Climate Change and Extractives

10. Considerations for government in planning for a low carbon future

Considering that climate change will cause dramatic changes in the next decades, planning for a low carbon future should form part of development strategies in resource-rich countries. A summary of key considerations and recommendations for action is presented below:

1. Identify climate change related risks especially in terms of future water quantity and quality, knowledge gaps and implications for the extractives sector. Sometimes the extractives sector can assist in filling some of the knowledge gaps, such as in building a better water inventory, and hydrological models for critical watersheds. An example of public/private sector cooperation in this area is presented in the case study on Peru on the next page.

2. Link national adaptation strategies and plans with the extractives sector growth strategy. Countries like Sierra Leone, Kenya and Nigeria have expressed their intention to develop specific strategies for streamlining climate change adaptation into the extractive sector. Even without detailed information, consider ‘no or low regrets’ options that can be implemented at a sector planning level.

3. Support the sector in identifying appropriate climate adaptation options, water management technologies. Further encourage innovation and sharing of best practice and develop incentives for adaptation programmes. An Extractives Hub briefing document setting out some of the barriers to adaptation from a private sector perspective, and suggesting ways to address them, is available here

4. Explore the potential for climate adaptation finance support from international funding mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund and other sources. In the past, extractives related adaptation activities have been funded. An overview of climate finance sources can be found at and examples of projects funded are given at the end of this overview document. 

5. Support the development of water management policies, strategies, plans guidelines and standards for the extractives sector that a) take future climatic, ecological and social pressures into account and b) are aligned with the country’s overall water and land management and climate change strategy.

6. Establish strong, climate-informed regulatory and planning frameworks (for example when allocating water rights) that can encourage investment in extractives related water infrastructure and strengthen climate resilience. The biggest challenge to achieving this, is the effective coordination of different government ministries and agencies, often with different but overlapping goals. Also local governments and communities need to be included early on in this process to enrich it with their local expertise and build societal buy-in and credibility in the process.

7. Ensure there is strong oversight and enforcement of environmental standards and water regulations.

8. Support collaboration and explore opportunities for shared water infrastructure use and public-private partnerships that have the potential to improve resilience to climate shocks.

Case study: Working with the private sector to understand water resources in Peru

In Tacna and Moquegua, water abstraction for mining activities has depleted sources, and it is claimed to have caused serious environmental and social consequences.

In response to mounting pressures and a lack of information on water availability, the mining sector coordinated with the local government and facilitated a process of determining actual water availability. This involved commissioning studies and supplying logistics for field inspections.

New mine project developers in the area approached the National Institute of Natural Resources and offered to contribute to water studies and infrastructure. A better understanding of the water resources, as well as of the potential impact of climate change has been reached as a result. It is anticipated that this will provide a basis for a review of existing water allocations and may even lead to previously unassigned resources being identified.

Prepared with information from Budds and Hinojosa (2012).

Examples of using climate adaptation funding

Timor-Leste submitted a $1.3 million infrastructure protection project in relation to the expected increased storm intensity at sea. The project aimed to improve capacity to forecast and adapt offshore oil and gas infrastructure to withstand strong storms and waves.

Angola submitted a $0.5 million project bid, looking at the impacts of climate change on mining. Both projects were included in the two countries’ National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). NAPAs contain a list of ranked priority adaptation activities by Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and funded by the Least Developed Country Fund.

Zambia has received US$1.5 million, from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) to support an investment strategy based on national development planning. The strategy’s goal is to strengthen early warning weather systems and integrate climate resilience in infrastructure planning such as the Kafue sub-basin project, to make more than 500 km of roads resilient to floods and droughts.

Prepared with information from UNFCCC