Adaptation and the Private Sector

The private sector, including businesses, industries and the financial world, are critical players in climate adaptation. It is essential to engage corporations and finance providers in adaptation efforts. This idea was emphasized by various panelists—including Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency in UK—who were part of a high level panel at a side event entitled Accelerating action and support for adaptation held on December 12, 2018 at COP24 in Katowice, Poland.Business-Leadership

This side event was the first public event hosted by the Global Commission on Adaptation since its launch on October 16th, 2018. As noted here, the Global Commission on Adaptation is led by former UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and was created to enhance the visibility and political importance of climate change adaptation.

During the side event, the need to elevate climate change adaptation to the political agenda but also to businesses and the financial world was highlighted as a way of more effectively enhancing resilience around the world. Corporations and the financial sector need to adapt to changing circumstances and plan for new climate risks in the economic and market environment.

The World Resource Institute (“WRI”) noted that multinational corporations, in particular, typically have operations and supply chains in many parts of the world and so the way they respond to climate change can affect many populations, including poor communities in developing countries. They can play an important role in making these communities more climate-resilient by building a resilient workforce, among other things.

WRI also points out that climate change adaptation represents an opportunity for corporations to create new goods and services that are more climate-resilient and redesign current products into climate-resilient goods. For example, BASF has developed new technologies for climate change adaptation including a special elastomer polyurethane system “Elastocoast” to protect dikes by absorbing the force of the breaking waves and slowing down the water masses.  In order to optimize crop plants such as corn, soy and wheat, BASF’s researchers are also developing stress-tolerant plants that are more resistant to extreme weather conditions such as drought. Moreover, in 2008, Caisse des Dépôts launched an international research programme on adaptation focused on designing and funding infrastructure, recognizing 1111the importance of considering climate change in the design of new infrastructure and modification of old infrastructure.


Adaptation and Gender Issues

gender-overview-mainArticle 7 of the Paris Agreement sets the global goal of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response to climate change.

Section 7.5 of the Paris Agreement further clarifies that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems, and should be based, on local knowledge systems, among other things, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions.

Today at COP24, two side events—Advancing Gender Equality through National Adaptation Plan processes: A straightforward consideration or a complex challenge? and The Global Adaptation Goal and the Importance of Gender Transformative Resilience Finance—emphasized that National Adaptation Plan (“NAP”) processes need to be developed and implemented in a gender responsible manner, pursuant to the Paris Agreement.

In 2017-2018, the NAP Global Network prepared a report entitled Towards Gender-Responsive National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Processes: Progress and Recommendations for the Way Forward, in the general context of having a better understanding of how developing countries are integrating gender considerations in the NAP processes (the “NAP Global Network Report”). CCAFS-and-Platform-Webinar

In its report, the NAP Global Network reiterated the recent decisions under the UNFCCC that have emphasized the significant linkages between climate action and gender equality (e.g. the 2014 Lima Work Programme on Gender and Climate Change). In 2015-2016, the UNFCCC recognized that the NAP process is an opportunity to integra_group_of_women_plant_paddy_rice_seedlings_in_a_field_near_sekong_2_1ate gender consideration. More generally, it further highlighted that gender equality is recognized as a universal human right and is at the center of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

It is important that NAP processes integrate socio-cultural issues such as gender in order to be effective. As pointed out by the NAP Global Network Report, work has been done on that front in many countries, but there are still many challenges in order to be able to do so successfully.

More specifically, the Report indicates that many countries have made an effort to integrate gender considerations in their NAP documents. However, certain obstacles in integrating gender issues in adaptation measures exist, such as institutional barriers which can limit dialogue and collaboration between gender and climate adaptation actors; information gaps, including sex-disaggregated data related to climate impacts and adaptation needs; and gender analysis of adaptation options, barriers and opportunities.

