GLE 2016 mini-roundup
The 2016 Global Learning Event, organised by the European Commission’s DG DEVCO through its flagship initiative, the Global Climate Change Alliance+, explored innovative and effective approaches to climate change adaptation and other post-COP21 agreement priorities.
Bringing together some 150 delegates representing over 30 countries, the GLE provided a compact platform for stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and domains to share past and current best practice – policy, technical, social, economic, practical etc. – in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The programme included plenaries with leading experts in the domain, themed technical sessions, breakouts and marketplaces for working groups, as well as ample networking opportunities.
The GLE’s main focus was knowledge-sharing and dialogue guided towards a set of valuable take-home lessons for all participants. On this, the Brussels event delivered the results; stimulating discussions proved successful in extracting key findings for delegates to implement as part of their COP21 commitments, and for GCCA+ to develop in its future programming.
Context … historical landmark
The UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement are unprecedented historical landmarks in the global fight against climate change. GLE delegates, representing some of the most climate vulnerable countries on the planet, came prepared for the next and perhaps toughest challenge; how to translate intention into robust action (as communicated through Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs) on the ground.
Pilot project results must be shared and expanded, new forms of cooperation explored and, where needed, new mechanisms created to deliver on wider commitments – EU, regional and global policy frameworks. And learning from the people with experience on the ground is essential, delegates were reminded on several occasions during the three-day event.
Four themes guided technical sessions – and resulting conclusions
In this session, delegates explored the main challenges faced by LDCs and SIDS in moving forward and flagged real cases where progress has been made as lessons to be learned.
Key findings included the importance of developing and communicating success stories to help mainstream climate change into existing policy and action, and to translate NDCs into actionable roadmaps for all relevant sectors, complete with investment plans and budget priorities. Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) was identified as a weak point in many countries, as too awareness of financing options and processes.
Discussions led to several recommendations for GCCA+, including more support for cross-sector capacity building (MRV, institutions, costing, tracking, climate finance, etc.), and more coherent multi-actor, multi-level climate change governance (policy, regulation, dialogue instruments, etc.). Delegates called for better tracking and measuring of progress and results for sharing lessons learned, and proposed moving from project to programme-based approaches, with corresponding budgets to boost impact.
In this session, delegates explored ‘transformative initiatives’ and key factors for identifying and then scaling up good ‘climate change’ practices with a clear social benefit.
Identified challenges included social and cultural resistance to change, lack of harmonisation and coordination between interventions, weak governance systems (largely outside the control of donors), insufficient funding and low capacities at the local level, and land use/land rights issues.
Delegates called for better knowledge sharing and synergy between initiatives, as well as better project preparation taking in multiple views, different durations and more robust data collection baselines. More support for capacity building, knowledge management, and localised (language and media) awareness-raising efforts were recommended, including communicating “un-success stories” as lessons learned as well.
In this session, delegates explored some successful actions for potential scale-up, how to better finance the gender dimension in the climate change landscape, and the need for stronger measurement and evaluation (M&E).
A blanket call to make gender a requirement and core area for GCCA+ was the headline recommendation from the session, as well as calls for more resources, time and effort to factor gender aspects in the whole value chain, from policy dialogue through to project design, and for gender analysis to be part of wider M&E requirements.
Delegates also recommended quotas for gender participation at project level but also in wider decision-making on climate change, and called for NDCs to better reflect the role of women and support actions that give women access to income-generating opportunities, to name a few.
In this session, risk and climate management were examined under the same microscope with a view to bridging the gaps between science-based climate data and risk management, and making lessons from successful pilots available in easy to digest formats for others to benchmark and apply to their setting.
It was concluded that scientific data needs to be “unpacked” in order to extract the key drivers of risk, which are “closely related” to the drivers of climate change vulnerability. Knowledge and the data it is based on must be subject to a logic test to stand up in practice (“traditional knowledge should be better known and harnessed”). But for this, delegates concluded, more investment in “risk-informed” planning and monitoring during project implementation is needed.
These and other challenges informed a set of recommendations to GCCA+. These included the need for more and better climate vulnerability assessments which involve local and scientific knowledge, but also better mechanisms to promote information exchange between communities and scientists/programmers in order to embed and incrementally improve risk information as a tool for decision-making. For the best results, delegates underlined the need to promote multi-stakeholder/multi-benefit (e.g. conservation agriculture, ecosystem-based) approaches to the problem.