inside: The mitigation potential of coastal ecosystems: Blue Carbon Targeted water adaptation solutions in Africa
a daily multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development
out reach. 4 December 2012
Be PaperSmart: Read Outreach online www.stakeholderforum.org/sf/outreach pic: NOAA's National Ocean Service
The mitigation potential of coastal ecosystems: Blue Carbon
2 Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in communities living around the Marine Protected Areas in Senegal
Diverting the discourse: Cooperation over water resources
Targeted water adaptation solutions in Africa
Profile: Karin LexĂŠn
Water scarcity as a major challenge for oases facing climate change in Maghreb
The perfect storm arriving at a shore near you
8 Building resilience in mountain water resources and closing the gap between policy and implementation
COP18 side event calendar
10 Reflections from COP18, Monday 3 December pic: NOAA's National Ocean Service
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Outreach is a multi-stakeholder publication on climate change and sustainable development. It is the longest continually produced stakeholder magazine in the sustainable development arena, published at various international meetings on the environment; including the UNCSD meetings (since 1997), UNEP Governing Council, UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) and World Water Week. Published as a daily edition, in both print and web form, Outreach provides a vehicle for critical analysis on key thematic topics in the sustainability and climate change arenas, giving a voice to individuals and organisations from all stakeholder groups. To fully ensure a multi-stakeholder perspective, we aim to engage a wide range of stakeholders for article contributions and project funding.
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OUTREACH EDITORIAL TEAM Editor
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Shah Mohammad Ashraful Amin Christian Aid, Bangladesh
Keith Alverson and Richard Munang Jean-baptiste Cheneval Romy Chevallier Aby Drame
Steven Heywood Quaker United Nations Office Karin LexĂŠn Bremley Lyngdoh
SIWI Worldview Impact
Environmental and Human Systems Management
Carol Turley and Plymouth Thecla Keizer Marine Laboratory
COP 18 | DAY 8
The mitigation potential of coastal ecosystems: Blue Carbon Romy Chevallier South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) While the UNFCCC has developed mechanisms to enhance terrestrial, ‘Green’, carbon sinks, less attention has been given to coastal ecosystems – despite their capacity to sequester comparable amounts of carbon, both in their tree biomass as well as in the deep mud that accumulates around their roots. The importance of mangrove forests, seagrasses and tidal marshes, as both global carbon sinks and sources, makes ‘Blue Carbon’ significant for many countries’ climate change strategies – not only in international forums, but also to fulfill their national mitigation pledges. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, released through poor management and the loss of coastal habitats, are not currently being accounted for under the UNFCCC or in national GHG Inventory Submissions. This means that countries are underestimating their contribution towards anthropogenic emissions but also not including the carbon savings from measures to protect and restore coastal habitats into their international and national climate targets. Beyond their role in carbon sequestration, coastal ecosystems provide a wide range of significant environmental and social benefits. These include provision of barriers to storm surge; prevention of shoreline erosion; regulation of coastal water quality; provision of habitats for fish; and support of recreational experiences. Yet despite these services, coastal ecosystems are being degraded at an alarming rate, threatened by land-use change, urban development, agriculture, aquaculture, salt and sand extraction, and pollution. These factors are compromising the resilience of these ecosystems and eroding their natural capacity for carbon sequestration. The world has lost approximately 5 million hectares of mangroves over the last 20 years and their deforestation is continuing unabated. The ability of terrestrial forests to sequester carbon has led to the economic quantification, purchase and trade of this carbon through ‘credits’. Traditionally this has occurred within REDD+ programmes, spurring forestrelated carbon offset projects. The recent recognition that mangroves, seagrasses and tidal marshes can also sequester comparable amounts of carbon has catalysed interest in the quantification of carbon from coastal ecosystems. It is believed that Blue Carbon can be traded and handled in a similar way to Green Carbon – and entered into climate mitigation protocols along with other carbon-binding ecosystems. Although by no means a conservation solution, carbon markets may offer countries
the additional economic incentives required to prioritise, protect, sustainably manage and restore these ecosystems. Opportunities exist to promote Blue Carbon as a legitimate mitigation activity, such as the development and expansion of GHG accounting guidelines by the IPCC to include coastal ecosystems, as well as the better integration of Blue Carbon into existing NAMA and REDD+ agendas. Several countries do refer to mangroves in their REDD+ strategies and Readiness plans – although these are limited in extent and detail. The scope of REDD+ is also currently limited to forest-related activities for LULUCF and does not include non-forest land use such as salt marshes and sea grass related activities. There are also prospects within the broader scope and definition of activities qualifying for NAMAs. The methodologies for carbon measurement within NAMAs are currently being developed and improved. This opens up space for countries which do not represent typical REDD+ countries, to use NAMAs to explore opportunities to access finance. Several countries, including Sierra Leone, Eritrea and Ghana, have submitted coastal wetland-related NAMAs. It is also crucial to improve access to untapped avenues of carbon financing, via