Stepping up the Adaptation Committee

4 October 2011

ECO is pleased to see that adaptation negotiators are getting busy with detailed discussions on the Adaptation Committee. Since this is the only adaptation issue currently on the LCA agenda here in Panama, we expect progress towards taking a decision in Durban, especially before negotiators start enjoying the train ride along the Panama Canal (Tourist advice of the day!). ECO would like to thank Parties for agreement to provide access to the informals and consequently was able to follow some of the discussions. ECO heard that all Parties seem to support getting the Adaptation Committee up and running in Durban, including a work programme for the first year. That is the right approach, and we hope that no one falls back into a “taking hostage” mood linking the committee to other negotiation issues.

ECO understands that there are some controversies about the link of the Adaptation Committee to the entities of the financial mechanism, in particular the Green Climate Fund. The Adaptation Committee could become a key institution, galvanizing and synthesizing knowledge and experience on different aspects around adaptation, and providing technical guidance on planning and implementation at programme and policy levels. Then existing and emerging institutions like the Green Climate Fund could build on their work, such as guidelines for funding, on the recommendations of the Adaptation Committee in order to ensure adherence to the adaptation framework, and take into consideration the growing adaptation sciences and emerging issues.

 This however does not mean that the Committee should trespass into the core business of the GCF Board (or other institutions). A soft link will be a way to increase the overall coherence which is so demanded by everyone.

ECO suggests that negotiators review a recent study published by the Earth System Governance Project. It reviewed experience from multilateral institutions from a variety of areas with regard to participatory approaches and the inclusion of stakeholders in its governance structure.

Whilst ECO appreciates that there seems to be convergence towards allowing observers to attend the Adaptation Committee meetings, the lessons learned from this and other studies suggest that adding representatives from stakeholder constituencies to the governance structure of the Committee, either voting or non-voting, could add much needed expertise, insights and credibility to the work of the Adaptation Committee.

We surmise that this was also proposed by some Parties in the negotiations. There is no doubt that stakeholder constituencies would have to ensure appropriate representation from developing countries combined with adequate expertise. Now is the time to put the Adaptation Committee on the right track, to be ambitious and to converge as soon as possible.

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