The NAP Global Network made a series of recommendations to stakeholders who are called to develop and implement NAPs including:

  • Committing to a gender-responsive NAP process going forward gender_crosscutting
  • Using the NAP process to enhance institutional linkages between climate change adaptation and gender equality
  • Improving gender balance in NAP-related institutional arrangements
  • Undertaking gender-balanced and inclusive stakeholder engagement for NAP processes
  • Using gender analysis and stakeholders’ inputs efficiently

The NAP Global Network Report also underlines that investments in country capacity building on gender adaptation need to be more significant.


The Room Where it Happens: The Indispensable Role of the Observer

_104735890_dui0ypwwoai5suoAs TIME Magazine recognizes its 2018 Person of the Year, observers, reporters, and advocates of the truth find themselves lauded among activists. The Guardians and the War on Truth were recognized as the Person of The Year for “taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and speaking out.” These Guardians are being praised for their ability to hold our public officials accountable and to bring to them to the task at hand.

Similar to The Guardians, UNFCCC representatives of observer organizations hold sovereign Parties accountable for their actions. They remind Parties of their task at hand—creating international IMG_9729_0environmental policy on climate change. UNFCCC observers can do this by releasing sassy newsletters, publishing revealing emissions reports, and advocating for and commenting on text released by the Parties. As independent actors — with fewer political repercussions than Parties themselves — NGOs interact in spaces and ways that Parties cannot. Where Parties are constrained by politic mannerisms, NGOs can act bombastically, like casual vandalism,*  and subtly, like “liaising with the UNFCCC Secretariat on behalf of the business community.”

Baby-Groot-750x500UNFCCC observers act in between the spaces of international politics, diplomacy, and decision making. Their role in the negotiations of transparency, adaptation, and finance are indispensable because there is no force quite like them. So as discussions of global stock take move forward and rumblings of excluding observer organizations rise, Parties, civil society, and the people** need to defend these staunch Guardians of the Green.

 

*This is in reference to a situation where some observers were de-badged or stopped by police when entering Poland.

**This is in reference to David Attenborough’s “People’s Seat,” which encouraged civil society to be able to encourage world leaders to do more for climate action.

 


The Engineering Perspective of Adaptation and Infrastructure

adaption-for-climate-change_INfrastructure imageAt a side event entitled Progress and Prospects: The Implementation Challenge of Adaptation within the Paris Agreement held at COP24 on December 10, 2018, representatives from the World Federation of Engineers Organization (“WFEO”) and Engineers Canada reiterated that, considering our changing climate and the fact that infrastructures are fundamental to the development and functioning of any society, it is imperative to include new climate reality in the development, design, construction and maintenance of infrastructures around the globe.

WFEO noted that engineers around the world go to work every day to make sure that society has what it needs to function: clean water, roads, electricity, bridges, etc.  There are embedded climate vulnerabilities in infrastructures which need to be identified and rectified, some of which can cause significant negative economic and social consequences if they are not addressed in a timely and efficient manner.

Adaptation measures need to be developed and implemented in coordination with various stakeholders of society, including engineers. As underlined by Engineers Canada in one of its report entitled Preparing for the Impact of Climate Change: The Importance of Improving Infrastructure Climate Resiliency—The Engineering Perspective, engineering is on the front line in the provision of infrastructure to society. Therefore, engineers have a significant role to play in addressing climate change issues and incorporating them into engineering practices.

Certain initiatives covering the engineering profession have been put in place, in various jurisdictions and at various levels, in order to integrate adaptation into the infrastructure sector.20170109-1-en

For example, in Canada, in 2016, Engineers Canada presented the first cohort of professional engineers with the new certification of Infrastructure Resilience Professional—which involved having completed a series of professional development workshops (including on climate law, climate science and asset management, etc.). Engineers having received this advanced training and experience in climate vulnerability assessment, risk management and climate adaptation are able to work with governments, operators, developers, to plan, design, build and manage more climate resilient infrastructures. Engineers Canada also developed the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee Protocol to assess current and future risk to infrastructure in the event of extreme weather and the impacts of a changing climate. The Protocol is a formalized and documented process for engineers, planners and decision-makers to identify and recommend measures to address the vulnerabilities and risks from changes in climate, design parameters and other environmental factors due to extreme climatic events.

