Federal Coordinating Lead Author:
David Reidmiller, U.S. Global Change Research Program
Lead Author:
Katherine Weingartner, U.S. Global Change Research Program/ICF (through September 2017)
Contributing Authors:
Apurva Dave, U.S. Global Change Research Program/ICF

Looking Abroad: How Other Nations Approach a National Climate Assessment


The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has voluntarily produced three assessments of the nation’s vulnerability to climate change. The most recent national vulnerability assessment was completed in 2016 and incorporated into the National Communication submitted by the KSA to satisfy its UNFCCC reporting requirements. The vulnerability assessments identify current and future climate-related impacts as well as potential adaptation measures in specific sectors. They also identify knowledge gaps to be addressed by future assessments.

Assessment Mandate and Objectives

While the KSA does not have a nationally mandated climate assessment, it is required, as part of its reporting obligations and commitments under the UNFCCC (Article 12 and subsequent decisions taken at Conferences of the Parties), to submit National Communications that provide certain information related to its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the implementation of actions to address climate change. These reports provide the international community with a recent inventory of each Party’s GHG emissions, a description of the policy initiatives that the country has taken to respond to and prepare for climate change, and any other information relevant to the implementation of its commitments under the UNFCCC. As part of this reporting, the KSA has included a national climate assessment in all of its National Communications, submitted in 2005, 2011, and 2016. These assessments analyze regional climate trends and projections and their impacts on a range of nationally important sectors.

Assessment Process

The KSA’s most recent National Communication was produced by a Designated National Authority, in coordination with a team of academics, consultants, and other experts drawn from relevant government ministries, research institutions, and other organizations. In particular, the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (the Kingdom’s environmental agency) and the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources played important roles in its development. The report was produced with assistance from the national oil and gas company (Saudi Aramco), the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Global Environment Facility. For the analysis of current and projected climate risks, the report utilized historical observations and high-resolution climate projections using modeling tools obtained from the United Kingdom’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research.

Assessment Content Structure

Within the KSA’s Third National Communication, the climate assessment component includes a chapter focusing on climate science, describing baseline conditions, recent trends, and future climate scenarios, as well as the methodologies employed and climate model outputs. Subsequent sectoral chapters describe vulnerabilities and identify national adaptation measures covering the areas of water resources, desertification, agriculture and food security, and human health. Each of these chapters offers more detailed and technical discussion of the sectoral impacts as well as recommendations for future research to address information and data gaps.

International Dimensions

The KSA’s National Communications have not explicitly considered the international dimensions of climate change impacts on the country. The reports reflect the country’s ongoing engagement with the UNFCCC process for assessing climate-related risks and developing policies to address them. The reports were also produced using financial and technical support from international partners.

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