TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Oct14/02)
10 October 2014
Third World Network

UNFCCC’s Adaptation Committee discuss workshop on finance

New Delhi, 10 October (Indrajit Bose) — The sixth meeting of the Adaptation Committee (AC) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place in Bonn, Germany, from 29 September-1 October 2014.

The AC went through 14 items on its agenda, some of which included coherence and collaboration on adaptation-related matters under the Convention, National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), monitoring and evaluation of adaptation, means to incentivize the implementation of adaptation actions, future adaptation forum and workplan of the AC after 2015. Four break-out groups were formed, which discussed coherence, means of implementation and work on the task force of NAPs. Following are some of the conclusions the AC adopted at the meeting.

Means to incentivize the implementation of adaptation actions

The AC is to convene a workshop with relevant bilateral, regional and multilateral institutions facilitating the means of implementation (finance, technology and capacity-building), as well as with development agencies at the country level, to discuss how to further promote the implementation of enhanced action in a coherent manner under the Convention. At its previous meeting (the 5th meeting), the AC had requested the secretariat, under the guidance of the co-chairs, to draft a scoping paper for the workshop.

At the sixth meeting, AC co-chairs Juan Pablo Hoffmaister (of Bolivia) and Christina Chan (of USA) informed the committee that the scoping paper was focused primarily on finance, not broadly on means of implementation. The idea of presenting the paper to the AC was to agree on the scope of the paper, timing of the meeting as well as two or three framing questions to help organize a provisional agenda for the meeting. The AC members had an in depth discussion on the subject and the central point of divergence among the members was whether the workshop should focus on finance alone, or if it should focus on all the three areas of means of implementation—finance, capacity building and technology transfer. AC members put forth various suggestions on the workshop.

Margaret Mukhanana-Sangarwe (Zimbabwe) reminded the AC of the reason for its existence. She said that push for an adaptation committee triggered when Parties tried to review implementation or support for adaptation to developing countries, but no conclusion could be reached. She iterated that the problem of coherence arose because developed countries said they had put in a lot of money, but developing countries did not agree. Given this background, she said the focus of the workshop should be on finance. The other two areas of means of implementation are also dependent on finance, she said. She also added that the issue of MRV (monitoring-review-verification) of support is very critical.

Clifford Mahlung (Jamaica) said countries could not really claim that they are satisfied with the work (on adaptation finance) or that enough work had been done. Mahlung said that most funding from the Adaptation Fund was out of proceeds of CDM (clean development mechanism) projects, where 2 per cent of levy on such projects goes into the Adaptation Fund. He added that the developed countries have not provided dedicated funding to adaptation and this is what the workshop should aim for—on getting information out. “Countries have said they have put money into fast start finance, but how much of the money has resulted in concrete adaptation projects?” he asked. A workshop focused on the topic could “put us on a clear path so that developing countries are clear about what work is being done”, he added.

Amjad Abdulla (Maldives) reiterated the importance of provision of financial support over capacity building and technology transfer. He also warned against excessive focus on private sector support and called for broader focus as well as specificity at the workshop.

Naser Moghaddasi (Iran) suggested that the workshop could focus on finance and the AC could build on from the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) workshop that happened in August 2014. He also suggested that the other option was to hold a three- or four-day workshop where all aspects of means of implementation—finance, capacity building and technology transfer—could be covered.

Damdin Davgadorj (Mongolia) suggested the workshop take up the issue of intended nationally determined contributions (referring to the discussions currently ongoing under the Durban Platform on the post 2015 agreement).

Andro Drecun (Montenegro) said that infrastructure is an adaptation topic. Countries face the threat of floods and secure infrastructure is needed as an adaptation measure, he said.

Sumaya Ahmed Zakieldeen (Sudan) agreed with colleagues on the importance of giving emphasis to finance in the workshop. She also said that the workshop take up issues of successes and barriers in the implementation of adaptation, and added that the issue of source of finance is very important for developing countries.

Fredrick Kossam (Malawi) said information on whether the multilateral development banks are financing through grants, loans or concessional loans would be useful.

Luke Daunivalu (Fiji) said the key focus of the workshop should be finance.

Klaus Radunsky (Austria) said the focus of the workshop should go beyond finance. He said there is also capacity building. Referring to adaptation as being country driven, he asked how the AC could support a country if the country itself did not prioritize adaptation. Klaus also suggested taking up topics such as lack of available data and gaps at the workshop.

Akio Takemoto (Japan) said each item is interlinked to the other and spoke of the importance of technology transfer and capacity building. He said that the workshop should treat all the three elements equally and provide an opportunity to scientists and policymakers to interact with each other and understand gaps for a better appreciation of adaptation.

After these deliberations, the members formed a break-out group to further discuss the issue. Following the break-out group discussion, the members put forward a proposal that the workshop should seek to enhance understanding of what adaptation finance is; identify how and whether it has been effective and how its effectiveness can be enhanced. The focus areas agreed include role of national institutional arrangements; access to finance; role of the private sector; and link to National Adaptation Plans. On next steps, the break-out group proposed that based on the focus areas the co-chairs formulate concrete framing questions for the workshop.

