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TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Sept15/05)
28 September 2015
Third World Network

UNFCCC’s Technology Committee discusses key messages for COP 21

Kuala Lumpur, 28 September (Hilary Chiew) – The 11th meeting of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC11) was held between 7 and 11 September in Bonn, Germany.

The 4 and half day meeting concluded with four key messages for the year-end 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and three TEC Briefs.

The key messages were drafted by the respective task forces of the TEC and presented to the TEC members in the plenary during the meeting. The messages are on the four areas of linkage between climate technologies with finance, mitigation, technology needs assessments (TNA) and enabling environment and barriers (EEB) and they will be part of the joint annual report of TEC and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) for 2015.

The TEC briefs, also prepared by the taskforces, are on National System of Innovation, Climate Technology Finance, and Distributed Renewable Electricity Generation (DREG).

Among other issues discussed were the requests from COP20 (2014), potential elements for the rolling workplan of 2016-2017,  further work on EEB and the preparation for the thematic dialogue on South-South cooperation in the area of adaptation technologies.

The requests from COP20 are:

·         guidance on how the TNAs, in particular the technology action plans(TAPs), can be developed into projects that can be ultimately implemented, and to provide an interim report on its preliminary findings to the Subsidiary Bodies 43rd (SB43) meeting in December 2015;

·         a final report on the evaluation of the Poznan Strategic Programme on technology transfer through the 43rd Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI43).

Below are highlights of discussions of the various agenda items.

Technology Needs Assessment (TNA)

At TEC10 (March 2015), following the COP20 request, the task force for TNA was requested to prepare a draft interim report, including preliminary findings, on guidance on enhanced implementation of the results of TNAs, in particular the TAPs, can be developed into projects that can be ultimately implemented, to be presented to SB43.

On 8 Sept, the secretariat presented the draft interim report to TEC members. The secretariat reported that the terms of reference for the report included the reviews of the existing TNA guidance, the existing TAPs and project ideas; and identification of the ideal guidance.

The secretariat also presented a synthesis of the submissions from the call for inputs on the matter from various stakeholders as agreed at TEC10.  Between 8 May and 26 June, the secretariat received submissions from 11 organisations based on eight guiding questions.

(For the synthesis report, please go to http://unfccc.int/ttclear/misc_/StaticFiles/gnwoerk_static/TEM_TEC_meetings/
156e1670ff204f3cb393cb2bca473a82/06795a43e92f410da27d7bf36ae25b52.pdf
)

Vice-Chair of the CTCN, Fred Machulu Onduri (Uganda) said TNA is currently the “hot cake” which the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism (comprising both the TEC and CTCN) should concentrate and get implementation in place.

He said we should have a timeline for CTCN to take up the issue as time is running out, adding that we should also look at capacity and financial gaps that are impeding the implementation of the TAPs.

Gabriela Fischerova (Slovakia) who is a member of the TNA taskforce welcomed the draft interim report but noted that every good idea has to go through the whole investment cycle and stressed the need to match the ideas in the TAPs to donors.  

Zitouni Ould-Dada, head of technology unit of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP) said local capacity and knowledge are important to enable implementation, lamenting the poor selection of consultants in some of the TNAs that the UNEP managed.  He said that the TNA development involved a lot of stakeholders and they must be involved at the right time and are committed to follow-up actions.

There must be flexibility to allow for things to be done differently in different places given the different needs, supporting the need to link the TNAs to the work of the CTCN, he said further. One of the key messages to the COP should be that countries are crying for implementation of the TNAs, he stressed .

(UNEP in collaboration with the UNEP Risoe Centre implemented the development of TNAs, on behalf of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in 2009. TNA development is a key component of the Poznan Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer to provide targeted financial, technical and methodological support to assist countries in conducting TNAs.)

Karma Tshering (Bhutan) said that he was worried that the TNA Bhutan submitted in 2012 is outdated in terms of action points and priorities. He said countries cannot show experience without implementation being done first, noting that experiences gained so far are based on pilot cases and are small in magnitude. Therefore, the guidance to be provided should emphasise the urgency of implementation.

