Linkages - a multimedia resource for environment and development policy makers

A Special Report on Selected Side Events at the
UNFCCC SB30

1-12 June 2009 Bonn, Germany


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Events on Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Towards an Effective and Equitable Post-2012 Regime

Presented by Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy

This event presented the Wuppertal Institute’s comprehensive proposal to stabilize global temperature increases below 2°C by ensuring that global GHG emissions decrease by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.

Wolfgang Sterk, Wuppertal Institute, summarized key elements of the Wuppertal proposal, including that: emissions should peak this decade in Annex I and non-Annex I countries and that the latter will require significant Annex I support; Annex I parties should assume both new and stringent emission reduction targets and legally-binding obligations to provide financial and technological support; in the mid-term, rather than using the current Annexes, a principle-based approach that assigns countries targets based on their evolving responsibilities and capabilities should be adopted; and all parties except Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States should develop low-emission development plans.

Sterk said financing for the proposal should come from a fund-based mechanism sourced from the sale of Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) and from a new mechanism covering emissions from maritime and aviation sectors. He explained that the fund should be distributed not according to cost assessments and additionality of “actions,” but on a “country basis” according to criteria for responsibility, capability and vulnerability to climate change impacts. He clarified that differentiated responsibilities under the Wuppertal proposal would initially be based on the Greenhouse Development Rights framework.

Niklas Höhne, Ecofys, critiqued the Wuppertal proposal for not offering: justification for the proposed policy choices, such as a midterm target of 60% emission reductions below 1990 levels for Annex I countries; an explanation of how the proposal would improve the chances of reaching agreement in Copenhagen; quantifiable estimates of required financial support; or a rationale for an alternative classification of countries. On finance, he said market mechanisms should not be dismissed and questioned the political feasibility of “country-based” rather than “action-based” funding.

Jake Schmidt, National Resources Defense Council, noted that modest policies usually lead to more ambitious ones, and recommended: shifting the emphasis from single-year targets to cumulative emissions; emphasizing commitments to actions rather than results; international registration and verification of domestic actions in developing countries; making funding conditional on effective action; combining public and private funding mechanisms; and developing a strong forestry strategy.

Jake Schmidt, Natural Resources Defense Council, discussed the Waxman-Markey bill, a US domestic policy proposal that allows for international offsets and would lower emissions by 17-22% below 1990 levels. Wolfgang Sterk, Wuppertal Institute, said the Wuppertal proposal recommends that Annex I parties develop Commitment Achievement Plans to demonstrate how they will achieve their emission reduction targets, and that adaptation plans be mandatory for all parties. Niklas Höhne, Ecofys, said the negotiating process will continue after Copenhagen, and called for developing a compromise proposal for a post-2012 agreement that reflects all existing proposals.

L-R: Wolfgang Sterk, Wuppertal Institute; Richard Brand (Coordinator), Church Development Service (EED); Jake Schmidt, Natural Resources Defense Council; and Niklas Höhne, Ecofys


More information:

http://www.wupperinst.org
http://www.ecofys.com
http://www.nrdc.org

 
Contacts:

Richard Brand (Coordinator) <richard.brand@eed.de>
Wolfgang Sterk <wolfgang.sterk@wupperinst.org>
Niklas Höhne <n.hoehne@ecofys.com>
Jake Schmidt <jschmidt@nrdc.org>


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Adaptation – The Role of Biodiversity

Presented by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

This panel discussed the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity's Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (ADTEG) on Biodiversity and Climate Change, with a focus on ecosystem-based adaptation.

Guy Midgley, South African National Biodiversity Institute, introduced the AHTEG report, noting that linkages between biodiversity and climate change are complex and the adverse effects of climate change on biodiversity are already observable and attributable. He noted several conservation responses, including maintaining intact and interconnected ecosystems to increase resilience and allowing biodiversity and people to adjust to changing conditions.

Ian Noble, World Bank, explained that ecosystem-based adaptation is the use of sustainable ecosystem management to support societal adaptation. He emphasized that ecosystem-based adaptation must be integrated into an overall sustainable development strategy, highlighting that it brings various social and economic co-benefits, including products derived from forest retention. He added that ecosystem-based adaptation can also contribute to mitigation through maintenance of carbon stocks.

Trevor Sandwith, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), discussed the results of various ecosystem-based adaptation case studies in tropical seas. He stressed the importance of considering both ecological and societal impacts of climate change and adaptation measures. Highlighting that consideration of people raises important issues related to tenure, rights, responsibilities and good governance, he emphasized the importance of mobilizing local community involvement in adaptive responses.

