CDKN’s live blog from COP22 – Marrakech, Morocco – Week Two


CDKN’s live blog from COP22 – Marrakech, Morocco – Week Two

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Date: 17th November 2016
Type: Feature

Scroll down for mini-blogs from CDKN commentators as events in Marrakech unfold.

Friday 18th November

Kenya celebrates steps toward achieving its “ambitious but doable” climate plans - by CDKN's Daphne Amevenu

The Government of Kenya and its development partners celebrated their recent successes in mainstreaming climate change, during a COP22 side event in Marrakech this week.  The event showcased the different forms of legislation – including a new climate law and other complementary laws – that help integrate climate action into national development priorities.

Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu opened the event by highlighting Kenya’s Climate Change Act, which was passed in May 2016. The Act provides a framework for action to promote low carbon, climate resilient development. The Cabinet Secretary said the Act places a responsibility on non-state actors including the private sector and citizens to pursue climate action. The private sector is active through its permanent seat in the Kenya Climate Change Council and by holding monthly meetings with the Ministry of Environment. Companies like Safaricom also reach out proactively to government on climate affairs, according to Professor Wakhungu.

The private sector has an important role to play, not only by driving climate action within their internal activities but also by promoting it to their consumer base.

In addition to passing the Climate Change Act, Kenya also has an environmental and land court (established 2011) to resolve disputes. The speakers – including Winfred Lichuma, Head of the National Commission Gender Equality – also noted that access to justice on human rights and gender equality issues has a profound effect on households’ and communities’ contribution to climate mitigation and adaptation. This may involve land tenure and people’s associated ability to manage forest and land sustainably. Deborah Murphy of IISD echoed the sentiments that more needs to be done on gender mainstreaming despite Kenya’s achievements to date on this front.

Kenya’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution aligns with its ‘Vision 2030’, which sets out the national agenda to 2030. This marriage of goals allows the integration of climate change in national priorities which is important for successful climate compatible development. Trigg Talley, the United States’ Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, spoke of the partnership between the US and Kenya to develop a community land act and enhance capability to track sectoral climate action and adaptation.

Transparency is a key element of the Paris Agreement so efforts to improve this capability will support the implementation of the agreement. Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive of CDKN, emphasised the importance of pursuing climate goals within the framework of the overall Sustainable Development Goals – and moving away from “working in a climate silo”.

Deborah Murphy noted that Kenya’s Climate Change Act will help development partners such as the US Government and CDKN to work with the Government of Kenya to identify priority areas for support and enable projects to be more country-led. “It’s been said that some African INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – the commitments to the UNFCCC) were “over ambitious”, she said. However, the “Kenyan INDC is doable but conditional on external support”, she stressed – support that continues to be provided by CDKN and other partners.


Thursday 17th November

Ben Bostock, Daphne Amevenu and Kiran Sura of CDKN's Negotiations Support team, along with Mairi Dupar, round up the day's developments:

  • The draft Marrakech Call has been released, referred to as the 'Marrakech Action Proclamation'. It both highlights the 'extraordinary momentum on climate change' seen this year, but warns of the urgent need to upscale action.
  • John Kerry gave his last COP address before his handover to the Trump administration. He gave an emotional speech, remarking that "Climate Change shouldn't be a partisan issue in the first has the right to make decisions that affect billions of people...without proper input" [full speech here]
  • Kellogg, Nike and Mars joined a group of 300 US businesses in sending a statement to Trump on the importance of Climate Action. The statement stresses the need to stick to the commitments of the Paris Agreement, highlighting the significant economic as well as environmental benefits which it can bring. Other non-US multinationals also put their names to the statement, including IKEA and Unilever
  • The first long term, 2050 strategies have been released - by none other than the US, as well as Mexico, Germany and Canada. This is part of the '2050 Pathway Platform' which will be officially launched today - which at least 20 countries and 200 companies will sign up to
  • The Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) is now operational - with eight developed country donors (including the US and UK) pledging $50million. The CBIT aims to strengthen technical and institutional capacity of developing countries in order to meet the transparency requirements of the Paris Agreement . The Global Environment Facility has approved projects already in Costa Rica, Kenya and South Africa.
  • The Earth Negotiations Bulletin reports that the President of Zambia – speaking at the Biennial High Level Ministerial Climate Finance Summit - said he regrets Parties have not yet agreed on a quantified adaptation financing goal. Meanwhile, in what must be a heartening move for least developed countries, the Adaptation Fund surpassed its goal to raise US$ 80 million in contributions for the coming year - hitting a total of US $ 81 million once commitments from Germany, Sweden, Italy, Wallonia and Flanders were announced this afternoon.

Wednesday 16th November

10:00pm Mairi Dupar and Jean-Pierre Roux report from a side event at COP22 about how decision-makers can tailor adaptation programmes to get the best results:

Read Mairi and Jean-Pierre's full length blog: How to tailor adaptation programmes.

