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FEATURE: CDKN at COP20, Week One

CDKN staff will be hosting a display stand and organising multiple side events at COP20 in Lima, Peru from 1 – 12 December 2014. Meet us at our Alliance partner display stands:

Week 1: LEAD International
Week 2: SouthSouthNorth

Visit our Events Programme page for a detailed list of our side events with venues, dates and times, and information on how to register.

Follow our live updates, below, to catch the latest headlines from CDKN staff in Lima. For our blogs from Week Two, please see here.

Sunday 7 December

17:00: Social and environmental safeguards for REDD+ will benefit local people and private companies

Well-designed Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) safeguards could be the difference between REDD+ delivering real development benefits or not. They also reduce risk for the private sector – whose expertise and resources are needed if we are to halt tropical deforestation. This was the message CDKNs Chris Webb gave when he spoke at an event on REDD+ safeguards at the COP in Lima.

I recently blogged about the private sector and REDD and I made the point that consumer goods companies need to engage more with professionals working on REDD+, and vice-versa.  If they do, they might find they can help each other achieve their common goal to end deforestation.

I spoke this week on a panel, where the Meridien Institute launched a new report on REDD+ safeguards  and spoke about how the same companies also need to engage more on designing robust safeguard systems. Designed well, safeguards help deliver significantly improved development benefits for local communities and indigenous groups in and around forests. This improved ‘sustainability’ (both in terms of financial security and environmental benefits) also reduces the risk to the private sector of investing in REDD+: it’s a ‘win-win’ situation.

There is however a proliferation of safeguards systems for REDD+ emerging. I am calling for a harmonised approach where consistent frameworks are used. Otherwise – through confusion and  complexity – many systems are likely to both limit the development benefits and raise the risk profile for those investing in REDD+: a ‘lose-lose’.

09:00: Climate knowledge brokers in action

Geoff Barnard, Strategic Advisor for Knowledge Management, CDKN, has been working with website managers who pull together climate and development information from many sources – called ‘climate knowledge brokers’ – to find ways they can coordinate among each other and make life easier for end users. In his longer blog, Geoff reports from a COP20 side event on climate knowledge-sharing.

The Lima side event was co-hosted by REEEP and IDS, and showcased the work of the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group, which was set up in 2011 to coordinate and orchestrate the efforts of online climate knowledge brokers.


Saturday 6 December

17:30:  Announcement of Zero Poverty, Zero Emissions competition winners

As part of the Development & Climate Days 2014 Story and Sound Art Competition, the organisers invited entrants to describe: “How is climate change affecting your family, your life, your work?” We encouraged people to tell the story of dealing with the impacts of climate change in their everyday lives.” The winner of the ‘My Story’ category was Carmen Carmona of Mexico, with her description of how climate change affects her celebration of Mexican festivals. Read Carmen Carmona’s story.

The Sound Art part of the competition invited entries that depict sea level rise. The selected artwork in this category is by Daniel Quaranta  of Argentina/Brazil with his work “Resignificamar”. The second Sound Art category invited entrants to produce compositions on the theme of ‘zero poverty, zero emissions’. Here, the selected entry is Jaime Reis of Portugal, entitled “Omniscience is a collective.” To read more about these entries, read the full background story.

09:00: Zero Poverty, Zero Emissions, Within a Generation

Highly interactive discussion begins at Zero Poverty, Zero Emissions event at Lima Country Club – with stimulating presentations to challenge current economic growth models. Follow the conversation using hashtag #zerozero on twitter, including pictures from graphic artist Jorge Martin.

Friday 5 December

13.00 Adaptation Fund and CDKN Partner for “Climate Finance Ready” –  website for knowledge sharing in climate finance readiness

The Adaptation Fund and CDKN are pleased to announce their strategic partnership and creation of “Climate Finance Ready,” a new website that will provide an online platform for climate finance readiness.

The site will provide practitioners and others with best practices, news articles, links to resources, opportunities for sharing experiences, and more. With the Climate Finance Ready website, the Fund and CDKN aim foster ongoing dialogue and collaboration in climate finance readiness.