1-s2.0-S0169204615000419-gr1-Adaptation Infrastructure

 


“This is not a choice between one word or another.”

Today was the last day of the first week of COP24. The SBSTA plenary meeting began late, as expected. Many Parties are still attempting to find common ground on texts, which has delayed start times for plenaries.

During the SBSTA plenary, many Parties spoke about the need to accept the IPCC 1.5°C Report and make sure that the world does not see warming to 3°C. The report is part of SBSTA’s agenda item #6 on research and systematic observation. To the dismay of many countries in the room, paragraph 11 only “noted” the IPCC report. Thus the Maldives, on behalf of AOSIS, proposed to “welcome” it instead.  Parties discussed this language for more than an hour, because “note” connotes a weaker way of accepting this report.

This back and forth debate is what climate negotiators do: sit in meetings and small rooms all over the world to discuss the specific language that makes the international law of climate change.

Tonight, one negotiator spoke out about considering the lives of everyone. Rueanna La Toya Tonia Haynes, of Saint Kitts and Nevis, made a brilliant intervention about the IPCC and the acceptance of the report. Part of her speech is below:rueanna haynes

“This is not a choice between one word or another. This is us, as the UNFCCC, being in a position to welcome a report that we requested, that we invited the IPCC to prepare…If there is anything ludicrous about the discussion that is taking place, it is that we, in this body, are not in a position to welcome this report.”

After her intervention, she received a well-deserved round of applause. We, as lawyers, are often so caught up in language that we forget what brought us together in the first place. Sometimes we need an upfront and real speech to remind us of the important things. The UNFCCC is the body to help everyone confront and slow down the pace of climate change. To argue about this language in a report that essentially says we are running out of time is ludicrous. The UNFCCC should move forward and accept the report. After all, the UNFCCC did request it.

Ms. Haynes was steadfast and showed fearlessness while addressing her colleagues. Her tenacity and courage is what I hope others would show. I, too, am giving her a big round of applause. Well said, Ms. Haynes.

You can view the entire plenary here.


Tackling Global Deforestation Emissions

47574086_322370901704236_7711810644088979456_nThe Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) organized a side event on Insights from REDD+ MRV process.  REDD+ involves the implementation of five activities and MRV stands for measuring, reporting, and verification. The event also included a panel of two countries, Malaysia and Ghana, and a LULUCF expert on their experiences with REDD+.

REDD+ MRV procedurally came from COP19 under the Warsaw Framework on REDD+. The full history on REDD+ can be found here.  Decision 13/CP.19 provided the guidelines and procedures for the technical assessment of submissions from Parties on proposed forest reference emission levels for forest reference levels. Decision 14/CP. 19 provided modalities for MRV. There are 4 steps of REDD+ MRV process which include: submission of FREL/RFL, technical assessment of FREL/FRL, submission of results as a technical annex to a BUR, and technical analysis of results.

Elizabeth Philips from Malaysia facilitated the REDD+ program in her country.  It has a system where forests are at a subnational jurisdiction.  They have a bottom-up apprREDDoach for REDD+. What they learned from this process was to have their regional experts improve the data by fixing soil carbon and looking into dead wood and dead matter. The technical assessment helped to bridge the gaps. “This was not just a system on paper, but one that has been implemented.”

Roselyn Fosuah Adjei from Ghana talked about her country’s draft submission to the UNFCCC. There are three areas that Ghana looked into: deforestation, forest degradation, and carbon stocks enhancement. One of the challenges they dealt with was illegality. Ghana’s IP based their data and maps on indigenous knowledge that is generationally passed down. Illegality was a concern because this knowledge was not recorded or stored anywhere. Ghana’s IP based their data and maps on indigenous knowledge that is generationally passed down. Due  They had some, but not all. Ghana does hope to submit a modification to its initial draft before going into the results based demonstration of REDD+.

