TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Apr17/03)
14 April 2017
Third World Network

85 developing countries have assessed climate technology needs

Kuala Lumpur, 14 May (Hilary Chiew) - Since 2001, more than 85 developing countries have successfully assessed their technology needs for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This information was made known at the 14th meeting of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC14) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was convened between 28 and 31 March in Bonn, Germany.

The three-and-a-half-day meeting included a one-day thematic dialogue with the theme ‘Industrial energy efficiency and material substitution in carbon intensive sectors’.

Among the key issues discussed was the implementation of the rolling workplan for 2016-2018, updated procedures for preparing the joint chapter of the joint annual report of the TEC and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) to the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) of the UNFCCC at year end, and, the possible approaches for preparing the report of the TEC and the CTCN to the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA).

On the last day, members also discussed at length the TEC’s nomination in response to the invitation to engage with the work of the Paris Committee for Capacity Building (PCCB).

The meeting also welcomed new members who were elected at COP22 in Marrakech in 2016. Those from developing countries were Mr Ayele Anabo (Ethiopia - Africa), Mr Pedro Borges (Venezuela – Latin America), Ms Stella Gama (Malawi – Least Developed Countries), Mr Kazem Kashefi (Iran – Asia Pacific) and Mr Hugh Sealy (Micronesia – Small Island Developing States). New members from developed countries were Mr Robert Berloznik (Belgium), Mr Ian Lloyd (United States) and Mr Naoki Mori (Japan).

Michael Rantil (Sweden) was elected as Chair while Duduzile Nhlengethwa (Swaziland - Africa) was elected vice-Chair.

Below are highlights of discussion in the thematic areas of Technology Needs Assessment and Technology for Adaptation of the rolling workplan 2016-2018

Technology Needs Assessment (TNA)

Secretariat began the discussion on the thematic area of TNA by providing background information on the evolution of the TNA under the UNFCCC.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded the development of the first 69 TNA reports (first generation) since 1999 until 2008. In 2008, TNA development was included in the Poznan Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer (PSP) as a key component for ‘scaling up the level of investment in technology transfer in order to help developing countries address their needs for environmentally-sound technologies (ESTs) ‘. Three phases of the TNA process were and are still being funded under the PSP in between 2013 and 2019.

COP18 (Doha, 2012) recognised that TNAs and their syntheses are a key information source for the work of the TEC in prioritising its activities under the Technology Mechanism, and could be a rich source of information for governments, relevant bodies under the Convention and other stakeholders.

COP21 (Paris, 2015) identified several TNA supportive elements in the Paris Agreement such as the shared long-term vision, on the importance of realising technology development and transfer; importance of technology for the implementation of mitigation and adaptation actions, cooperative action on technology development and transfer; the Technology Mechanism and technology framework; and support including financial support for developing countries.

Therefore, TNAs are one of the key themes of the technology framework established to implement Article 10 (4)  of the Paris Agreement to facilitate undertaking and updating of TNAs, as well as the enhanced implementation of their results, particularly Technology Action Plans (TAPs) and project ideas, through the preparation of bankable projects, provision of enhanced financial and technical support for the implementation of the results of the TNAs, assessment of technologies that are ready for transfer, enhancement of enabling environments for and the addressing of barriers to the development and transfer of socially and ESTs.

Views submitted by Parties on the structure and principles of the technology framework focused on undertaking and updating the TNAs; enhancing the implementation of TNA results and enhancing coherence between TNAs and the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), and climate resilient Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS).

The GEF continues to provide support for the second generation TNAs which were implemented under phase 1 (2009-2013) to 36 developing countries, phase 2 (2014-2017) to 26 developing countries and phase 3 (to be launched soon) for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

(Since 2010, the United Nations Environment Programme Danish Technical University Partnership (DTU) has provided technical and methodological support to developing countries to undertake TNAs).

The UNFCCC Secretariat said that the TEC engagement in the TNA process began at TEC5 (2013) by producing background papers assessing the implementation status including success stories and the inter-linkages between TNAs and national and international climate policy making processes, held in –session workshops, synthesis reports of TNAs, and provided key messages to the COPs etc.