the UNFCCC or through voluntary carbon markets, as primary vehicles for supporting national and project-level Blue Carbon activities. A number of carbon market facilities and sources of funding have also been established outside the UNFCCC. The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is now recognised as the most advanced for developing coastal carbon systems. Unlike terrestrial forests, the substance and certainty surrounding Blue Carbon benefits have not been communicated effectively to the broader climate policy community and as a result these ecosystems have not been fully integrated into policy discussions or within the financial mechanisms for climate mitigation. There is still a lack of confidence in the quantification of Blue Carbon. A major priority should therefore be to support scientific research to better analyse the quantity of emissions captured by coastal sinks. Demonstration projects could also serve as good avenues for the development of practical, sciencebased methodologies and tools for carbon accounting. The improved management of coastal ecosystems, through conservation, restoration and sustainable use, has strong potential to become a transformational tool in effective natural carbon management. Countries must work rapidly towards developing effective ecosystem management tools and conservation incentives to secure their coastal carbon sinks. Countries with ample coastal vegetation should push for global agreements where the value of Blue Carbon is included in the accounting of ecosystem services and call for the integration of Blue Carbon into the financing processes of the UNFCCC and within voluntary carbon finance mechanisms
COP 18 | DAY 8
Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in communities living around the Marine Protected Areas in Senegal Aby Drame Enda Energy-Environment-Development/ED-SEV Climate change and biodiversity loss are major concerns of the 21st century. The consequences of climate change are visible in several ecosystems, agricultural areas and water sources, and projections in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show that by the end of this century, the rise in sea level will have major effects on low-lying coastal shores – areas which often have high human populations. The communities around the coastal areas are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the cost of adaptation to these impacts could amount to 5-10% of GDP. Mangroves and coral reefs are expected to deteriorate further, resulting in additional consequences for fisheries and tourism. In the face of this situation, the international community cannot wait any longer and must to work to enable vulnerable groups to tackle these climate change impacts. COP18 provides a framework for debates on the oceans and global warming, and impacts such as the melting of ice caps, rises in sea levels, ocean acidification and coastal erosion. Types of vulnerabilities found in the Marine Protected Areas in Bamboung, Cayar and Joal, Senegal To improve fisheries management, Senegal has established five Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): Bamboung, Cayar, Joal, St. Louis and Abene. In addition to restrictions in the use of natural resources, communities in these areas are highly vulnerable to climatic factors such as strong winds, coastal erosion, flooding, and sea level rise, among others. These hazards are real constraints on the lives of the communities in these areas. They often prevent local populations from going to sea, therefore impeding their ability to supply their households with fish and preventing income generation from artisanal fisheries practices. The winds also cause property damage, such as the destruction of boats, and increase the frequency of illness in the area. Coastal erosion is a further problem. The rate of decline of the shoreline is between 1.25 to 1.30 metres per year, according to studies conducted as part of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Senegalese First National Communication in Response to its Commitments to the
pic: mangroves on La Petite Côte, Senegal, Jean-Marc Liotier
UNFCCC. These rates, low at first glance, are responsible for the destruction of habitats and infrastructure mainly in highly urbanised areas (such as St. Louis, Rufisque, and Joal). Flooding and sea level rise pose major risks to these areas, leading to the displacement of local populations as a result of impacts such as inaccessibility and property damage. The reduced mobility affects all sectors of the economy. For example, inaccessibility of the fish processing site in Joal leads to a decline in women's incomes during periods of flooding. Income generated by tourism and trade also tends to decline during the rainy season and periods of flooding, which are a source of poverty and disease. Adaptation is a necessity for communities MPA populations are able to identify strategies to adapt to the different climatic conditions they face. But to avoid maladaptation or poor adaptation to current and future vulnerabilities, it is important that stakeholders work synergistically with communities towards effective strategies. The Adaptation Fund has provided funding of a project which – under the supervision of the Centre for Ecological Monitoring (CSE) and the Department of Environment and Classified Establishments (DEEC), together with implementing agencies such as the NGO Green-Senegal and the Association Dynamique Femmes de Joal – focuses on adaptation to erosion in vulnerable areas. Projects such as these may provide a turning point for the communities of MPAs
COP 18 | DAY 8
