Office of International and Tribal Affairs
           Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plan
              Publication Number: EPA-100-K-14-001E
                            June 2014
This document has been prepared by the Office of International and Tribal Affairs, within the
Environmental Protection Agency, as part of an Agency-wide effort to address climate change.

To the extent this document mentions or discusses statutory or regulatory authority, it does so for
informational purposes only. This document does not substitute for those statutes or regulations, and
readers should consult the statutes or regulations to learn what they require. Neither this document,
nor any part of it, is itself a rule or a regulation. Thus, it cannot change or impose legally binding
requirements on EPA, States, the public, or the regulated community. Further, any expressed intention,
suggestion or recommendation does not impose any legally binding requirements on EPA, States, tribes,
the public, or the regulated community. Agency decision makers remain free to exercise their discretion
in choosing to implement the actions described in this Plan. Such implementation is contingent upon
availability of resources and is subject to change.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is committed to identifying and responding to
the challenges that a changing climate poses to human health and the environment.

Scientific evidence demonstrates that the climate is changing at an increasingly rapid rate,
outside the range to which society has adapted in the past. These changes can pose significant
challenges to the EPA's ability to fulfill its mission. The EPA must adapt to climate change if it
is to continue fulfilling its statutory, regulatory and programmatic requirements. The Agency is
therefore anticipating and planning for future changes in climate to ensure it continues to fulfill
its mission of protecting human health and the environment even as the climate changes.

In February 2013, the EPA released its draft Climate Change Adaptation Plan to the public for
review and comment. The plan relies on peer-reviewed scientific information and expert
judgment to identify vulnerabilities to EPA's mission and goals from climate  change. The plan
also presents  10 priority actions that EPA will take to ensure that its programs, policies, rules,
and operations will remain effective under future climatic conditions. The priority placed on
mainstreaming climate adaptation within EPA complements efforts to encourage and mainstream
adaptation planning across the entire federal government.

Following completion of the draft Climate Change Adaptation Plan., each EPA National
Environmental Program Office, all  10 Regional Offices, and several National Support Offices
developed a Climate Adaptation Implementation Plan to provide more detail on how it will carry
out the work  called for in the agency-wide plan. Each Implementation Plan articulates how the
office will integrate climate adaptation into its planning and work in a manner consistent and
compatible with its goals and objectives.

Taken together, the Implementation Plans demonstrate how the EPA will attain the 10 agency-
wide priorities presented  in the Climate Change Adaptation Plan. A central element of all of
EPA's plans is to build and strengthen its adaptive capacity and work with its partners to build
capacity in states, tribes, and local communities. EPA will empower its staff and partners by
increasing their awareness of ways that climate change may affect their ability to implement
effective programs, and by providing them with the necessary data, information, and tools to
integrate climate adaptation into their work.

Each Program and Regional  Office's Implementation Plan contains an initial  assessment of the
implications of climate change for the organization's goals and objectives. These "program
vulnerability  assessments" are living documents that will be updated as needed to account for
new knowledge,  data, and scientific evidence about the impacts of climate change on EPA's
mission. The  plan then identifies specific priority actions that the office will take to begin
addressing its vulnerabilities and mainstreaming climate change adaptation into its activities.
Criteria for the selection of priorities are discussed. An emphasis is placed on protecting the most
vulnerable people and places, on supporting the development of adaptive capacity in the tribes,
and on identifying clear steps for ongoing collaboration with tribal governments.

Because EPA's Programs and Regions and partners will be learning by experience as they
mainstream climate adaptation planning into their activities, it will be essential to evaluate their
efforts in order to understand how well different approaches work and how they can be
improved. Each Implementation Plan therefore includes a discussion of how the organization
will regularly evaluate the effectiveness of its adaptation efforts and make adjustments where

The set of Implementation Plans are a sign of EPA's leadership and commitment to help build
the nation's adaptive capacity that is so vital to the goal of protecting human health and the
environment. Working with its partners, the Agency will help promote a healthy and prosperous
nation that is resilient to a changing climate.
                                                Bob Perciasepe

                                                Deputy Administrator

                                                September 2013

I.      Background

Overview of OITA's Role
The role of the Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) is to advance EPA's international
environmental priorities and lead the Agency's Tribal Environmental Program tribal environmental
program. To achieve this, OITA employs a multi-disciplinary approach.

