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Insights from AIT's participation at UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn – COP23

Updated: Apr 3, 2018

6-17 November 2017, Bonn, Germany

A delegation of the Climate Change Cluster in the Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific (RRC.AP), representing the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, from 6 to 17 November 2017. It has co-organised two side events and hosted a permanent exhibit in collaboration with international and regional partners.

Side Event: Measuring Progress in Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience: From Concepts to Practical Applications. Tuesday, 7 November 15:00—16:30 in Meeting Room 7, Bonn Zone

The side event was organised in partnership with the International Development Research Centre, McGill University, University of Notre Dam du Lac and the Africa Group of Negotiators Expert Support. Country delegates and experts shared experiences on approaches to measure progress in climate change adaptation and resilience building, as well as, challenges and lessons learned with a view to identifying frameworks and key indicators that should inform metrics on climate adaptation and resilience. A background paper on the state-of-the-art on tracking adaptation and resilience was the basis of discussions.

The presentations touched upon the status of negotiations on adaptation reporting and how it informs the global stock take, a critical element in the Paris Agreement. Several challenges were mentioned regarding the current state of measuring adaptation progress: (1) Conceptual as there is no clear definition of what adaptation actually is; (2) Methodological - adaptation is context specific and lessons are hard to generalize; there are also long timelines in adaptation projects, making it hard to predict effects in the long term; (3) Empirical - lack of availability of data; usually adaptation is done on a project by project basis, making it hard to draw a bigger picture.

Essential criteria for an adaptation framework were also discussed and summarized as follows:

  1. Description of the adaptation context

  2. Definition of adaptation priorities

  3. Creation of an adaptation theory of change

  4. Establishment of tangible goals

The novelty of this framework lies in the definition of adaptation priorities at the local level, helping to determine the adequacy and effectiveness of measures taken. It also overcomes a traditional hurdle which is comparability, since it uses national determined adaptation priorities and focus on the global stock take.

The panel closed with a presentation by Anne Olhoff, Head of the Climate Resilient Development Programme (UNEP), on adaptation metrics and methodologies as part of “Adaptation Gap” series. She stressed that now that there is a global goal on adaptation, there is also a new starting point to assess progress. Anne Olhoff reported that more than 40 countries have established monitoring systems on adaptation. Although there is a wide diversity in the indicators used, there is also a lot of convergence in terms of sectors and vulnerabilities and she gave the Sendai Framework in Disaster Risk Reduction as an example of a framework that managed to combine overall guiding criteria, while keeping national specificities.

The audience posed Interesting questions to the panel, for example, on the lack of universal adaptation measures, as exists in mitigation and the possible need for metrics on adaptation (such as CO2 reductions used in mitigation projects). In response, Anne Olhoff suggested there is no need for a universal metric, but rather to have a sound indicator framework that can be context specific. There was also sharing of best practices on the challenges in data collection between the audience and the panel. In the end, Anne Olhoff and Lea Ford summarized stating that it is more relevant to define what we want to know and not focus so much on data and methodology. It is also critical to take stock of what is already being achieved globally and make sense of all that information, instead of focusing so much on data and methodological challenges.

Side Event: Japan’s efforts in introducing next generation projects and innovative business models through the Green Climate Fund Tuesday, 7 November 17:00—18:30 Japan Pavilion, Bonn Zone

The side event was jointly organised with the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ) and the Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center (OECC) at the Japan Pavilion. MOEJ has been promoting mitigation actions in developing countries by enhancing their capacity to access GCF funds. With more than 50 GCF projects approved, it is deemed important to assess how effectively the existing projects promote a paradigm shift to a low emission and climate-resilient development and how to maximize the impact of future projects.

The panel discussion with representatives from the GCF Secretariat, Accredited Entities, National Designated Authorities and the GCF Board, focused on the essential elements and challenges in defining a paradigm shift and introducing innovative business/finance models for next generation GCF projects.

  • Green Climate Fund Secretariat

  • Accredited entities: Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

  • National Designated Authorities from Mongolia

  • Green Climate Fund Board

  • Ministry of the Environment of Japan

An interesting and thought-provoking panel discussion took place afterwards with six panellists, comprising CGF Secretariat and CGF Board members, Accredited Entities in Asia and Pacific (SPREP; JICA), Mongolia’s National Designated Authority and MOEJ. Ryuzo Sugimoto (MOEJ) summarized the panel discussion and stressed the need to include the private sector more in the projects, as public finance is not enough for fully decarbonizing our society.

Exhibit - 6-17 November, Bonn Zone

The Climate Change Cluster at RRC.AP and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) also co-hosted an exhibit for the full duration of the Conference. Communication material showcasing RRC.AP’s work in the Pacific was prepared specifically for the exhibit. The exhibit shared messages from and experiences of 21 Pacific Islands about the impacts of climate change in their island communities, and displayed climate actions taken to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change in the region. The exhibit was also an opportunity to engage with other delegates and promote the cluster’s capacity building activities.

RRC.AP and SPREP collaborating in exhibit booth. Photo Credits: SPREP

For more insights gathered from AIT's participation at UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn – COP23, download the complete event report here.


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