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A Special Report on Selected Side Events at the

2-13 June 2008 Bonn, Germany


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Events on Thursday, 05 June 2008

Towards a climate-neutral UN: where do we stand?

Presented by the UNFCCC

L-R: Iulian Florin Vladu, UNFCCC; Jane Hupe, ICAO; Enno Harders, German Emissions Trading Authority; Xiaohua Zhang, UNFCCC; Aniket Ghai, UN EMG; and Janos Pasztor, UN

Janos Pasztor, UN, stressed the UN Secretary-General’s commitment to climate change issues and summarized the main elements of his strategy to become more engaged with the process. He highlighted actions, such as supporting climate change negotiations with high-level political input and leading by example, including through an environmentally-sound renovation of the UN Headquarters.

Aniket Ghai, UN Environmental Management Group, stressed that the UN climate neutrality initiative is part of a broader strategy of sustainable operations management. He summarized the Chief Executive Board’s decision on the issue and, noting that UNEP will become climate neutral in 2008, said some challenges include limited staff time and resources to carry out the initial inventories.

Iulian Florin Vladu, UNFCCC, summarized the UNFCCC’s approach to achieving climate neutrality. He highlighted that the majority of the UNFCCC’s emissions come from air travel to conferences, and said the Secretariat is working with conference organizers to help with offsetting for the climate COPs in Poznan and Copenhagen.

Enno Harders, German Emissions Trading Authority, described Germany’s activities in developing offsetting schemes. He identified four criteria for developing these schemes: prioritizing avoidance of emissions and reductions over offsetting; transparent and verifiable accounting; high quality offsetting projects; and comprehensive client information. He noted a number of domestic measures, including developing a position on afforestation projects.

Jane Hupe and Celso Sawaia, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), introduced the new ICAO carbon calculator for the aviation industry, stressing that it does not include greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, because of the lack of scientific agreement on the calculation of multipliers. Sawaia explained the methodology used in the calculator, stressing that it was approved by the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, and developed with input from aviation experts, manufacturers and airlines.

Participants discussed: the UN’s decision to use the CDM for offsetting; problems with double counting; how the Secretariat will travel to Poznan; and the multiplier issue.

Jane Hupe, ICAO, introduced the new ICAO aviation carbon calculator. Enno Harders, German Emissions Trading Authority, said voluntary offsetting markets have pros and cons. Janos Pasztor, UN, emphasized that climate neutrality is about making reductions before offsetting.

More information:

Janos Pasztor (Chair) <[email protected]>
Xiaohua Zhang (Coordinator) <[email protected]>
Aniket Ghai <[email protected]>
Iulian Florin Vladu <[email protected]>
Enno Harders <[email protected]>
Jane Hupe <[email protected]>
Celso Sawaia <[email protected]>

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European approaches to adaptation

Presented by the European Community

Rosario Bento Pais, European Commission (EC), outlined the four pillars of the EC green paper on adaptation that was adopted in June 2007: acting early within the EU; integrating adaptation into EU external actions; reducing uncertainty by expanding climate research; and involving European society in the preparation of comprehensive adaptation strategies.

Eduardo Santos, Climate Change Commission, Portugal, introduced a new 18-month initiative, to be launched in June 2008, called “In a Changing Climate,” which will feed into his country's national adaptation strategy.

Debarati Guha-Sapir, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, outlined a project within her institution that aims to provide clear empirical evidence of the relationship between extreme events and health, social and economic impacts in next two years.

Matti Nummelin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland, highlighted a joint project between IUCN and Finland, piloted in Zambia, aimed at identifying climate change adaptation polices that emphasize the role of forests and water resources in supporting livelihoods and associated farming systems.

Nana Künkel, GTZ, shared GTZ’s experiences in mainstreaming adaptation, including incorporation of climate risk screening and climate proofing in all of their development projects.

Marc Gillet, National Observatory on the Effects of Climate Change, France, outlined a project aimed at capacity building for adaptation to climate change in the Indian Ocean countries of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles.