The AC endorsed the proposed focus areas by the group and agreed to create a working group with volunteers from the AC and other constituted bodies if they so wished to support it. The AC requested the co-chairs with support from volunteers and the secretariat to continue preparations of the means of implementation workshop, scheduled in the first quarter of 2015. The AC also agreed that the co-chairs liaise with the SCF to decide on the best format of the workshop.

Coherence and collaboration on adaptation-related matters

The AC discussed four areas under this agenda item. These included adaptation related mandates under the Convention, collaboration with the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), collaboration with the SCF and reports from members on other collaborative activities. A break-out group was formed to discuss these issues and the AC concluded that it would further enhance work on synergies and avoid duplication of activities related to adaptation under the Convention.

On collaboration with the TEC, the AC appreciated the work done by the TEC on briefs on agriculture and water. (The TEC had agreed, following its eighth meeting, on the topics for the briefs and in collaboration with the AC, and had prepared the draft of these briefs.) Welcoming the collaboration between the TEC and the AC, the AC said it would send suggestions to the secretariat on specific areas of further collaboration among the two bodies by October 15.

The AC also agreed to nominate two of its members (Margaret Mukhanana-Sangarwe of Zimbabwe and Klaus Radunsky of Austria) to the TEC Adaptation taskforce to establish a focused space for collaboration. The AC nominated Radunsky, supported by Sangarwe, to the Climate Centre Technology and Network (CTCN). The nomination of the two members is to enhance the inputs the AC can provide to both TEC and CTCN. On collaboration with the SCF, the AC co-chairs agreed to continue the dialogue with the SCF co-chairs on the subject. The AC appreciated the work of the SCF in the organization of the Forum on Adaptation Finance that took place in Jamaica in June this year. The AC also agreed to send the means of implementation scoping paper and the NAP finance paper to the SCF in the spirit of continued engagement between the two bodies.

National Adaptation Plans (NAPs)

Discussion on NAPs was categorized in three areas: work of the taskforce on NAPs, financial support for adaptation plans and progress made on NAP Central. (According to the UNFCCC website, “the NAP Central is an information system that will serve as the main information platform for supporting the NAP process. It will provide examples and case studies drawn from different countries, and will offer a platform for exchanging experiences, lessons and best practices in the formulation and implementation of adaptation plans”.)

On the work of the taskforce of NAPS, the AC appreciated the initiation of implementation of the task for work planned, including the meeting with organisations. (At its 4th meeting the AC established a task force on NAPs to further support developing countries seeking to formulate and implement NAPs). In discussing how to take the NAP process forward, AC members iterated that NAP was grounded at the local level and that it is important for the taskforce to find a way to get feedback from the countries on their NAP-implementation related experiences. AC members also called on the LDC Expert Group (LEG) to provide inputs from barriers and success stories in NAPs implementation and linking the national with the local.

On financial support for NAPs, the AC requested the co-chairs to produce a policy discussion document for consideration by the next AC meeting. After several discussions, the AC agreed to focus the paper on two aspects: access to finance and programmatic approach, with the understanding that other related issues may come up. The co-chairs in producing the paper will consult with SCF and the GEF (Global Environment Facility).

On progress made on NAP Central, the AC took note of the oral report on the status of its development and appreciated the collaboration with the LEG on this matter. The AC had decided to establish a database or clearinghouse-type mechanism for information related to NAP. Following a review and evaluation of existing databases containing information on national adaptation planning, the AC, at its third meeting, had agreed that in light of the LEG’s work on its information system NAP Central, there was no need for the AC to develop a separate database. It also nominated a member to participate in the LEG’s NAP Central team to contribute to that platform on behalf of the AC, and to provide updates to the AC on an on-going basis.

Monitoring and evaluation of adaptation

The AC had organized a workshop on monitoring and evaluation of adaptation in Fiji in September 2013. The fifth meeting of the AC had considered the draft workshop report, which was further revised. At the fifth meeting, the AC had further agreed that the co-chairs, assisted by the secretariat, would prepare a concept note outlining possible next steps and recommendations to the Conference of the Parties (COP) for consideration by the AC. Various proposals came forth in the discussion on what the recommendations should be.

Radunsky (Austria) said the workshop identified very important outcomes in terms of recommendations. A monitoring and evaluation framework needs to be relevant to a country’s circumstance. He also suggested against being too policy prescriptive in the recommendations and was in favour of reconsideration of NATCOM (National Communication) guidelines so that Parties are able to report on their experiences.

Takemoto (Japan) said he would share the results of an adaptation project in Indonesia supported by Japan, vis-à-vis monitoring and evaluation. Renske Peters (Netherlands) suggested that since the area of monitoring and evaluation itself is developing, it would be prudent to capture that in the message to the COP.