On capacity building, Tshering said that CTCN has started the work but only at the regional level and focusing on the establishment of National Designated Entities (NDEs); it needs to go down to the national and sectoral levels, stressing that TNAs have to be in line with national goal to gain political support. He said the TEC has to give concrete decisions and clarity of link between the TEC and CTCN, where currently there is still a lot of confusion at the country level.

Antonio Pfulger (Germany) said he often asked what happened after the TNAs. Citing the example of the distributed renewable electricity generation (DREG) exercise, in terms of the type of system and the relevant framework conditions in support of the technologies, he asked if it is up to the TEC to decide or should there be another round of analysis by consultants guided by the task force (on mitigation).

Chairing the discussion, vice-Chair Gabriel Blanco (Argentina) invited all those who had commented to participate in the breakout group discussion in the afternoon.

The breakout group on TNAs deliberated two interconnected issues: guidance on enhanced implementation of TNAs and key messages to COP21. The discussion was based on a one-page draft key messages to COP21 prepared by the taskforce dated 26 August.

In further deliberation on the guidance on enhanced implementation of TNAs, Jurg Grutter (Switzerland) opined that TNAs contained extremely crude project ideas that are far from implementable and bankable. He said we should not create the impression or expectation that there are dozens of implementable TNAs.

To this, Tshering (Bhutan) acknowledged that not everything in the TNAs or TAPs are projects themselves but merely snapshots of the potential. He said currently there is a total disconnect between the project and the requirements of donors and that the projects have not taken off. Least Developed Countries and others (referring to non-Annex 1 countries), said Tshering, are stuck as nothing is moving. “This is the reality. So it has to be dealt with,” he added.

Machulu Onduri said there should be support across all developing countries to undertake TNAs and translate the TNAs into bankable projects by the CTCN using existing structures like the NDE and the networks.

Tshering and Machulu Onduri’s assertions were supported by Birama Diarra (Mali) who noted that there should be a clear message stressing the importance of converting project ideas under the TAPs into implementable projects.

Fu Sha (China) said as the key messages should be linked to the mandate which is to enhance the implementation of TNAs, the starting point should be the status of implementation of TNA results. Noting that TNAs are not implemented because they are not perfect, she stressed that TNA itself is to identify the technology needs instead of implementation but other factors like means of implementation should be considered. Hence, the key messages should include means of implementation.

On 9 Sept, at the reporting back of breakout group for final TEC consideration, David Reidmiller (United States) questioned if there is any empirical evidence that funding for conducting TAPs and project ideas needs to be increased.

 

Tshering pointed out that experience showed that adequacy of funding is an issue where the amount provided is not enough to prepare TNA itself and that the TAPs are done according to allocations for TNAs. That is why, he added, TAPs remain concept-type of proposals and not a full-blown proposal, resulting in slow implementation of TAPs except in some pilot projects. For Bhutan, he said, the TAPs are still at an incubator stage.

Members adopted a final draft highlighting the findings of the interim report which included:

·         Active participation of NDEs as key players in the implementation of nationally prioritised technologies can facilitate CTCN technical assistance to enhance implementation of TNA results.

·         Project proposals will be most successful if they have funding identified, which is facilitated by providing detailed information about costs, cost-benefit-ratios, co-benefits, funding options, monitoring plans, and risk analyses that can make projects more attractive to funders.

The draft also provided recommendations from TEC to the COP which included:

·         Urging Parties to identify and engage experienced stakeholders in developing implementable TNAs, including specifying stakeholder roles as ‘champions’ and ‘enablers’.

·         Encouraging developing country Parties to integrate TNAs with other relevant national and sectoral plans and programmes, such as national development plans and other related mitigation and adaptation processes.

·         Recognising that the active participation of NDEs as key players in the implementation of nationally prioritised technologies can facilitate CTCN technical assistance to enhance implementation of TNA results, and capacity building for NDEs would help them to perform more effectively.

·         Recognising the need to expedite TAP implementation and to incorporate funding options for implementing project ideas, and the potential needs for additional financial and human resources when conducting TAPs, and improving previous ones, in order to trigger investors’ interest in project implementation.