Diverting the discourse: Cooperation over water resources Steven Heywood Quaker United Nations Office “Countries have not tended to go to war over water”, Ed Davey, the UK's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change recently noted, “but I have a fear for the world that climate instability drives political instability”. There is an increasingly common position among politicians and commentators that climate change will inevitably lead to an increase in violent conflict over scarce natural resources like water – and this is certainly a valid concern, but only up to a point. If any resource is susceptible to conflict, it is water. Water is vital for drinking, washing, agriculture and industry, and also has cultural significance in most societies, and a large proportion of the world's freshwater is shared between nations, with 214 major river systems shared by two or more states and 19 countries receiving more than half their water from outside their borders. As climate change affects glacier melt and drought patterns, many countries are likely to find decreasing water resources creating problems for their growing populations and economies. However, while the possibility of conflict related to water scarcity is real, the 'climate conflict' narrative is often flawed in two major ways. Firstly, climate change does not drive political instability but is only one of a constellation of factors that can lead to violent conflict. Rather than causing conflict in a previously peaceful situation, climate change can act as a 'trigger' or 'multiplier' in situations where the basis for conflict already exists due to economic, social, cultural or historical factors. Secondly, by framing the problem in terms of conflict and security, we are encouraged to look to the same framework for solutions. In the developed countries, this can include further securing and militarising of borders to keep out refugees from climate-related conflicts (although in reality, most climate change-related migrants move within their own country, or to other developing countries). Countries threatened by resource scarcity may believe they need to act pre-emptively to secure resources from their 'enemies'. Instead of assuming the inevitability of conflict, it is possible to see water scarcity as an opportunity for cooperation, with states and communities realising the mutual benefit available to them through working together, rather than competing. Creating truly participatory methods and institutions to share diminishing water resources around can be seen as a form of 'environmental peacebuilding',
allowing connections to be made and understanding to grow in situations that were previously hostile, by cooperating over the most vital and necessary resource of all. One way of doing this is through water treaties between nations. History suggests that cooperative agreements over water tend to be extremely robust, and continue to be adhered to even in times of water stress or conflict over other issues – one of the best examples is between India and Pakistan, who continued to abide by the provisions of the Indus Treaty even during the height of the conflict over Kashmir. Another is the Trifinio Plan in Central America, which began as an environmental and water cooperation plan, and has since expanded to include joint health provision and increased cross-border trade between countries that were in turmoil a few short years ago. Creating similar agreements in the fragile watersheds around the world will not be an easy task, as countries initially compete for advantages. But ultimately, cooperation rather than conflict is the most 'water rational' route, as it allows all countries to reap the benefits of sustainably, peacefully managed water. Countries have not tended to go to war over water yet – and contrary to the climate conflict narrative, it can be kept that way
Crowdsourcing accountability: DecisionMakr rankings Day 7 – who’s on top? The DecisionMakr smartphone and web App was launched on November 26 to allow Twitter users to rate the quality and content of negotiators’ statements. So far, the leaderboard has Tuvalu topping the charts, followed by Uganda, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and the Philippines. Many users gave the Philippines negotiators high stars for skilfully delivering the sense of urgency we all need from the current talks. Poland secured the bottom of the list for insisting on Assigned Amount Unit (AAU) carryovers, and Canada and New Zealand all ranked poorly for moving away from a second commitment period on the Kyoto Protocol. DecisionMakr is available free at the Apple iPhone App Store and at www.DecisionMakr.org . Follow the action on Twitter @DecisionMakr.
COP 18 | DAY 8
Targeted water adaptation solutions in Africa Keith Alverson and Richard Munang United Nations Environment Programme In North America, landfall of Hurricane Sandy in New York, and the ensuing 40 billion dollars of damage caused, may have sparked a new political realisation that a changing climate is no longer an abstract issue. For smallholder farmers in Africa, with limited resources and capacity to respond to climate change impacts, this reality has been in the forefront for years. Furthermore, warming in Africa is projected to continue to increase by 3-4oC over the next century and will be accompanied by substantial changes in regional hydrological balance. This poses a serious challenge to social and economic development, particularly because the economies of most African countries depend on climate-sensitive sectors, such as water, agriculture, fisheries, energy and tourism. Delayed adaptive responses could result in losses of up to 20% of Africaâ€™s GDP, versus an estimated cost of 1% of GDP necessary for immediate actions to protect against climate change risks. Observational records and model projections clearly demonstrate that freshwater resources are strongly impacted by climate change, with wide-ranging consequences for human societies and ecosystems. It is predicted that about 75-250 million people in Africa will be under water stress by 2020, due in part to changing regional hydrology associated with climate change. Water poverty is therefore a major barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. The push for irrigation water to decrease vulnerability of traditionally rain-fed production systems creates significant tradeoffs, such as deforestation in riparian zones and water catchments, and loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These effects in turn impact flow rates, sedimentation and water quality, affecting the efficacy of the irrigation and other development initiatives, such as the building of hydroelectric power plants for energy supply.
