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FEATURE: COP18 – Follow our daily updates from the CDKN team in Doha

Read the latest CDKN news from COP18. If you can’t join our side events in person, follow our daily updates here and on Twitter, as the action continues.  Find out about CDKN’s activities in Doha.

Post CoP18 –  Sam Bickersteth, Mairi Dupar and Dan Hamza-Goodacre of CDKN provide an overview of UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, and the work remaining to be done to achieve ambitious, global action on climate change Doha talks highlight loss and damage – and leave much work ahead.


Day Eleven: 6 December 2012

17:00 GMT – Caroline Spencer gives us a summary of last week’s Low Emission Development Strategies side event.

Low emission development Strategies: report from COP18 side event.

CDKN was delighted to be involved in the LEDS Global Partnership side event at COP 18 entitled Regional and Global Collaboration on Low Emissions Development.

Sam Bickersteth, CEO of CDKN and chair of the LEDS Global Partnership Steering Committee, chaired a discussion between representatives from the regional LEDS networks.

Ron Benioff, director of the LEDS Global Partnership, provided insights into how the partnership has progressed over the last year emphasised the importance of collaboration, knowledge management, advisory services and innovation for catalyzing support for LEDS at all levels.

Sam reminded the audience that the rapid establishment of the regional networks is setting the Partnership on the correct route and there was overwhelming agreement that the Partnership needs to be led by regional objectives and needs.

The regional LEDS networks have all now hosted their launch events. Doddy Sukradi, forthcoming co-chair of the LEDS Asia Partnership, pointed out that both countries and non-government partners in the region need to be leaders on LEDS change. Fernando Ellias, co chair of the LEDS LAC platform, noted the key themes emerging in LAC including how to galvanise the private sector, how to develop the participatory processes and which LEDS and CCD methodologies are most effective. Fernando also pointed out that the LEDS Global Partnership has limited resources but will go far if it can deliver an agenda that is relevant to governments.

Jeremy Webb from the African Climate & Development (ACD) Society reminded participants that the LEDS Global Partnership and the regional networks are ‘trying to sow a seed to grow a plant’. The ACDS, which is also an initiative of Clim Dev Africa, is now reviewing 98 submissions from its members for the ACDS strategy.  In Africa there is particular interest in media and knowledge sharing, the green economy and energy. A challenge for the ACDS is how the links between the ACDS and the 54 member countries of the African Union can be maximised.

Stephen Gold from UNDP gave insights on the work of one of the LEDS Global Partnership topical working groups; the finance working group which Ari Huhtala, CDKN’s Director of Policy and Programmes, chairs. There have been strong synergies in the support provided by different institutional members, including CDKN’s Climate Finance Advisory Services. The group aims provide better support for countries in navigating the complex climate finance landscape.

The panel discussion was followed by a lively discussion with the audience. The question ‘what’s the motivation for LEDS?’ was asked by a Nepal government representative and answered by Doddy, who reminded the audience that LEDS is the end of the story and mitigation, adaptation and economic and institutional opportunities are the essence of LEDS.  The LEDS Global Partnership was urged to explore subnational issues further and to make links to the ICLEI and C40 groups. The Partnership was encouraged to deepen dialogue with the private sector.

The LEDS Global Partnership will be hosting its second annual workshop entitled Learning and leading on LEDS in partnership with the African Climate & Development Society, the LEDS LAC Platform and the LEDS Asia Partnership on 27 February-1 March 2013. For further details, and to join the LEDS Global Partnership, please contact the LEDS GP secretariat.


Day Nine: 4 December 2012

10:20 GMT – Mairi Dupar has sent us this mini-post:

National Adaptation Plan guidelines launched for Least Developed Countries

Today Least Developing Countries (LDCs) received guidelines for preparing their National Adaptation Plans at the UNFCCC CoP18 in Doha. Also known as ‘NAPs’, these form another part of the alphabet soup that seems common here in the negotiations.

NAPs are an important issue particularly for the LDCs gathered in Doha and being discussed within the LCA track.   At present it is not clear what the negotiations will deliver on adaptation and its financing.

Notwithstanding the jargon, the NAP guidelines will be seized upon by many LDCs. They are intended to help national governments to develop medium- and long-term plans to adapt to climate change and build resilience in their economies. They build on their precursors, the National Adapation Plans of Action, which were focused on immediate, short-term needs. They also include provision for planning at the regional level, encouraging parties to cooperate on managing climate change impacts in watersheds, fisheries and other transboundary resources.