Jason Funk, a LULUCF expert, spoke about his experience as an expert in this field. Due to the REDD+ MRV process as being more facilitative and constructive in nature, it is a collaboration with the country to work on their forest reference emissions level. His position is more of a peer review process that helps the country feel more confident about the work because of having someone else review the material.


Sharing of Knowledge Through Indigenous Peoples Platform

IPOBIn an exciting side event, the indigenous peoples (IP) of Bolivia and Chad shared experiences related to the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP) implementation. The Bolivian Platform of Indigenous Originary Campesino Peoples Against Climate Change took a deep dive into the plurinational state of Bolivia. The Indigenous peoples of Africa Committee (IPACC) with the support of GIZ showcased a similar case-study in Chad.

The IP of Bolivia provided a brief history of how their lands were taken away from them. The area in the highlands and lowlands of Bolivia was described as “our Bolivia.” The original land inhabited by the indigenous peoples went all the way up into what is now Alaska. They “lived without problems without discrimination, harmoniously.” When the Spaniards arrived a fight for water and natural resources became continuous. “It was very expensive.”

The fight for their lands took time and was difficult, but progress has been made. IP are now recognized in the Constitution and an assembly made up of fifty percent women and fifty percent men was created. The country before had never had plurality and now they do.

“IP have always struggled,” a panelist said. Their fight for Mother Earth is just beginning and actors must come together to counteract climate change. “Mother Earth needs to be cared for.” “Within South America, we need to work harder to defend our land, territory, and water. “That’s how we will fight back climate change.”

2018-04-09_ibrahim_0Ms. Hindou Ibrahim Oumarou provided knowledge and experience from the perspective of an IP from Chad. In Chad, the IP live by a nomadic way of life. Which means they move from one place to another, depending on the season. They possess the knowledge to find water, to understand the weather, and how to adapt to climate change. The IP of Chad want to share their knowledge and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) helps them to do this.

 

 


Logistics Logistics Logistics! Highlighting Technology Needs Assessment for Developing Countries

As the Paris AgTNA-logo_rgbreement parties continue to meet and deliberate legal provisions, supporting organizations put in place tools that help developing countries meet their respective Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). A non-governmental organization is one of the amazing things about the Paris Agreement, COP, or climate change in general. Citizens from all over the world don’t need to wait for government action and can operate independently. NGOs can hit the ground running, enacting change, and are sometimes more effective than governments who need to navigate foreign affairs carefully. What is even more impressive about NGOs is their ability to adapt. Like any successful story, you need to fail. It was through this process that led the UN development program (UNDP) in creating the Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) tool for developing countries.

TNA streamlines the process of determining appropriate technologies to supply developing counties to combat climate change. Choosing the right technology is an important issue because it gradually builds the capacity of the developing country. Sometimes we are too quick to solve a problem and look to the most efficient solution. However, the answer may be too complicated for the developing country to maintain, once the experts have left. The TNA address this problem. The TNA is a three-step process that conducts a feasibility study and selects the appropriate environmental controls.

Step one is a holistic background study that looks to multiple sectors including gender. The first step helps prioritize available technologies that can be applied. Step two conducts a feasibility study or barrier analysis of each technology. Since developing countries circumstances are different, experts must carefully examine the technique. The third step is called the technology action plan and supports “the implementation of the pritorized technology.” The level of ambition, timelines, schedules, and education are carefully implemented and contributes to reaching the developing country’s NDC.

Moreover, the TNA tool is so effective that, successful application of the analysis enhances the opportunity to obtain funding to construct the project. So, to the organizations that help make pragmatic steps that help lay down the right tools, keep up the good work.


What does “progress” mean during informal consultations?

Progress appears to have a different meaning between developed and developing countries. At the end of today’s APA Agenda Item 4 meeting on Article 7, paragraphs 10 and 11, of the Paris Agreement, one developed country Party suggested that more time should be allotted for issues not fully discussed in the meeting. This Party stated that extra allotted time is needed because no progress has been made on text agreement. A developing country Party chimed in disagreeing about progress made today and yesterday. So what does progress mean?

