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Coverage of Selected Side Events at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference - November 2013

11-22 November 2013 | Warsaw, Poland

Side Events (ENBOTS) Coverage on Friday, 15 November 2013
Panel from the side event at the University of Warsaw on
“Getting REDD+ Off the Ground: Challenges and Opportunities.”

The following side events were covered by ENBOTS on Friday, 15 November 2013.

Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Getting REDD+ Off the Ground:
Challenges and Opportunities

Presented by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
William Sunderlin, CIFOR, presented preliminary findings of a CIFOR study on REDD+ proponent challenges.
Renato Farias, ICV, Brazil, shared lessons learned from the “Cotriguaçu Sempre Verde” project in Brazil.
Antonio La Viña, Ateneo School of Government, the Philippines, stressed that advances on the ground have been much quicker than policy development.

This side event, moderated by Antonio La Viña, Ateneo School of Government, the Philippines, addressed challenges in implementing sub-national REDD+ activities. La Viña, opened the session and presented advances on REDD+, stressing that practice on the ground has progressed much quicker than related policy.

Joanna Durbin, Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), underscored that REDD+ should be approached as a development opportunity rather than as a service to others. She outlined the safeguards that should be promoted and supported when undertaking REDD+ activities. Durbin concluded that some REDD+ challenges can be addressed through a transparent process to address safeguards, and that the latter, with other multiple benefits, may transform REDD+ into an opportunity to support locally defined development objectives.

William Sunderlin, CIFOR, presented preliminary findings of a CIFOR study, which found that the two main challenges of REDD+ sub-national initiatives are unclear tenure and the current disadvantageous economics of REDD+, including: lack of assured income streams; weak voluntary forest carbon markets; and the inability to compete with non-REDD+ land uses.

Renato Farias, Instituto Centro de VIDA (ICV), Brazil, provided insight from the “Cotriguaçu Sempre Verde” project, in the region of Mato Grosso, Brazil. He underlined the need to prepare the research team internally to deal with different stakeholders, as well as working separately with each one to produce concrete results and develop trust.

Charles Meschak, Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, offered the Tanzanian experience implementing REDD+. He sketched a number of challenges, underscoring the establishment of a performance-based model, which channels revenues from the voluntary market directly to the communities. He also stressed the involvement of multiple stakeholders in the design and implementation of the project.

Wahjudi Wardojo, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Indonesia, presented on the Berau Forest Carbon Programme in Indonesia. Noting pressures and challenges, he underlined the need to: create appropriate financial incentives to support low carbon development; support district government agencies through technical assistance; and help build the capacity of local NGOs and communities.

Panel (L-R): Wahjudi Wardojo, The Nature Conservancy, Indonesia; Charles Meschak, Tanzania Forest Conservation Group; William Sunderlin, CIFOR; Joanna Durbin, CCBA; Renato Farias, ICV, Brazil; and Antonio La Viña, Ateneo School of Government, the Philippines.
More Information:


Lee Cando-Noordhuizen (Coordinator)
[email protected]

Renewable Energy in GCC Countries

Presented by the GCC and Saudi Arabia
Nour Shihabuddin, Saudi Aramco, highlighted a solar testing facility where different solar technologies from some 30 venders are tested to see how they react under the region’s “harsh weather conditions.”
Amr AlMadani, K.A. CARE, emphasized engaging relevant stakeholders in the renewable energy discussion.
Referring to growing interest in renewable energy in the GCC Region, Robert Bradley, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UAE, stated “The world for us has changed, and I think changed for good.”

Saeed Al-Alloush, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia, moderated the event and introduced the speakers.

Amr AlMadani, Mishkat Interactive Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A. CARE), Saudi Arabia, introduced K.A. CARE’s efforts to integrate renewable energy and atomic energy into Saudi Arabia’s national energy mix. Noting that energy consumption in Saudi Arabia is expected to triple in the next twenty years, he emphasized that “the best renewable energy source is conservation,” while underscoring the role of renewable energy technologies to fill remaining energy needs. AlMadani introduced the national renewable resource monitoring and measurement (RRMM) campaign to monitor sun, dust accumulation, wind and temperature, providing high quality solar and wind monitoring to assess available renewable energy capabilities. He emphasized that accurate data is required to reach renewable energy potential.

Noting high energy use intensity, Nour Shihabuddin, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia, underscored that there is plenty of room for efficiency gains and that renewables could compliment existing fossil fuel energy sources, especially during peak demand. She identified three focal areas of Saudi Aramco: technology assessment; project development, including resource mapping of wind, solar energy and geothermal potential; and market intelligence, emphasizing that the GCC could become a global solar energy hub.

