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A Special Report on Selected Side Events at the
United Nations Climate Change Conference
Poznań, Poland - 1-12 December 2008

Published by IISD
 
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Events Convened on Friday, 5 December 2008
Our Future in a Changed Climate: Adaptation and Decision-Making
Presented by the Stockholm Environment Institute

Tom Downing, Stockholm Environment Institute.

Robert Watt, Stockholm Environment Institute.

Participants discussing human rights in tipping points of migration.
This event discussed means to deliver adaptation. Two presentations introduced the session, followed by four discussion groups that focused on the following themes: urban and rural adaptation; funding and governance; migration and human rights; and information sharing.

Cornie Huizenga, Clean Air Initiative-Asia, presented on the relationship between air quality and climate change. He underscored two messages: first, the need to reduce emissions of ground-level ozone, black carbon and methane for air quality and climate co-benefits; and second, the increased urgency for adaptation, given the linkages between air pollution and climate change. He described recent research by Ramanathan and Feng (2008) on warming that results from reducing the masking effect of aerosols. He argued that the potential for more rapid warming emphasizes the urgent need for adaptation implementation.

Tom Downing, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), outlined steps that can be taken to respond to climate change, including assessments, disaster risk reduction, building institutional capacity, pilot actions, sectoral climate protection and migration. He introduced and described the four themes to be taken up in the discussion groups.

Richard Klein, SEI, presented on behalf of the discussion group on funding and governance. He said that the group discussed: the need to base adaptation on committed warming, rather than projected warming; the notion that funding and governance, as well as the polluter pays principle, is more complicated when air pollution is considered; and whether developing countries that address air pollution may have a stronger case for adaptation funding.

Lisa Schipper, SEI, presented on behalf of the urban/rural group. She said that the drivers and perceptions of mobility, definitions of communities, and means to balance short- and long-term priorities were discussed.

A. Atiq Rahman, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, presented on behalf of the group on migration and human rights. He said the discussion focused on: the interaction of human rights and climate change; whether people would want to migrate if they had the capacity to do so; how to contend with the loss of culture and identity as a result of migration; and whether new frames of legal thinking are needed, such as for pastoralists moving into new regions.

Maria Fernanda Zermoglio, SEI, presented on behalf of the discussion group on information sharing. She said that the group discussed: challenges in using information; the iterative nature of converting raw data into actionable intelligence; data reliability and confidence; and communication between providers and communities.

Participants discussed: temporal aspects; lack of knowledge concerning the masking effect of air pollution; and whether the starting point for adaptation should be data or decisions.

Participants discussing data and information sharing.
More Information:
http://www.sei.se

Contact:
Robert Watt <robert.watt@sei.se>

Strategic Framework for Forests and Climate Change
Presented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN

L-R: Moderator Eduardo Mansur, ITTO; Roberto Acosta, UNFCCC; Jan Heino, FAO; Jan McAlpine, UNFF.

This event presented the Strategic Framework for Forests and Climate Change, proposed by the Collaborative Framework on Forests (CPF). The CPF is a partnership of 14 forest-related international organizations, formed in 2000 to enhance cooperation on forest issues.

Jan Heino, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), presented on the CPF Global Forest Expert Panel's report on the adaptation of forests and forest-dependant people to climate change, and expressed hope that this will inform the post-2012 climate agreement. He described key messages, including that sustainable forest management (SFM) is an effective framework for both mitigation and adaptation.

Jan McAlpine, UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), highlighted the need for a coherent and cross-sectoral approach that reflects the full potential of forests to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. She emphasized that a wide spectrum of forest-related strategies should be considered in addressing the problem, from complete protection to active management.

Roberto Acosta, UNFCCC, said that despite efforts to include forests within the climate agenda, it was not until 2005 that the topic received significant attention. He said that reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) must be designed in a way that will not harm other forest values and indigenous people.

Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, presented on The Forest Dialogue's (TFD) statement on forests and climate change, and cautioned that unless the forest community is able to speak with one voice on this issue, forests could be left off the agenda once again. He described principles that the TFD identified as important for REDD, including that it should build upon our knowledge of SFM and tackle the drivers of deforestation outside the forest sector.

Alexander Buck, International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), said that the complexity of discussions has heightened the importance of the science-policy interface, and described the role of the CPF Global Forest Expert Panel. He said that the Panel's report on forests and adaptation is the most comprehensive to date, and that it indicates that climate change is likely to impact forests significantly even if carbon dioxide levels are stabilized in the near term.

Frances Seymour, Center for International Forest Research, said the CPF should act strategically to ensure that any REDD framework is efficient and effective. She noted that the CPF needs to discern which activities are best carried out by individual CPF members, which ones require collective action, and which ones are best carried out by others, including countries and communities.