Participants discussed: legislation for adaptation; market-based mechanisms; integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation into development cooperation policy; review and amendment of existing directives; integrated mitigation and adaptation; financial considerations; and multi-sectoral project approaches.

L-R: Marc Gillet, National Observatory on the Effects of Climate Change, France; Eduardo Santos, Climate Change Commission, Portugal; Rosario Bento Pais, European Commission; Matti Nummelin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland; Nana Künkel, GTZ; and Debarati Guha-Sapir, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels

Rosario Bento Pais, EC, said a framework or white paper will be presented by the EC in October, setting out solutions to the options presented in the green paper on adaptation. Eduardo Santos, Climate Change Commission, Portugal, highlighted development cooperation with other Portuguese-speaking developing countries, particularly in Africa. Matti Nummelin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland, said a bottom-up research approach involving the community was an essential component to the success of the pilot project.

More information:

Beatrice Magel (Coordinator) <[email protected]>
Rosario Bento Pais (Chair) <[email protected]>
Eduardo Santos <[email protected]>
Debarati Guha-Sapir <[email protected]>
Matti Nummelin <[email protected]>
Nana Künkel <[email protected]>
Marc Gillet <[email protected]>

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Implementation of adaptation to climate change activities in Latin America

Presented by the World Bank

Walter Vergara, World Bank, presented an overview of the Bank’s Latin America climate portfolio, highlighting as key priorities supporting adaptation and linkages between scientists and policy makers.

Hiroki Kondo, Special Advisor to Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, outlined the research partnership between the Meteorological Research Institute (MRI), the World Bank and some Latin American countries.

Akio Kitoh, MRI, elaborated on high resolution (20 km) modeling undertaken by the MRI, noting that projections for Latin America show that precipitation intensity and the number of consecutive dry days will increase in most regions.

Kenrick Leslie, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, described the Special Adaptation to Climate Change Project, which, with support from the World Bank, aims to implement pilot adaptation projects in three countries.

Ricardo Lozano, Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies of Colombia, outlined goals and actions under Colombia’s Integrated National Adaptation Programme, which aims to, inter alia, enhance national access and capacity to use climate change information and develop responses to the increased exposure to tropical vector-borne diseases.

Alejandro Deeb, World Bank, outlined, on behalf of relevant partners, a joint adaptation project undertaken by Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, to strengthen the resilience of local ecosystems and economies to the impacts of glacier retreat in the Tropical Andes. He said key lessons include the need to develop adaptation locally, but with international support.

Julia Martinez Fernández, National Institute of Ecology, Mexico, presented on her country’s integrated national adaptation pilot project, entitled Strengthening the Resilience of the Coastal Wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico to Climate Change Through Improved Water Resource Management.

Participants discussed centralization in adaptation projects and the importance of including the transfer of data from developed to developing countries in bilateral and multilateral agreements.

Kenrick Leslie, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, said the adaptation projects undertaken in partnership with the World Bank address biodiversity and land degradation issues. Hiroki Kondo, Special Advisor to Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, said the MRI’s high resolution climate model predicts the increased strength of hurricanes in the Caribbean. Akio Kitoh, MRI, described the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology’s “Earth Simulator,” a highly advanced supercomputer that helps achieve better global climate change predictions.

More information:

Walter Vergara (Chair) <[email protected]>
Hiroki Kondo <[email protected]>
Akio Kitoh <[email protected]>
Kenrick Leslie <[email protected]>
Ricardo Lozano <[email protected]>
Alejandro Deeb <[email protected]>
Julia Martinez Fernández <[email protected]>

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Beyond Bali: adaptation, mitigation, and technology absorption

Presented by SustainUS

Chloe Stull-Lane, SustainUS, said climate change is the “ultimate” sustainable development issue, and highlighted that climate justice must be taken seriously.

Juan Hoffmaister, SustainUS, suggested that community-based adaptation is: an ecosystem approach to risk; a context-driven process; and an organic response to change. He added that it builds resilience according to needs and resources. He stressed the importance of stakeholder involvement, and suggested that community-based adaptation has great potential for replication. Hoffmaister noted that his research on community-based adaptation relates to the Bali Action Plan in areas such as economic diversification, disaster risk reduction, and planning and mainstreaming climate-resilient development. He then summarized a number of case studies on these issues. He identified reducing data fragmentation and costs among the remaining challenges to community-based adaptation.