While the developing countries struggle with the late informal informal meeting times, their preparation shows at every meeting. Unfortunately, as an Observer, I cannot attend the informal informal consultations. It appears there was some negotiation and consensus in the informal informal last night because I did not catch an agreement on textual language during the Tuesday informal consultation. Between today and yesterday, the APA meetings have discussed around ten paragraphs. Three paragraphs have already been agreed upon and will be published in the final draft due by the end of the week. This is where the progress argument diverges.

On its face, agreement on three out of ten paragraphs does not seem like a lot of progress. This is the stance of the developed country. With three days left to produce a final text, this is definitely not the progress the developed country wanted because there are still many paragraphs to discuss. The developed country is concerned because there are some paragraphs from the last two sessions that have not been discussed in length. Parties have not presented text proposals in front of the facilitators and all Parties. This Party stressed the need to streamline paragraphs in order to reach the deadline at the end of the week. This was not surprising because the Party has been proposing streamlining for the last sessions.

On the other hand, three out of ten paragraphs over the course of two sessions, is an incredible amount of progress from the developing country’s perspective. Especially because these negotiations have been taking place over the course of almost three years. From this lens, producing a text in three days is possible. This can be achieved with the amount of time that the cofacilitators have been able to reserve for informal informals. Even though the developing countries lack resources with experts in this area, most understand how important adaptation has become. Thus, many of these countries are providing input about this text.

Where does this leave the definition of progress? In limbo. There is no concrete answer to this question. What each country needs addressed in each paragraph determines how they view progress. This conclusion is not surprising given the nature of UNFCCC negotiation sessions.


Indigenous Women May Just Be the Key to Successful Latin American NDCs

 

Perempuan_Adat_Harus_Dilibatkan_dalam_Negosiasi_Perubahan_IklimDelfina Katip, a preeminent Peruvian advocate for indigenous women’s rights, gave an incredible presentation on the power of indigenous women in climate change adaptation for a side event called Minga NDC and Talanoa Dialogue: Indigenous strategies for climate ambition. The panel began with opening remarks on the importance of including the interests of indigenous people in the Peruvian NDC. International climate change negotiations have been somewhat isolated in the past, not acknowledging other groups’ interests–especially native populations. Achieving the ambitions outlined in NDCs will be a collective job, and the Peruvian presenters made it clear that the country cannot move forward without the national government acknowledging indigenous people’s needs.

Katip’s message was very clear: indigenous women need to participate in climate change actions and projects in Peru.

These women know how to utilize native biodiversity, and how to adapt to changes in the environment. In Peru, climate change has affected both the forestry and clean water availability, thus changing the biodiversity in those areas. Yet these women have learned to keep producing food in their regions. They possess amazing skills to analyze the consequences of climate change,
positive and negative, and develop successful solutions. She described multiple government projects that have failed because officials never thought to ask the local women important factors (like the effects on agriculture, the youth, or biological factors that would negate there projects) they should consider. The role of the woman has always been under appreciated, but NOT today.

The overarching theme here is that NDCs cannot stay as just a document with fancy words. It is time to apply the experiences that women, and men, have with climate change consequences to adaptation strategies. If we can start analyzing conservation through the eyes of adaptation, that will lead to success.


Answering Tough Questions on Agriculture

Koronivia

The Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) met for a second session on Monday and anticipates an informal meeting tomorrow. The second session offered few answers to questions posed in the first session but highlighted country and organization experiences implementing work related to agriculture and climate change with the help of constituted bodies. Countries found the examples helpful but still lacked the clarity to move forward under the KJWA.

Zambia, in collaboration with the constituted body LEG, integrated agriculture into its National Adaptation Plan (NAP-Ag) project. LEG supports partners under a country-driven process to identify and integrate climate adaptation measures for agricultural sectors into national planning and budgeting processes.

Information on the Adaptation Fund can be viewed in my colleague, Amanda’s blog. The questions asked by the EU included how to link the services to the farmers and what the timeline looked like. It was answered with “ the timeline depends on the context in each country. They first identify user needs and tailor to those needs. Then, identify how the system works, what is missing to understand the market, the best way to deliver the information, and how to fund it.” “It takes around 2 years.”