Participants discussed the need to: consider forests as functioning ecosystems; convey the importance of SFM; engage with the financial sector; involve indigenous people; and make linkages with existing tools such as forest certification.

Stewart Maginnis, IUCN.

Jan Heino, FAO.

Jan McAlpine, UNFF.
More Information:
http://www.fao.org/forestry/cpf-climatechange
http://www.iufro.org/auth/science/science-initiative

Contact:
Jan Heino <jan.heino@fao.org>
Jan McAlpine <jan.mcalpine@un.org>
Roberto Acosta <racosta@unfccc.de>
Alexander Buck <buck@iufro.org>
Stewart Maginnis <stewart.maginnis@iucn.org>

Intergenerational Inquiry on Climate Solutions
Presented by the UN Joint Programme Framework on Children, Youth and Climate Change

L-R: Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC; Michael Zammit Cutajar, UNFCCC; Moderator Alex Kirby, former BBC environmental correspondent.

This event brought together diverse conference participants for an "intergenerational inquiry," focused on how actors can compromise to contribute to a collective solution for a post-2012 climate agreement.

Richard Kinley, UNFCCC, stressed that addressing climate change will require engagement from all sectors of society. Fred Doulton, UN Programme on Youth, explained how this programme has serviced the intergovernmental process by allowing youth to have a voice in the UN, and announced a new report on youth and climate change. David Parker, UNICEF, described the impact of climate change on children as a human security challenge, which should be addressed by focusing on children's rights.

Kathleen Dietrich, Pennsylvania State University, noted that adaptation requires a collective and inclusive process. She stressed that a compromise must be made on commitments required for adaptation funding. Rebecca Zalatan, British Council Canada, emphasized the need to educate and mobilize the next generation to be passionate about climate change. She said that the most important compromise that needs to happen is between the economy and the environment and that "if we act now, we can use our global wealth to find a solution."

Ely Katembo, 350.org, noted that climate change solutions require overcoming the digital North-South divide and increasing the representation of youth from developing countries. Deepa Gupta, India Youth Climate Network, said that youth can inspire Indian politicians with an alternative vision of a low-carbon economy. Diann Black Layne, Antigua and Barbuda, noted that rising sea levels pose tremendous risks to small islands, and, thus, no compromise can be made on reducing emissions to halt this trend. Christiana Figueres, Costa Rica, underscored her country's commitment to both mitigation and adaptation. José Romero, Switzerland, stressed the need for a global compromise within the limits of everyone's capacity.

Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC, noted that while the participation of young people at international climate change meetings is important, they should also engage with their national governments at home to influence negotiating positions. He added that negotiators are not only working on collective solutions but also solutions that accommodate their own interests, and argued that a large part of the NGO movement has become overly "bureaucratized." Michael Zammit Cutajar, Vice-Chair, Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action, stressed the importance of considering both economic and environmental aspects of sustainability. Caitlin Macleod, UNEP TUNZA, stressed the need for a "one-way compromise" from the North on emission reductions as well as funding for mitigation.

Participants discussed: the notion that no compromises should be made on science in guiding the policy process; increasing developing country youth representation; and climate change's potential to exacerbate other world crises.

José Romero, Switzerland.

Fred Doulton, UN Programme on Youth.

A youth participant asking a question.
More Information:
http://unfccc.int/2860.php

Contact:
Laurence Pollier <lpollier@unfccc.int>

Measuring the Effectiveness of Adaptation: Implications for Climate Negotiations
Presented by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

L-R: Ancha Srinivasan, IGES; Akio Morishima, IGES; Hironori Hamanaka, Chair of the Board of Directors, IGES; Jonathan Pershing, World Resources Institute; Heather McGray, World Resources Institute.

This event discussed the implications of adaptation metrics on climate negotiations, funding and governance. Following two presentations on the topic, a panel considered relevant questions, provided in advance.

Akio Morishima, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), described projects in Bangladesh and India to develop proactive micro-adaptation strategies. He raised questions regarding: whether appropriate means and capacities to measure adaptation progress exist; whether it is appropriate to have adaptation targets akin to mitigation targets; and whether those who implement effective adaptation actions should be recognized and rewarded.

Jonathan Pershing, World Resources Institute, described the past, current and future levels of water availability according to both local- and national-level data, given the striking differences in the depictions, and argued for site-specific adaptation metrics.

Ancha Srinivasan, IGES, presented on his work with SVRK Prabhakar, IGES, on findings from an IGES-World Bank workshop on measuring adaptation effectiveness. He outlined major concerns in developing metrics, and noted that challenges remain, such as deciding whether metrics should be: deductive or inductive; site-specific or spatially scalable; direct or proxy; ex-ante vs. ex-post; project-specific or regional; discrete or composite; and qualitative or quantitative.