action should occur, and who should pay for it, still generate divergent views in the international and domestic policy arenas. The importance of enabling integrated approaches, for example by ensuring the efficiency and longevity of dams through the protection of upstream ecosystems, is particularly important. Because the impacts of it are already being felt, climate change makes national development planning more complex, overturns previous development achievements and, particularly in the case of extreme events, jeopardises human lives. At COP18 this week, delegates from around the world will gather to construct a way forward on the modalities of adaptation. Foremost in their discussions must be targeted water adaptation approaches for Africa that inform and guide national policy, resulting in enhanced resilience to climate variability. As climate change creates uncertainty in precipitation patterns, and the temperature increases amplify water loss resulting in reduction in surface storage and flow, opportunities for water adaptation are diminishing. However, the climate-water crisis currently plaguing Africa may offer a window of opportunity if solutions that build social and ecosystem resilience are put in place. Integrated strategies that encourage on-site capture, storage in watersheds through ecosystem management, and facilitate off-site supply sourced from areas with infrastructure development, will be required. It is particularly important that any form of water adaptation carried out benefits the most vulnerable segments of society. Examples of small scale water adaptation projects, which can be quickly implemented with local capacity, have already demonstrated their ability to catalyse transformative change on a large scale. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has used targeted, ecosystem based water adaptation projects to build capacity, learn lessons, and help countries establish the necessary institutional, organisational and financial means required for effective climate change responses. Furthermore, the lessons learnt have a high multiplier effect that can catalyse large-scale policy change at the national level. For example, in Togoâ€™s dry northern Savane Region, where rainfall is about 500mm per annum,
Indeed, Africaâ€™s dramatic vulnerability to climate change is not due to increased expected impacts of climate change on the continent, but primarily to the slow pace of the very development that climate change threatens. For example, the continent has hydroelectric generation potential of 15 to 30 thousand Megawatts, yet its current aggregate electric output is less than 1 thousand. Much of sub-Saharan Africa remains below 20% per capita electrification rate and even regional economic powerhouses such as South Africa remain prone to shortages and blackouts. Given this harsh reality, it is imperative that integration of climate risk considerations input into policy is sped up, ensuring that development proceeds along pathways that are resilient to climate change.
Despite the obvious need for action, questions regarding the type of water adaptation action required, where such
pic: harvested rainwater in Togo
COP 18 | DAY 8 there is an acute shortage of water supply outside of the short rainy season, which lasts 3-4 months. This triggers many social and economic problems in local communities, such as increased urban migration, which necessitates long distance trekking for the women and girls who are primarily responsible for fetching household water. Knock on consequences include a reduction in school attendance rates, particularly for girls, and a reduction in time available for women to engage in other livelihood activities. To help address this problem, UNEP supported the Togan national priority for adaptation, listed in the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), by rehabilitating two small dams to be used to harvest rainwater. This intervention has improved year-round supply of water to the local communities and reduced the physical stress on women caused by searching for water during the long dry periods. This enhanced resilience and security has in turn: expanded rural livelihood opportunities, supported emerging entrepreneurs in market gardening, brick construction and fishing activities, and ensured water is available for domestic and agro-pastoral consumption. However, restoring dams is not, and will never be, a simple one-off process. The long-term efficacy of dams fundamentally depends on sustainably well-managed surrounding ecosystems, which reduces sedimentation load and ensures water quality. Seizing this limited window of opportunity offers a costeffective mechanism for coping with future environmental change and ensuring climate-resilient development in Africa. Successfully executed practical projects have been shown to crucially contribute to building local capacity and to positively influence local and national government policies. The bottom-line experiences learnt from the Togan
pic: harvested rainwater in Togo
water adaptation project cited in this piece lies in local ownership. Success hinges on perception of benefits in the eyes of the local community and the national government, which in turn hinge on the emergence of opportunities for job creation, income generation and livelihood diversification. Thus, climate-smart water solutions must consider climate change impacts in the context of other ongoing processes of change, such as: demographics, urbanisation, economic development and shifting patterns of land use and resource demand. Rehabilitation projects of natural harvesting points for water are cost-efficient, as well as providing multiple co-benefits. Small-scale successes, though of course limited in their direct impact on a continent as vast as Africa, can provide examples of clear lessons learnt and a guiding vision to proactively address vulnerability to the hydrological impacts of a changing climate
profile. Karin Lexén How did you get to the role you are in today and what advice would you give aspiring climate champions?