Evaluation of the Poznan Strategic Programme  (PSP) on technology transfer

The taskforce on emerging and cross-cutting issues undertook the evaluation of the PSP on technology transfer. On 7 Sept, its member, Stig Svenningsen (Norway), reported that following the request from TEC10, the taskforce completed the drafting of the interim report between March and April 2015 and submitted it in a timely manner to SBI42 (June 2015). The taskforce continued to conduct evaluations between April and September and had finalised the evaluation and prepared the draft final report for COP21 through SBI43 (which meets in Dec 2015).

(SBI40 in June 2014 invited the TEC to evaluate the PSP with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of the Technology Mechanism and to report back on the matter to COP20 in Dec 2014. In its report to COP20, the TEC acknowledged that additional time would be required to evaluate the PSP and this would be undertaken in 2015.)

Following the presentation from the taskforce and the secretariat on the draft final report, members deliberated on the draft key messages and recommendations on ‘Improving the PSP to enhance the effectiveness of the TM,’ prepared by the taskforce and which would be included in the joint annual report of the TEC and CTCN for 2015.

 

Machulu Onduri (CTCN) recalled that the aim of PSP was to enhance the delivery of the technology transfer process and at that time, it was felt that it should focus on TNAs and on piloting priority technologies in mitigation and adaptation projects. Later, it was felt that there were deficiencies in the PSP and hence in Cancun (at COP16 in 2010), it was agreed that there was a need to establish the Technology Mechanism (TM). Therefore, he asked, if the PSP was as an early attempt, should be continued or should be collapsed into the TM. He said the evaluation should consider this matter and work out a modality on the link between the PSP and the TM. To avoid undermining the TM, it was time, he said, to consider loading the activities of PSP onto the TM for effective implementation of technology development and transfer.

To this, Elfriede More (Austria) cautioned members to keep in mind the procedure of guiding the PSP and respect how the PSP gets its guidance.

Omedi Moses Jura (Kenya) echoed Machulu Onduri’s view saying that we should consider how the PSP work can be done better under the TM or coordinate the work to avoid duplication and ensure efficient use of resources. He said one suggestion that came out from the evaluation exercise was the formalisation of the linkage between the regional centres and the CTCN but there was no mention about the linkage with the PSP. He said the CTCN should be allowed the space to participate in the evaluation as it is part of the TM.

Svenningsen (Norway) said the CTCN has been involved in the evaluation as it is a member of the taskforce but there were not many comments from the CTCN. He said the decision (to collapse the PSP into the TM) lies with the COP and we keep forgetting that the GEF is the Financial Mechanism (of the UNFCCC) and the PSP is just one of the implementing agents. He noted that the TEC is not allowed to recommend anything but it can encourage.

 

Reidmiller (US) said the focus of PSP should be on the TNAs and also cautioned against breaching the mandate given to TEC.

Blanco (Argentina) pointed out that what will happen in the near future to the PSP cannot be disregarded as the GEF did not replenish the allocation for the PSP under its 6th cycle and “that tells us something” and this concern needs to be addressed.

In the ensuring breakout group, Blanco cautioned against double-counting of technology-related activities of the GEF as PSP activities but More (Austria) disagreed, noting that technology support for the five activities under the PSP are reflected as country allocations and these are summarised as the activity report of the PSP by the GEF to the COP.

Svenningsen (Norway) said as the needs of the Parties are evolving all the time, Parties would need different structure of reporting.

Daniel Buira Calrk (Mexico) asked if it is the job of the TEC to make recommendations to the COP on how the GEF systematically reviews the way it reports (to the COP).

To this, Svenningsen (Norway) again cautioned that it is not within the TEC mandate to provide guidance to the GEF as the mandate was only to evaluate the PSP.

Clark (Mexico) said he did not see how coming up with a recommendation that involves reporting (of the PSP activities) is outside the mandate. “If the TEC is advising the COP, I think that this well within the mandate,” he opined.