More recently, the TEC’s key messages to COP22 highlighted that the TNA process should be integrated with other mitigation and adaptation processes thus strengthening linkages of the process with the NDC and NAP processes to enhance their effectiveness and responsiveness towards implementation in developing countries. Further, TAPs developed as part of the TNA process should be viewed as a platform for NDCs and NAPs implementation.

The TEC also highlighted that enhanced financial, technical and capacity building support are needed to facilitate the implementation of TAPs and the updating of TNAs, which will bring economic, environmental and social benefits to countries. In addition, the TEC also called for further funding to conduct TNAs and to implement TNA results, beyond the current scope of the Global TNA project funding is encouraged.

The key message of the TEC also noted that a monitoring and evaluation system of TNA results would deliver feedback, enhance learning, improve decision making and could be fed into national reporting systems. It further noted that cooperation between countries could help them implement the results of TNAs, beyond the current technical support provided, and beyond the current scale of implementation. Such cooperation may include information sharing on regional implementation of environmentally-sound mitigation and adaptation technologies, related success stories, lessons learned, as well as opportunities and challenges.

Following the Secretariat presentation, the TEC considered the activity of the ‘possible alignment of the TNA process and the process to formulate and implement NAPs.

Taskforce member Stig Svenningsen (Norway) reported that the TEC extended an invitation to the Adaptation Committee (AC), the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) and the CTCN to collaborate on this COP21 (Paris, 2015) mandate.

At TEC 13 (Sept, 2016), the members considered the draft paper on aligning TNAs with the process to formulate and implement NAPS, and agreed to continue consideration of this matter in 2017.

The Secretariat provided an updated outline of the paper to be considered by the TEC for possible follow-up activities.

The updated paper summarised the potential areas for coordination and synergy in aligning the work of the two processes as follows:

- institutional arrangements: collaboration between national TNA and NAPs team to enrich the work;

- preparatory process: steps during the formulation of the two processes;

- implementation process: synergy during the implementation stages to enrich adaptation with technology;

- knowledge support: provision of ‘both ways’ knowledge support.

The Secretariat also informed that the LEG has expressed strong appreciation for the cooperative spirit and looked forward as to how best to cooperate with the TEC. Reaffirming the importance of technologies in the implementation of adaptation plans, the LEG has stressed the importance of engagement in the early phase so that LDCs and other developing countries could produce NAPs that facilitate better implementation.

It said the LEG found that “some issues are not easy to solve and need to focus on the appropriate technologies to address common vulnerabilities; how to acquire them and how to maintain them and build local capacity to sustain the implementation.”

The LEG has nominated two members to work closely with the TEC.

The Secretariat further informed that the AC established its NAP taskforce to advance its work at its recent and looked forward to the nomination of a new representative of the TEC to join the AC’s NAP taskforce.

Stig Svenningsen (Norway) welcomed the positive way of moving forward and noted the need to know the timeline of the next phase of the TNAs that is about to start soon.

Echoing Svenningsen, Gabriela Fischerova (Slovakia) supported the completion of the paper before the start of the next phase of the TNAs so that recommendations from the document could be used by those countries.

Noting that Phase 3 of the TNAs is focused on SIDs and LDCs, Hugh Sealy (Micronesia) asked if developing countries that had developed TNA received significantly more assistance compared to those that have not. He also noted that qualitative evidence was provided but not statistical evidence of success although after more than 18 years and 85 TNAs completed there should be sufficient empirical date to provide for quantitative analyses. He also expressed concern for SIDS that have limited capacity to develop TNAs let alone aligning it to the various processes.

In response, Svenningsen (Norway) said the COP has decided that the TNA is part of the technology framework of the Paris Agreement and that discussions on how TNAs fit into NDCs will be taken up at next TEC meeting.

Stella Gama (Malawi) said in aligning the TNA and NAP process, we need to consider that developing countries are at different stages of development of TNAs, noting that half of the LDCs have developed TNAs and nine of them have developed TAPs.

She stressed that those TNAs that were developed much earlier might need updating in line with emerging needs and those without TNAs would need specific programme and support to develop them.

Noting that for countries that have started their NAP process, this alignment exercise should not delay the process but should highlight the adaptation technologies needed that are going to be identified by the NAP process. She agreed with Sealy (Micronesia) about the quantification of the success stories.

Gama also questioned why it was difficult for developing countries to obtain the hardware for technology activities. “Is it a lack of financing or other issues ... that itself could be a lesson learnt in the implementation of TNA and TAP,” she added.

