The following events were covered by IISD Reporting Services on Friday, 7 December 2018:
Photos by IISD/ENB | Natalia Mroz / Diego Noguera
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This event explored how the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other climate finance can support the rights of indigenous peoples as well as their own mitigation and adaptation efforts, including through implementation of the GCF’s Indigenous Peoples’ Policy. It was moderated by Helen Magata, Tebtebba.
Kimaren Ole Riamit, Executive Director, Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners, Kenya (ILEPA), highlighted the negative impacts that climate action, including the deployment of renewable energy, can have on indigenous peoples if not properly safeguarded. He also noted that climate finance modalities remain for indigenous peoples to access and called for the creation of a dedicated GCF access window with simplified modalities for indigenous climate action.
Lifeng Li, GCF, presented the GCF’s Indigenous Peoples Policy, noting that it centers around the concept of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and was developed through extensive stakeholder consultations. He explained that the GCF is currently developing implementation guidelines for the policy, appointing an indigenous peoples’ specialist and establishing an indigenous peoples’ advisory group.
Tarcila Rivera Zea, Executive Director, CHIRAPAQ, underlined the need for capacity building to help indigenous peoples better access climate finance. She called for the GCF to provide as much training and support to indigenous communities and organizations as it does to governments. She also emphasized the need for climate finance to help develop initiatives that come from indigenous communities themselves, noting the difficulties they face competing for funds with larger, outside organizations that have greater technical expertise.
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, highlighted that the GCF’s Indigenous Peoples Policy is stronger than that of other multilateral financial institutions but underscored that the critical challenge is ensuring its ful implementation. She called for indigenous communities to become actively engaged in the GCF to ensure their voices are heard in relation to all project proposals. She also emphasized that respecting and involving indigenous peoples, who possess a wealth of knowledge about their local ecosystems, is in governments’ self-interest.
In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed: how non-compliance with the GCF Indigenous Peoples Policy could be addressed, including through the GCF’s grievance mechanism or sanctions; the need to fight racist and discriminatory ideologies among policymakers and in education systems that perpetuate them; and ensuring GCF policies and project proposals are translated into languages that are accessible for indigenous peoples.
This panel discussed the importance of integrating human rights into the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Moderators Jennifer Hanna, PCCB, and Benjamin Schachter, OHCHR, introduced the event by underlining the need to address capacity gaps in integrating gender, human rights and indigenous peoples’ knowledge into national plans and the international climate regime.
Via video link, Tara Shine, Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, emphasized that integrating human rights into climate action can inform mitigation and adaptation activities, while not integrating them will likely increase costs and undermine human rights. She highlighted a proposal to establish a human rights focal point in the climate regime to help mainstream these efforts.
Amb. Luis Alfonso de Alba, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit, lamented climate conference delegates’ lack of knowledge concerning human rights. He called on participants to build a specific strategy to integrate human rights into the 2019 Climate Summit so that the quality of Parties’ commitments can increase, and to avoid a summit that would be “just an excuse for a speech and a photograph.”
Verona Collantes, UN Women, shared the lessons of her organization’s Gender Action Plan. She explained that the strategy for the Plan’s implementation was to be extremely specific regarding who was concerned, what should be created or changed, and when the deliverables were expected. She stressed that capacity building, especially for NDCs, is not a one-off activity but something that must be sustained.
Michael Windfuhr, German Institute for Human Rights, argued that there is not enough systematic training in human rights spheres about climate change. He proposed that national climate policies must be based on human rights if states wish to successfully and justly implement the Paris Agreement.
Agnes Leina, Illaramatak Community Concerns, decried the fact that human rights have largely been ignored within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Describing examples of renewable energy developments which have displaced indigenous communities, she framed the urgent need for capacity building within states by suggesting that National Adaptation Plans should contain gender and indigenous components.
Sébastien Duyck, CIEL, welcomed the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recognizing that it cements the importance of human rights in climate action. He argued that populations must feel ownership of NDCs at the local, regional and national levels, and recommended that countries be forthcoming with their needs and experiences to help replicate climate action victories.
Participants then discussed limits of the UNFCCC and UN Refugee Agency frameworks, and the possible need for a new institution to deal with climate-related internally displaced populations. Panelists emphasized the need to understand that national policies must build adaptation within a human rights framework, lest those adaptations be doomed to fail from the outset.
This side event highlighted the relevance of wetland ecosystems for both climate change adaptation and mitigation, while addressing their importance for increasing Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) ambition and the question of how NDCs can be improved. John Matthews, AGWA, moderated the event.
Paul Mafabi, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda, stressed, via video message, that wetlands constitute the Earth’s most effective carbon sink and have great potential for climate mitigation. He underscored that drained peatlands, by storing twice as much carbon as the world’s forests, are responsible for 5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and identified the need for awareness raising on the importance of wetlands in Uganda and their consideration in NDCs.
Frank Fass-Metz, BMZ, underlined that 25% of BMZ’s adaptation portfolio is dedicated to water-related issues, with a special focus on mangrove coastal ecosystems. He highlighted that BMZ’s work on promoting water security is guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the Ramsar Convention. He stressed the need to protect wetlands to safeguard the wellbeing of the millions of people dependent on them.
Arthur Neher, Wetlands International, noted that countries need to address the issue of peatland drainage due to the high GHG emissions associated with this practice, and stressed the need to include peatlands in NDCs, calling them a “low hanging fruit.”
