Rolling updates from COP24

OPM consultants shared their views from events in Poland between 3 and 14 December

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Financing loss and damage in LDCs

14 December

Sunil Acharya was speaking at a COP24 side event on financing loss and damage in least developed countries (LDCs), focusing on his experiences from Nepal. Sunil is a team lead for Nepal under the OPM-led Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme.

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The loss and damage due to climate change is already visible in the LDCs. Nepal's mountain are melting at the highest frequency ever, while flash floods have become more severe and frequent. There are numerous cases of internal migration and displacement due to lack of fresh water access – some families have been displaced multiple time in only a few years.

Countries like Nepal lack capacity for research and funding for dealing with climate change impacts. There are some initiates like ACT programme working in this field, but more funding specifically for loss and damage is required. It is frustrating to see that no progress in negotiations has been reached yet in these regards.

The panellists explored key topics to boost financing mechanisms for loss and damage due to climate change in LDCs. Among others, they highlighted the need to tap into innovative sources of funding – such as climate damages tax, which can be raised as a levy for companies working with fossil fuels, which could potentially open up to 300 billion per year.

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Higher-income countries should play a more vital role in supporting climate vulnerable countries in dealing with climate change impacts. Country-level initiatives should get more attention, such as Bangladeshi proposed national mechanism on loss and damage, to show how countries can mobilise and support their climate action responses.

The speakers agreed that main priorities in this field include collaborative action from all and more research and mobilisation of innovative finance to successfully tackle loss and damage caused by climate change.

Tackling climate change at sub-national level

India Pavilion, 12 December

Naman Gupta, Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme’s team lead for Maharashtra, was speaking at the panel event exploring innovative policies and institutions for tackling climate change in Maharashtra.

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Naman highlighted five adaption approaches, identified by ACT, on how private sector can inform engagement and action on climate resilience, which include climate finance, climate communication, community-driven business model, products and services, and value chain risk management.

Sharing lessons from Nepal’s climate change initiatives

12 December

In this COP24 side event, organised by the Government of Nepal and DFID, OPM’s senior consultant Bimal Regmi shared insights and lessons learnt from his work on strengthening Nepal’s policy and institutional framework for disaster resilience and climate change.

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The panel event brought together speakers from the Nepalese Government, UNDP, UNEP, and other climate change experts, and aimed to showcase the learnings and experiences Nepal has developed through its innovative approach to addressing climate change risk and vulnerability.

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The side event highlighted key opportunities and challenges in terms of integrating climate change adaptation, decentralising financing, promoting technology transfer and knowledge, and building local and national capacity to respond to climate change impacts. The speakers also stressed the importance of integrating gender and social inclusion in climate change policy and practices.

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The following themes and areas were discussed as priority points for increasing and strengthening climate action in Nepal:

  • Establishing clarity in roles and responsibility: in the changing federal context there is a need to have clarity in roles and responsibility of various governments, actors, and institutions.
  • Ensuring development is climate friendly: it is crucial to consider how we change the way development happens and what are the mechanisms that will work well in terms of ensuring development is sustainable and robust, as well as socially just and gender sensitive.
  • Ensuring transparency and accountability: ensuring the action on climate change has downward accountability particularly to poor, women, and vulnerable households is important. We also need to establish a more transparent process so that community can understand how and where resource is flowing and how much they can influence this process.
  • Blending science and local knowledge: it is essential to integrate climate science in key policy decision-making. The local knowledge is useful to design location specific interventions that can practically solve issues and problems.
  • Developing necessary capacity: capacity building of national government is vital to ensure they are able to devise enabling policy environment to support trickling down climate finance and technology for local communities. There is also a need to ensure capacity building of local agencies and stakeholders for effective and sustainable adaptation actions, as well as capacity of household and communities for demonstrating change and innovations.
  • Improving knowledge sharing: sharing lessons learnt will enable multi-stakeholder engagement and collective response to deal with climate change impacts. The experiments, innovations, and learnings are important to tailor and customise local actions and ensure a shared learning process that will enable and foster collective action.

Enabling markets to promote investment for climate goals

UK Pavilion, 12 December

Boosting renewable energy sectors in Brazil and Mexico can have significant impact on economic development and poverty reduction in both countries. The panel event aimed to discuss potential opportunities in the renewables and low carbon sectors in the two countries that can help drive growth and accelerate the transition.

