|8 December 2008
UNFCCC COP14 Press Room, Poznan, Poland
Since its establishment, IGES has been conducting research on global climate policy issues and helping to advance the process of international climate negotiations. The year 2008 is special to IGES as it marks the 10th anniversary of the institute’s establishment. In commemoration of the tenth anniversary and in time for the G8 summit held in Hokkaido, Japan, IGES published its second White Paper entitled “Re-uniting climate change and sustainable development”. At IGES, we recognise that climate change has strong implications for sustainable development in Asia. We also recognise that climate policy cannot stand alone and needs to be integrated into sectoral development policies. The White Paper summarised IGES findings on climate policies and identified several priorities for the Asia-Pacific region. Many findings reported in the White Paper have implications for climate negotiations in Poznan.
IGES feels strongly that these negotiations stand at a critical juncture in the process leading to an agreement on the post-2012 climate regime next year in Copenhagen. We, therefore, organised several side events at the 14th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP14). I am pleased to report that the six side events that we held were successful, thanks to the participation and support of several speakers including senior climate negotiators, such as Ambassador for Climate Change Adrian Macey of New Zealand and Ambassador Rae Kwon Chung of Republic of Korea. The side events covered a wide range of issues that are directly relevant to the current climate negotiations.
On 4 December, IGES organised a side event in collaboration with the Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ASEF) to explore different options for integrating mitigation and adaptation opportunities in agriculture. Given the fact that the agriculture sector did not receive much attention in the Kyoto Protocol even though it has considerable potential for mitigation and adaptation, the discussions at the side event were timely. Participants discussed synergies and trade-offs in integrating mitigation and adaptation. They noted the need to strengthen cooperation between Asia and Europe by, for instance, conducting joint research and pilot projects, exchanging good practices and expertise, and utilising channels such as the Asia-Europe Environmental Forum and the Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED). Climate negotiators were encouraged to recognise the untapped potential for mitigation and adaptation opportunities in agriculture and identify appropriate incentives for the sector, which is likely to benefit marginal farming communities worldwide.
On 5 December, IGES organised four side events. The first event addressed ways to reward the co-benefits of transportation policies in the future climate regime. It was noted that, despite the fact that many transportation policies have developmental and climate benefits, the transportation sector has not benefited from the global carbon market. At the side event, many concrete suggestions to the reform of the Clean Development mechanism (CDM) were made, including:
Participants stressed the importance of creating alternative mechanisms to finance transportation projects outside the CDM. The discussions also explored options for strengthening synergies between UNFCCC and non-UNFCCC mechanisms
The second event focused on Asian perspectives on reaching an effective agreement at COP15 in Copenhagen. IGES has been conducting multi-stakeholder consultations on the future climate regime since 2005. At this event, the outcomes of the consultations and unique proposals for moving the negotiation process forward were presented. Priorities for negotiation on issues, such as sectoral approaches, enabling environment, adaptation financing, reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, energy security and co-benefits, were identified. A series of IGES Briefing Notes on the future climate regime featuring these messages will soon be published. Senior negotiators from various countries participated in a panel discussion and offered several concrete suggestions to build trust in a future climate regime. Some views expressed at the event included the following:
The third side event focused on one of the main pillars of the future climate regime - adaptation to climate change. This event was conducted jointly with the World Resources Institute (WRI), USA. Options for measuring the effectiveness of adaptation and their implications for climate negotiations, especially with respect to adaptation funding and governance were discussed at the event. IGES researchers presented salient findings of field surveys and an expert consultation held on adaptation metrics in cooperation with the World Bank. A conceptual framework for monitoring adaptation effectiveness at the national level was presented by WRI. An international panel then discussed the following issues:
Panel members recognised that further work is necessary to ensure that adaptation actions are MRV’able, and that metrics could be simple and not necessarily quantitative. Participants agreed that further work on indicators for measuring the effectiveness of adaptation would be useful to advance negotiations on adaptation funding priorities and governance mechanisms.
The fourth side event of the day was again organised in cooperation with the Asia-Europe Environment Forum. The event focused on the role of civil society in tackling climate change. Participants suggested that civil society organisations must act in partnership and demonstrate pragmatic actions. They noted the need for transforming vision and mission statements into concrete actions that will generate tangible results in terms of emission reductions, livelihood improvement, policy change and institutional development. Through enhanced networking and partnership, civil society can demonstrate the impacts of joint endeavours in tackling tackle climate change. Participants underscored that the ongoing climate negotiations should proactively recognise actions by the civil society in different countries.
On 6 December, the final and sixth IGES side event was co-organised with the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MoEJ) and the Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center (OECC). The event focused on co-benefits and proposals for reform to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). In the first half of the event, an MoEJ study on the co-benefits approach to climate change and development was presented. Pollution control and various tools for the quantitative evaluation of co-benefits, such as the project potential identification catalogue, were then discussed. Representatives from Asian developing countries discussed options for enhancing the developmental co-benefits of CDM projects. In the second half of the side event, the activities of the IGES capacity building programme in relation to CDM reform were presented followed by a discussion of barriers to the promotion of CDM in Viet Nam, Philippines and Cambodia. A proposal for CDM reform, which involves the removal of additionality test for renewable energy projects, was then presented.
IGES will continue to conduct strategic policy research and organise activities like those above to bring concrete policy recommendations to regional policymakers and climate negotiators. IGES is committed to making the next climate change regime a framework that reflects the interests of stakeholders inside and outside the Asia-Pacific for the immediate future and decades to come.