Stephanie Kwan, SustainUS, noted that, as currently formulated, the CDM framework does not require technology transfer, and suggested that, given the importance of technology transfer, it should be required. She argued that intellectual property rights and finance are impediments to technology transfer under the CDM, and said technology transfer can occur by other means, such as through licensing and foreign direct investment. She highlighted that technology absorption is also a critical element of sustainable development, and encouraged incorporating technology absorption initiatives into CDM projects.

Participants discussed: the difficulty of implementing immediate adaptation activities in the context of uncertainty in modeling risk; reasons behind uneven geographic distribution of CDM projects; and the implicit requirement within the CDM framework for technology transfer.

Chloe Stull-Lane, SustainUS, explained that the SustainUS “Agents of Change” programme brings delegations of US-based youth to international conferences to promote policies related to sustainable development and climate change. Juan Hoffmaister, SustainUS, stressed that adaptation is a matter of intergenerational and environmental justice. Stephanie Kwan, SustainUS, said technology transfer and absorption initiatives could be incorporated into CDM projects.

More information:

Chloe Stull-Lane <[email protected]>
Juan Hoffmaister <[email protected]>
Stephanie Kwan <[email protected]>

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Sustainable land management and climate change adaptation: synergy between NAPA and NAP implementation

Presented by the UNCCD

Sergio Zelaya, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), highlighted the need to facilitate complementarity between UNCCD National Action Programmes (NAPs) and UNFCCC National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs).

Bubu Pateh Jallow, UNFCCC Least Developed Country Expert Group Chair, provided examples of complementarities between forestry projects included in NAPs and NAPAs in many African countries. He noted that countries sometimes reintroduced forestry projects in their NAPAs that they first introduced in their NAPs, due to the greater likelihood of obtaining funding under NAPAs.

Emmanuel Chinyamakobvu, UNCCD, showed how NAPs and NAPAs address many common issues, and how NAP activities often help to achieve NAPA goals. He argued that NAPs and NAPAs face many of the same challenges, particularly related to institutional arrangements and lack of capacity, awareness and resources. Stressing the importance of sharing experiences and lessons learned, he encouraged the development of a clear mandate for using synergies to implement both Conventions and the establishment of a work programme that jointly addresses common thematic areas of implementation and problem areas.

Paul Desanker, UNFCCC, stated that although there are reasons to address climate change, desertification and biodiversity loss separately, it is likely that these issues will become increasingly integrated in national plans over the coming years. He reaffirmed the UNFCCC’s strong commitment to build synergies with the UNCCD, noting that the Convention Secretariats are working to identify joint forestry programmes. He acknowledged that funding conflicts can exist between the Conventions.

During discussions, one participant stressed that synergies are difficult to promote when the different Conventions are housed within different ministries, and urged merging activities at the national level. Another participant argued that merging the Conventions at the national level is difficult when there is no merging at the international level. Differences between creating synergies among Conventions rather than merging them were discussed.

L-R: Emmanuel Chinyamakobvu, UNCCD; Sergio Zelaya, UNCCD; Bubu Pateh Jallow, UNFCCC Least Developed Country Expert Group Chair; and Paul Desanker, UNFCCC

Sergio Zelaya, UNCCD, noted that populations in least developed countries and small island States will be the most affected by the combined impacts of climate change and land degradation. Emmanuel Chinyamakobvu, UNCCD, stressed that by building synergies, more of the goals outlined in NAPs and NAPAs can be achieved, and resources can be used more effectively, than if the Conventions try to achieve their goals separately. Bubu Pateh Jallow, UNFCCC Least Developed Country Expert Group Chair, described how many issues related to climate change, desertification and biodiversity loss were raised during local consultations undertaken in the Gambia while the country developed its local and national environmental action plans.

More information:

Bubu Pateh Jallow <[email protected]>
Emmanuel Chinyamakobvu <[email protected]>
Paul Desanker <[email protected]>

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