Climate Technology Centre and Network Advisory Board (CTCN) Technical Assistance in Viet Nam provided assistance in bio-waste minimization and valorization for low carbon production in the rice sector, particularly in south-east Asia. Thailand asked, “how would you link this with the national programs as this is a local one?” Kenya stressed, “who is funding this project?” Which was answered with, “funding by donor countries and the GCF to be distributed by priority.”

Food and Myanmar-Philippines-to-work-together-on-agricultural-developmentAgriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations provided examples of work with the Technology Mechanism: TEC and CTCN, CGE, LEG, and SCF. Questions Kenya included “when you look at the five workshops and with FAO being specialized body, how do you see the FAO helping countries to implement those outcomes and the current workshops in Koronivia? Think beyond 2020. What is the synergy? The answer included “supporting a country through GEF and refocusing climate change through the GCF.” “Also, working with a country with their problems and taking a realistic approach.” The second portion of this session focused on “looking ahead” and asked the questions talked about in Amanda’s blog.

  • Tunisa, on behalf of the African group, stressed that meeting with the constituted bodies to discuss how to integrate implementation of the outcomes of the five workshops would help address these questions.
  • The EU said “first, institutionalize involvement of the constituted bodies with KJWA and invite them to the workshops to keep the communication going.”
  • Brazil added “There is so much synergy and work KJWA can share.” “The Parties can strength the linkages to become available to them so KJWA can move forward.”
  • Uruguay, in line with Brazil spoke about how it is key to establish a two-way road between Koronivia and the constituted bodies. Strong communication is essential.
  • Kenya continued “ these are useful inputs, but curious why GCF did not present. (Amanda’s blog covers this top) The question of what to do with the outcomes of the five workshops and the five workshops under Koronivia was not addressed.

The presentations and discussions barely scratched the surface of questions asked. These lingering concerns most likely will be addressed at the informal session on Wednesday.


Adaptation in NDCs: To Include or Not To Include, That is the Question.

You could definitely feel the awkwardness in the conference room during the APA 1-7 agenda item #3 negotiations.This agenda item addresses the mitigation section of the 1/CP.21 decision (where we got the Paris Agreement). What caused such tension? Well, the parties have different positions on what to do with adaptation in NDCs, but were hesitant to speak about it during the session. The draft text for this negotiation issue briefly mentions suggested language for mandatory adaptation commitments within NDCs. But the history of international climate change negotiations hasn’t given much guidance on the issue.

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The UNFCCC first mentioned adaptation, but only to build climate change resilience in least developed countries. The Kyoto Protocol essentially ignored adaptation, and favored very stringent mitigation commitments for Annex I countries (a designation, assigned for the UNFCCC, for a party who could provide financial support to other countries). After over a decade of focusing solely on mitigation, the parties at COP21 decided to develop a new agreement with balanced representation of both adaptation and mitigation. As you can imagine, old habits are hard to break. And that was quite apparent in today’s session.

The developed countries tried their best to eliminate adaptation discussions from today’s informal consultations. The general statement in their interventions basically said that talks about adaptation were inappropriate at this session because it was being discussed elsewhere. If a party did decide to speak more on adaptation, the next typical response would reference the history of mitigation priority in previous COP decisions. The history of previous commitments shows an obvious pattern for making mitigation the priority for achieving UNFCCC climate goals. And although COP21 wanted to balance adaptation and mitigation, subsequent decisions did not reflect that goal. Instead, past guidance on NDCs has emphasized mitigation more than adaptation. Furthermore, the language of Article 4 (National Commitments) of the Paris Agreement (the treaty that created the concept of NDCs) outlines the general commitments of the parties without leaving any room for anything adaptation related.