The partnership website is a key part of the Adaptation Fund’s Readiness Programme for Climate Finance, which helps strengthen the capacity of national and regional entities to receive and manage direct access climate financing as they adapt and build resilience to changing climate conditions in sectors ranging from agriculture and food security to coastal zones and urban areas. The Fund’s direct access modality enables national and regional entities to directly access financing and manage all aspects of climate adaptation and resilience projects, from design through implementation and monitoring.

“The Adaptation Fund’s work in pioneering a direct access modality has been a success, and has also pointed to the need for further capacity building among entities,” remarked Mamadou Honadia, Chair, Adaptation Fund Board. “We believe this website and the partnership with CDKN will create a very useful way for all to share and build upon various experiences with climate finance.”

“Web-based instruments play an important role in supporting developing country policy makers to plan for a climate compatible future,” said Ari Huhtala, Deputy CEO Policy and Programmes, CDKN. “To avoid further proliferation of portals and provide easy access to experience in climate finance readiness, CDKN has joined forces with the Adaptation Fund in building this service. We hope that such joint action will inspire other web developers to seek innovative ways of cooperation.”

The site will be discussed and some initial screen views shared at the Adaptation Fund side event at COP20 today in Lima, with the full site to be launched in the coming weeks.

12:00: Raising the ambition: How the global climate agreement can affect the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals

This coming weekend, at Development & Climate Days 2014 (Zero Poverty. Zero Emissions. Within a Generation), participants will hear of how ambition in tackling climate change can help deliver on the soon-to-be-agreed Sustainable Development Goals. Read the full blog from Helen Picot and Nicholas Moss here.


Thursday 4 December
20:00: Africa must stay ‘united and strong’

CDKN’s Claire Mathieson reports on African civil society approaches to the climate change negotiations.

“Climate justice is a right and not a privilege for Africa. Africa is here and is speaking with one voice.” This was the stance of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), an African coalition of civil society organisations that promotes and advocates for climate-friendly and equity-based development.

During a press conference in Lima, the African civil society group said it was committed to ensuring that their stance on climate change negotiations at the conference was heard and adopted.

“We were promised that emission cuts would be strengthened by this year; they weren’t. Instead, African countries are being saddled with the additional load of paying for climate debt which they least contributed to,” said Rev Dr Tolbert Jallah from FeECCIWA, an umbrella body of faith-based organisations based in Lome, Togo. The lack of urgency, he said, was also problematic.

PACJA has asked that discussions at COP address three key areas:

  • Governments must commit to keeping average global warming below a target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • All governments must stop delays: “We want people to be committed instead of shifting blame from one to the other.”
  • Governments must accept a fair share of the global effort against climate change.

“Africa must stay united and stay strong,” said PACJA’s Samson Ogallah. “We will name and shame those who break from the continent’s position. Any climate change deal that is leading us straight to 3oC of warming causing untold problems of hunger, starvation, disasters, conflicts and wars in Africa is not in the interest of the continent and should not be accepted,” he told the group of journalists gathered.

“We are here to speak with one voice for the continent. We need to stay strong and stick together.”

15:00 Getting through ‘the dip’

CDKN’s Chief Executive, Sam Bickersteth, takes stock of the macroeconomic considerations involved in the transition to low-carbon economies.

Yesterday’s presentation in the Peru Pavilion focussed on PlanCC – the mitigation action plan for Peru which CDKN has been supporting.  PlanCC takes the MAPS programme approach. In the meeting, a presentation on another MAPS experience, this time from Chile, showed the potential for “negative costs” or benefits, including employment gains, of many mitigation options.  PlanCC shows that such change is possible and that there are good reasons to proceed with the 77 mitigation options Peru has identified. They include new investments, improved competitiveness; GDP growth in the medium and long term, and improvement in quality of life. Interestingly, over 10% of the mitigation measures identified for Peru enhance resilience – producing co-benefits like these may make many of the measures much more acceptable.

