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Concept Note on 2011 CVF Meeting

Introduction

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) was founded in November 2009 as a group of nation states represented by government leaders who convened in Malé from around the world to act together on the concerns each share as a result of human-induced global climate change. Since then the Forum has met at number of times in New York and Tarawa, Kiribati. Bangladesh, as incoming chair, will host a Ministerial Meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum in Dhaka on 14 November 2011 with a view to enhancing the ability of vulnerable countries to address key challenges and seize all opportunities in this domain as the multiple-paced climate change field of policy continues to evolve through 2011-2012. The ministerial meeting will be preceded by a senior officers meeting on 13 November 2011.

Objectives of Bangladesh CVF Meeting

Raise Awareness: Increase the level of awareness in public debate and consciousness and relevant policy spheres of the dangerous consequences of climate change for vulnerable communities, of remedial actions on adaptation and mitigation already being undertaken in high risk settings, and of the opportunities for enhanced action stemming from a wider international engagement involving vulnerable countries.

Common Positions: Identify and develop areas of common interest where collective follow-up actions of different types could yield more effective outcomes for vulnerable countries, in particular with respect to such areas as: climate change financing, technology transfer and a framework for understanding and responding to climate change vulnerability.

Sensitize Key Actors: Build an enhanced understanding (among observer state parties and other international actors) of the technological, practical, political and economic conditions that contribute to the formulation and articulation of vulnerable country policies and negotiating positions on climate change.

Clarify Climate Change Mainstreaming: Develop parameters for an effective mainstreaming of climate change risks and green growth opportunities across national development planning processes consistent with the preservation of additionality in climate change financing and with the realities of the economic and political challenges facing vulnerable country governments.

Maximize Clean Development Mechanism Potential: Identify the means for maximizing the potential of the Clean Development Mechanism for promoting domestic green growth, including hybrid, business model-driven mitigation actions that also generate high pay-offs for enhancing local adaptive capacity.

Map the Forum's Future Work: Establish basic working procedures and modalities for engagement in the Forum, as well as a clear Road Map for its future activities.

Avenues for action

Vulnerable countries have a variety of opportunities for achieving commonly desired outcomes through collective action, in particular:

  • Advocacy - Speaking out together from the moral high-ground, vulnerable countries can amplify key messages, limit uncertainties and confusion linked to climate change, and increase respect for their special needs.
  • Legal - Vulnerable countries to seek to influence discussion and outcome in key international fora, such as the UNFCCC.
  • National Policy - Determine domestic policies and negotiating positions, which can be fine-tuned and adapted to help maximize opportunities for green growth and sustainable development
  • Research - By mandating targeted research through third-party organizations, an example being DARA's "Climate Vulnerability Monitor", the Forum can its goals anchored on sound evidence.

Theme

The global climate landscape has evolved considerably since the Forum first met prior to the Copenhagen climate summit in November 2009. At the same time, a number of key challenges identified by climate vulnerable countries remain unchanged. Vulnerable countries continue to share the headline concerns of ensuring progress towards the necessary global climate agreement(s), securing a fair and effective dispersal of climate assistance, in particular under the forthcoming Green Fund, and bringing about the creation of a truly enabling international environment for sustainable development locally and globally.

Pledges in climate change finance for developing countries are being realised, although at a slow pace. Involvement of over 20 different funds in the management of the pledged resources adds significantly to the complex overall structuring of climate finance. The whole architecture also feeds insecurity around questions of additionality.

Parallel to emission reduction legislation coming into effect in an increasing number of major economies supported by robust carbon markets with international reach, supporting highly effective adaptation to and mitigation of climate change across vulnerable countries will be fundamental components of any resolution to the climate crisis.  Examples of adaptation and mitigation progress have been seen in a number of vulnerable countries to date. But the full potential of climate change policies to limit negative impacts and spur green growth remains largely untapped.

Research shows clear gaps in terms of impacts addressed, such as human health and humanitarian relief. Similarly, displacement of people and change in their livelihood also need to be understood better. Then again there are gaps in mainstreaming climate change into development. In absence of a clear consensus both nationally and globally, mainstreaming is further complicating already delicate issues of additionality and respect for the Right to Development.

The prospect of a Green Fund and the availability of new climate resources run headlong into complex questions of an effective international allocation of finance to needs. But the lack of a common framework for assessing climate vulnerability and criteria for allocation of funds has to a certain extent divided vulnerable countries.

The entire array of new business models, financing options and capital flows linked to climate change do mean significant new opportunities for driving investments in vulnerable countries. But vulnerable countries continue to face systemic hurdles in accessing and making best use of available resources. Coverage of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) beyond the largest emerging economies is also wholly inadequate. Targeted technical assistance for the development and implementation of new CDM projects in vulnerable countries could therefore achieve rapid, sustainable impact.

In the medium to long-term, the policies of major emitters continue to place vulnerable countries at peril. So together, vulnerable countries could speak out more clearly and demand increasing accountability to the consequences of inaction and supporting more ambitious responses around the world.

Locally, and with the support of external finance, progress on green growth can itself further contribute to breaking through the current international deadlock. Worldwide uptake of new green technologies and practices will drive economies of scale and reduce the marginal costs of mitigation steps.

Vulnerable countries, due to their low-levels of economic development and technological availability, are often subject to high-levels of short-lived non-CO2 gases (such as black carbon and methane). But their existence offers attractive opportunities for mitigation with significant degrees of co-benefits for health and development that also contribute to a comparative advantage for vulnerable countries in the low-carbon sector.

By forging the avenues for win-win global partnership, vulnerable countries could actually hold one of the keys to resolving the climate crisis. Questions will be central to this:

1.         What are the various risks, impacts and vulnerabilities related to climate change shared (first and foremost) by vulnerable countries, how can they be effectively gauged, and how can each government best respond?

2.         How can vulnerable countries maximize positive benefits for sustainable development from among the growing opportunities for climate-resilient, green growth?

3.         What should vulnerable countries as a group call for to ensure better support for local action and ambitious global responses especially among major emitters?

4.         Going forward, how can climate vulnerable countries and the Climate Vulnerable Forum mechanism best contribute to propelling effective global and local action?

Around these major questions revolve other specific questions- examples

  • New evidence on climate change- vulnerability nexus
  • Specific developmental challenges including in assessing national climate vulnerability and their impacts faced by most vulnerable countries and communities at risk, owing to climate change
  • Effects of fossil-fuels and bio-fuels on sustainable development and humanitarian emergencies, including health and food security
  • New opportunities for local green growth: multiple financing options, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), leveraging private capital
  • Integrating adaptation to climate risks across national and sectoral policy, including maximizing adaptation payoffs of mitigation, mainstreaming climate change into national development
  • Overcoming key barriers to implementation: financial, technical capacity, project development, legislative/policy, fiscal/regulatory
  • Possible regional and global actions and support to help adaptation by the countries at risks and reduce their vulnerability- Enhanced technical assistance for maximizing integrated climate resilience and green growth: mainstreaming climate policies; accessing and programming climate finance, CDM and private capital; development of national policy/legislative/ regulatory change for enabling/driving implementation of actions
  • Criteria for evaluating climate vulnerability and structuring of a Green Fund able to deliver for vulnerable countries
  • Practical steps from international actors to support technology transfer appropriate to vulnerable countries and to promote green growth
  • Views on the implementation of the Male' Declaration and on the way forward including a work programme covering: COP17; UN Conference on Sustainable Development, June 2012 (Rio+20); COP-18 and other relevant fora.