Chair Rantil (Sweden) concluded that the TEC agreed in principle with the updated document and pending further engagement with other constituted bodies, TEC would aim to have some concrete outcomes on this matter by end of 2017.

In relation to the activity on ‘methodology on monitoring the TNA results’, taskforce member Svenningsen (Norway) recalled that at TEC13, members considered the outline of the methodology but had differing views on what monitoring means and decided to change the outline to a TEC working paper and initiate a draft methodology on monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of TNA results for further consideration in 2017.

TEC14 will be invited to consider the draft methodology and its options and agreed on any appropriate follow-up activities.

Svenningsen (Norway) informed members that the taskforce has carried out inter-sessional work and prepared a Terms of Reference to prepare the working paper which was discussed and reviewed by the taskforce including options to be offered to the TEC for tracking TAP results.

Presenting via tele-conference, the consultants outlined five areas of consideration:

·         Why consider tracking TNA and TAP progress?

·         What information would likely meet the purposes of tracking TNA and TAP progress?

·         How could this information be accumulated?

·         How could these options be tested?

·         Who should report to whom?

Sealy (Micronesia) questioned if the consultants met the terms of reference which is for a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) as they had come back with ‘tracking progress’. He noted that out of the 85 TNAs completed, only 26 countries have included the TNAs in their NDCs, thus indicating problems. He also said there were 360 TAPs seeking support so ‘let’s ask these countries how many of them received support and let’s track these (TAPs)’.

Svenningsen (Norway) explained that the confusion arose because the taskforce has no mandate to change the title of the activity item as at TEC13 members requested for ‘something lighter and less extensive’ hence settled with tracking instead of M&E.

Pedro Borges (Venezuela) expressed that he is sceptical about the success stories approach without hard data of both a quantitative and qualitative nature.

 “How do we measure success? Is it when we are able to align the TNA with other processes like NAPs, and nationally appropriate mitigation actions (Namas)?” he asked, adding that a TNA is not a requirement but merely a tool and not every country needs to do a TNA as it would depend on the country’s priority and the resources could be better use to do other things.

To this, the Secretariat said that a TNA is country-driven and that it was an opportunity for countries to highlight their needs for technologies, identify barriers and enablers which would enable countries to develop action plans.

Several members also raised the issue of the need to obtain more information on TNAs to enable a proper evaluation of successes or not as “we are dealing with different technologies in different countries” and the motivation for countries to track progress.

Alluding to the fundamental questions raised by TEC members, Chair of the CTCN Advisory Board Spencer Thomas (Grenada) said some clarity on what is being monitored and tracked would help tremendously. Noting the linkages between the Financial Mechanism and the Technology Mechanism, for coordination at the national level, he said it would be useful for the National Designated Entity (the national focal point of the CTCN) to be involved in the monitoring and to have interface with the National Designated Authority (the national contact point of the Green Climate Fund).

Ian Lloyd (United States) agreed with need for clarification on what it means with monitoring and tracking. He said that “we need to think carefully about creating the need for more resources ... and that spending more on M&E means a trade-off in spending less on developing TNAs”, adding that it could end up with imbalance in monitoring if some countries chose not to be monitored.

Chair Rantil (Sweden) concluded that the TEC would proceed with the exchange of information between countries and UNEP-UDP-UNFCCC.

Technologies for Adaptation

Another activity of the TEC is to further work on South-South cooperation (SSC) and triangular cooperation (TrC) on technologies for adaptation.

At TEC12 (April 2016), a thematic dialogue on enablers and barriers to SSC on technologies for adaptation was held. At TEC13 (Sept 2016), members agreed on the following:

(a)    to develop a TEC Brief on SSC and TrC on technologies on adaptation;

(b)   to develop a compilation of good practices on effective information sharing and practical learning from SSC and TrC on technologies for adaptation and to highlight the potential enhancement of endogenous capacities;

(c)    to further study the potential application of SSC and TrC on adaptation and mitigation technologies to assist countries in implementing their NDCs and NAPs.

At TEC14, the taskforce on adaptation will present the draft of the TEC brief and an update on the other two tasks. The TEC is invited to provide guidance on the draft with a view to finalising the brief after TEC 14 and to agree on any appropriate follow-up activities on the other tasks.