The meeting repeatedly emphasised that the process for agreeing mitigation options is as equally important as the research and analysis. Without wide stakeholder engagement and strong leadership the political economy of a low carbon transition – or indeed, of a transformation — will be hard to achieve.  Engagement levels in Peru’s ‘low carbon conversation’ have been impressive with 400 professionals, 35 researchers, and a high-level, cross-government committee including 40% from the private sector. Indeed, the Peru and Chile models tell us that in the short term there are likely to be costs to mitigation ation; there is a ‘dip’ in the economic growth graph while this transition first happens, and which this stakeholder mobilisation, visionary leadership and action can help us cross.

Climate mitigation action is, to put it slightly clinically: “required by science.” Or, put more alarmingly, we hear the news that 2014 is set to be the hottest year on record (warmer oceans dumping large amounts of rain in Europe, Asia and elsewhere) and this is a signal that we need options beyond just incremental adjustments to business as usual .

Transformational change is required which will have many elements to it, including innovation, scale, capacity and capability, power relations, timeframe, and engagement. It is likely that transformational change will challenge the status quo and trade-offs will need to be negotiated. You don’t need to look far in the Peruvian media to see how the robust data generated from PlanCC has stimulated national debate – the mining and energy sectors, in particular, have raised concerns. Transformation may include eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and other perverse, carbon-intensive subsidies. The Bolivian President learned how hard that was three years ago and had to retreat from plans to reduce gasoline subsidies. Chile has faced other challenges, with no less that 8 iterations of the overall low carbon model being undertaken to ensure it was robust and legitimate.

The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) provide an opportunity to link the top down with the bottom up – fixing national commitments into international processes and using international agreement to stimulate national action. Peru is leading the way with its own INDC preparation based on PlanCC. But further work will be needed to quantify competitiveness and co-benefits to support negotiations around trade-offs, and on this, CDKN has commissioned additional research.

A final word on the private sector from yesterday’s panel discussion: the private sector are the innovators and adopters of appropriate climate technologies, they form an important body of knowledge on climate compatible development. In the case of Kenya’s Climate Change Framework Policy, the Government of Kenya promoted private sector involvement in the preparation of the national action plan and sought to put in place incentives, remove investment barriers, promote a favourable investment environment and facilitate access to finance.

Peru has done this as well and we will hear more next week at the business-led World Climate Summit. Marshalling key stakeholders, as in this summit, across many sectors will be crucial to get us through the short term ‘dip’ when there may be increased costs involved in starting the transformation to a low-carbon economy.

08:00: Climate Smart Agriculture: New name, same old challenges

Hammad Raza of CDKN Asia sees how debates around climate-smart agriculture – which have a high profile at this year’s COP – could lead to truly beneficial climate compatible development for the poor, or, without caution, could carry significant risks for poor and marginalised groups, too.

Against the backdrop of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit (September 2014) and the ongoing climate change negotiations at the UNFCCC COP20 at Lima-Peru, decision-makers recognise the impact of climate change on food systems and, particularly, the contribution of agriculture to global emissions. Developing nations are moving towards identifying their contributions to lower their emissions and agriculture is among the notable sectors that will be considered by many to reduce their footprints. As a result, Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is increasingly gaining attention among development stakeholders. The concept of Climate Smart Agriculture is developed to achieve mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas emissions), adaptation (crops to grow in varying climatic conditions), and increasing crop yields.

As such, a new alliance has recently been created: The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture – a voluntary, farmer-led, multi-stakeholder, action-oriented coalition launched in September 2014 at the Climate Summit, New York. It has committed to the incorporation of climate-smart approaches within food and agriculture systems. The Global Alliance, already with a membership of 46 (including governments, NGOs, agro-forums, academia, agribusinesses etc.), seeks to improve people’s food and nutrition security by helping governments, farmers, scientists, businesses, and civil society, as well as regional and international organizations, to adjust agricultural practices, food systems and social policies so that they take account of climate change and efficient use of natural resources.