Svenningsen disagreed, saying that it will require a new mandate and suggested bringing this issue to the Standing Committee on Finance.

Clark (Mexico) conceded that it is a COP decision but noted that if it is to enhance the TEC then it is for the TEC to recommend to the COP.

TEC Chair Kunihiko Shimada (Japan) suggested referring the matter to the SBI and COP for a decision and conclusions but the TEC does not have the mandate (beyond the evaluation of the PSP).

Blanco (Argentina) noted that TEC does not have the mandate but it can always make a recommendation.

Blanco again raised the issue of the future of the PSP. He said based on the evaluation, the TEC should either recommend for the matter to be discussed at the COP, noting that options available included whether to end it in the near or far future or do away with it. ‘It is the core thing to say but we are not saying it. It can be (included) as the last recommendation for the COP,” he added.

More (Austria) reminded that it is not within the mandate for the TEC to provide recommendations on the future of the PSP. It is up to the COP to consider the outcome of the evaluation report.

Blanco (Argentina) retorted that everything we say is about enhancing the future. Echoing Blanco, Clark (Mexico) said the spirit is to enhance the TM in the future.

Machulu Onduri (CTCN) emphasised the need to strengthen the TM. Therefore, the TEC should consider the function and purpose of the PSP and its achievements, the gaps and the outstanding issues. He asked if the PSP has lived up to its expectation and if there is duplication of work. Do we need to keep the PSP or strengthen it in accordance with the TM. He said we have the mandate to evaluate and should not wait for mandate to make recommendation, stressing that it is the mandate for the findings to make recommendations that is evidence-based.  “Now that the TM is up and running, let’s see how to systematically collapse the PSP (into the TM),” he urged.

 

Svenningsen (Norway) said the taskforce did not find any duplication at all; hence it has not made such recommendation but to touch on linkages and information sharing (between the PSP and TM). “It is hard for us to say duplication as there is no evidence,” he added. He cautioned that removing the PSP is a big recommendation and ‘you will never get a consensus’.

More (Austria) warned that it would mean GEF will not provide funding for climate technology anymore.

The amended wordings of the recommendations on these two contentious discussion read:

·         The TEC recommends that the COP invite the GEF to structure its report on the PSP under the areas of: (i) regional and global climate technology activities; (ii) national climate technology activities; and (iii) TNAs. This is undertaken with the aim of enhancing the clarity of the PSP and the TM.

·         The TEC recommends that the GEF report annually to the COP through the SBI on the progress made in carrying out its activities under the PSP, including its long-term implementation, instead of twice a year as per FCCC/SBI/2011/7, paragraph 137.

 

Mitigation – Distributed Renewable Electricity Generation (DREG)

The ‘Mitigation’ taskforce was requested to prepare a summary of the outcome of the thematic dialogue on DREG held during TEC10.

Taskforce member Pfulger (Germany) reported on 7 Sept that the group also worked on the requests of preparing a TEC Brief on DREG, draft key messages to COP21 and initiate preparation of a technical paper on DREG.

Members discussed the draft key messages centred on technology deployment in DREG.

Key discussion centred on paragraph 2a that reads: “Build and strengthen in-country capacity in the form of human and institutional capabilities, including through national system of innovation, in order to fully enable countries to receive and absorb as well as to adapt and develop nationally distributed renewable systems. More assistance may be needed to enable systems to cope with intermittenc.”;

Seyed Mohammad Sadeghzadeh (Iran) said he is not comfortable with ‘to receive and absorb’ as we want to facilitate development and transfer of technology. The current paragraph, he said, does not add value to developing countries and does not define responsibilities (without the wording of technology transfer). “Even now we can buy technology if we can secure the budget but TEC is to help with transfer of technology,” he stressed.

Svenningsen (Norway) said there is difference between having the finance and the human capacity, adding that having the latter includes the absorption part. ‘’We miss the point if we just buy it and put it up but then it won’t work and wait for help,’’ he added.

Clark (Mexico) proposed replacing with ‘to transfer, deploy and operate’. He also said the emphasis should be on improving the technologies.

