COP-17 Adaptation

Adaptation: A new emphasis on Adaptation (in contrast to mitigation) to the effects of climate change was important in Cancun because many developing countries are feeling serious effects of climate change already. They need help adapting to the new reality from the developed countries that owe them a debt from historical benefits from carbon emissions. The Adaptation Fund is one of the results from COP-16 last year that is being operationalized here in Durban. Wednesday night Sharon Ramclam, Director of the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) of Belize presented at a side event because PACT is accreditted as a National Implementation Entity for the Adaptation Fund.

Adaptation involves development of National Adaptation Plans for Action (NAPAs), financial support to developing countries through the Adaptation Fund, risk assessment, insurance programmes to cover loss and damage, and the impact of responses to climate change. I am going to the Adaptation sessions and reporting back to the Climate Justice Now group at the morning meetings. I will update those issues below as the process unfolds. Adaptation is under the Subsidary Body for Implementation (SBI), which will finish its work on Saturday, December 3rd. Notes on the sessions are below, most recent first.

Dec 2 Friday National Adaptation Plans
This discussion was closed and I don't have any intell because my party connections are with Belize and they weren’t involved in the open sessions. I’m checking on this because they should be.

Dec 2 Friday Loss and Damage
The draft text was presented in hard copy that included all Party submissions except an AOSIS proposal, which was given in hard copy at the end to the morning session. It includes technical papers and workshops on methodology available to assess risks with ensured participation of experts from least developed countries and small island states. Three regional and one island expert meetings are to address a range of approaches to loss and damage. All of this is to be completed and submitted to the Secretariat for implementation at the 37th session.
There didn’t seem to be any contention with any of it. The cost estimate for this work was nearly one million Euros. The SBI Chair Robert Owen-Jones is also the Chair of the Secretariat Budget Committee and was non-committal about whether there would be sufficient funds. The striking thing to me was how totally engaged the U.S. negotiator was in the drafting of this text. We’ll help you assess and address your losses and damages due to our emissions!

Dec 1 National Adaptation Plans
This was delayed until tomorrow (Friday). The draft text should be available electronically, but maybe only for Parties. Bolivia suggested a Parties only discussion at 8 pm. Hard copies should be available tonight at the Document Center. Norway, Sweden, and several other countries asked for the text to be available on a screen, but the Chair said SBI has not been working by electronic screens and he thought it was impossible to make that happen.

Performance Review of the Adaptation Fund
The Adaptation Fund Board undertook a performance review and hired a consultant. The CMP entrusted the SBI to develop the Terms of Reference for this review The process was delayed because their first attempt didn’t get enough appropriate candidates, so they put out a second request and hired the consultant. The report of the review was due the end of October. The report is only part of the process for this review, as it also included some submissions from Parties.

Comments: Chad and Bahamas on behalf of the G77 --- asks for additional information. The Board Chair said that workshops took place in Senegal and Panama. Many countries needed more clarification on how to apply to be a National Implementation Entity. Senegal was the first to get accredited. At the workshop in Senegal they didn’t have enough time, so the next workshop was for three days in Panama. It is early to say whether there are concrete impacts.
Bahamas asked when other workshops are scheduled. The answer was that two additional workshops, are schedule in Croatia in first quarter and in the Pacific region for the second quarter of 2012. What has been the response by developed countries? The answer was that there have been generous contributions for the workshops. There is 300-400 million in the fund so far, but concern was expressed because of the 40% reduction of the carbon price. They are considering the lessons we have learned using carbon markets.
Then the group adjourned into informal sessions with no observers.
Dec 1 on Draft Decision -/CP.17 (SBI 35, agenda item 8 --- Loss and Damage)
This session was chaired by SBI Chair Robert Owen-Jones. The room was arranged with all the tables in a big rectangle with chairs for observers on the outside, a very useful arrangement.
The draft text is divided into three thematic areas:

  1. Assessing the risk of loss and damage due to climate change
  2. A range of approaches to address loss and damage
  3. Implementation of the approaches to loss and damage

The Chair asked for reactions to the draft text and a number of countries (U.S., EU, Switzerland, Bolivia for the G77 and China, Switzerland, Cook Islands, and Timor) indicated they were happy with the structure of the draft text and would be submitting suggested additions. Then the Chair asked from comments from the observers, but none were prepared to respond. The Chair excused himself and the session then changed to an informal discussion for Parties only.
Dec 1 on Draft Decision 1/CP.10 (SBI 35, agenda item 6 --- Risk Assessment: Article 4, paragraphs 8 and 9 on the Convention)
The session was devoted to editing the text in regard to two issues,

  1. Identifying challenges and gaps in the implementation of risk management approaches to the adverse effects of climate change (workshop held in Peru and financially supported by Switzerland), and
  2. Impacts of the responses to climate change (workshop held in Bonn, Germany) in which work was delineated for 2012 involving studies using modeling, workshops on modeling, technical papers on economic diversification and resilience, insurance, and financial risk management tools.

Nothing substantial was discussed. It was noted that there was considerable duplication with the work of other entities. The editing involved the U.S. taking out such phrases as “particularly in the most vulnerable developing countries” and developing countries putting them back in. In the end the U.S. negotiator talked to the Gambia and other negotiators and came up with a compromise. That took the whole time. At the end of the draft text was the ominous statement that there was a lack of financial resources to undertake these activities. This does not appear in the final copy.

Nov 30 Adaptation Fund Side Event

I attended this because friends of mine from the Protected Areas Conservation Trust in Belize were presenting as a National Implementing Entity (NIE). Other NIEs from Benin, South Africa, Senegal, and Jamaica also presented on their experience of getting accredited by the Adaptation Fund Board. I understand that many developing countries are reluctant to apply because they are afraid of the time and expense it will take to be approved. The purpose of this session was to reassure potential applicants. Each presenter indicated that the Board was very friendly and helpful during the accreditation process. There is a cap of US$10 million per country, so there is no worry that the early NIEs was get all the money.

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