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While great progress in mobilising green finance in both Brazil and Mexico has been achieved, there are still numerous opportunities to explore. The UK partnership with both countries will continue to support their mitigation ambition with new programmes.

Private sector engagement in climate change adaptation

India Pavilion, 11 December

OPM-led Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme’s team lead for Maharashtra Naman Gupta spoke at a panel event discussing how to enhance investments from private sector in climate adaptation area. Hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), the event brought together representatives from GCF, Green Bonds, and climate change experts in the field.

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Naman shared her experience of engaging with the private sector for boosting investments into climate change adaptation through ACT.


Policy responses to avoid, minimise, and address climate induced migration

Bieszczady, 11 December

South Asia is suffering from frequent and high severity disasters due to change in climate variables. The compromised coping capacity has led to permanent loss and damage to ecosystems and thus causing climate induced migration in the region. The well-coordinated policy response is must.

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This panel event brought together speakers and policymakers working in the South Asian countries. They agreed that climate change is leading to more migration, however, this is often a last resort when all other local coping mechanisms have failed. It is crucial to differentiate between planned and forced migration, with different impacts from and policy responses needed for each. While the international efforts, such as two UN Global Compacts, have tried to address these gap, they have limited support and few resources. As such, more support is needed to help governments plan for and deliver a response to migration.


Will COP24 political negotiations meet the needs of the Least Developed Countries?

Our senior consultant in Climate Change and Disaster Risk, Bimal Regmi shares his outlook on the progress of climate negotiations as they unfold at COP24

10 December

As the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) enter the second week of the political negotiations phase, the high level delegation led by the Ministers of the Parties started to join the sessions and participate in pitching the agreements. The current discussion of COP has focused on six key areas: finalising the rule book for implementation of the Paris Agreement; climate financing; adaptation communication; cooperative approaches (market mechanisms); technology transfer (framework); and response measures, which was raised by OPEC countries.

Three important aspects are crucial for the least developed countries (LDCs). The first one is related to raising ambitions in light of new IPCC 1.5 degree report on Talonoa Dialogue. LDCs have been very vocal in terms of welcoming the findings of the report and are asking developed nations to take the findings of the report very seriously in the discussion around pre- and post-2020 commitments.

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Ministers discuss pre- and post-2020 commitments. Image shows a minister from the Grenadan delegation.

The second important issue for LDCs is finance. There are two concurrent debates around financing. The first one is focussing on how much financing is needed in light of the new IPCC report and the costs associated with adapting to the impacts. Questions were raised in the context of whether or not the committed amount of US$100 billion per year by 2020 will meet the adaptation deficit and what will be the accounting modality for accessing and mobilising this funding. The second issue spotlights how to communicate the financial commitments which is still bracketed text in the draft agreement and therefore not fully agreed. In addition, the issue of the adaptation fund is not yet resolved. The discussions were focussed on the future home of the fund, e.g. under the Paris Agreement, Kyoto Protocol, or both. Finally, LDCs are concerned with the governance and modality of the Green Climate Fund, particularly around ease of access to it for LDCs.

The third important issue is the discussion around adaptation communication and transparency. LDCs argue that the adaptation communication has to be simplified, tailored, and made easier. LDCs would like to focus on technology transfer and financing besides adaptation communication. Within discussions around transparency and compliance, the differentiation is debated and LDCs argue that equity issues should be the basis of meeting the criteria and response.

D&C days: How to scale up local climate action?

Development and Climate days, 9 December

Action On Climate Today’s (ACT) Sunil Acharya took part in a panel discussion around shared learning processes that have enabled action at national and international levels. Drawing on ACT’s experiences working with the Government of Nepal on its National Action Plan, Sunil highlighted some key takeaways for ensuring policymaker buy-in at the highest levels:

  • Integrated: it’s important to make space for multidisciplinary dialogue and analysis with working groups composed of representatives from a range of sectors.
  • Informed: prioritising investment in research, technical analysis and capacity building is key
  • Inclusive: bringing the voices of marginalized and disadvantaged groups to the fore is a crucial element of ensuring meaningful action
  • Participatory: led by government and involving active participation of stakeholders

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Alongside Sunil on the panel were representatives from organisations and institutions including the Government of Tanzania, ITAD and ICCCAD. Some of the learnings discussed by the panel as a whole included:

  • The importance of seeing action firsthand – making opportunities for policymakers to see projects in action ‘in the field’
  • Information needs to be communicated effectively – it must be tailored to different audiences and based on robust evidence so that it is believable
  • The power of ‘champions’ – identifying and tasking those who best understand the policy space to take forward an issue and drive meaningful action

Halfway point update on Paris Agreement

Plenary Mazowsze, 8 December

Our senior consultant in the Climate Change and Disaster Risk team Katherine Cooke looks at the progress the Parties have achieved since the start of the COP24.