Lisa Schindler Murray, TNC, highlighted TNC’s focus on increased commitments by countries to collaborate in including wetlands in natural GHG accounting inventories, and in including mitigation targets in revised NDCs. She noted that enhancing ambition in NDCs can also include the strengthening of the adaptation sections of NDCs.
Francisco Rilla, Ramsar Convention Secretariat, underlined that wetlands contribute to resilient ecosystems and noted that adaptation without water is not possible. He stressed that wetlands must figure more prominently in national climate change plans, including with the participation of local stakeholders and communities in the process.
Alfred Okot Okidi, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda, highlighted that Uganda has experienced a 44% reduction in wetland coverage since 1994, and stressed that strong political will is needed at the highest level as well as at the local level to facilitate the wise use and restoration of wetlands in Uganda.
Neher stressed the need for synergies at the highest level to jointly address the 2030Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets around wetlands, climate mitigation and NDCs.
In the ensuing discussion, panelists responded to questions on: wetland banking; conservation of urban wetlands; ways to encourage farmers abandon drained peatlands opting for their rewetting; and the European Union’s legislation on recognizing emissions resulting from wetlands.
Sylvie Goyet, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, moderated the event, reminding participants that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) will be approved in Monaco in 2019.
In a keynote address, Amb. Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, underscored the importance of addressing sewage, which has connections to coastal ecosystems. Stating that it is naïve to talk about Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) (life below water) in isolation, without linking it to climate change and all the other SDGs, he stressed the need to ensure action on land-based sources of ocean pollution, calling for urgent “Source to Sea” actions, including building sewage lines to promote sanitation. He urged bridging the disconnect between the project financiers and information about ocean-related projects. He said there will be a second Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June 2020.
Juan Angulo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile, noted that his country is active in international processes related to the ocean, including negotiations on biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (BBNJ), and reiterated Chile’s commitment to enhancing the interlinkages between oceans and climate change. Underscoring the need to strengthen the science-policy interface, he underlined the importance of policymakers using the best possible science to address climate change and oceans issues.
Teresa Solana Méndez de Vigo, Office for Climate Change, Spain, announced the European Regional Workshop on the “Because the Ocean” initiative in April 2019, reiterating her country’s support for the initiative since COP 21 in 2015. Noting that this will be the last regional meeting before the release of the SROCC, she noted that the workshop will also feature a high-level segment.
Thérèse Coffey, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK, highlighted the UK’s support for the protection of mangroves, or “Blue Forests,” and spoke about the UK’s Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership, which reports on climate change in marine areas. She noted that the UK is on track to create even more marine protected areas, highlighting ongoing discussions to protect 30% of the world’s marine areas by 2020.
Nilesh Prakash, Ministry of Economy, Fiji, reiterated the importance of the Ocean Pathway Partnership to large ocean states, and announced an upcoming workshop on incorporating oceans in Nationally Determined Contributions in Suva, Fiji, in 2019.
Susan Ruffo, Ocean Conservancy, noted the important role of the Because the Ocean initiative in making the Paris implementation guidelines ocean-friendly.
Loreley Picourt, Ocean and Climate Platform, announced the launch of a report on the Decade of Ocean Science that will take place during Ocean Actions Day on Saturday, 8 December 2018, and that the Tara vessel will be in Monaco for the launch of the IPCC Report.
Biliana Cicin-Sain, Global Ocean Forum, reported the completion of the second annual progress report on oceans and climate, which calls for urgent action on climate to ensure the world meets the 1.5ºC target.
This event, moderated by Katie Sullivan, Managing Director, IETA, discussed collective engineering strategies to unleash collective intelligence and to gather data in communities. The session also examined the ways data is transformed into information that can be used to develop services for governments or non-stakeholder organizations. During the event, participants explored “Data 4 Good” and exchanged views on how co-construction leads to collective intelligence processes that provide insights for projects and to which business models can be applied.
Marie-Laure Burgener, GreenGoWeb, said that bottom-up data is important, as it enables understanding of what decisions people make for sustainability. She noted that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally would be hampered by missing the data of millions of people who are excluded from national censuses. This, she emphasized, means that it is impossible to understand their current living conditions and is therefore difficult to deliver services that support the eradication of poverty, improve education and fulfill other SDGs.
Burgener showed how the principles of gamification could be used to collect data through phone apps, for example, and noted that hackathons, where stakeholders gather with data experts, are key in bringing together interest groups to discuss ways of solving challenges using data. She gave examples of hackathons held in the Pacific to develop ways to link small-scale producers to shipping facilities for their goods. She further highlighted ways in which data can be used as a bridge between citizens and UN processes, allowing people to access data on air quality, for example.
Moderator Sullivan asked questions about: complementarities with artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain in the context of addressing the SDGs, climate change, and other fora; concrete examples from the hackathon; and who invests in these kinds of platforms.
Burgener said that blockchain helps increase transparency, while AI can increase the speed of data processing, contributing to improved responses to climate change and natural disasters. Citing the example of a gender equality project on why female entrepreneurs raise less money than male entrepreneurs, she highlighted the challenge of missing data, including on poverty and climate change, to generate appropriate, informed decisions by governments and potential project funders.
In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed: the issues of security and privacy; opportunities for multi-stakeholder collaboration; and the need for fundraising vs. “steward-ownership.”