Now updated! The 2018 edition of the Pocket Guide on Capacity Building for Climate Change summarises the history of negotiations on capacity building under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, while providing a wider perspective on capacity building as an element of global cooperation. It is a ready reference to the key decisions that have already been adopted, and a brief analysis of how capacity building efforts can be made more effective in future, including under the Paris Committee on Capacity Building.
European Capacity Building Initiative
ecbi's Publications and Policy Analysis Unit (PPAU) generates information and advice for developing country negotiators that is relevant to the climate negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Developing countries often lack the economic and institutional capacity for policy analysis. If negotiators are unable to engage proactively by submitting proposals, responding to proposals from other States, and assessing the impact of global climate policy decisions on their individual States, progress in the negotiations can be hampered by the lack of alternatives and uncertainity. The differences in analytic capacity between developing countries and the industrialised world are often profound – developing countries lack support from organisations like the OECD, for instance, which has an immense apparatus producing thorough and focused reports, including direct advice on future policy responses to each of member country.
ecbi publications aim to be relevant to ongoing negotiations under the UNFCCC, timely, and trustworthy. PPAU works with negotiators from developing countries, sometimes through Editorial Committees, to identify UNFCCC issues where further analysis and policy advice is needed. Global experts are then teamed up with negotiators from devleoping countries to produce Policy Briefs and Discussion Notes. This partnership between experts and negotiators helps to ensure that the process of producing a Brief addresses the specific concerns of developing country negotiators; builds the capacity of developing country co-authors in policy analysis; and also builds ownership of the analysis.
For new negotiators, and for use in ecbi Regional and Pre-COP Training Workshops, PPAU produces Background Papers and a series of Pocket Guides. These generally provide a more basic analysis of issues for newcomers to the process, along with the background and history of the issue in the negotiations.
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What has the UNFCCC ever done for gender? Adopted a gender action plan in 2017, for one. This updated version of the Pocket Guide also covers the new action plan. Read all about how gender has been addressed in the UNFCCC process, and about gender linkages across the different themes (such as mitigation, adaptation, technology development and transfer) and elements (such as the nationally determined contributions) of the negotiations.
To meaningfully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of ‘common time frames’, clarity is necessary on which common time frames one is referring to. In the context of nationally determined contributions (NDCs), there are essentially two possible interpretations of that phrase: a material one, and a procedural one. The material interpretation is about time intervals associated with the NDCs – to be precise, about target periods and implementation periods. The procedural interpretation is about timetables for communicating and updating NDCs. Both types of time frames might benefit ambition through a harmonisation. Since the debate on target and implementation periods is chiefly centred around the market-based collaborative approaches of Article 6, it is probably best not to bring it into the Article 4.10 debate. That debate, particularly in the context of how common time frames could help enhance NDC ambition, is therefore best focused on the procedural side of things. This Note highlights some of the problems with the NDC communication and updating process, as currently defined in paragraphs 23 and 24 of Decision 1/CP.21. It also summarises the advantages, for enhancing NDC ambition, of combining the two paragraphs into a common procedural time frame that has become known as the Dynamic Contribution Cycle. In practical terms, such a combination could be achieved in very simple terms, by: Requesting all Parties in 2025 to update their 2030 NDC and communicate an indicative 2035 NDC, and to do so every five years thereafter.
The 2008 ecbi Regional Workshop for South and South East Asia in Male was attended by participants from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
The 2017 Fellowship took place from 28 August to 1 September, hosting 24 ecbi Fellows – senior climate change negotiators from developing countries. On 30 August, the Fellows were joined by 24 European colleagues for the Oxford Seminar. This year, the Seminar was attended by, among others: representatives of the current (Morocco), the preceding (France), the incoming (Fiji) and the next (Poland) Presidencies of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; the Chairs of the LDC Group, the G77, as well as the Western European and Others Group; the Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice; the Co-Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance; members of the Green Climate Fund Board; representatives of the current trio of EU Presidencies (Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria), as well as representatives from the European Commission.
Discussions during both events focused on key concerns relating to the ongoing global negotiations on the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement. In particular, participants focused on issues related to: gender; equity; common timeframes and the ambition cycles; the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue; global stocktakes; adaptation communications; transparency; finance; and the Article 6 Mechanisms.
H.E. Ambassador Deo Saran, Fiji’s Climate Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the European Union, in a keynote address, expressed his appreciation for the level of engagement in the Seminar. “I must say that the spirit of the seminar truly reflects the Talonoa spirit that we would like to bring at COP23,” he said. “It has been very enriching and will bring immense value to our preparation for the COP.”
On Thursday 31 August 2017, Oxford Climate Policy, on behalf of the European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi) and the Oxford University Natural History Museum, hosted a special event for the participants of the ecbi Oxford Seminar.
The Natural History Museum was the venue of a historic evolution debate on 30 June 1860, seven months after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, involving Samuel Wilberforce, the then Bishop of Oxford, and Thomas Henry Huxley, a biologist who defended Darwin's theory of evolution and had earned the epithet of “Darwin’s bulldog”.
The event, named "We Meet Again!" in reference to the historic debate, brought together the current Bishop of Oxford, the Rt. Revd. Dr Steven Croft, and Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College, London, and Professor of Meteorology at Reading University, to discuss the question: "What can we do to support the fight against global warming in the current climate?"
The transcript of the proceedings is now available for downloading.
News coverage of ecbi event during the 2017 Oxford Fellowship and Seminar.
Are we doing enough to address climate change? Are countries living up to their promises? Are some doing better than they pledged? Transparency is key for answering these questions. This ecbi Pocket Guide, updated in January 2018, traces the evolution of transparency arrangements under the UNFCCC right up to the transparency framework under the Paris Agreement. It addresses both transparency of action and of support, and suggests ways to strengthen both these important elements of the global climate regime.