You may also enjoy this report by our partners REEEP about last week's side event on the important role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in delivering the Paris Agreement.

12:00pm Ben Bostock, Daphne Amevenu, Kiran Sura and Mairi Dupar summarise the latest developments at COP22:

  • Excitement was in the air yesterday for the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (...or just CMA for short). French President Francois Hollande remarked that the Paris Agreement was 'irreversible'.
  • The High-Level Address also involved an intervention by King Mohammed VI of Morocco and United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Both men urged developed countries to follow up on their pledge of $100 billion in climate finance each year by 2020, and identified the need for facilitating technology transfer, with the UN acting as a 'science champion'.
  • The High Ambition Coalition is back in force -  and is calling for countries to come forward with additional pledges planned for this Thursday to complement the final COP22 output document, the 'Marrakesh call'. The group of over 100 nations had significant influence in driving a particularly strong deal in Paris this time last year - you can read more about this in CDKN's Negotiations Support Outlook newsletter.
  • There is increasing tension on the matter of ensuring sufficient adaptation finance for developing countries. A pipeline of adaptation projects awaits approval by the Adaptation Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund and GCF. Approvals are time consuming in the GCF. The Adaptation Fund looks forward to its Contributors' Meeting tomorrow (17th November), which developing countries hope will bring cheering news.

8:00am  Claudia Martinez, CDKN’s strategic advisor for Colombia, reports how low emissions solutions are moving from theory to practice:

The Low Emissions Solutions Conference organised by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, ICLEI and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network at COP 22 has pointed out real solutions at different levels.

Local governments are providing fantastic examples.The government of Jalisco in Mexico holds the 2025 goal of using 100% renewable energy for public transport and other services. The mayor of Jalisto said: “Is not an easy challenge to convince the municipalities to understand climate change”. Of 125 municipalities, 50% have understood and have agreed to lead the way. Today they are creating a green fund, giving subsidies and fiscal incentives to the private and public sectors.  It is important to undertake actions at subnational levels, while waiting for national strategies to happen.

California is the sixth largest economy in the world. Deep decarbonisation pathways depend on an analysis of sectors.  California is not only pushing energy efficiency and fuel switching (from higher emission to lower emission alternatives), but has taken a closer look at land use change and planning as a critical element of climate action.

South Australia has a strategy with an ambitious target for the state to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This new target responds to the findings of the SA Low Carbon Economy Experts Panel, which was appointed by the government to provide independent advice about climate change targets and objectives for the state to 2050. The new strategy builds on South Australia’s achievements in renewable energy and climate change adaptation and the leadership that has been demonstrated by industry, the community and government to date. The Strategy also responds to advice of the Premier’s Climate Change Council in South Australia’s climate change vision: Pathways to 2050. Different jurisdictions have created a coalition to learn and share knowledge on policies, funding options and solutions.

Mission Innovation is also getting off the ground. Mission Innovation aims to reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable. Countries are joining with good prospects.

Finland puts a significant amount of resources into research and innovation and is, for example, embracing innovative energy efficient buildings as one of its innovation paths.

Saudi Arabia is an energy nation. It built the economy on oil, but developed the competency within the Kingdom to innovate.  The country is currently doubling its funding of research and development on clean energy. All universities have research on renewables in partnerships with companies. Transforming methanol into urea at large scale is also happening. The kingdom is beginning a shift towards a low carbon economy.

France supports the Mission Innovation coalition by bringing together the public and private sectors. Smart grids will be totally redefined, with opportunities for flexibility and storage. These will be linked to consumers who are willing to consume less energy and produce energy linked to the grid.  Thirty demonstration projects are in place. For example, Carros near Nice on the French Riviera has used demand management measures to curb electricity consumption dramatically. Private – public partnerships like these are needed with companies willing to invest for the future.

Tuesday 15th November

8:00pm When it comes to discussing the characteristics of this  22nd Conference of Parties, CDKN's Mairi Dupar has her own angle:

Read Mairi's full-length blog on why this is a "COP of communications and accountability" here.

5:00pm Ben Bostock has a factual round-up of COP22 developments here:

  • Over 80 heads of state and ministers have arrived at COP22 to show a united front and deliver high level messages of support to the conference.
  • A number of capacity building decisions were approved yesterday which will particularly help the Least Developed Countries (LDC) to accelerate progress. The Paris Committee on capacity building can now become operational as soon as next year.
  • Developing countries feel left behind in key issue areas of negotiation - particularly on climate finance. LDC Chair, Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu remarked that “Climate finance is a matter of survival and we still do not have a clear roadmap for the $100 billion. Unfortunately we see many developed countries still blocking progress.”
  • The LDC Group will have a new Ethiopian Chair - Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew of Ethiopia will take the role from 2017-2018.
  • The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Partnership has been launched which will be a coalition of developing and developed countries, and international institutions. This will aim to ensure countries receive both the technical and financial support they need to achieve the targets set out in their NDCs.
  • 2016 will be the hottest year on record - with an average temperature of 1.2degC above pre-industrial levels as revealed by the UN WMO.