Taskforce member Adelle Thomas (Bahamas) recalled that the thematic dialogue held on 6 April, 2016 focused on SSC on water and agriculture technologies which were the two prioritised sectors in adaptation identified by countries in their TNAs.

 At the dialogue, she said a background paper containing results of an e-survey conducted with 138 NDEs to the CTCN, 14 CTCN consortium partner representatives and 102 CTCN network members were presented, including about the experiences and lessons learned among SSC and TrC practitioners, and ways to promote and upscale SSC and TrC in agriculture and water sectors.

After the dialogue, she added that the taskforce followed up with the UN office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) to explore potentials.

Following the mandate from TEC13, the taskforce was tasked to develop a TEC brief on the topic, incorporating the work of the TEC undertaken so far and the relevant information from the engagement with the UNOSSC.

Two drafts of the brief were circulated for comments among taskforce members and the CTCN also provided inputs.

Thomas also explained that the brief contained six sections including potential of SSC/TrC in technologies for adaptation, main challenges to SSC/TrC in technologies for adaptation in the agriculture and water sectors, lessons learned, and promoting  and scaling up of SSC/TrC to assist countries in implementing their adaptation actions.

Thomas said the brief was almost a finalised product and proposed for a soft launch at SB46 during the May intersession in a side event related to SSC.

Naoki Mori (Japan) asked if there are any matching mechanisms and funding available to facilitate SSC given that the cooperation is voluntary in nature.

CTCN Advisory Board Chair Spencer Thomas (Grenada) indicated that as the CTCN has many members from the South, SSC is an area that CTCN can help to promote.

Responding to Mori, Thomas (Bahamas) said that TEC members were of the view that SSC should first be demanded by developing countries before there is a match-making and not the other way around. As a first step, she said there is an online platform and that it will require more work to detail the request and identify the suitable technologies to be transferred. On funding, she said there are financial institutions within south-south framework like the New Development Bank and the Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank that were launched in recent times and could be tapped into.

Chair Rantil (Sweden) concluded that the taskforce will go ahead to finalise the brief for launching during the SBs session in May.

On the remaining two tasks of this activity of the rolling workplan, the Secretariat updated that the taskforce will finalise and present the draft compilation of best practices at TEC15 (Sept 2017) and that the taskforce has recommended to join forces with the taskforce on mitigation to take up the work on the potential application of SSC/TrC on adaptation and mitigation technologies in 2018.

Inputs for the Technical Expert Meeting (TEM) on Adaptation

As part of its workplan, the TEC is to further engage and contribute to the work of the AC in the preparation of future TEMs on adaptation.

Mareer Mohamed Husny (Maldives) who represented the TEC in the technical examination process on adaptation (TEP-A) working group presented an update on the work of TEMS on adaptation scheduled for the May session in Bonn.

 Mareer informed members that the TEP-A was established at COP21 (Paris, 2015) as part of the enhanced actions prior to 2020 and is mandated to be organised by the Subsidiary Bodies (for Implementation and for Science and Technological Advice), conducted by the AC and supported by the Secretariat.

The TEP-A working group comprised of AC members initially but was expanded to include representatives from TEC , LEG, Standing Committee on Finance and NGOs.

For 2017, the TEP-A working group will focus on integrating climate change  with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and explore how NAPs could be a framework for facilitating such linkages. Under this topic, the following issues are to be considered:

·         taking an interconnected view of the SDGs;

·         linking adaptation planning and implementation with the SDGs and the Sendai Framework for DRR, and exploring how NAPs could be a framework for facilitating such linkages;

·         as per the NDCs, emphasise issues relating to water, agriculture, health and urban areas; and

·         means of implementation

For 2018, the TEP-A will focus on adaptation planning for vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems which provide an opportunity to build on the 2017 work of the Nairobi Work Programme.

In 2019, the TEP-A  plans to focus on adaptation finance, including with the private sector while the TEP-A for 2020 would be determined at a later stage.

The proposed work of the TEP-A was welcomed, discussed and endorsed at the latest AC meeting (7-10Mar, 2017)  which requested the working group to continue to support the work of the Secretariat in organising the 2017 TEM-As, including by finalising the guiding questions and identifying speakers.

(Further articles will follow).