Nationality: Swedish Country of Residence: Sweden
Current Position: Director, World Water Week, Prizes and Global Policy Processes at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
I have been following the UNFCCC processes in different capacities – as a party representative, as well as NGO – since 1996. SIWI was one of the founding members of the Water and Climate Coalition, which was established in 2009 to engage with the UNFCCC process in order to contribute to better integration between climate and water efforts. My advice to aspiring climate champions would be: Build your arguments on facts. Always remember why we are here – to advocate for the most vulnerable and to achieve sustainable resource management. And, most important of all, don’t give up!
What do you believe should be achieved at COP18? COP18 should pave the way for water wise climate adaptation and mitigation.
How should water be incorporated into an international agreement on climate change? Water knowledge should inform UNFCCC decisions and programmes such as the
Adaptation Committee, the Loss & Damage Programme, a possible programme on agriculture, as well as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). Water resources should be one of the thematic focus areas in the new phase of the Nairobi Work Programme. In the future there must also be ways to better seek synergies between adaptation and mitigation under the UNFCCC. Water provides a clear cut example of the linkages between mitigation and adaptation and could serve as a vehicle for promoting coherence.
Favourite quote: Climate change is water change – sustainable water resources management is key to successful climate mitigation and adaptation
COP 18 | DAY 8
Water scarcity as a major challenge for oases facing climate change in Maghreb Jean-baptiste Cheneval Réseau Associatif de Dévelopement Durable des Oasis (RADDO) For centuries, oases have successfully survived the climatic pressures of aridity in drylands. Their foundations are based upon natural organisational structures, which combine rigorous vegetation layering systems with optimal water use.
necessary to preserve traditional knowledge and expertise, and combine them with modern skills and technologies. To provide these solutions, the members of RADDO are active both in the field and in policy debates: • In Morocco, the Association pour la Lutte Contre l'Érosion, la Sécheresse et la Désertification Au Maroc (ALCESDAM) reduces water loss through the establishment of collective and demand driven water management systems; • In Algeria, the Association pour la protection de l'environnement de Béni Isguen (APEB) restores the traditional systems of collecting rainwater in order to elevate the water table of the Beni Isguen oasis; • Mauritania Tenmiya offers new solutions to farmers with the implementation of a water saving systems;
pic: Manuela de Pretis
In the Maghreb, successive droughts and resource overexploitation, hampered also by climate change, have progressively aggravated another major crisis: the water crisis. The Mediterranean/Maghreb region of north-west Africa is severely hit by water shortage and holds some of the world’s most ‘water poor’ populations. Several Mediterranean countries are now in a critical situation in which water consumption has exceeds annual inflows, with this trend showing no signs of abating. Since the 1970s, this has resulted in significant depletion of the aquifers that traditionally provided surface water for oases, and this depletion has been intensified by the increase in unregulated digging of individual wells and associated water drawdown. For example, this is what has happened to the Djérid aquifer in Tunisia and to the oases that it feeds. What’s more, it is estimated that the region will become even dryer in the near future. By 2020, precipitation is expected to decrease by 4 to 27%, resulting in an increase in shortages of available water resources by between 20 and 35%. The incidence of increased water scarcity is one of the main factors explaining the low agricultural production in drylands and oases. This situation, when coupled with increased food requirements due to population growth in the region, leads to an alarmingly heightened risk of food insecurity. Civil society organisations involved in oasis development are very active in the Mediterranean/Maghreb region, and a number of them founded the Réseau Associatif de Dévelopement Durable des Oasis (Oases Association Network, RADDO) in 2001. RADDO advocates for the safeguarding of oases, as natural resources integral to sustainable development in the region.