Internationally, OITA staff works at the national, regional and multilateral levels to identify risks to
human health and the environment and forge policy and programmatic responses. OITA works with
other federal agencies to develop negotiating positions and represent the foreign policy interests of the
United States.

OITA also leads EPA's efforts to protect human health and the environment of federally-recognized
tribes by supporting implementation of federal environmental laws consistent with the federal trust
responsibility, the government-to-government relationship, and EPA's 1984 Indian Policy.

While OITA is a small office, and thus limited in scope, it currently addresses climate change adaptation
in several program areas and will continue to consider the effects of climate change when developing
policies and implementing programs. OITA anticipates that requests for assistance to build climate
adaptive capacity will increase over time.
II.     Vulnerability Assessment for OITA
Vulnerable Populations
Certain parts of the population, such as children, pregnant women, the elderly, minorities, the poor,
persons with underlying medical conditions and disabilities, those with limited access to information,
and tribal and indigenous populations, can be especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Also, certain geographic locations and communities are particularly vulnerable, such as those located in
low-lying coastal areas. A key principle guiding EPA's efforts to integrate climate adaptation into its
programs, policies and rules calls for adaptation plans to prioritize helping people, places and
infrastructure most vulnerable to climate impacts, designed to be implemented with meaningful
involvement from all parts of society.

This Implementation Plan identifies key programmatic vulnerabilities and the priority actions that will be
taken to address those vulnerabilities over time. As this Plan is implemented, special consideration will
be given to communities and demographic groups most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The Agency will work in partnership with these communities to increase their adaptive capacity and
resilience to climate change impacts. These efforts will be informed by experiences with previous
extreme weather events (e.g. Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy) and subsequent efforts.

In general, since OITA views its programmatic and  mission related vulnerabilities as largely arising from
the potential climate vulnerabilities of partner organizations.

   A. International - Addresses country, regional, and multilateral environmental engagements,
       typically driven by formal international processes and partnerships.

    The international office engages international and regional organizations and governments in
    order to further international environmental priorities. In the context of international
    environmental policy development, reliable data, thorough analysis, and vetted approaches are
    important foundational elements. These foundational elements can be used by stakeholders at
    the local, national, and international levels to inform policy development. The development of
    virtual networks allows this information and policy guidance to be shared among relevant
    stakeholders, and facilitates recognition and sharing of best practices.

    Examples of Potential Vulnerabilities
         Lack of basic data needed to make informed  decisions about climate adaptation,
          especially for urban settings that anticipate dramatic increases in population in the
          coming decades.
         While the United States has an array of sophisticated analytical tools for assessing
          climate vulnerability, many partner countries do not possess this capacity.
         The United States has identified the Arctic as a region where the effects of climate
          change have been and will continue to be felt most acutely, with a high degree of
         Lack of effective networking and information sharing mechanisms in many partnering
          developing countries to assess vulnerabilities, development effective action plans, and
          implement these plans, especially in urban settings.
         Based on specific climactic circumstances in countries and regions, vulnerabilities such as
          heat stress, sea level rise, droughts and floods are expected to have significant negative
          impacts, particularly in partner developing countries in Africa and Asia3.

B.  Tribal -The American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO)

    EPA values its  unique government-to-government relationship with tribes in planning and
    decision-making. This trust responsibility has been established over time and is further
    expressed in the 1984 EPA Policy for the Administration of Environmental Programs on Indian
    Reservations and the 2011 EPA Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes.
    These policies recognize and support the sovereign decision-making authority of tribal

    Supporting the development of adaptive capacity among tribes is a  priority for the EPA. Tribes
    are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, due to the integral nature of the
    environment within their traditional lifeways and culture. Due to shrinking federal budgets,
    there is increased need to develop adaptation strategies that promote sustainability and reduce
    the impact of climate change on tribes.

    EPA engaged tribes through a formal consultation process in the development of the Agency's
    Climate Change Adaptation Plan. Tribes identified some of the most pressing issues including
    erosion, temperature change, drought, and changes in access to and quality of water. Tribes
    recommended a number of tools and strategies to address these issues, including improving
    access to data; supporting baseline research to better track the effects of climate change;

       developing community-level education and awareness materials; and providing financial and
       technical support. At the same time, tribes challenged EPA to coordinate climate change
       activities with other federal agencies so that resources are better leveraged and administrative
       burdens are reduced.