Participants discussed the utility of ecosystem-based adaptation given its complexity and the linkages between community- and ecosystem-based adaptation. They highlighted the need to: share experiences; be cautious about embracing specific terminology in UNFCCC negotiations before there is shared understanding about what different terms mean; translate the ideas to non-specialists; and develop simple principles to underlie the concept of ecosystem-based adaptation.

Guy Midgley, South African National Biodiversity Institute, emphasized the need for restoration that accounts for ecosystem functionality and habitat value, rather than species composition alone. Ian Noble, World Bank, discussed various benefits of ecosystem-based adaptation but highlighted that it is not entirely risk-free, noting for example risks related to the prioritization of certain ecosystem services over others. Trevor Sandwith, TNC, discussed guidelines for the implementation of ecosystem-based management, including: representation and replication; critical areas; connectivity; and effective management.

L-R: Ian Noble, World Bank; Matti Nummelin, Finland; Trevor Sandwith, TNC; and Guy Midgley, South African National Biodiversity Institute


More information:

http://www.cbd.int
http://www.sanbi.org
http://www.worldbank.org
http://www.nature.org

 
Contacts:

Jaime Webbe (Coordinator) <jaime.webbe@cbd.int>
Guy Midgley <midgley@sanbi.org>
Ian Noble <inoble@worldbank.org>
Trevor Sandwith <tsandwith@tnc.org>


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Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG)/ Least Developed Country (LDC) Update on NAPA

Presented by the UNFCCC Secretariat

Paul Desanker on behalf of Preety Bhandari, UNFCCC Secretariat, said the UNFCCC fully supports the work of the LEG, whose progress was discussed at this event.

Bruno Sekoli, LDC Group Chair, noted that 41 LDCs have submitted National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), in which they identified 437 urgent projects for climate change adaptation, but that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has yet to dispense funds to implement any of them.

Fred Onduri Machulu, LEG Chair, said the LEG has created a draft technical paper to help LDCs update their NAPAs and will develop a step-by-step guide on NAPA implementation. He noted that LDCs need guidance on selecting GEF implementing agencies with comparative advantages in sectors most relevant to their countries' needs.

Bonizella Biagini, GEF Secretariat, explained that financing from the LDC Fund (LDCF) is intended to supplement expenditures that LDCs would already spend on “business-as-usual” development projects. She clarified that under the LDCF, “co-financing” refers to LDCs’ “business-as-usual” expenditures, while the LDCF would cover the additional costs of the project that are related to adaptation needs.

Anwar Noaman, Yemen, described an integrated coastal zone management project that his country identified in its NAPA and hopes to implement in partnership with the World Bank, starting in September 2010. Syamphone Sengchandala, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, identified barriers to NAPA implementation, namely: lack of coordination and cooperation among sectors; weak institutional arrangements; and limited available financing.

Providing examples of location-specific adaptation practices, Michael Mutale, independent water expert, Zambia, stressed that communities know how to promote adaptation but need formal consultation and other mechanisms to do so.

Parties discussed, inter alia, whether NAPA updates would further delay implementation.

Bruno Sekoli, LDC Group Chair, said LDCs require COP guidance on project preparation and development, and encouraged removal of co-financing as a pre-requisite for NAPA implementation. Bonizella Biagini, GEF Secretariat, described GEF’s streamlined project cycle, and said her organization hopes to have at least 20 LDCF projects under implementation by the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks. Fred Onduri Machulu, LEG Chair, said NAPAs must be updated because since they were established new vulnerabilities may have emerged, priorities may need re-ranking and costs may have changed.

L-R: Michael Mutale, independent water expert, Zambia; Syamphone Sengchandala, Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Anwar Noaman, Yemen; Paul Desanker, UNFCCC Secretariat; Fred Onduri Machulu, LEG Chair; Bonizella Biagini, GEF Secretariat; Bruno Sekoli, LDC Group Chair



More information:

http://www.unfccc.int
http://www.unfccc.int/ldc
http://www.gefweb.org

 
Contacts:

Preety Bhandari (Coordinator) <pbhandari@unfccc.int>
Fred Onduri Machulu <leghelp@unfccc.int>
Bonizella Biagini <bbiagini@TheGEF.org>
Michael Mutale <mmutale@gmail.com>


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In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration

Presented by United Nations University

Charles Ehrhart, CARE International, and Koko Warner, United Nations University (UNU), opened the event by summarizing the findings of a report entititled "In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement.

Stressing the unique empirical contribution of the report, Warner explained that the study examined 24 case studies, developed eight new maps and conducted interviews with 1000 migrants and nearly as many non-migrants who face environmental stressors. She highlighted the report’s finding that environmental stressors are a factor driving migration.