New pressures, like climate change, threaten oases agrosystems. Therefore, to face this new situation, it will be
• In Tunisia, the Association de sauvegarde de l'Oasis de Chenini (ASOC) improves the water holding capacity of soils through composting palms; and • Through agroecology, the Centre d'Actions et de Réalisations Internationales (CARI) proposes developing water-saving techniques. Each specific situation is therefore addressed by members of RADDO through the development of specific adaptation solutions. RADDO requests that both the vulnerability of oasis ecosystems and their potential as models for climate change adaptation should be recognised by, and acted upon under, the UNFCCC and other international sustainable development processes. These calls were first made by RADDO at the international level during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002. In Doha, RADDO continues the work started in Cancun at COP17. During the first week of COP18, the side event “Food Security in Maghreb: Oases as a Solution Face to Climate Change”, was an opportunity to highlight the capacity of Oases as resilient systems which support communities rich in experience of sustainable water management acquired throughout the centuries. Sustainable water management is necessary to preserve all natural resources and ensure the food security of countries in the Maghreb – and beyond – in the coming years. By better understanding the water resource dynamic in this region and learning from these agricultural heritage systems, decision makers in Doha will be better placed to reach an agreement which genuinely fosters sustainable development and tackles climate change
MORE INFO Jean-baptiste Cheneval is Programme Manager of RADDO
COP 18 | DAY 8
The perfect storm arriving at a shore near you Carol Turley and Thecla Keizer Plymouth Marine Laboratory It will last at least 10,000 years, cover three quarters of Earth’s surface and impact us all. We cannot see or hear it but its impacts are already being felt, from oysters and the multimillion dollar aquaculture business on the west coast of North America, to the sea butterfly (marine shelled snails called pteropods) in Antarctic waters, a key link in the ocean food web. This invisible storm is called ocean acidification but scientists can detect it by measuring the rapid chemical changes that the ocean is undergoing. The cause is global – carbon dioxide (CO2) produced from our fossil fuel combustion. The solution is global – urgent and substantial reduction of CO2 emissions. Ocean acidification is directly caused by the increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. When CO2 enters the ocean it rapidly undergoes a series of chemical reactions, which increase the acidity of the surface seawater, lowering its pH. The ocean has already removed about 30% of anthropogenic CO2 over the last 250 years, decreasing pH at a rate not seen for around 60 million years. This effect can be considered beneficial, since it has slowed the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere and the rate of global warming; without this ocean sink, atmospheric CO2 levels would already be greater than 450 parts per million. However, the continuation of such a fundamental and rapid change to ocean chemistry is bad news for life in the sea; it will not only cause problems for many organisms with calcium carbonate skeletons or shells (such as oysters, mussels, corals and some planktonic species) but could also impact many other organisms, ecosystems and processes, with potentially serious implications for society. Spearheading the message at COP18 for a large international partnership to combat ocean acidification, renowned ocean expert, Dr. Carol Turley OBE of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, stressed: “The health of the ocean is of vital importance to each and every one of us, making it crucial that its value and benefits are recognised in such discussions. With the ocean facing a multitude of stressors, we, as a global society, need to ensure that the marine environment is protected for the benefit of future generations.” The world is already committed to some acidification and we are now detecting impacts from it, so we need to consider
pic: a pteropod victim of acidification, NOAA's National Ocean Service
adaptation strategies, as well as the all-important mitigation strategies, to prevent further acidification in the future. In addition to the impacts noted above, ocean acidification can also make species more susceptible to the impacts of warming waters, which have decreased oxygen levels, further stressing marine organisms. Acting together, these three major stressors could more rapidly threaten biodiversity, biogeochemical cycles, ecosystems and the goods and services the ocean provides to society, thereby increasing the risk to human food security and industries that depend on productive marine ecosystems. To help increase awareness of the key issues impacting on the ocean in a high CO2 world, the partnership has produced an Ocean Stress Guide. It is imperative that international decision-makers, in particular, understand the enormous role the ocean plays in sustaining life on Earth and the consequences of high CO2 emissions for the ocean and society. The publication has already received support from a number of internationally significant bodies including the World Bank, European Union and UN bodies.
