2 December 2011, Durban, South Africa – Representatives from climate change research and training organizations based in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific and the Caribbean identified systematic knowledge sharing and continuous learning as a major benefit of triangular cooperation to support institution building and field training to address climate change.
L to R, Secou Sarr, ENDA, Achim Halpaap, UNITAR, Edward Cameroon, WRI and Chris Jack UCT-CSAG
This theme emerged, amongst others, at a COP 17 side event in Durban, South Africa organized within the framework of the Climate Change Capacity Development Network (C3D). The C3D network brings together Centers of Excellence from around the world with funding provided by the European Commission, the Austrian Development Cooperation and the Swiss Government. The network is coordinated by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). An advisory group comprised of representatives from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UNFCCC Secretariat, Yale University and Addis Ababa University, as well as donor representatives is providing policy support and methodological guidance to the network.
Mr. Secou Sarr, Environnement et Développement du Tiers Monde (ENDA-TM) stated in his welcome remarks that the field of climate change capacity development is constantly evolving, and as a result numerous tools have been developed. What sets C3D+ apart was collaboration of partners through south-south-north collaboration, testing of tools in the field through participatory processes, and a commitment to link research with policy making.
Mr. Achim Halpaap, Associate Director at UNITAR and moderator of the event, introduced the overall philosophy and working methods of the C3D network. These include project partnerships among at least two of the partners, linking tool development with testing and capacity development in the field, and integrating field results back into the further development of tools. In addition, C3D provides support to partners to strengthen their institutional capacities to deliver project activities. He outlined that the side event would present two work streams supported by the C3D network: “Tool Development and Testing to Support Climate Change Information and Adaptation Decision-making”, a collaboration of the University of Cape Town - Climate System Analysis Group (UCT-CSAG) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and “Adaptation Decision-making and Support of Community Based Adaptation in Africa” which is supported through a collaboration of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) , the Centre for International Forestry (CIFOR) and ENDA-TM.
Under the first theme,Prof. Bruce Hewitson and Mr. Chris Jack of the University of Cape Town (UCT) introduced the UCT Climate Information Portal and the feedback received from users in the field and through the UCT Winter School which is supported through the C3D project. The presentation highlighted that “the most critical need is not more science, but translation of science into decision-making” in order to make information meaningful for end users. Ms. Anna Taylor of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) introduced the WeADAPT platform developed by SEI which integrates the CIP and supports adaptation decision-making. The “User Labs” project currently supported by C3D in collaboration with CIFOR and ENDA with a focus on Western Africa is providing hands-on training on the use of WeADAPT and CIP as well as constructive feedback relevant for the further development and refinement of the tools.
 L to R, Anne Hammill, IISD, Gifty Ampomah, ENDA, and Anne Taylor SEI
In introducing the second theme, Ms. Anne Hammill of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) introduced CRiSTAL, a tool that provides guidance to project planners in designing and adjusting community based activities to support adaptation. She also announced that with support of C3D a CRiSTAL-Forest version was under development in partnership with the Centre for International Forestry, with testing planned to take place in 2012. Ms. Gifty Ampomah of ENDA demonstrated how CRiSTAL had been applied in the Gambia. She highlighted how the tool had enabled the communityto do a vulnerability assessment and develop concrete adaptation plans.
Mr. Edward Cameron, Director, International Climate Initiative, World Resources Institute (WRI), provided discussant comments. He emphasized that C3D illustrates the importance of continuous mutual learning and that tools should not merely provide information, but seek to empower users to identify opportunities to improve their livelihoods. He referred to a possible proliferation of tools and, related to this, stressed the importance of the C3D approach to obtain critical feedback about results obtained through field testing.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Achim Halpaap, summarized important determinants raised during the event that support  effective institutional collaboration through south-south-north collaboration. These include commitment, time, resources, good personal relationships, and compatibility of institutional cultures.He also indicated that the event provided valuable insights in guiding the further development of the network, in areas such as results based management, development of robust methods for testing the effectiveness of tools, and ensuring that the services of Partners are systematically linked to and support national and regional capacity development initiatives.
The C3D+ project brings together six organizations located in developing countries and three global organizations from Africa Asia, Europe, the Pacific and the Caribbean to collectively form a knowledge and capacity development network, where each centre contributes its specialized experience to develop and apply tools and methodologies to support decision-making for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The organizations include: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Climate Systems Analysis Group - University of Cape Town (CSAG-UCT) Energy Research Centre - University of Cape Town (ERC-UCT), South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Munasinghe Institute for Development (MIND), Environnement et Développement du Tiers Monde, (ENDA-TM), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).