Robert Bradley, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates (UAE), identified an emerging trend of renewable energy investments in UAE, noting that this trend first appeared during the economic boom of 2005 and 2006. Pointing to the Masdar Institute for Science and Technology, which is devoted entirely to clean energy technology, he indicated that Masdar also addresses investments abroad, including the London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

During discussions, participants addressed: duplication of efforts between like organizations focused on renewable energy; investigations into other renewable energy sources, such as tidal or wave energy; controversies surrounding nuclear energy; rooftop solar energy; incentives for financial savings; collaboration and dialogue; and efforts to improve household energy efficiency and public awareness.

More Information:


Hamoud Al Otaibi (Coordinator)
[email protected]

The GCF, to Boldly Go Where No Investor Has Gone Before?

Presented by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Climate Markets and Investment Association (CMIA)
Geof Sinclair, Standard Bank, said that if long-term finance is to be transformative, the US$100 billion committed to long-term finance must be treated as a catalyst for “turning the tanker” rather than as a candy jar.
Jeanne Ng, CLP Holdings, reiterated that the GCF must identify areas where the private sector will not go and prioritize use of public funds to absorb some of the risk in these areas.
Henning Wuester, GCF, highlighted the importance of adaptation in taking the fund forward, noting that climate related disasters of recent weeks underscore the critical importance of adaptation.

Miles Austen, CMIA, moderated the event, highlighting that the GCF and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) are the two key areas that will be driving investment towards climate projects on the ground.

Henning Wuester, GCF, said the GCF aims to be transformative, helping developing countries to transition towards climate resilient and low-carbon development pathways. He emphasized countries accessing the fund should drive the process. He noted the private sector facility, saying the GCF Board (GCFB) has taken forward much work on this in order to engage with the private sector community.

Vikram Widge, International Finance Corporation (IFC), stressed that the private sector is not homogenous, which should be recognized in efforts to leverage private investment for climate action. He said in terms of design, governance has to be predictable. He underscored that there is a huge role in preparing domestic capital markets for absorbing these investments.

Gile Dickson, Alstom International, noted that public money under the GCF will be disbursed in the form of conventional grants and concessional loans, stressing that the development of innovative finance mechanisms, such as loan guarantees, assurance of private bonds and insurance, cannot come fast enough for the private sector.

Jeanne Ng, China Light and Power (CLP) Holdings, said the GCF has challenges ahead, emphasizing that it needs to ensure that they are not funding activities that the private sector would already invest in. She stated countries with long-term NAMAs often provide enough predictability to encourage private sector investment.

Geof Sinclair, Standard Bank, noted the need to determine why investment in clean alternatives is not taking place and figure out interventions that would reverse that decision-making. He said that circumstances differ across jurisdictions and projects, highlighting that refinancing risks are currently limiting renewable energy investment in East Africa.

During discussions panelists addressed: how to provide funding that reaches the poorest and most vulnerable, including through risk buy-down; how the GCF can secure a better investment climate, such as through building capacity, addressing market failures and encouraging predictable regulatory environments; what added value the private sector facility can contribute; and how to engage companies that finance their own projects. Wuester underscored that public funds are critical for the initial capitalization of the GCF in order to gain the interest of the private sector.

Panel (L-R): Vikram Widge, IFC; Jeanne Ng, CLP Holdings; Miles Austin, CMIA; Henning Wuester, GCF; Giles Dickson, Alstom International; and Geof Sinclair, Standard Bank.
More Information:


Barbara Black (Coordinator)
[email protected]

Diana McQueen, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta, Canada, outlined the steps that Alberta takes to manage its rich resources responsibly.
“We need a meaningful carbon price to put us on a low carbon trajectory” stressed Paul Simpson, CDP.
Giles Dickson, Alstom International, underscored that we should not only think about upfront costs, but consider also long-term benefits.

This side event, moderated by Joan MacNaughton, WEC, discussed both the policymakers’ and business perspective on how to achieve a secure, social and environmentally sustainable energy future. MacNaughton introduced the energy trilemma, which consists of simultaneously meeting the three objectives of energy security, energy equity (or affordability of and access to energy) and environmental sustainability. Presenting a series of WEC publications, she underlined that while rich countries tend to score higher environmentally, this is not applicable to all cases, showing that policy does matter.

Diana McQueen, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta, Canada, underscored land use planning and the creation of an independent science advisory board in Alberta to assure data transparency. She also noted that by bringing together three different regulators to a single one, all aspects of energy could be tackled in a holistic and efficient way.