Ehrhart explained that the ecosystem degradation effects of climate change undermine the livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest people. He lamented the lack of attention paid to the potential loss of agricultural land due to sea level rise. Warner added that sea level rise has the potential to submerge or partially submerge the territory of over 40 sovereign states.

Jean-François Durieux, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), stressed the report’s contribution to building empirical evidence rather than unfounded “doomsday scenarios.” He highlighted key challenges to addressing migration issues, including avoiding the erosion of social fabric and maintaining the link between individual migrants and the state.

Julia Martinez, Mexico, discussed factors resulting in climate-induced migration in Mexico, including high rates of evapotranspiration and flooding in some regions.

Mizan Khan, North South University, Bangladesh, discussed climate-induced migration in his country. He emphasized that internal migration is a considerable problem and that internal adaptation measures are needed.

Participants discussed, inter alia: the impacts of forced migration on the poor, who are least able to pay for migration; the difficulty in distinguishing voluntary from forced migration; the forthcoming UNDP report on migration; the “securitization” of migration; and how to incorporate migration into UNFCCC negotiations.

Stressing the urgency of climate-induced migration, Koko Warner, UNU, emphasized that the choice is when to act, not whether to act. Mizan Khan, North-South University, Bangladesh, underscored that an internationally planned process is needed to address migration. Jean-François Durieux, UNHCR, said that the refugee problem is a manifestation of a failure somewhere in the international system and must be prevented in the climate change context.

L-R: Julia Martínez, Mexico; Jean-François Durieux, UNHCR; Mizan Khan, North-South University, Bangladesh; Koko Warner, UNU; and Charles Ehrhart, CARE International



More information:

http://www.climate-insurance.org
http://www.northsouth.edu
http://www.careclimatechange.org
http://www.unhcr.org

 
Contacts:

Koko Warner (Coordinator) <warner@ehs.unu.edu>
Charles Ehrhart (Chair) <ehrhart@careclimatechange.org>
Jean-François Durieux <durieux@unhcr.org>
Mizan Khan <mizanrk@northsouth.edu>


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Biodiversity and REDD

Presented by Greenpeace International

The event addressed how to incorporate biodiversity considerations into REDD mechanisms.

Janet Cotter, Greenpeace, said no amount of money can compensate for biodiversity loss. She noted that the loss of Amazon rainforests would affect rainfall patterns in the US’ agricultural Midwest.

Horst Freiberg, Germany, presented findings of the CBD AHTEG expert group on Biodiversity and Climate Change. He stated that: REDD methodologies should consider gross deforestation rates; co-benefits for biodiversity can be achieved by REDD activities in forest areas with high carbon stocks; and adaptation policies should aim to enhance the natural adaptive capacity of species.

Till Pistorius, Institute of Forest and Environmental Policy, said REDD can create direct risks for biodiversity through transformation of natural forests to plantations and the prioritization of “high carbon” forests at the expense of other types. He called for: prioritizing natural forests in REDD activities; excluding plantations from forest definitions; and establishing “tropical target benchmarks” against which to measure country performance.

Christoph Thies, Greenpeace, said the goal for the next ten years should be to provide incentives for dramatic reduction of deforestation and creation of new protected forests, while in the long-run REDD should be expanded to include ecological restoration of lost or degraded forests. Thies stressed the importance of agreeing on a REDD mechanism that simultaneously leads to reduced emissions, reduced deforestation and biodiversity protection.

Participants discussed: the importance of clear definitions of forest types; the difference between gross deforestation and net deforestation; and the decreasing emphasis on conservation in REDD discussions.

Till Pistorius, Institute of Forest and Environmental Policy, expressed concern that current REDD discussions prioritize countries with existing deforestation and ignore countries that kept their forests intact. Horst Freiberg, Germany, highlighted multiple environmental and social benefits of biodiversity-related adaptation activities, and said adaptation decision making should consider the full value of ecosystems. Christoph Thies, Greenpeace, stated that biodiversity is not a co-benefit but a “core benefit” of avoided deforestation under REDD.

L-R: Janet Cotter, Greenpeace; Horst Freiberg, Germany; Till Pistorius, Institute of Forest and Environmental Policy; and Christoph Thies, Greenpeace


More information:

http://www.greenpeace.org
http://portal.uni-freiburg.de/ifp


 
Contacts:

Naomi Goodman (Coordinator) <naomi.goodman@greenpeace.org>
Janet Cotter <J.Cotter@exeter.ac.uk>
Horst Freiberg <horst.freiberg@bmu.bund.de>
Till Pistorius <till.pistorius@ifp.uni-freiburg.de>
Christoph Thies <cthies@greenpeace.de>



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