In the agreed key messages, the amended paragraph reads: “Build and strengthen in-country capacity in the form of human and institutional capabilities, including through national systems of innovation, in order to fully enable countries to develop, transfer, deploy and operate nationally distributed renewable systems. More assistance and technology improvement may be needed to enable systems to cope with intermittency in a cost-effective manner.”

The key message also included:

“The TEC also recommends that the COP invite Parties, operating entities of the Financial Mechanism and other financial institutions to provide financial support for the development and transfer of technology in distributed renewable electricity generation, taking into account the recommendations provided in paragraph 2 above.

The TEC informs Parties that it has initiated the preparation of a technical paper on distributed renewable electricity generation.”

Enabling Environment and Barriers – National System of Innovation

The taskforce on Enabling Environment and Barriers (EEB) shared the final draft of its TEC Brief on National System of Innovation (NSI) and draft key messages to COP21.

(Under the EEB area of the 2014-2015 rolling workplan, the TEC agreed to produce a TEC brief on NSI and held a workshop on NSI in October 2014.)

Taskforce member Moses Jura (Kenya) reported that key organisations were invited to share data on state-of-play of NSI and inputs were received from the Global Innovation Index, the International Energy Agency, International Renewable Energy Agency and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He said building on inputs from these organisations, the taskforce completed the draft in mid-August. On the key messages to COP21, he said they were drawn from findings of the TEC Brief.

On 9 Sept, members discussed the draft key messages in the plenary.

Referring to paragraph 1b, Blanco (Argentina) said having an ‘effective NSI is a precondition’ and is too prescriptive and can create misunderstandings. 

(Paragraph 1b reads: “To accelerate global climate efforts, there is a need to support developing countries in strengthening their NSI. Effective NSIs are a precondition to enhance developing country capacity to absorb new technologies, adapt these technologies to their needs, and implement and maintain them. This will also support continued technological development and adaptation to regional needs.”

Fu (China) noted that technologies required are not confined to the new ones but developing countries also need existing technologies and also diffusion of those technologies.

Following the interventions, the agreed paragraph reads: “To accelerate global climate efforts, there is a need to support developing countries in strengthening their NSI. Effective NSIs are essential to enhance developing country capacity to absorb, distribute, diffuse and deploy climate technologies, adapt these technologies to their needs, and implement and maintain them. This will also support continued technological development and adaptation to regional needs.”

Climate Technology Financing

Taskforce member More (Austria) reported on the work of the taskforce on ‘linkages between the TM and Financial Mechanism (FM)’, also known as ‘taskforce of finance’. She said at TEC10, the taskforce was requested to:

·         Communicate with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) on possible areas for collaboration’;

·         Engage with the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) in providing inputs into the draft guidance for the Operating Entities of the FM;

·         Provide inputs to the in-session workshop on Long-term Finance;

·         Prepare a TEC Brief on climate technology financing;

·         Prepare draft key messages to COP21 drawing upon the TEC Brief

Collaboration with the GCF

On 10 Sept, members held a tele-conference session with Co-Chairs of the GCF Board Henrik Harboe (Norway). Harboe informed that there is readiness work going on in assisting developing countries to develop proposals for funding; that 20 entities had been accredited by the GCF and it is waiting funding proposals from developing countries. He further said the GCF has agreed to an independent advisory technical panel (IATP) to assess the proposals and to advise the GCF Board. He said there was explicit reference to the TEC and once the IATP is established, it would be ready to nominate a TEC representative to tap into the competency of the TEC.

Responding to Tshering (Bhutan), Harboe said GCF has not decided on a dedicated window for technology as there is strong wish not to divide the Fund into different windows and purposes but there have been decisions on priorities, aiming at balancing fund for mitigation and adaptation at 50-50, acknowledging that the technology component is essential for transformative change.

Blanco (Argentina) asked if the GCF considered supporting activities that do not directly reduce emissions and create resilience but that are needed like training activities for technologies in the preparatory stage.

To this, Harboe said the idea of the Fund is to help countries to gradually implement climate-friendly development pathways via low emission strategies and capacity building. Therefore, it is possible to finance activities that increase the level of technologies to have a positive impact on the climate, pointing out that the readiness programme is the link to the development of strategies.