Heather McGray, World Resources Institute, discussed the outcomes of a workshop on assessing adaptation at the national level. She said that adaptation is highly context dependent, and she presented the schematic elements of an adaptation framework, including: planning, management, and service delivery functions; country-specific priorities; and progress measures.

Shuzo Nishioka, IGES, introduced the panel's questions, concerning: whether adaptation should be measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV); whether metrics should be the basis of funding decisions, and what the barriers are to operationalizing metrics; whether metrics should be quantified; country-level governance issues, and how a future climate regime can improve governance at various levels; and how synergies between UNFCCC and non-UNFCCC initiatives can be strengthened.

In the panelists' responses, Ir. Sulistyowati, Ministry of Environment, Indonesia, said that just because MRV applies to mitigation does not mean it should apply to adaptation. Masato Kawanishi, Japan International Cooperation Agency, said that MRV requirements may be necessary but are very difficult, and highlighted the need for coordination. Ian Noble, World Bank, discussed metrics in defining vulnerability and described a World Bank pilot programme in climate resilience. Mozharul Alam, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, said that metrics can help identify infrastructure and institutional capacity needs and respond to sectoral impacts. Savio Carvalho, Oxfam, described adaptation realities in Uganda, and underscored the urgency in coordinating the humanitarian and climate communities.

Participants discussed: adaptation needs across ecosystems; risks inherent in developing metrics; and the utility of metrics.

L-R: Shuzo Nishioka, IGES; Ir. Sulistyowati, Ministry of Environment, Indonesia; Masato Kawanishi, Japan International Cooperation Agency; Ian Noble, World Bank; Mozharul Alam, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies; Savio Carvalho, Oxfam.
More Information:
http://www.iges.or.jp

Contact:
Ancha Srinivasan <s.ancha.84@cantab.net>

A Post-2012 Technology and Finance Framework
Presented by the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, ICTSD and University of Sussex

L-R: Frederick Abbott, University of Florida; Andrew Higham, ECN; Moderator; Heleen de Coninck, ECN; David Ockwell, SPRU.

This event discussed technology transfer issues under the UNFCCC within the context of the relevant international intellectual property and trade-related agreements. It also drew lessons learned from technology transfer negotiations in other development-related areas, such as health, which may serve to enhance the technology and finance framework of the Convention.

Andrew Higham, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), noted that both private and public finance is crucial to shifting investments toward low-emission technologies and identifying major gaps in financing for the following measures: research and development in developing countries; demonstration stage technologies; early deployment support; and energy efficiency in buildings and the agriculture, transport and forest sectors.

David Ockwell, University of Sussex, explained the different political motivations of developed and developing countries to become parties to the UNFCCC, which are respectively the desire to find solutions to environmental problems and to access new technologies for economic growth and poverty alleviation. He argued that sustained or improved competitive advantage is always an issue in technology transfer negotiations; therefore, the interests of national firms and industries are key considerations.

Frederick Abbott, University of Florida, described lessons learned on technology transfer from the global intellectual property rights (IPRs) and health negotiations. He noted that: economic and political power always matters; stakeholder involvement is essential; propaganda plays a key role; forum shifting can undermine gains; and technology transfer requires concrete commitments. He stressed that "soft" commitments made by governments to transfer privately owned technology are meaningless.

Heleen de Coninck, ECN, noted that an enhanced technology framework under the UNFCCC must be included in the climate regime and be demand-driven and self-reinforcing, reward success, and provide flexibility.

Shane Tomlinson, E3G, questioned whether existing institutions provide the best way to scale up the diffusion of low-carbon technologies. Pedro Roffe, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, argued that there is no harm in a political declaration reaffirming the flexibilities of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which are weakened by the obligations that are contained in bilateral trade and investment agreements. Bert Metz, European Climate Foundation, emphasized the challenges inherent in developing meaningful policy recommendations for decision makers without an understanding of how technology is transferred on the ground.

Participants discussed the need for a political declaration on access to climate-friendly technologies similar to the Doha Declaration on Public Health, and the extent to which market incentives, such as patents, are likely to work in regions that lack market demand.

David Ockwell, SPRU

Heleen de Coninck, ECN.

Frederick Abbott, University of Florida.
More Information:
http://ictsd.net
http://www.ecn.nl/en

Contact:
Stefan Bakker <bakker@ecn.nl>

Related Links

Official UNFCCC COP14 Side Events Map

Related IISD RS Coverage

Development and Climate Days at COP14
Forest Day II at COP14
Business Day at COP14
ENBOTS at COP13 - Bali, 2007
ENBOTS at COP12 - Nairobi, 2006
ENBOTS at COP11 - Montreal, 2005

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