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Global call for higher capacity building actions under the Paris Agreement

  • Published at 12:53 pm July 26th, 2020
CT_July 2020_Pg 3
Photo: Pixabay

Capacity-building mechanism of PCCB to tackle climate change

In striving to reach the global goal of below 2 degree Celsius of warming, and to promote a strenuous task of attempting to stay below 1.5 degree Celsius of warming, countries adopted the Paris Agreement (PA) in 2015. 

The Paris Agreement’s capacity building (CB) provisions included establishing a Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) (Article 11); a Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) (Article 13); and to promote education, training and public awareness (Article 12). 

All of which form the basis for all institutions, mechanisms and processes to work towards enhancing CB of stakeholders, ranging from both national to local level (Khan et al, 2016). June 2020 has been an important month for the CB arena, as two of the vital events under the UN Convention and Paris Agreement took place; 9th Durban Forum (DF) and 4th meeting of the PCCB.  This article will explore some of the major decisions from these events.

Firstly, the Durban Forum on Capacity-building is an annual, in-session event organized under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) of the UNFCCC which brings together diverse stakeholders involved in CB activities for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change (UNFCCC, 2020). In the line of these annual series, this year the 9th Durban Forum was held on June 9, aimed at supporting the implementation of Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) under the PA and ensuring coherence and coordination of actions and support. 

Implementing a smoother transition from the previous Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system to ETF requires a higher transparency and CB of actors, and the Durban Forum (DF) has notably emphasized the need for stronger linkages among parties to assist developing countries into using this transitional mechanism.

Studies by Consultative Group of Experts (CGE), show that more than 50% of the parties have limited knowledge and understanding regarding the new ETF process, even though fundamentally MRVs and ETFs are not entirely different. Hence, the DF suggested to build the domestic system of the parties by integrating relevant stakeholders and use learning from the previous MRVs to sustain the implementation in the long run. 

Often, LDCS and SIDs have higher usage and arguably dependency on overseas expertise/consultants due to the lack of compatibility which pushes them away from the smooth transition. It valiantly outlines the need for effective institutional arrangements where universities can play a bigger role in enhancing CB of the future leaders. 

To support these initiatives, South-South cooperation should also be emphasized as it can offer several benefits through knowledge sharing and cooperation among countries to identify the most cost-effective practices. 

However, the substantial discussion of the DF highlighted that MRVs should be the starting point for ETF transition and support mechanisms need to be designed effectively for the CB of developing nations. There is a higher need to avoid bureaucratic issues at the policy level and focus should be given to develop tailored CB tools as per the need of the stakeholders. 

"June 2020 has been an important month for the CB arena, as two of the vital events under the UN Convention and Paris Agreement took place"

Data quality, storage and management should be prioritized as well in terms of accessibility and transparency. Moreover, the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) has a big role in this process as it works towards enhancing coherence and coordination on CB in different countries as they have deeper insights regarding the capacity gaps and needs of the parties.

The second event was the 4th PCCB meeting on Capacity-building, held from June 22-25. It is another annual, in-session event organized by the SBI, aiming to discuss its annual activities, to further develop and adopt its working modalities and procedures. 

The aim of the four day event was to elect two co-chairs from its members and to highlight the development of  the work plan for 2021-2024, discussion on the technical support and guidance on building climate-related capacity, ensuring coherence and coordination of CB under the Convention, enhancing awareness-raising, outreach, knowledge and information sharing,  and a discussion about the focus area of the PCCB for 2021. The meeting was opened to attendance by parties and admitted observer organizations, except where otherwise decided by the PCCB where a balanced regional representation of observers was encouraged to join. 

During this meeting, the PCCB members shared the outcome of the 9th Durban Forum and 3rd Capacity Building Hub, and welcomed the PCCB Network working group. The PCCB members agreed on the development of PCCB work-plan for 2021-2024 and to provide technical support for the CB activities, keeping the consideration of COP26 in-mind.

They also agreed to maintain coherence and coordination of CB under the Convention, finalized the concept note and showed interest for further follow-up to incorporate into the Annual Technical Progress Report (ATPR) 2020. The PCCB members highlighted the different issues of reviewing the implementation of the strategic plan for stakeholder engagement, communication and resource mobilization. 

Considering the extension of the mandate of the PCCB and subsequent adaptation of a new work-plan, PCCB members were invited to publish the annexed review report on the implementation of the PCCB webpage, and to continue monitoring and report on the implementation of the strategic plan for June 2020- June 2021. 

They were also invited to develop separate strategies for stakeholder engagement and communication for the work-plan 2021-2024. The pilot phase of PCCB Network has also been discussed to extend further. 

PCCB members also supported the notion of postponing the Capacity Building Hub and hosted by COP26 and not otherwise, as it widens the opportunity to involve multiple stakeholders from different regions and learn their experience. The meeting ended with an invitation to be optimistic for the future CB activities and invited higher engagement of its members.

However, currently most universities, research organizations, and climate practitioners in developing countries are working towards reducing their knowledge gaps on CB, as it is now one of the pressing issues in the climate change world.

They are also proactively participating in several events on building climate-related capacity including Durban Forum and PCCB meeting. This spontaneous engagement and notions to respond to the global CB arena will definitely heighten the capacities of the parties to respond to the threats of climate change.    

Farah Anzum is a Research Associate at ICCCAD. She has pursued her education in Environmental Management and Economics. Currently, she’s working in the field of climate finance, ecosystem services, environmental management and economics. For any query, please e-mail: [email protected]

Mahmuda Mity is a Research Officer at International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD). Her research interest lies in Capacity Building, Community Based Adaptation, Disaster Management and Migration.

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