Home >> News >> TWN Poznan News Update No.16: Diverse views on Adaptation, no clear path forward
TWN Poznan News Update No.16: Diverse views on Adaptation, no clear path forward PDF Print
Written by Juan Hoffmaister, Third World Network   
Friday, 12 December 2008 00:00
In the current LCA discussions, as reflected in the Chair’s Assembly Document and the third contact group meeting on adaptation under the LCA, the role of the UNFCCC varies from leader on adaptation to less clear roles that would leave the Convention as only a “link” to other entities. The role given to the UNFCCC for enhancing adaptation will determine what forums and under which arrangements decisions regarding adaptation are made.

In the Chair’s Assembly Document, AOSIS has highlighted that the UNFCCC must play a key role in enhancing adaptation and demonstrating greater leadership, and

Argentina has stated the need for the adaptation to remain under the leadership of the UNFCCC, while the African Group has expressed the need for enhanced coherence in how adaptation is addressed. The United States! called for a catalytic and leverage role for the UNFCCC, while Canada has expressed that the role of the UNFCCC should be to enhance action within the UN system, and Australia has said that the Convention should be a link between the different international institutions working in the adaptation field.

During the final contact group meeting in Poznan, the EU stated that Parties must work to foster the catalytic role of the UNFCCC to motivate other bodies to take action and engage a wider range of stakeholders. The EU also stated that the UNFCCC should promote coherent action, sharing information and guidance, and create political momentum for adaptation. Japan said that the best example of the role of the Convention in enhancing adaptation is exemplified by the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP), the knowledge accumulated through U! N activities, and the work done by UN organizations.

Micronesia said that the role of the Convention should enhance adaptation through a consolidated work programme taking a proactive role to bring together resources from multilateral bodies to assist the most vulnerable, and to also ensure that financial flows for adaptation are reported in a transparent matter. Micronesia also summarized the AOSIS proposal for multi-window mechanisms for risk management, noting that the Convention would have an important role to play in their proposed mechanism. (AOSIS presented a proposal during the AWG LCA Workshop on risk management).

During the contact groups in Poznan, the views on what constitutes “incentivizing adaptation, and creating enabling environments” showed different views on factors and means. While the US emphasised wha! t they view as enabling factors, such as an environment for doing business and to catalyze investment, they said that developing countries had a role to develop incentives for adaptation, not just donor countries. LDCs had emphasized that an enabling environment depends on appropriate mechanisms in a submission prior to Poznan, as reflected by the Chair Assembly Document. Bangladesh, during the LCA conta! ct group on adaptation, stressed the importance of ecosystem-based ada ptation and traditional knowledge in all aspects of adaptation, while also noting the importance of capacity building through more rigorous activities, such as fellowships and formal training.

On institutional arraignments for adaptation, countries were asked by co-chair William Kojo Agyemang-Bonsu from Ghana on 6 December to identify the most important issues for inclusion in the Copenhagen agreed outcomes on adaptation. France, speaking on behalf of the EU, pointed to their early submission on an Adaptation Framework, while also noting the importance of country ownership and the effective use of national intuitions to plan for adaptation actions with the goal of reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience. The Cook Islands, speaking for AOSIS, said that the institutional arraignments must allow for a flexible approach to adaptation under the convention, that coordination efforts that is country-driven, and that this will require a permanent adaptation committee under guidance of the COP, as well as a multi-window mechanism to address lost, damage, and risk management.

Another aspect discussed was prioritisation and integration into planning, as mandated by decision 1/CP.13 (Bali Action Plan). On this issue, Gambia said that the implementation of NAPAs should not have to wait for integration into planning, also noting that integration into planning can only occur to the extent feasible, as described on Article 4.1 (f) of the Convention, and integration will happen on an ongoing basis and will depend on means available. South Africa, supported by Bangladesh, said that different planning, institutional arrangements and coordination are necessary. It also stressed that climate change is an additional burden, and adaptation assistance should not be part of ODA but that . additional funding will be required to cover the full cost of adaptation, as stated on Article 4.3 of the Convention, which requires developed country Parties to support the full incremental cost of adaptation activities. Bangladesh added that a vulnerability index would be useful for priorization, and that this index should be developed by the IPCC.

Asked to identify the most important types of adaptation, Parties listed a broad range of issues and approaches at different levels and scales. Bangladesh said that technologies that bring mitigation and adaptation benefits need to be included in the revised Assembly Document. It also noted the importance of actions that help build livelihood security, food security, and water security, as well as the role of insurance. South Africa mentioned the importance of actions with positive outcomes within a multi-sector strategic approach. Cook Islands, speaking on behalf of AOSIS, said that the most important types of adaptation actions are those that address the needs of the vulnerable, and listed early-warming systems, drought monitoring, risk management, and the need to lessen the impact of climate change-related losses listing the three components (insurance, rehabilitation and compensation, and risk management) of their multi-window mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change impacts presented during the LCA risk management workshop on 4 December.