Shimada (Japan) welcomed the development of the IATP which would be an opportunity to engage with the GCF. He noted the possibility of the TEC Chair to attend the GCF Board meeting next year and the financial support from GCF for technology development and transfer. He suggested a meeting between the TEC and the GCF during the first week of COP21 in Paris to discuss further on collaboration.

Inputs to the SCF

One of the functions of the SCF is to provide to the COP draft guidance to the operating entities (OEs) of the FM of the Convention, with a view to improving the consistency and practicality of such guidance, taking into account the annual reports of the OEs as well as relevant submissions from Parties.

Towards this end, the SCF had invited the TEC to provide inputs to the SCF with regards to the draft guidance to the OEs of the FM to be provided to COP21. This is an activity in the updated rolling workplan of the TEC for 2014-2015.  Thus the taskforce on linkages between TM and FM was requested to prepare elements for the draft guidance to the OEs through the SCF.

On 10 Sept, members held a tele-conference session with SCF’s member Diann Black-Layne (Antigua and Barbuda).  She noted that in the past, the SCF only received reports from the GEF but this year there are reports from the GEF and the GCF and the SCF would like to prepare in advance of COP21 in providing guidance to these OEs. She said given the limited time, TEC would be asked to provide its input by 21 Sept. for the SCF’s deliberation at the latter’s meeting from 26 to 28 Oct in Bonn.

Jukka Ousukainnen, the Executive Director of the CTCN asked how the joint report of the TEC and CTCN would be considered by the SCF.

Black-Layne said the specific conclusions can form the points for guidance and TEC could send those specific elements and Parties (at the COP) can bring in additional guidance to the COP.

Moses Jura (Kenya) said that it was important to know if the guidance (in the past) was adequate so that TEC can be guided further in giving guidance.

Pfulger (Germany) said as the input is also related to the CTCN, closer exchange between the National Designated Authorities (NDAs) of GCF and NDEs (of CTCN) will be useful.

Clark (Mexico) said the TEC should not shy away from giving original ideas and wondered if there was feedback if the guidance were considered repetitive and ambiguous.

TEC Brief on enhancing access to climate technology financing

The TEC organised a thematic dialogue on climate technology financing at its 9th meeting in 2014. At TEC10, members agreed on topics and indicative outline of the TEC brief and the final draft was made available for TEC consideration at its current meeting to be finalised.  Taskforce member Clark (Mexico) presented the final draft on 10 Sept.

Reidmiller (US) in reference to section 5 subtitled ‘Possible actions by the TEC’, asked if the GCF can fund upstream RD&D rather than downstream investments.

The section reads: “The TEC could provide inputs and advice to the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism (FM) on how technology development and transfer in developing countries could be supported most effectively, including by:

 Providing information on key elements to stimulate RD&D and early stage investment to encourage effective support by the GCF”.

Chairing the discussion, TEC vice-Chair Blanco (Argentina) noted that the COP established various mechanism (like TEC) to cover a number of issues but at the same time ‘we have this funding activity that does not deal with funding for the work of those mechanism’.

Svenningsen (Norway) said possible actions of the TEC should not be for the brief but for the TEC’s internal work and he would be cautious when advising particular instruments (referring to GCF). He also wondered if ‘Feed-in-Tariffs’ are an appropriate recommendation as it can be extremely expensive, reckoning that it would depend on specific situation of countries. He said for Norway, emissions are not in electricity generation but from industrial processes like cement production.

Section 3 of the brief on ‘Good practices and lessons learned from climate technology financing’ states: “One of the most successful policy instruments for attracting private investment in climate technologies are Feed‐in‐tariffs (FiT). FiTs are technology specific and provide price support to increase return on investment. To reduce the burden of FiTs place on electricity rate payers, international support may be required.”

Sadeghzadeh (Iran) said FiT is most important and successful for renewable energy technology and he would like to insist that it goes into the brief.

The next TEC meeting was set for 4 to 6 April.

 


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