UNITAR @ COP 19 in Warsaw
11-22 November 2013, Warsaw, Poland - More than 12,000 negotiators, observers and NGOs met in Warsaw, Poland from 11-22 November 2013 for the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The talks in Warsaw were not dramatic, though hard fought at times, and have kept the process on track towards a new universal agreement on climate change in 2015. Significant decisions were made in the area of deforestation, and loss and damage.
Away from the formal talks, the conference also provided a lively forum to showcase and learn about the various activities the UN and other development partners are supporting to advance concrete climate change actions on the ground. The UN CC:Learn partnership (for which UNITAR provides secretariat functions) was perceived to be a highly useful and relevant programme that responds to country needs and that engages actors across government and across society. The stage is set for an expansion of the programme as well as putting in place of several structural partnerships that would support more implementation of activities on the ground. All of this set within the context of the need for the UN to push harder than ever on helping to implement the Convention on the ground as a key way of helping to secure a meaningful 2015 agreement.
In Warsaw, UNITAR was active and visible, directly involved in 5 side events, a one-day workshop and hosting an exhibit for the second week.
One UN Side Event “Comprehensive Climate Finance”, 14 November
The issue of climate finance is maturing and this event was an opportunity for three UN organisations and the World Bank to show case their take on more comprehensive and country driven approaches. UNITAR and Dominican Republic led off from the perspective of the need for skills development as a key area for barrier removal and a fundamental element in promoting ‘readiness’ for climate finance.
Yale/UNITAR Workshop “Rights, Governance & Climate Change”, 16 November
This workshop convened scholars, policy-makers, practitioners, and stakeholders from a variety of fields and disciplines to examine the use of substantive and procedural rights to design, implement and support effective, equitable solutions to address climate change and related governance challenges. The workshop was organized by UNITAR and Yale University's Governance, Environment and Markets Initiative (GEM) in collaboration with the University of Warsaw's Faculty of Law and Administration and the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL).
Side Event “Combatting Climate Change through Education and Training”, 16 November
This side event (organized by the United Nations Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness) featured nine panellists from a range of youth initiatives, the education sector and UN agencies. Each presented a different project which, although diverse, were all underpinned by the principle that climate education was the way forward to build a sustainable future. A little educational game by two teachers from the Dominican Republic delightfully illustrated this: random audience members were given a balloon upon their arrival. Those holding yellow ones were asked to let them fly without tying a knot in their ends, making them deflate: if resilience is weak, the system collapses, the teachers explained. Those holding red ones were asked to pop them – no resilience at all. And those holding green ones were asked to buffet them around: a truly resilient society can bounce back. That’s the kind of society we build through education.
UNITAR has supported the Dominican Republic in initiating a comprehensive training programme for teachers on climate change through the One UN CC:Learn initiative, working jointly with UNESCO. Read more…
Side Event “Building Climate Resilience in Tajikistan”, 19 November
UNITAR is supporting Tajikistan by strengthening its engagement with the UNFCCC, with funding from the Government of Switzerland. Although not expected to get top billing, this event drew a respectable crowd and led to a useful debate on climate change issues both in Tajikistan and regionally. Representatives both from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan also attended which led to a discussion on regional collaboration under the umbrella on a regional Climate Investment Fund (CIF) project. UNITAR presented the status of its work in providing face to face training for moderators and strengthening the effectiveness of the Tajik delegation to COP-19. A further event is planned in Dushanbe in early 2014. Read more…
One UN Side Event “National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) Challenges and Opportunities”, 20 November
Support for National Adaptation Plans is an emerging and key area of business for UNITAR’s Climate Change Programme, working in collaboration with other UN partners, in particular UNDP and UNEP. NAPs provide a means whereby vulnerable countries can build greater resilience into national development plans. This side event was designed to show how NAP support is picking up the pace with more than 20 LDCs submitting requests for support from the Global Support Programme (GSP) which is funded through the Global Environment Facility. UNITAR facilitated a role for Malawi at this event to present its emerging approach to NAP development.
UN CC:Learn Side Event “Building Skills to Address Climate Change”, 22 November
Learning and skills development is not a niche issue when it comes to effectively implementing climate change actions on the ground. This became clear at the UN CC:Learn side event which brought together three Ministers, two Ambassadors, Members of Parliament, the UN Resident Coordinator of Peru and a total of 80 COP delegates on the last day of the COP (which is usually not the most favourable time slot with everybody getting caught up in the final negotiations!). The event was hosted by the National Climate Change Council (CNCCMDL) of the Dominican Republic and the Sur Futuro Foundation. Representatives from all five UN CC:Learn pilot countries presented their national climate change learning strategies, looking at lessons learned from the strategy development process and concrete implementation activities. The side event targeted particularly the 40+ countries that have expressed an interest in implementing a national UN CC:Learn project. Read more…
UN CC:Learn Exhibit and Lottery, 18-22 November
The UN CC:Learn team held a booth in the exhibit area for the 2nd week of the Conference. Visitors could find about the latest UN CC:Learn products, including a self-paced introductory e-course on climate change, and learn about the national pilot projects in Benin, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Malawi and Uganda. The team engaged with around 250 people in active discussions. One of the key topics both Government delegates and NGO representatives were interested in was climate change education at primary and secondary level. Julia Viehöfer, from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was available at the booth to provide expert advice on the issue. Mario Castro from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) answered questions about capacity development for effective technology transfer.
At the booth participants could also pick up a ticket for the UN CC:Learn @ COP 19 lottery. The winners are:
1st price: UNITAR e-learning course on climate change diplomacy (value 800 USD) – Ms. Gillian Wychor
2nd price: PAGE e-learning course on the green economy (value 600 USD) – Ms. Paula Ellinger
3rd price: UNITAR manual for UN delegates – tips for negotiating effectively – Mr. Yona Kamphale