Risk management and risk reduction strategies, including risk sharing and transfer mechanisms such as insurance was addressed during the 9 December contact group, with developing counties stressing the importance of insurance to protect against the impacts of climate change. Developed countries stressed that insurance is just an element of risk management, and noted the importance of sending the signals to the private sector to catalyse the development of insurance schemes in developing countries through enabling environments, provision of ! regulation and capacity building, as stated by the EU and supported by US. The US also said it was necessary to integrate risk management into adaptation and mitigation and into sectoral and national planning to support established development priorities and climate change. Australia said that it was important to understand the context of risk management and risk reduction, and that insurance is only one po! ssible option.

Micronesia, speaking on behalf of AOSIS, stressed that the most vulnerable countries are the ones who have done the least in causing climate change, and are experiencing additional burden due to more extreme weather events. It said that to respond to climate change in Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) it is necessary to spread and transfer risk due to the impacts of climate change in GDP, the lack of ability to address the natural impacts and risk from climate change because insurance schemes are less developed in developing countries. It referenced the AOSIS proposal for a multi-window mechanism for risk management. South Africa said that risk management is important because of climate impacts on food security in semi-arid areas and related challenges, such as water stress. It added the need to develop micro insurance and an approach that addresses the short and long term, and also listed risk management tools such as early warning systems, vulnerability assessment in short ! and medium term. Colombia said the Adaptation Fund should be for all developing countries, and each should prioritize their vulnerabilities. It added the need for economic information on the cost of adaptation, and the relevance of disaster risk reduction and community-based adaptation, microinsurance, and indexed insurance as tools for risk management. It also supported Hyogo Framework for Action on Disaster Risk Reduction and added the need for a regional centre on adaptation for Latin America.

China said that developing countries are suffering different consequences of climate change, and noted the need of methodologies and tools to implement developing programmes that reduce risk associated with climate change. Sri Lanka said that weather behaviour in their region has changed, affecting developing countries and that national and international tools are needed, as well sharing of data. Indonesia said that risk management strategies are important as they affect millions, and noted the importance of early warning system and mainstreaming risk management into national plans of action.

Saudi Arabia said that adaptation is about resilience to climate change and all other impacts from policies and measures taken to mitigate climate change, noting the unique situation for countries highly dependent on commodity. It said that when even when countries strive to reduce impacts, there is still an impact, and noted the need to building resilience through economic diversification to strengthen economies in the long term. It said that insurance and financial risk management, such as stabilization funds, are needed to respond to the adverse impac! ts of climate change and response measures. Bangladesh referenced their 2005-2015 action plan to address impacts of climate change, and pointed out the need to breach the gaps between the Kyoto Protocol, the UNFCCC, and the Hyogo Framework. It also noted the need for regional support mechanism for technical cooperation and capacity building, and the need to reduce risk in areas of food security and water, adding that a financial mechanism is necessary. It stressed the importance early warning systems and the need to enhance information systems. The Cook Islands noted that some of the elements of insurance are applicable to other areas of the Chair’s Assembly Document, and that disaster risk reduction for adaptation need to be encouraged and facilitated, but not become requirements or conditions for support.

On economic diversification to build resilience, Micronesia reiterated that nothing should become a requirement or condition for support, and asked for the discussions on adaptation to be in light of Bali Action Plan paragraph 1c, and to discuss action on response measures and discussion on mitigation in the context of spill over effects. On economic diversification, it said that climate change will have serious impacts on livelihoods, tourism, and agriculture, and will require of capacity building for! SIDS. Peru, with support from Costa Rica, said that it was important to recognize the role of ecosystems for adaptation, and that economic diversification has been an ongoing strategy for a long time and people are not waiting for solutions from anyone, thus we should study the changes that are being developed by many populations.

Additional remarks were offered at the end of the third contact group. Micronesia said that the fundamental context for enhanced action on adaptation lies in the principles of State Responsibility to ensure that actions under their jurisdictions do not cause damage to the environmental of other states, the Principle Common but Differentiated Responsibility, the Precautionary Principles, Principles of Intergenerational Equity, and the multilevel mechanism proposed by AOSIS will address lost and damage, address the risk that can not be completely eliminated through risk management or that exceeds the adaptive capacity because adaptation is not happening or because resources are not sufficient. Malawi stressed the importance of local knowledge, the importance of transboundary risk management to ensure that actions by one country do not have impacts or increase risk exposure in another one, and highlighted the importance of climate risk insurance.

As the AWG LCA contact groups on enhancing adaptation ended, it is still not clear how all the diverse points and suggestions will be organized in the context of elements for an “agreeable outcome” sought by the Chairs. The diversity of issues and suggestions provided since the first AWG adaptation-related workshop in Bonn will has provided insight to the growing technical knowledge on adaptation, but the institutional arraignments necessary to move the issues forward remain undeveloped. Discussions on the principles for adaptation, institutional arraignments, and delivery mechanisms to move towards concrete adaptation actions should be a high priority to ensure that implementing on adaptation does not have the same faith as the NAPAS: No Actions, Just Plans! .

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