They weave together several levels of assessment: vulnerability assessments, adaptation strategies and capacity assessments; to undertake this painstaking work, LDCs can apply for funding from the Global Environment Facility.

For Catherine Gomezgani Hara, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Management, Malawi, the integration of the NAP process with national development planning is a key attraction of the guidelines: “We are excited at the opportunity the NAP offers: it brings coherence in adaptation activities, addresses climate change in a more comprehensive manner that eventually leads to achieving national development goals. We need to enhance understanding of environmental risk, of multiple stress factors that act in many ways across many scales.”

And how to ensure this important long-term adaptation planning happens? Gyan Chandra Acharya of the UN suggested: “National leadership has to go together with strong, enhanced international partnership.”

One of the biggest challenges for the UNFCCC Secretariat, though, will be the communication of the guidelines. On this, they acknowledged that a big effort ahead lies in translating and promoting the guidelines to LDCs.

09:00 GMT – Dan Hamza-Goodacre is interviewed by Climate Change TV about the network’s latest project aimed at aiding developed countries be more influential within climate finance negotiations.  Take a look at this video to find out more about the Climate Finance Advisory Service.


Day Eight: 3 December 2012

17:30 GMT – Mairi Dupar has sent through a blog about what other countries can learn from Bangladesh’s approach to green banking – What does green growth mean to a banker? 

11:00 GMT – Dan Hamza-Goodacre reports on progress in Doha over the weekend:

IDLO (International Development Law Organisation) hosted an event on ‘Legal Preparedness for Climate Change’ where I made a presentation on CDKN’s work helping developing countries to understand legal issues within the negotiations, focusing in particular on our work with LRI (Legal Response Initiative) and Globe ((ED: we will add links to CDKN’s website))

There were many interventions. Two struck me as particularly interesting:
1. In the aftermath of Sandy some US citizens are exploring the possibility of taking legal action against utilities on the grounds that they should know about the impacts of the climate and should thus have taken measures to ensure resilience. If successful this is likely to make utilities take additional adaptation measures and raises the possibility that mitigation may be seen as the best adaptation strategy.

2. A major focus of the event was climate change legislation. I shared experiences from the UK, whilst our colleagues in the Kenyan Government did likewise for Kenya. Mexico, Nigeria and the Philippines also contributed. National legislation is a critical building block for an international deal as international public law usually follows national. But there is still the question of who guards the guardians. For example, what happens if the UK Government fails to meet the 80% reduction by 2050? The opposition party of the day may attack the government over the despatch box. But ultimately the public need to act by either voting out the failing government or judicially reviewing the government for its failure. Law is important but it is not a panacea. Likewise for any international climate change law. Ultimately society needs to show it wants to see climate change addressed.

On the negotiations front, the talks went on into late evening on Saturday. Most concluded on diverging grounds but with agreement to report back and carry on talking in the week ahead. However for agriculture and REDD (forests) discussions time is up. Negotiators failed to agree and will have to try again next year. This is a blow for the talks. Agriculture and forestry (land use) account for approximately 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And land (and all that it produces) will be impacted significantly from climate change. It will be hard to tackle climate change without the meaningful inclusion of agriculture and forests.”


Day Seven: 2 December 2012

20:00 GMT – CDKN publishes new report Women and climate change – time to change for good

15.30 GMT – Join us for CDKN’s networking and knowledge sharing event: Gender at the centre of Climate Compatible Development.   We’re hosting a multi-stakeholder discussion to focus on the mainstreaming of gender within climate compatible development, its importance, the barriers to success, and the merits of existing strategies.

15:10 GMT – IISD have written up the CDKN site event on their website: Climate Compatible Development: From Theory to Practice – What Works and Why?

15:00 GMT – This just received from Ari Huhtala:

“The private sector organised its traditional World Climate Summit in connection with COP 18 in Doha. I was struck by how so many of the interventions were more of the same, that we have now heard for a decade. What was probably new was the emphasis on the urgency of tackling CO2 emissions now. And the ever stronger call for setting a price for uncertainty, and for CO2. There has been some progress and good examples were cited, but decisions are not bold enough to prevent us from heading towards four degree warming.”