Monday 14th November

12:00pm Ben Bostock of CDKN's Negotiations Support team reports on political happenings at COP22 over the weekend:

  • The Presidency of the next UNFCCC Conference of Parties - the 23rd Conference (COP23) - was announced late on Friday night. It will be the Pacific Island nation of Fiji. As Fiji lacks the physical facilities to host tens of thousands of delegates, it will provide political leadership and the late 2017 meeting itself shall take place in Bonn, Germany.
  • Despite ongoing uncertainty, negotiators within the various bodies of the UNFCCC are making some progress, with bodies having completed work on many agenda items already - yet with fault lines re-emerging on finance and compliance. Outstanding items to be discussed include the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism (relating to loss and damage) and the postponing of the CMA - (the main decision making body of the Paris Agreement). Suspending the CMA for 1-2 years will allow those countries which are yet to ratify the Paris Agreement a chance to do so - and therefore be parties to CMA debates, rather than just observers. A long list of elements of the CMA outcome have been circulated - and progress thus far is arguably not at the pace required to come out of COP22 on Saturday with the strong result desired.
  • Countries continue to ratify the Paris Agreement - with Botswana, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Italy and Pakistan now taking the total up to 109 parties.
  • The High Ambition Coalition - which spearheaded a strong deal at COP21 - is convening once again, and will look to release a number of 'key statements' at the conference this week in the wake of the election results. This follows their initial statement on Friday indicating their continuing strength of resolve to work with "...the whole international community, including the United States".
  • Global Carbon Project have released analysis showing global Co2 emissions have remained flat for three years in a row. This is mainly due to the reduction in Chinese economic growth, and a reduction in US coal use.

9:00 am Mairi Dupar reports from Development and Climate Days at COP22:

Participants at this year’s Development and Climate Days got a master class in how to make the political case for ambitious climate action. Although 189 countries submitted their national climate commitments or ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ to the UNFCCC last year, the premise of this side event was that INDCs don’t necessarily have the buy-in of governments’ most powerful politicians – including those holding the purse strings.

Contestants in a COP’s got talent competition each had five minutes to convince a panel of judges to buy in to their climate solution. The judges represented cynical politicians, who needed to be convinced of the case for investment.

Colin McQuistan (Practical Action), Katie Peters (ODI), Harjit Singh (ActionAid), Isilda Nhantumbo (IIED) and Ed Cameron (We Mean Business) formed the contestant line-up. Their pitches included: government reorganisation to make development more climate resilient, and government funding for sustainable forestry management.

Following a tightly-run race based on judges’ marks and audience votes, the winner was declared as Ed Cameron, who pitched for a local-to-global alliance of climate resilient women. Mr Cameron argued that women are the primary producers of cotton and other agricultural inputs for Southern garment industries, and women make up most of the garment manufacturing workforce in Southern countries. Meanwhile – on the other side -- women are primary consumers of clothing and fashion. They have the potential to use their consumer power to pressure companies to drive more climate-smart and resilient practices -- from high street retailers, along the whole supply chain.

The debate about Mr Cameron’s winning tactics revealed top tips for any climate champion who is trying to win a politician over to the cause:

  • It’s completely unrealistic to think you have five minutes to make the case for climate action to a top politician, said the Honourable Wilber Ottichilo, Member of Parliament in Kenya. If s/he has not grasped the relevance of your pitch in the first 30 seconds, you have lost them.
  • The politician’s self-interest is core to winning his/her attention, said Maarten van Aalst, Director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. Consider the checklist: electorate, parliament, budget. “Something has to be fantastically interesting or a threat to getting things done,” to get noticed, he added.
  • The winning contestant had enough substantive analysis to back his points.
  • The unsuccessful COP’s got talent contestants got bogged down in detail: keep it simple.

The session validated some of the tactics CDKN has used successfully in the past six years – and it was a reminder to our engagement teams never to be complacent about communications. CDKN tries to develop its knowledge products and communication messages to be layered so the reader or viewer can browse rapidly for information and dive deep where they need to: from blog headlines, tweets and ’30 second pitches’ about our work all the way to technical reports. As CDKN’s knowledge and communications lead, I can’t say we always get it right, but we know that preparing layers of information like this is a winning approach.

My take-home message from COP’s got talent is this: be realistic about your objectives for every person you are trying to influence. Consider the cynical politician: you don’t expect her or him to write the climate adaptation plan her/himself, do you? You want enough of the politician’s attention that s/he will commit time to digest a short briefing on the benefits of your proposal and then, when they see the merits, they will designate others to follow it up. Or, or at minimum, you want her/him to assign a staff person to read your briefing!

And all budding advocates and influencers would do well to heed Ed Cameron’s parting shot: “Advocacy without analysis and analysis without the capacity to advocate get you nowhere.” To make the case successfully for climate action, you need to be an articulate advocate and have the facts to back you up.

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