MORE INFO The partnership has been active at the UNFCCC meetings since 2009 and at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. The partners include Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the European Programme on Ocean Acidification (32 partners from 10 countries), UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (27 partners from the UK), Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a Changing Climate Programme (16 partners from 10 countries), Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification Programme (19 partners from Germany), SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography, OCEANA and the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC)
The Ocean Stress Guide is available in English and Arabic:
COP 18 | DAY 8
Building resilience in mountain water resources and closing the gap between policy and implementation Lovisa Selander Stockholm International Water Institute On Monday 3 December, the Water and Climate Coalition organised a session at “Mountain Day”, held alongside COP18. The seminar, entitled ‘Building Resilience in Mountain Water Resources and Closing the Gap Between Policy and Implementation’, drew an audience of both observer organisations and party members, and sought to highlight the importance of integrating discussions on climate and water, and to close the gap between policy and implementation. Karin Lexén of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the Water and Climate Coalition (WCC) Secretariat opened the session by stressing the need for taking local knowledge of water management into account in decision-making on climate adaptation and mitigation. Ms Lexén also outlined the WCC priorities for COP18, which included suggestions for a thematic initiative on water under the Nairobi Work Programme, and a greater emphasis on water resources management under the Loss and Damages Work Programme. Fred Boltz of Conservation International (CI) provided participants with an overview of the challenges that climate change imposes on freshwater ecosystems. Mountain regions make up one third of the global surface,
hold two thirds of the world’s freshwater resources – as such, they are vital in supporting the world population with water. Considering that climate change brings changes in water availability and variability, preserving and reserving freshwater ecosystems is key to climate resilience. In particular, Mr Boltz stressed the need for infrastructure to be flexible to climatic variation and to be designed so as not to disrupt ecosystems. Mats Eriksson, also from SIWI, has previously worked in the Himalaya region. In his presentation he brought up the crucial issue of flood mitigation infrastructure. An often overlooked measure, many of the structures put in place are not adapted to local conditions, are poorly maintained and inadequately governed. This can have disastrous consequences. An example is the breach of river embankments in Koshi Basin in 2008, which killed 7000 people and displaced another 3.6 million. Mr Eriksson highlighted the need to build on local knowledge and strengthen capacities in order to create infrastructure that better protects lives and livelihoods, and to ensure effective and transparent governance. “If the glaciers disappear, Pakistan is heading for disaster”. Those were the words of Pervaiz Amir of the Global Water Partnership and the Pakistan delegation to the UNFCCC. Pakistan is relying heavily on mountain water resources, and is consequently vulnerable to climate change. It is estimated that the country’s water resources will decrease by 40% in the period up to 2050/2060 due to climate change. Mr Amir pointed out that there are a small number of countries in the world which are particularly vulnerable to water scarcity. These countries need to be supported in order to be able to adapt to climate change. This is reflected in the UNFCCC process, which Mr Amir described as “frustration with hope”. Bai-Maas Taal of the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) warned that the WCC event was speaking to the converted, and that discussions on science and policy need to move out from side events and seminars and into the UNFCCC process. He urged for the outcomes from the WCC event to be transmitted to the negotiators at COP18. He stated that we cannot work in silos, and that science needs to be translated into political language in order to be adopted in decision-making.
While the focus of the event was mountains, when it comes to water the world is interconnected. As Mr Taal highlighted – small island states struggling with rising sea levels might experience climate change very differently to mountain regions, but rising sea levels are a direct consequence of melting glaciers. Therefore, the world is facing a common challenge, and we should all speak with one voice
COP 18 | DAY 8
COP18 side event calendar
WEDNESDAY 5th DECEMBER
TUESDAY 4th DECEMBER
Side Event Room 7
Towards 100% Renewables: Case studies and examples from regions and municipalities
ISES, WBA and WWEA
Side Event Room 6
Will National Legislation Pave The Way for A Global Deal?
Side Event Room 4
The emissions gap, its implications and policy solutions
Secretariat of the UNFCCC
Side Event Room 8
Securing Climate Finance and Investment to support Low-Carbon and Climate-Resilient Growth
13:15 – 14:45
Side Event Room 9
Hikma Hours Event - Climate Change Vulnerability and Impact Assessment: Initiatives for Adaptation in the Arab Region
League of Arab States and United Nations Organizations
13:15 – 14:45
Side Event Room 1
Sustainable Solutions for Climate Action: Food Security in Dry Lands under a Changing Climate
13:15 – 14:45
Side Event Room 7
Energy and climate: from current trends to an effective response to the climate challenge
International Energy Agency (IEA)
Side Event Room 6
Carbon Markets and Techn. Partnerships for promoting Renewable Energy Investments and Tech. Transfer
Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research and Saudi Arabia
Side Event Room 10
Carbon Management in the Supply Chain: a top-down approach in Brazilian scenario
Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development
Side Event Room 8
MAPS Latin America: Mitigation actions in the context of national development and climate change.