       This Implementation Plan identifies specific steps that will be taken to partner with tribal
       governments on an ongoing basis to increase their adaptive capacity and address their
       adaptation-related priorities. These collaborative efforts will benefit from the expertise provided
       by our tribal partners and the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) they possess. TEK is a
       valuable body of knowledge in assessing the current and future impacts of climate change and
       has been used by tribes for millennia as a valuable tool to adapt. Consistent with the principles
       of the 1984 Indian Policy, TEK is viewed as a complementary resource that can inform planning
       and decision-making.

       AIEO will work with both its internal and external parts to advocate for the priorities detailed

       Examples of Potential Vulnerabilities
              Among tribes, a lack of capacity among tribes to adapt to climate change.
              Limited access to data, training and resources to build adaptive capacity and monitor
               progress and effectiveness.
              A lack of community-level education and awareness materials to improve the
               understanding of climate change among tribal member and leaders.
              Limited financial and technical support to adapt to climate change.
              A lack of administrative capacity to understand  and manage all  of the information and
               programs coming to tribal governments from a variety of U.S. Government Agencies.
              Additionally, tribes have repeatedly noted the lack of Traditional Ecological Knowledge
               (TEK) used in EPA's decision-making and policymaking. One approach AIEO will support
               is to incorporate TEK into its Agency environmental projects and work. TEK is a valuable
               body of knowledge in assessing the current and future impacts  of climate change that
               has been used by tribes as a valuable tool to adapt to changing  surroundings. As EPA
               develops a greater understanding of TEK alongside our tribal partners, AIEO will support
               the incorporation of TEK whenever possible.
III.     Priority Actions Criteria

OITA is already addressing climate change adaptation in several international and tribal program areas
and will continue to pursue opportunities for integrating the effects of climate change into our existing
programs, including responding to climate change adaptation-related requests from our tribal partners -
as resources and skills permit - especially in border regions.

To prioritize climate change adaptation needs, OITA has developed criteria unique to its mission to
identify potential first steps. These criteria are based on a thorough examination of the potential
vulnerabilities that face OITA and its mission, in the wake of climate change impacts. The highest priority
will be given to those actions that meet several of the following criteria:

              Does the action involve existing partners?
              Does OITA have the necessary resources to meaningfully and effectively help address its
               partner vulnerabilities in some manner?
              Is this action required in order to enable other actions?
              Can the benefits of this action be measured or documented?
              How extreme is the vulnerability, as informed by relevant EPA, IPCC and USGCRP
               assessment reports?
              Do the climate vulnerabilities affect U.S. border regions?
              Is OITA the most appropriate lead for the intended action within EPA?

When receiving a request for cooperation in the area of climate adaptation, OITA will consider EPA
experience and USG experience more broadly, and when  appropriate, explore facilitating linkages with
other U.S. agencies and relevant NGOs for implementation support.
IV.    Priority Actions

International Priority Actions
               Explore with existing partners, especially along our borders, information needs related
               to climate literacy, climate vulnerability and climate adaptation options.
               Work with Durban Adaptation Charter cities and their international partners as a means
               of responding to urban and local government information needs and the need to share
               city and municipal government experiences, knowledge and best practices. Cities are
               first responders to climate/weather disasters and are projected to house about 70% of
               the world's population by 2050s.
               The International Office will work with the Arctic Council and the International Maritime
               Organization to address the effects of climate change, including threats due to increased
               economic activity and  shipping in the Arctic.
               Work with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
               member countries and the U.S. Agency for International Development on development
               of information, planning and assessment tools and guidelines for assessing
               vulnerabilities to climate change and sharing experiences and best practices.
               Work as a planning committee member on the annual Resilient Cities Congress, the
               largest international gathering of urban adaptation experts, policymakers, and local
               officials, for the purpose of exchanging experiences and knowledge.
               Play a lead role in the  U.S. Government review of the Intergovernmental Panel on
               Climate Change (IPCC) climate assessments, which provide analyses of critical data that
               are made available to  all countries.
               OITA seeks to help institute effective information sharing networks among international
               organizations and governments, especially among urban centers.
Tribal Priority Actions
             Support the Tribal Science Council's efforts to educate EPA scientists on the use of
              Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in EPA's work. For example, AIEO supported a