The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) have worked relentlessly to further progress on the Paris Agreement in the last week, however, significant amount of work still remains to be done to secure the desired outcome – a rule book for countries to follow. The expectation set out at the beginning of COP24 assumed there would be a clear text of the Paris Agreement programme work at this stage, but there are still outstanding issues. Further negotiations in the upcoming days must be focused and parties engaged to find new solutions.

The starting point for next week will be based on the text produced today. Pragmatic approach is needed to address outstanding technical issues. It is crucial that this work is completed by Tuesday, otherwise, it will not be possible to complete the Paris Agreement by Friday. Finance related issues will be the focus of Monday’s ministers meeting. Open-ended consultations, bilateral and regular stocktaking will be required to ensure a transparent and inclusive process and to set milestones for delivery.

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Innovations in Adaptation to Climate Change

Panel event at India Pavilion, 8 December

India is one of the key supporters of the Paris Agreement, championing innovation and renewable energy for climate action. This is reflected in their COP24 theme ‘One World, One Sun, One Grid’ and events. One of them was Innovations in Adaptation to Climate Change, a panel event sharing various activities being currently implemented in climate change space both by national and state governments in India.

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Pankaj Kumar, Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme team leader for Bihar, and Naman Gupta, ACT team leader for Maharashtra, were speaking at the event, sharing examples of ACT’s work, achievements, and different climate change innovations implemented in states of Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Kerala.

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During the event, Vikas Kharage, Secretary of Forests and Land Acquisition in Government of Maharashtra, India, launched the ACT-developed Afforestation Decision Support Tool for climate- and site-specific selection of species for plantation in the state. Access the tool here, or via Google Play. 

D&C Days: How can governments use national systems to respond to UNFCCC transparency and accountability requests?

D&C Days, 8 December

Participants at this session were discussing, sharing examples, and providing feedback on national monitoring and evaluation approaches that improve transparency, increase learning and effectively evaluate progress towards better climate change adaptation planning and reporting.

While rules on how adaptation should be reported were defined by UNFCCC in the Paris Agreement, successfully tracking climate adaptation work is still in early stages. It is important to explore what is working and ensure we can learn from our experiences going forward.

Countries need to clearly define who is accountable for implementing the work, as well as who is being held to account for spending. There exist a serious concern if the work being done is actually working for and protecting local populations.

One of the discussed examples included Ethiopia’s climate expenditure reviews, the results of which feed directly into the budget. Establishing relevant budget codes for country’s climate expenditure is a key for boosting progress – an approach that is being successfully implemented in Bangladesh.

Future work in adaptation should focus on enhancing transparency framework to ensure adaptation is reported properly in the process. Costs play a key role, as social accountability is very important.

Case studies of UK-India cooperation on climate mitigation and resilience

Panel event at the UK Pavilion, 7 December

The UK has built strong collaborations with India through strategic support in policy, research, capacity building, and technological innovations on a range of energy and low-carbon challenges, especially renewables, green finance, industrial energy efficiency, and mainstreaming climate risks into government policy. This side event looked at some of the success stories and shared their learnings, as well as explored options for further collaboration in emerging priority areas.

Mark Field from FCO talked about the UK’s experience in leading the global fight to tackle climate change and the importance of the 2008 Climate Change Act: having successfully decoupled the UK’s growth from emissions, and sharing expertise in offshore wind farms and energy systems. He also spoke about the UK and India partnership and the importance of implementing state action plans on climate change (SAPCC), ending his address with future outlook on the partnership.

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One of the key speakers on the panel was Abhay Kumar Johari, the CEO of Assam Climate Change Management Society and Principal chief conservator of forests in Department of Environment and Forest, Government of Assam, India.

The society was established with the help of OPM-led Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme. ACT team leader for Assam, Rizwan Uz Zaman was part of the event, and also helped in drafting the SAPCC, which built on ACT’s work in mainstreaming climate change into policies in Southeast Asia. Discover more about ACT here and read their paper on Building institutional capacity for enhancing resilience to climate change.

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