11:00 GMT – The Development and Climate days conclude with serious games provided by Pablo Suarez of the Climate Centre -Humans versus Mosquitoes. I

9:00 GMT – Mairi Dupar, CDKN’s Global Public Affairs Co-ordinator, investigates the role of game playing in developing better understanding of climate adaptation.


Day Six: 1 December 2012

13.30 GMT – Ari Huhtala, CDKN’s Director of Policy and Programmes, has just sent this:

“A dinner hosted by WRI and GIZ on the role of national and international climate funds looked at the proliferation of instruments overwhelming potential users. There was a strong call for ensuring that funds are supported by technical advice and purposeful and collaborative capacity building to bridge the wide gap between supply and demand.
The Climate & Development Days had a break-out group discussion on climate finance at the sub-national level. There was an appeal for direct access by cities and provinces to climate funds for effective implementation, as decision makers at the sub-national level are often closer to affected populations. National initiatives are emerging using revenue budgets generating resources for climate finance – these are inspiring examples of strong local ownership worth being topped up by international funds.
A round-table on climate finance readiness was co-hosted by CDKN and ODI in the margins of the Climate & Development Days. The concepts of readiness was debated and focus on institutions emphasised. The establishment of national climate funds is not a prerequisite for readiness, but has proven effective in a number of countries, including Rwanda where CDKN supported the establishment of FONERWA. Developing countries are taking action without waiting for international funds by establishing schemes using their own revenue budgets. If donors insist on supporting readiness programmes, they should commit to allocating funding for subsequent mitigation and adaptation investments.”

05:30 GMT – This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the Development and Climate Days.  CDKN, in partnership with Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is hosting a two-day event  to focus on learning-by-doing.  We’ll be featuring innovative dialogues between negotiators and policy makers, knowledge centres and practitioners.   The theme this year is ‘innovative approaches, incisive dialogue on climate-smart development’.


Day Five: 30 November 2012

17:00 GMT – Dan Hamza-Goodacre has just sent this:

“Parties still mostly repeating known positions. This is usual and isn’t likely to change until next week when the Ministers arrive and negotiations ramp up. Discussions about the Durban Platform highlight the need to agree not IF targets are shared on the basis of common but differentiated responsibilities, but HOW. Interventions are generally high level for now (i.e. no one is saying X should commit to Y reductions) and are likely to stay so in Doha. This is a longer game. Meanwhile discussions on the follow up to the Kyoto Protocol seem steady. The LCA, according to negotiators I have spoken to, is ‘in chaos’. We are pleased that groups and countries we support are active in the discussions – LDC, AGN, AOSIS and RMI ((Ed: we will add links behind each of the acronyms)). There are lots of bi-lateral meetings underway for the CDKN team and lots of visitors to our stand. Looking forward to the LEDS event later!”

16:45 GMT – This just in from Caroline Spencer, CDKN’s Partnerships and Learning Programme Manager:

“Yesterday CDKN hosted had an official side event to explore the experiences of three of CDKN’s partner countries – Kenya, Peru and Pakistan. The discussion focused on finance, adaptation, emissions scenarios and long-term planning. It threw up some interesting challenges for CDKN about knowledge sharing and how this can best be supported – for example through the generation of knowledge products and by supporting our partners in sharing their learnings and expertise with each other. Cross regional learning is becoming ever more important, and CDKN is working on a number of partnerships to support this including the Low Emissions Development Strategies (LEDS) Global Partnership. The concept of ‘cross regional knowledge sharing in action’ sparked interest with two of our deep engagement countries who were keen to share learning on approaches to emissions modelling. The event was a timely reminder of the value of effective learning in partnership and the value of sharing stories on climate compatible development. Finally, is was great to hear that the Government of Kenya is becoming a ‘champion of champions’ on gender, with a 50:50 gender split in the county consultations carried out for the Action Plan for the National Climate Change Response Strategy.”

15:00 GMT – Today CDKN will be attending the LEDS Global Partnership: Regional and Global Collaboration on Low Emissions Development event.   Moderated by CDKN’s own Sam Bickersteth the discussion will focus on Collaboration and Cooperation: Achieving more together. How peer-to-peer exchange and collaborative work can help chart a path to a low carbon, climate resilient future.

14:00 GMT – Sam Bickersteth has an opinion piece – Loss and damage from climate change must not become the ‘new normal’ published on Inter Press News Service.


Day Four: 29 November 2012

15.30 GMT – Dan Hamza-Goodacre, Head of Negotiations Support at CDKN gives us a summary on how talks to progress the Clean Development Mechanism have been going so far.