Chile and SouthSouthNorth
Side Event Room 7
Climate Justice for LDCs: Financing Adaptation and Implementing the IPoA
Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement and LDC Watch
Side Event Room 6
The cost of climate change adaptation: new findings, old gaps and policy implications
FEEM and Ca' Foscari University
Side Event Room 7
Climate-proofing Affordable Energy Services: local experiences that support sustainable development
HELIO International and INFORSE
Side Event Room 6
Change we can believe in: Countries making a difference through genderresponsive cc frameworks
Liberia and Ramsar Convention
Side Event Room 8
Grasslands climate change mitigation and adaptation potential
Mongolia and ILRI
Side Event Room 7
Experience and Outlook on Climate Technology Transfer
World Intellectual Property Organization
Side Event Room 2
Mid-term Emission Reduction Potential in Developing Country and Japanese Cooperation
IEEJ, GISPRI, JCI and JEMA
Side Event Room 4
Equity and ADP: How equity should become an integral part of the ADP negotiations
India and Centre for Science and Environment
17:00 – 19:00
Momentum for Change: Women for Results Launch
Momentum for Change Initiative
18:00 - 20:00
Sahara Forest Project and Bellona room, Hall 3
Social dimensions of climate change: Mobilizing the social sciences knowledge base for climate change adaptation
Side Event Room 4
DEFYING DISASTERS: TRI-CONTINENTAL SOUTH-SOUTH DIALOGUE (W/Tree of Action to Confront Climate Change)
Side Event Room 10
National Development Banks’ Approaches to Leveraging Private Sector Climate Investment
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COP 18 | DAY 8
Reflections from COP18, Monday 3 December Shah Mohammad Ashraful Amin Christian Aid, Bangladesh
Bremley Lyngdoh Pam Puntenney Worldview Impact Environmental and Human Systems Management
COP18 is important in terms of its unique geo-political location, since this is the first time ever that a COP has taken place in the Gulf Region. It is also very important from a temporal dimension, as it is taking place at the end of the first commitment period and beginning of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP). Furthermore, the expected conclusion of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and the beginning of a new era of negotiations under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) has further increased the significance of COP18.
Week one of COP 18 saw governments building upon their previous work from Bonn and Bangkok on Article 6 of the Convention (on education, training and public awareness), by creating a draft text, and – through the work of the Dominican Republic – a proposal was developed regarding procedures and clear lines of decisionmaking under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). At the end of the session, at 2:32 am, the SBI adopted the establishment of the Doha Work Programme on Article 6 of the Convention.
Since the Conference started on 26th November, lots of discussion has taken place on preparing a work plan on ADP with clear milestone and deadlines; amendment of 2nd commitment period of KP, creating new opportunities for public financing, the work programme on Loss and Damage Assessment; and fostering national adaptation plans through Adaptation Committee. At the half-way point of the two-week climate talks, debate on the length of the commitment period of the KP is ongoing. The Least Developed Country (LDC) group is expecting a five year commitment period, whereas the EU is pushing for eight years. New Zealand, Canada and Japan have all said that they will not sign up – threatening the future of a legally binding agreement on emission reductions. Besides this, there is still lot of ambiguity regarding climate finance. In the Cancun Agreement it was clearly stated that the money from Fast Start Finance is to be “new and additional”, but to date, it is not clear whether Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) counts under this definition. In spite of several conflicting issues, it can still be expected that there will be no gap between the first and second commitment period of the KP, that various institutional arrangements and bodies will be operational, and that there will be some clarity on the disbursement of Fast Start Finance and the scale of finance between 2013-2020 by the end of COP18.
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Of special note, on Saturday the Parties adopted an eightyear programme focusing on education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information, and international cooperation. The six elements have been clustered into two focal groups, alternating each year. In 2013, the first group – education and training – will be the topic of discussion for the first annual in-session dialogue on Article 6. A review of the work programme will occur in 2020, with an intermediate review of progress in 2016. Broad stakeholder engagement is the centerpiece of the agreement. The question remains if Article 6 will be part of the negotiations and outcomes from the Climate Investment Fund (CIF). Without strong financial commitment to the programme of work, Article 6 will be marginalised as soft policy, difficult to justify. A second challenge surrounds the responsibility to enhance the programme of work through a multi-stakeholder, intergenerational platform of engagement. Yesterday saw the launch of the UN Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training, and Public Awareness. The mission is to promote meaningful, result-oriented and effective international cooperation in support of the implementation of the Doha Work Programme on Article 6. This is an important starting point for UN agencies to ‘act as one’. The larger question, however, is can the Alliance transform their approaches to ones which engage stakeholders and therefore uphold Annex Section A (2) of the Programme. Research shows that communities that are resilient to climate change impacts are based upon the culture, traditions and values, recognition of which is absent from the Bali Action Plan and the second set of Kyoto Protocol commitments. This is where the Doha Work Programme on Article 6 will be the lens through which we work.
The Work Programme can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/TxTaMR Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on Dec 4, 2012
Published on Dec 4, 2012
The seventh edition of Outreach at COP18 investigates the links between water, oceans and climate change. We hear about the benefits of inco...