Zakieldeen (Sudan) spoke of the importance of clarifying that the monitoring and evaluation tool is a means to help achieve the goal. There was some discussion on indicators too. He also said since adaptation is context specific, one could not talk about a set of indicators. Radunsky (Austria) informed the AC that organizations such as the IUCN (World Conservation Union) are regularly requesting indicators to relate to projects, and it would be good to invite such organisations to hear about their experiences. He also added that methodologies related to national systems should be priority. Takemoto (Japan) addedthat the AC could start with getting information on existing monitoring and evaluation systems, such as in the areas of agriculture and water resource management.

The AC, during its sixth meeting at Bonn, agreed to forward the recommendations to the COP.

On the next steps the AC concluded it would focus on two elements: monitoring and evaluation tools in the national context, and approaches and examples in collaboration with the LEG. This will not be limited to developing countries, the AC agreed.

Ad hoc Group on Technical Support

The AC had agreed to establish an ad hoc group, in collaboration with relevant organizations and experts, to propose modalities to facilitate technical support for projects for Parties upon request. At its fifth meeting, the AC established an ad-hoc group on technical support and agreed on the group’s terms of reference. The Ad hoc group on technical support was asked to analyse existing support on adaptation by existing groups, UN agencies including the gaps, needs and opportunities. The group was mandated to strengthen the coherence of the provision of support to developing countries for action related to adaptation.

At the sixth meeting, co-chair Juan P Hoffmaister reminded the members that they needed to provide guidance and support to the ad hoc group in trying to achieve its mandate. He also said that the terms of reference of the ad hoc group be kept in mind and spoke of the co-chairs’ struggle intersessionally because they did not get a lot of inputs from the group to develop its work.

A background paper prepared by the group and presented to the committee outlined the modalities for engagement, itemized under integration, investment, involvement and information. While investment was not detailed in the paper, integration recognized that adaptation could not be approached as a one-size-fits-all and needs to be integrated into planning and implementation of development policies, strategies and projects. Under involvement, all relevant stakeholders need to be involved at all stages, the paper said. There is a need for close collaboration but the type of stakeholders to be involved may vary depending on the type of adaptation initiatives. On information, the paper said that exchange of information, knowledge and experience would be used to plan and implement adaptation activities.

In the discussion that followed the presentation of the background paper, Sangarwe (Zimbabwe) said that a lot of work remains to be done and that providing technical assistance to developing country Parties is a critical issue. She called for the need to catalyse adaptation action rather than getting involved in too much planning.

Abdulla (Maldives) said while technical support is complementary, the essence is really the means to undertake concrete adaptation. Highlighting implementation as most important, he said that the group needed to focus on how to ensure there is a change when it comes to implementing adaptation action on the ground. Radunsky (Austria) agreed with the modalities of engagement as suggested in the paper. He said rather than focusing on regional centres to assist with adaptation, it might be more helpful to focus on a specific challenge, such as low-lying deltas. This, he said, would be more efficient if organisations working on low-lying deltas would share knowhow and their experiences rather than focusing on a specific region.

Kossam (Malawi) said of the organizations that responded, there were a lot of organizations working on integration; some organisations were working on tools and guidance on methodology of adaptation, but very few were looking at actual implementation of adaptation action on the ground.

(As part of its work plan, the AC had agreed to invite regional institutions and UN agencies supporting work on adaptation to communicate their current support for adaptation in developing countries, including in relation to capacity building, including of national institutions. Fifty-three organisations had provided input in response to the invitation of the AC and offered to assist the committee in whatever work they were mandated by the COP to do).

“There is very less in terms of research generation. There is very little work to promote the actual adaptation that we all want. When we are further building the work, we need to look at gaps,” said Kossam.

Peters (Netherlands) said she thought the group had a good base to begin work vis-à-vis the overview of what institutions can offer. Takemoto (Japan) called for following up on activities outside of the Convention that are doing work on adaptation to enhance coherence on the activities. He also added that the AC should follow up with the organisations in terms of engaging with them on how these activities are going on.

Moghaddasi (Iran) called on the AC to first deal with the 53 institutions that have responded to the AC and then compile the elements for a roadmap for a regional adaptation strategy. Zakieldeen (Sudan) reiterated the importance of the research community being involved in the process and said the priority should be adaptation action, besides working on planning and policies as well as needs and gaps in developing countries.

Following these deliberations, the AC requested the ad hoc group on technical support to prepare an options paper for consideration by its seventh meeting, containing strategic steps to propose modalities to strengthen and to enhance coherence of the provision of support to the developing countries for activities related to adaptation.

Workplan of the AC after 2015

The AC’s work plan for the period 2013-2015 was approved at the COP in Doha. The AC agreed that there should be no gap between 2015 and 2016; they want specificity and detail as well as time to build it with flexibility. The AC plans to develop the workplan during next year, in time for COP 21 so that COP 21 can adopt it. A working group has been created to intersessionally work electronically and additional time would be made available during the meeting in Panama during AC7 to further work on the agenda item.

In addition to these, the AC also appreciated the interaction with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and recognized the usefulness of a continued conversation between the two bodies in the spirit of coherence and to promote further engagement. It also considered a proposal by the UNCCD Secretariat on adaptation indicators, but agreed that consideration of such indicators will need to be mandated by the COP.