It’s looking likely that Poland will host the COP next year which will be an interesting choice. We will see in the next few weeks if hosting a COP encourages ambition  – let’s hope so. So far the talks don’t seem to have thrown up anything new and parties are repeating their known positions. Russia is refusing to be pressurised to join a successor to Kyoto. New Zealand is doing the same and we hear they’re threatening to reduce their emissions reduction target if they (and other non signatories to the Kyoto successor) don’t get access to CDM credits. New Zealand is also warning that restricting access to credits could result in insufficient demand for credits. If this is true then this would be yet another blow to an already struggling CDM. Lastly the EU is trying to encourage US ambitions. So far the US does not appear to be moved by such encouragement.

12:00 GMT – CDKN’s side event begins, marking the launch of the Climate Finance Advisory Service.  The service will allow negotiators, policy makers and advisors in developing countries to access the bespoke information and guidance they need to participate effectively in complex global climate finance negotiations.


Day Three: 28 November 2012

13:00 GMT – Kashmala Kakakhel from CDKN reflects on Day 2 of the COP:

“As delegates started to assemble for the opening sessions of the AWG-KP, AWG-LCA, SBI and the ADP there was one question being asked in the corridors of Doha –  what is the plan for finance given that Fast Start Finance is due to run out in about a month from now?

Another issue being discussed is the uncertainty about the fate of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.  It is still not clear which of the two sides will concede to pressure and firm up a decision.

Interestingly, Climate Action Network’s Fossil of the Day was awarded to the USA, Canada, Russia and Japan for shying away from a legally binding, multilateral rules-based regime. While the others may be given some leeway, the US delegates will be monitored extremely closely following President Obama’s stated desire in his recent post-election victory speech to tackle climate change.

The developing world needs to see progress on sourcing and scaling-up of climate finance. Meanwhile the US and others need to be prepared to make significant commitments on these issues.”

11.00 GMT – CDKN’s Chief Executive, Sam Bickersteth sets off for Doha. Follow him on Twitter @SamBickerstethLet’s hope for collective action and leadership to avoid the carbon cliff.” 

09.00 GMT – Kashmala Kakakhel reports from CoP 18 in Doha on five new case studies that show how climate change is affecting communities’ lives in Kenya, the Gambia, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Micronesia.


Day Two: 27 November 2012

11:00 GMT – Kashmala Kakakhel from CDKN reflects on Day 1 of the COP:

The Conference of Parties (COP) 18 and Meeting of the Parties to Kyoto Protocol (CMP) 8 has started. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UNFCC,  used her opening speech to highlight the importance of the location of COP18 – this is the first ever COP to take place in the Gulf Region – and the time, given the precarious state of the world. She expects COP18 to be a major event and hopes it can be the point at which  the Bali Action Plan turns into “Real Action”.

A host of issues need to be resolved, including how to spread the burden of emissions cuts between rich and poor countries. That’s unlikely to be decided in the next two weeks as negotiators focus on extending the Kyoto Protocol, developing an emissions deal for industrialised countries and trying to raise billions of dollars to help developing countries adapt to a shifting climate.  Most parties to the UNFCCC want to limit average global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius or less, compared to pre-industrial times.

Yesterday, being the first day of the conference, was relatively quiet. But as the days pass there will be more action. The critical issues that need to be resolved in Doha include:

1.  Durban Platform on Enhanced Action: A work plan with clear milestone and deadlines
2. An amendment of 2nd commitment period of KP-II
3. Creating new opportunities for public financing
4. Taking forward the work programme on Loss and Damage Assessment
5. Fostering “National Adaptation Plans” through Adaptation committees
6. Taking forward the decisions on Technology Centre and Network

The rich-poor divide is also deepened by discussions about helping developing countries convert to cleaner energy sources and adapt their infrastructure to rising sea levels and other effects of climate change. China and other developing countries want to maintain a clear division of responsibilities, saying climate change is mainly a legacy of Western industrialisation and that their own emissions must be allowed to grow as their economies expand, lifting millions of people out of poverty.

That discord scuttled attempts to forge a climate deal in Copenhagen in 2009 and risks a relapse in Doha as talks begin on a new global deal that is supposed to be adopted in 2015 and implemented in 2020.

09:00 GMT – CDKN launches a new policy brief on How to build consensus in climate change negotiations

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