The new idea of CSA has created confusion as the term is used in different ways by stakeholders. There are a lack of meaningful criteria to address environmental or social aspects among others. With the increased interest in CSA and absence of clarity on use of the term, there is a risk that climate-vulnerable country governments and powerful agribusinesses could manipulate global concerns about climate change to promote their own interests. The existing agriculture systems are managed in a way where small-scale farmers, women, and vulnerable groups are marginalised in many developing countries. These groups are badly hit by changing climatic conditions. With the new term on the block and confusion over its meaning, there is even greater risk of their exclusion and further marginalisation by promoting practices which may not support them.

The changing situation has demanded to deliver a robust climate agreement in 2015, which will require an all inclusive approach rather than creating further exclusions. With the negotiations underway and agriculture as an identified priority, the marginalised groups have a unique opportunity for realising their role in the agro-economy and in particularly for its sustainability. They can play a positive role for their own benefit by sharing their knowledge of the land and natural resources and pressing for clarity on what constitutes CSA practices. They can help to determine national contributions toward lowering emissions and adapting effectively to the changing climate.


Wednesday 3 December

14:00: Challenging the status quo: South-South collaboration and evidence-based decision-making

Connie Espinosa and Carolina Proano of CDKN Latin America are inspired by a dynamic side event hosted by the Government of Peru.
Yesterday (Tuesday 2nd December), the Peruvian Ministry of Environment hosted a very powerful event to share experiences in how research for decision-making can enable low-emissions development paths. This took place in the Peruvian Pavilion, where the country’s government institutions and NGOs are presenting results of climate-related initiatives.

It was interesting to see Peru showcasing the results of the Plan CC project, which has been supported by CDKN since its creation. Having the principal beneficiary of the project acknowledging the usefulness of the results of the project for decision-making was such a strong message to the audience, although more importantly we think was the fact that the authorities recognised how critical  the process has been for legitimising the emissions pathway data generated. The message then was clear: generation of information should be presented and shared with other stakeholders, not only for general knowledge but also for validation and for ensuring its future use.

The Peru case is a great example for showcasing South-South collaboration (in the use of MAPs methodology, which was first trialled in South Africa) as well as for proving that changes in development pathways toward low-emissions and climate-resilient paths are possible (results of Plan CC). The speakers verified that there are several good reasons for investing in such change, such as  attracting new investments, economic competitiveness; GDP growth in medium and long term, improvement in life quality, among others.

My personal reflection after participating in the event is linked to one of the main conclusions of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report in which scientists clarify that short-term effects due to climate change are inevitable, no matter what we do now. Now the game is about the long-term scenario and the dimensions of climate change impacts on humans and ecosystems. Thus, the question remains – how do we get to that low-carbon, resilient future? How do we generate transformational and generational changes so as to care for the future, since our present is already committed? Then we wonder if besides the political will and commitment, besides fostering informed decision making process and building agreements with key stakeholders, we might actually need to challenge the status quo in policy-making and in promoting “out of the box” options. The challenge is a shared responsibility, and it is in our hands to make sure it happens.


Tuesday 2 December

11:00: COP20 Pulsing with promise – the Latin touch

What are the clear signs of a country committed to hosting talks that provide the building blocks for global agreements on climate change in 2015? In this blog, Pippa Heylings gives us a taste of the contagious ‘Latin Effect’ that is palpable for all delegates and participants as they arrive in Lima for the 20th meeting of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention – that lifts us all with a sense of promise. Read Pippa’s full blog.


06:00: Climate leaders behind Development & Climate Days 2014 call for expanded debate on ‘zero poverty, zero emissions’

Extreme poverty and the impacts of climate change, which already affect many millions of people worldwide, can be overcome by far-sighted, joined-up action on both at once, the Development and Climate Days event at UN climate talks in Peru will hear.

The heads of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and CDKN are together calling for “substantially expanded ambitions to tackle both extreme poverty and greenhouse gas emissions”.