              workshop in 2013 to train EPA staff on the value and applicability of TEK. TEK has been
              underutilized at the Agency, and is an important source of local, baseline information
              critical for deploying successful adaptation measures.
              Promote the use of Tribal ecoAmbassador funding to support projects related to climate
              change adaptation. This EPA program promotes collaborative research in partnership
              with tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Professors from TCUs receive funding and
              technical support from EPA to solve the environmental problems most important to
              their tribal communities, and are then asked to share their findings with a variety of EPA
              and tribal audiences.
              Under new guidance issued for the Indian General Assistance Program (IGAP) in May
              2013, tribes may use funding for climate change adaptation purposes. This has the
              potential to have an immediate impact on the adaptability of tribal governments, as
              every tribe is eligible to receive funding through the IGAP program. AIEO will work
              through the grants staff at EPA Regional Offices to ensure that tribal partners are aware
              of funding opportunities.
              Establish relationships with a variety  of potential tribal partners, including tribal
              programs in other U.S. Government Agencies, climate-focused programs at Tribal
              Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)
              dedicated to the advancement of climate change adaptation for tribes.
              Host periodic stakeholder meetings on environmental issues, including climate change
              adaptation. These meetings will bring together a variety of tribal partners to both learn
              what resources are provided  by EPA related to climate change, and also give tribal
              partners a chance to share their resources and experiences with EPA and other tribal
              Update EPA's annual mandatory training, Working Effectively with Tribal Governments,
              to include information on the vulnerability of tribes to climate change adaptation as
              AIEO will work with the Tribal Program Managers and IGAP Project Officers in each of
              the NPMs and Regional Offices to support any climate change adaptation efforts that
              benefit tribes.
V.     Metrics and Evaluation

OITA, on a five-year basis, will review emerging scientific understanding on climate impacts and
vulnerabilities, OITA programs and Agency practices, as well as its incorporation of traditional ecological
knowledge, in the interest of maintaining an effective adaptation implementation strategy.

The international side of the Office of International and Tribal Affairs (OITA) established a Performance
Measurement Framework to measure and analyze the results achieved from OITA's engagement with
other countries and organizations to advance protection of human health and the domestic and global
environment. Until now, EPA's international programs have only been able to collect, analyze, and
report information about the results of its activities  in a fragmented fashion. This framework has
enabled OITA to describe its contributions toward characterizing and addressing environmental risks,
improving environmental governance, and promoting environmental cooperation. As part of this
framework OITA identified 26 measures that could be used to track, and evaluate progress and
effectiveness in conducting our mission and achieving our goals.

OITA will evaluate the performance and effectiveness of its adaptation implementation strategy using
measures such as the following:

             Number of partner engagements conducted
             EPA-based tools implemented by assisting organization
             Progress toward achieving identified policy goals
             Partnerships, alliances or networks established or enhanced
Additionally, with climate change adaptation now eligible as a use for Indian General Assistance Program
(IGAP) grant funds, AIEO will:

              Monitor how tribes apply for and use funding for climate change adaptation
              Build these experiences into the program where appropriate
              Use these real world examples to improve our technical and financial support for tribes
              working to adapt to climate change
VI.    Table of Examples of Potential Climate Vulnerabilities That May Affect
       OITA Programmatic Activities

s a
1: Combating Clime
by Limiting Pollutai
p 1
i- j=
Q. U
Climate Change
Climate Change

Coastal areas,
especially heavily-
megadelta regions
in South, East and
South-East Asia,
will be at greatest
risk due to
increased flooding
from the sea and
from rivers
EPA Programmatic Impacts0

of Impact6


OITA Program and

Asia Pacific Rim - The
Pacific Ports Clean Air
Collaborative (PPCAC)
is a voluntary group of
domestic (U.S. West
Coast) and
participants (Asia
Pacific/Pacific Rim)
from ports, industry,
Will be
by lmpactf

Examples of Risks
if Program Were

Sea level rise, an
increase in the
frequency and
magnitude of
extreme weather
events, and rising
temperatures could
affect critical
infrastructure and
port and vessel


