Barcelona´s first hearing on adaptation

3 November 2009

Yesterday, the first contact group on adaptation in Barcelona took place as the countdown to Copenhagen enters its final phase. It was an extraordinary hearing although ECO struggled to hear because the acoustics were bad.

And there were some important things ECO wanted to hear clearly. The chair set out the mission: finish on Friday with a concise and manageable negotiation text that can be taken back to capitals for full review before Copenhagen.

Yet not all Parties seemed to share this objective.  A well-known big oil-exporting country complained about the chairs and the secretariat providing too much guidance, with the argument that this is a party-driven process. But ECO notes that everything in the text is a product of input by Parties.  The chairs’ guidance is a way of facilitating what otherwise would be largely unmanageable.

And time is running out.

Looking forward, let’s review some things that definitely would be good to hear today with respect to the adaptation non-paper.

The preambular section must recognize the fact that there will be loss and damage from past emissions, and it is important to recognize who is responsible.

Under section A, the scope of action must include the provision of support, and not just the adaptation actions (Para. 5).  A credible response to the challenge of adaptation must also prioritize the needs of vulnerable countries on the international level, and the needs of particularly vulnerable people, groups and communities and ecosystems when it comes to implementation within developing countries (Para. 6).  The communities and people included in these groups should be identified by countries and should not be internationally prescribed. The meaningful inclusion of the vulnerable in all stages of decision-making must be ensured, in line with their human rights (Para. 7).

Under section B, ECO hopes to hear clearly recognition of the full range of adaptation activities, including support for situations where adaptation is no longer possible, and the need to scale up work as soon as possible.
Section C gets to the crux of the matter: the means for implementation. Legally binding funding obligations for developed countries are crucial if the Copenhagen Agreement is to provide a serious response to climate change.

Resources must be provided in addition to Official Development Assistance (ODA) targets and not come at the expense of the poor who are denied the expansion of basic services because ODA finance is diverted into adaptation. And it is clear that on average at least USD $50 billion per year of predictable and reliable resources are needed between 2013 and 2017, with further scale-up in the future.  These funds should be delivered as periodic grant installments, so that recipient governments can plan their adaptation programmes with the certainty of receiving funds.

So delegates, please hear us clearly.  Get to work right here, right now. There are only 8 sessions left until Copenhagen. Can’t you hear the countdown clock?  Tcktcktck . . .

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