The timetable for agreeing a new global climate agreement, new goals for sustainable development, and a new international disasters agreement in 2015 presents a “historic opportunity” to put both extreme poverty and net emissions on a path to zero, they said in a joint statement. As delegates began the COP 20 talks, the four agency directors highlighted the chance for “a unified, high ambition across the three key global agendas to be agreed in 2015”.

The agencies are organising the Development and Climate Days (“D&C Days”) event this coming weekend 6 –7 December at COP 20, hashtagged on Twitter as #zerozero. D&C Days has been an established event at the annual UN climate talks for more than a decade. Read the full joint statement.

Monday 1 December

20:00: CDKN hosts side event on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

Chris Webb of CDKN reports from CDKN’s official side event that the Lima COP needs to provide the guidance on what contributions countries should make towards combating climate change; otherwise an ambitious climate deal will be much further out of reach.

CDKN hosted a side event today at COP20 where a series of leading countries (including Bangladesh, The Gambia, and Peru) showcased early ideas for their INDCs. Whilst there was plenty of discussion on process, a lack of guidance on content and how this will feed in to the elements of a 2015 deal from the UNFCCC continues to hinder progress on exactly what contributions countries might bring forward. Unless Lima provides this, many countries are unlikely to have sufficient time to pull together ambitious contributions in sufficient time before Paris.

Despite this lack of guidance, the event highlighted some inspiring work already being undertaken to prepare ambitious INDCs. Five key messages emerged which we think might be helpful for others’ preparations:

1.        Countries already have lots of existing building blocks an INDC can use (see recent CDKN blog for more details).

2.        Countries will however therefore have different starting points and be looking to prepare different types of contributions – to make commitments nationally determined they will necessarily differ from each other – and this could create comparability issues in the absence of clear UNFCCC guidelines.

3.        INDCs need to embed development, and economic development, if they are to be sustainable.

4.        INDCs developed without robust participatory stakeholder engagement with all relevant stakeholders will likely never be implementable.

5.        There remains a big understanding and language gap between the private and public sector. Ensuring the private sector is part of the stakeholder engagement process and dialogue from the start is an important way to bridge this gap.

However ensuing discussion at the event echoed recent warning messages from the World Bank and UNEP that the INDCs really need to deliver transformational change to avert dangerous climate change. Whilst the event showed that this process has kicked off in several countries, but there is likely still much to be done to ratchet up action in subsequent periods.

07:00: Launch of new Climate Finance Advisory Service (CFAS) Guide

A new guide by the Climate Finance Advisory Service (CFAS) highlights the key climate finance issues on the agenda of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) at their meeting in Lima, Peru in December 2014. The CFAS Guide: The Status of Climate Finance at COP20, Lima is authored by David Eckstein and Alpha Kaloga (Germanwatch), Alix Mazounie (RAC-France), Sven Harmeling (CARE), Raju Chhetri (independent consultant) and Henriette Imelda (IESR), with support from Sönke Kreft (Germanwatch).

The Guide covers:
– Long-term finance;
– Finance under the The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for – Enhanced Action;
– The agenda of the Standing Committee on Finance;
– Climate finance funds under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol; and
– Other climate finance issues on the COP20 agenda.

Week of 24 November

Will the Lima conference sustain progress towards a strong climate deal?

In this opinion piece, Sam Bickersteth and Kiran Sura of CDKN  ask whether COP20 will deliver a year-end high for what has been an extraordinary year for climate change. Or, will we find ourselves looking back on two weeks’ worth of talks in Lima to find some glimmers of hope?

INDCs: What existing building blocks can developing countries use?

In this review of CDKN’s partner country experience, Helen Picot, Kiran Sura and Christopher Webb of CDKN argue that many developing countries have solid foundations on which to develop their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for presentation to the UNFCCC.

Clarifying intent: Key principles for preparing INDCs

Intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) will be high on the agenda for the COP20 climate negotiations. CDKN’s Ali Cambray, Kiran Sura and Pippa Heylings anticipate some of the discussions and propose a set of principles for governments to consider.

CDKN publishes its Events Programme

CDKN has published its extensive programme of official and unofficial side events in Lima.

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