Development and Climate Days event at COP20 focuses on zero-zero

12 December 2014

An IIED-hosted event looks at how to get to zero poverty and zero emissions within a generation.

D&C Days at COP20 focused on innovative approaches and incisive dialogue for climate-smart development

The 12th Development & Climate (D&C) Days event took place in Lima, Peru, from 6-7 December, alongside the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP20).

The event focused attention on getting to zero-zero within a generation — zero extreme poverty by 2030, and zero net emissions by 2050. Participants explored ways to integrate climate and poverty targets, influence the UNFCCC negotiations and identify agreements that could produce zero-zero within a generation.

A transformational agenda

The administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, spoke at the final session. She said that "a transformational agenda" was in the making at a global level and called on governments to participate. 

Clark said: "People are ready and waiting. In many cases sub-national governments, communities, indigenous people, even the private sector, have moved well ahead of where many governments are at — and don't wait for governments! 

"But I also want to say: we can't do without them, we need them to legislate, to regulate, to enforce the laws and rules they put in place."

Other speakers included Daniele Violetti, chief of staff of the UNFCCC, Mary Robinson, chair of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and former President of Ireland, and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, president of COP20 and Peru's Minister of State for Environment.

D&C Days are held each year alongside the UNFCCC climate negotations. They are seen as a welcome opportunity for informal dialogue and networking, in contrast to the more formal UN climate negotiations.

As well as several high-level panel discussions, this year's event also included innovative approaches such as participatory games, speed geeking, lightning talks, role-play discussions, world cafés and more.

During the event Scriberia artist Jorge Martin produced a mural summing up the conversations that were taking place. You can also see and subscribe to a Twitter list of organisations and individuals involved in D&C Days.

The 2014 event was organised by IIED in conjunction with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). On the eve of COP20 the heads of the four organisations together called for "substantially expanded ambitions to tackle both extreme poverty and greenhouse gas emissions"

Why are the zero-zero targets connected?

Climate adaptation to increase people's resilience should be a fundamental component of any poverty-eradication strategy. We will also need to fight poverty in a way that will lead us to zero emissions or risk losing ground gained on poverty reduction.

Some pathways to reducing emissions by 2100 could result in an economic slowdown that could hinder eradication of extreme poverty unless measures are taken. 

Background to D&C Days

D&C Days were initiated by IIED senior fellow Saleemul Huq at COP8 in Delhi in 2002, when adaptation to climate change was at best marginal to UN climate talks. Over the years the increasingly popular event has brought together policymakers, scientists and development practitioners to debate a theme that has become central to climate plans, policies and programmes worldwide.

Read more about D&C Days