Giles Dickson, Alstom International, challenged the idea that the three elements of the energy trilemma are actually in conflict. He discussed a number of policies that tick all the energy boxes, including solar energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) techniques. Addressing affordability, he said that the low carbon industry is the fastest growing sector of the global economy and underscored that everybody benefits from this transition.

Outlining the role that development banks and other financial institutions can play in the transition towards more secure and sustainable energy, Juan Alario, European Investment Bank (EIB), noted they: support policies and regulations; mobilize private capital into these areas, achieving a higher leverage between public and private resources and developing new sources of finance and new investors; and provide technical and financial expertise that brings forth financial mobilization.

Paul Simpson, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), underlined that as things stand, energy security and affordability are prioritized over sustainability. He stressed the need for a carbon price, as without it a low carbon trajectory seems distant and the below 2°C target will not be reached, creating increased real costs for everybody.

Henning Wuester, GCF, stressed the Fund’s willingness to promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways. He addressed future challenges, including raising public and private funds at scale.

Panel (L-R): Giles Dickson, Alstom International; Juan Alario, EIB; Diana McQueen, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta, Canada; Joan MacNaughton, WEC; Henning Wuester, GCF; and Paul Simpson, CDP.
More Information:


Florence Mazzone (Coordinator)
[email protected]

Transforming Farming Systems for Food and Climate Security, and Sustainable Rural Development

Presented by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM)
André Leu, IFOAM, emphasized that organic agriculture is an appropriate model for higher yields in climate extremes, with lower production costs and better resilience to achieve food security and poverty alleviation.
Hans Herren, highlighted support for organic agriculture and food systems including within the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) Outcome Document.
Referring to working with farmers, Richie Ahuja, EDF, stated, “You need to have boots on the ground, you need to have a conversation.”

Jason Funk, EDF, moderated the event. Robert Jordan, IFOAM, introduced the side event’s main themes, including: scientific research that backs organic agricultural practices; supportive policies to facilitate organic agriculture; and practical examples of up-scaling organic agriculture.

André Leu, IFOAM, introduced IFOAM as an international umbrella organization for organic agriculture, representing 800 organizations in 120 countries with two million certified organic farmers. He referred to organic agriculture practices as a combination of respect for ecological processes and biodiversity preservation, highlighting the need to adapt to local conditions, while combining traditional knowledge with science and innovation. Pointing to numerous scientific studies, Leu stated that organic agriculture is one of the highest yielding agricultural forms. He said it is better suited to food security concerns and climate resilience, in particular for retaining soil quality, which is better able to absorb and retain moisture and organic matter, resist erosion and is more resilient against drought.

Hans Herren, Millennium Institute, highlighted the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) Report, which addressed several issues on agriculture and food systems, inter alia: health problems; energy problems; climate change problems; natural resource problems; and social problems. Calling for a “fundamental shift” in agricultural policies, he emphasized the need for a systemic approach to address agriculture and food systems, including policy support at the international, national and local levels, capacity building and engagement in multi-stakeholder processes.

Richie Ahuja, EDF, introduced a project on low carbon rural development in India, which took a landscape systems approach. He highlighted that solutions should address local needs, such as education, health, poverty alleviation and gender issues. Working with the “Fair Climate Network,” Ahuja noted several results, including installation of 65,000 biogas units and 80,000 efficient cook shoves, and that 15,000 farmers are now following climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices.

The ensuing discussion included: scientific findings which identify the higher yields of organic versus conventional agriculture; science-based policy to support organic agriculture; funding schemes, such as the GCF to scale up efforts; organic agriculture as a CSA approach; urban agriculture; and learning and capacity building.

Panel (L-R): Jason Funk, EDF; André Leu, IFOAM; Richie Ahuja, EDF; Hans Herren, Millennium Institute; and Robert Jordan, IFOAM.
More Information:


Jason Funk (Moderator)
[email protected]

Robert Jordan (Coordinator)
[email protected]

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The Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the side (ENBOTS) © <[email protected]> is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). This issue has been written by Tasha Goldberg, Jennifer Lenhart, Anna Schulz and Asterios Tsioumanis. The Digital Editor is Brad Vincelette. The Editor is Liz Willetts <[email protected]>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <[email protected]>. The opinions expressed in ENBOTS are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from ENBOTS may be used in non-commercial publications only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <[email protected]>. Electronic versions of issues of ENBOTS from the Warsaw Climate Change Conference - November 2013 can be found on the Linkages website at The ENBOTS Team at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference - November 2013 can be contacted by e-mail at <[email protected]>.

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