration of climate data with historical facts and traditional knowledge.
- Promotion of action research and innovation for effective adaptation measures.
- Capacity building initiatives for stakeholders to interpret data projections and simulations effectively.
- Formulation of a regional climate action plan.
These discussions paved the way for practical and collaborative actions to address climate data challenges in the HKH region.
A significant insight from the conference emphasized the indispensable role of climate data in achieving resilient development. Development plans and policy implementations stand to be more effective when rooted in climate data, especially in contexts where resources for resilient development are limited.
At the local level, climate data, including climate risk information, weather forecasts, and climate trend details, plays a pivotal role in enhancing the resilience and disaster preparedness of vulnerable communities. However, regional disparities in climate change effects exist, making accurate local-level data and projections scarce. These discrepancies arise due to geographical differences and complex interdependencies. Consequently, there is a pressing need to enhance the resolution of climate data and promote data sharing within countries and across the region.
A promising solution lies in establishing a cooperative and cost-effective climate data sharing protocol among nations. Such collaboration can pave the way for the creation of a regional climate data system. Additionally, the development of a regional multilingual umbrella climate knowledge portal dedicated to climate data can significantly contribute to a sustainable future. These initiatives are essential for bridging the existing data gaps and ensuring the resilience of communities in the face of climate change.