Alternatively, the developing countries–primarily the African countries–(briefly) noted in their inventions the importance of including adaptation into NDCs. Though this issue has its own agenda item, some developing countries expressed their concerns about discussing adaptation at this session. Looking at the language of the Paris Agreement, Article 3 (NDCs) is ambiguous enough to include adaptation into the NDCs. Also, Article 7 (Adaptation) paragraph 11 lists NDCs as a document that may include adaptation communications. The purpose of the Paris Agreement itself is to increase adaptation consideration into climate change action. With such an open door, why not require adaptation commitments within the NDCs?

Negotiations are successful when parties talk through their differences to reach an acceptable compromise. Though today was just an informal consultation, it foreshadowed a rather frustrating next few days. With the constant dismissal of adaptation in this negotiation, it’ll be interesting to see how the advocates for adaptation will respond to the lack of dialogue at the table. Parties won’t be able to ignore the oversized elephant in the room for much longer.


Enhancing the Role of Academia and Improving Knowledge Sharing in Capacity-building

COP24On December 3, 2018, the UK Pavilion hosted a work shop to provide a space for capacity-building (CB) experts, academics, and stakeholders to get together and discuss the future of CB knowledge sharing. Under the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB), knowledge sharing methods typically consisted of the utilization of knowledge databases by Parties and in-depth discussions between Parties and CB experts. The Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) has done excellent work on creating and updating the NDC Partnership Knowledge Portal; however, this left a question as to how a Party may not only benefit from taking knowledge from others, but to use this knowledge to create a lasting effect. UNDP held concerns that capacity-building efforts have often come into a country and left after the issue at hand was resolved. This may cause a Party to continually rely on outside help to fix their capacity gap needs, which is an unsustainable method to actualize every Parties’ NDCs. Therefore, UNDP stressed the need for CB to be generated and sustained from within the Party so that there is a growth of domestic climate experts. This is extremely important to ensure that the Party is able to empower its own leadership on climate change issues and not continually rely on outside help. During COP22, representatives from more than twenty-five universities met and sparked discussion about the role of universities in implementing Article 11 of the Paris Agreement and to provide the missing support for PCCB. As a result, the Universities Network on Climate Capacity (UNCC) was created.

UNCC

Universities are centers of learning and innovation that may build long-lasting capacities. By sharing knowledge across universities, a country may utilize that knowledge to expand educational resources and opportunities to create a sustainable effort to combat climate change. Using a network of universities specializing in climate change, the UNCC hopes to “develop and implement research, education, training and climate communication capacity-building programmes that promote long term climate change response actions at local, national and international levels.”

Vermont Law School is one of the early members of the UNCC, and Professor Tracy Bach is a member of its Steering Committee. Officially involved in COP events and reports since COP23, the UNCC is a brand new organization and welcomes interested parties. Universities are highly encouraged to become members of UNCC and join this revolutionary network. Moving forward, the UNCC plans to develop a work plan to educate and improve the capacities of countries all over the world.

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Where Do We Grow From Here?

The historical first workshop on the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) took place on the second day of COP24. The discussion focused on the modalities for implementing the outcomes of the five in-session workshops on issues related to agriculture and other future topics that may arise from this work. There was more than what met the eye happening. The workshop revealed across-the-board concerns the parties had going forward.

kjwa24The decision, 4/CP.23, requests the SBSTA/SBI to jointly address issues related to agriculture, working with constituted bodies (CBs) under the Convention. Representatives of the CBs presented information on the following questions:

  1. What is the general mandate of the constituted body?
  2. How has the work of the constituted body contributed to Parties’ implementation of work on agriculture?
  3. How can the work of the constituted body help Parties to advance their work on agriculture?

The Adaptation Committee (AC) seeks to advance Parties’ work in agriculture by incorporating an agriculture lens into an upcoming technical paper on linkages between mitigation and adaptation. Additionally, the AC provides guidance to the Nairobi Work Programme on potential agriculture-related activities. Kenya proposed the questions “how do we see using Nairobi Work Programme to help agriculture or what can we do differently? Make it useful? To receive knowledge?” Kenya continuing, “what can we do as parties and the KJWA that can advance agriculture? How do we implement the outcomes of the five workshops? How can we help you?”

The Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) are working on supplemental guidelines based on water, gender, agriculture, etc. Their percentage distribution of NAPA projects = 21% agriculture and food security. The European Union (EU) asked the question “how do you see the contents of 5 workshops useful to your work?” Uganda, looking at the key elements identified by the workshops, sought answers to “how can we increase the access of knowledge for farmers from the five workshops?” “How can we improve connectivity?”

The Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) has improved the coherence and coordination of climate change finance delivery. In SCF forums, agriculture has been addressed as well as forestry. “From the presentation, looking at the investment, how do you see the committee engaged in KJWA?” Kenya asked. Further, Uruguay inquired, “the reduction of emissions should be considered in agriculture, so how can we ensure that emission reduction is not an obstacle for implementation?”

The Climate Technology Centre and Network Advisory Board (CTCN) discussed how the CTCN can support a country’s agricultural systems by enhancing agricultural and rural development. CTCN can identify appropriate technology-neutral approaches that make agriculture more resilient. In response, Kenya explains “you are aware of the five topics and the last two require technology development and transfer under Koronivia. Has the CTCN considered the outcomes and topics under KJWA? What can parties do? How do we send a message to you to incorporate the topics discussed here?”

Climate-AgricultureConcerns going forward are apparent and have only minorly been addressed. The only known going forward is the procedure.  The Koronivia workshop will be meeting again on Wednesday.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE.

 


A New Mitigation and Adaptation Tool: Low Emission Development

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Today is the first day of COP24! Technical experts and policymakers come from around the world with one goal in mind – progress. Progress in building solutions that give us that extra step toward a solution to climate change. There is no one solution, and discussions occur at multiple fronts over a range of topics.

The decision in COP21 started a shift toward low emission development (LED), which seeks to fundamentally change human behavior as well as industry practices to seek ways to minimize emissions. LED utilizes both mitigation and adaptation strategies. LEDs are also flexible where they can integrate with other planning tools and strategies. Successful execution of LED varies by country but has been widely known to depend on three factors: participation, prioritization, and implementation. Now at COP24, the LED project is bearing fruit. Tunisia successfully implemented LED and now serves as a case study for other counties to benchmark from.

One reason why Tunisia was so successful in adopting LED was that it simultaneously campaigned for public participation, petitioned to political powers, and targeted the youth. Early involvement of stakeholders is key to gain LED traction. LED is best approached by lobbying. Tunisia hosted workshops for the public and designed activities for children to learn the value of conservation. Tunisia’s approach propelled LED to the point where Tunisia added language combating climate change into its constitution!

The second factor requires careful prioritization and scheduling. LED is data heavy and inputs vary significantly depending on the country conditions and available resources. For some developing countries, LED may not be cost effective to implement. However, case studies like the success in Tunisia help strengthen viable LED strategies. Over time, as the LED strategy matures, LED becomes scalable and ultimately lowers the costs in its implementation.

The final and most difficult factor is implementing the LED. Implementing the LED can be messy because it requires careful coordination of multiple stages. The best way to overcome obstacles from implementation is to maintain good record keeping practices and concurrently build the institutional framework creating LED laws and regulations. Establishing the institutional framework helps build trust and hold the parties accountable. This cross-government work is critical to support LEDs.

Moreover, LED is attractive because it works synergistically with any economy. LEDs focuses on national priorities for sustainable development and simultaneously serves as a road map that spurs economic development by driving the economy in minimizing waste and pollution. LEDs are known to guide diversification of an economy.

Finally, LEDs is a pathway for funding and capacity needs. Since LEDs apply both mitigation and adaptation tools, LEDs can benefit stakeholders and prepare the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) that help qualify for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF). LEDs can be eligible for numerous financial sources such as the World Bank ESMAP, US Country Studies program, and “fast start” funding under the UNFCCC.

Tunisia has already implemented the LED strategy in February 2018. Ukraine, Guyana, Indonesia, Mexico, and the UK have already adopted LED strategies, and more parties are following suit.