Coastal flooding in
low-lying areas is
very likely to
become a greater
risk than at present
due to sea-level
rise and more
intense coastal
storms, unless
there is significant

In new
industrialized areas
in Asia air quality
trends will likely
add to heat
stress and smog
Increase in annual
mean rainfall in
East Africa

Increase in runoff
(and possibly
floods) in East
Mean sea level rise
will contribute to
upward trends in
extreme coastal
high water levels
as well as coastal

erosion in the
Annually averaged
Arctic sea-ice
extent is projected
to show a
reduction of 22% -
33% by the end of
the century

Very likely




Very likely


and environmental
agencies that share
expertise, technology,
lessons learned to
reduce environmental
and sustainability
impacts of marine
goods movement

East Africa -OITA is
working with water
utility companies in 10
East African countries,
to improve planning for
the delivery of water
and water services

Arctic - OITA and the
USG play a leading role
in Arctic Council
deliberations on toxics
and climate pollutants

OITA plays a lead role
as well in the Intl.



operation, as well as
access to goods and
shipping routes.

gas emissions from
ports, ocean-going
vessels, and other
sources will continue
to impact air quality
and human health in
port cities and in
shipping lanes

Climate projections
for East Africa
suggest an annual
increase in rainfall
and runoff, and more
frequent extreme
precipitation events,
which could impact
water management
Sea level rise may
create issues with
salt water intrusion
into existing aquifers,
calling for different
approaches to water
resource planning

With increased
access and economic
activity in the Arctic,
additional pollutants
may exacerbate
climate impacts,
making emissions



Over the next
century there will
be significant
melting of Arctic
glacial ice due to
warming resulting
in a substantial
contribution to sea
level rise

For Arctic human
communities, it is
virtually certain
that there will be
negative and
positive impacts on
infrastructure and

Very high


Organization's (IMO)
development of
standards and
voluntary measures on
polar shipping and
pollution prevention
and mitigation. OITA
also contributes to USG
engagement in black
carbon assessment and
mitigation work
(AIEO) works with
tribes on enforcement
of environmental laws
and standards

reductions more

Such trends will also
affect IMO
discussions on an
emerging Polar Code,
as sea level rises, sea
ice retreats, and
Arctic Ocean transit
Projected climate
trends in the Arctic
will especially affect
native peoples and
AlEO's ability to
enforce standards
and laws in a rapidly
changing setting
Footnotes for Summary Table of Examples of Potential Climate Change Vulnerabilities

 aThis table summarizes potential vulnerabilities according to the 5 goals or priorities in the EPA Strategic Plan.

 b Climate change impacts/vulnerabilities are based upon the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 (see Ref. 3 below).

 c Programmatic Impacts are based upon EPA best professional judgment at this time.

 d Statements on impacts are based upon the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 (see Ref. 3 below).

 e Expressions of confidence and likelihood  cited in this table are adopted from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 (see Ref. 3
below) as follows:
Very high confidence-At least 9 out of 10 chance of occurring

High confidence-About 8 out of 10 chance of occurring

Medium confidence-About 5 out of 10 chance of occurring

Low confidence-About 2 out of 10 chance of occurring

Very low confidence- Less than 1 out of 10 chance of occurring
                                                                   Virtually Certain - >99% probability

                                                                   Very likely - >90% probability

                                                                   Likely - >66% probability

                                                                   About as likely as not - 33-66% probability

                                                                   Unlikely-0-33% probability

                                                                   Very unlikely-0-10% probability

                                                                    Exceptionally unlikely-0-1% probability

'Assessment of possible programmatic impact is based upon OITA's best professional judgment.  High assumes that the program is very likely to be
impacted; Medium assumes that the program has a moderate chance of being affected; Low assumes that there is a slight chance that the program
will be impacted. This assessment is based on best professional judgment within OITA.

1  U.S. Global Change Research Program, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, 2009.
3IPCC Contribution of Working Group II to the 4th Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers, Cambridge Univ. Press, UK, 2007.
4 EPA Climate Change Adaptation Plan, 2012.
5. World Bank, Cities and Climate Change: An Urgent Agenda, 2010.

VII.    Conclusion

OITA is dedicated to advancing EPA's priorities of climate change adaptation and will work within its
authorities to achieve these goals with our international and tribal partners.