IIED at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21)

IIED attended the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris from November 30 to 11 December, 2015.

IIED International fellow Saleemul Huq provided daily video updates from the Paris climate talks, offering insight into the negotiations, news from side events, and his expertise on the efforts to reach a fair and equitable climate treaty. 

Watch our Road to Paris series of interviews explaining the UN climate talks from the Least Developed Countries' perspectives. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow Saleemul Huq on Twitter.


All events

Engaging with LDC negotiators and diplomats

Climate diplomats from the Least Developed Countries (Photo: IIED)

Series of meetings throughout COP21

IIED's work with the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group in the UN climate talks and on climate diplomacy more broadly supports climate negotiators and diplomats from LDCs to better advocate for the most vulnerable.

By raising the voices of the LDCs, establishing relationships and building bridges to reach consensus on pertinent issues, these LDC representatives are opening new avenues for the most vulnerable at the global level.

Incentives for pro-poor climate financing

An irrigation project in Vietnam's highlands (Mike Shanahan/IIED)Side event 
Date: Tuesday, 1 December

Speakers: Including Saleemul Huq from ICCCAD, Bangladesh; Victor Orindi from Ada Consortium, Kenya; Raju Chhetri from Prakriti Resource Centre, Nepal; Benito Muller, managing director at Oxford Climate Policy; and IIED's Neha Rai and Nanki Kaur. Chaired by Giza Gaspar-Martins, chair of the Least Developed Countries Group and director of the department of climate change in Angola's Ministry of Environment.  

The agreements behind the SDGs and the UN climate change negotiations will only succeed if the world's poorest people are able to access the finance they require to effectively respond to the challenges they face. Policy debates have focused on where money will come from. Yet the real question will be how to get money to the poor and vulnerable, who need it most.

This session enabled South-South lessons to be exchanged, using case studies from Africa and Asia to illustrate how policymakers are unlocking public-private flows for inclusive investment in low carbon resilience development. In doing so, it showed how LDCs can align incentives to pro-poor climate finance choices to steer the implementation of the SDGs and advocate pro-poor financing decisions for Green Climate Funds. The session was hosted by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) and IIED, and chaired by Giza Gaspar-Martins, the chair of the LDC Group. Participants were invited to stay for drinks and snacks following the session. Read the agenda (PDF).

Related reading: Delivering climate and development finance to the poorest: intermediaries that 'leave no-one behind' | Beyond loans: instruments to ensure the poor access climate and development finance | Ten principles to help assess funding for local climate adaptation | Financing inclusive low carbon resilience development in Bangladesh and Nepal

Sustainable change: making climate finance more than a simple numbers game (linking climate finance and energy access to accelerate green inclusive growth)

Market stalls in Geita town, Tanzania (Photo:Brian Sokol/Panos Pictures)Side event
Date: Thursday, 3 December

Speakers: Including Maritje Hutapea, director of renewable energy, Government of Indonesia; Pieter Terpstra, Dutch delegation; representative from Tarea, Tanzania; Eco Matser, global coordinator for climate, energy and development, Hivos; and IIED's Neha Rai

This session, hosted by Hivos, questioned how climate finance currently supports inclusive green growth. It explored whether climate finance can deliver on climate and poverty reduction goals by stimulating green inclusive growth through access to renewable energy for the poor. Presentations were followed by a discussion with the audience to identify alternatives and solutions for how climate finance can deliver on climate and poverty reduction goals.

Related reading: Financing inclusive low-carbon resilient development: the role of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre in Nepal |  Measuring what matters in the energy SDG | Demanding supply. Putting ordinary citizens at the heart of future energy systems

Engaging men and women in REDD+ business: effectively addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation

Farm workers clearing land in the Meceburi Forest in Mozambique (Photo: Mike Goldwater/IIED)

Date: Thursday, 3 December to Friday, 4 December, 2015

Speakers: Including IIED's Isilda Nhantumbo

IIED has been implementing REDD+ initiatives with support of the governments of the UK and Norway since 2012, and this work includes Inclusive REDD+ and Testing REDD+. Our two-day event aimed to share the findings of this research to inform a wider debate on how REDD+ is contributing to addressing the drivers of land use and land use change. We shared lessons on the ways of working at subnational level and, more broadly, looked at how to capitalise on the roles that different actors, such as the private sector, men and women, play in the process.

Scaling up is fundamental to REDD+ effectiveness in reducing carbon emission while delivering on improved livelihoods and local economy development. This event fostered collective reflection on the challenges and innovative ways of addressing them in order to inform the wider REDD+ debate.

Related reading: REDD+ for profit or for good? Review of private sector and NGO experience in REDD projects | Governments need to lead the way for REDD+ delivery

Addressing the adaptation gap: integrating ecosystem- and community-based approaches for more systemic solutions

Traditional Andean landscape, Peru (Photo: Khanh Tran-Thanh/IIED)Side event
Date: Friday, 4 December

Speakers: Including IIED's Krystyna Swiderska and Alejandro Argumedo of ANDES Asociación

This event, co-hosted by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) with CIRAD and CATIE, examined integrating ecosystem-based adaptation and community-based adaptation, two approaches that have gained wide attention in the past years but are largely disconnected. Examples were provided from urban and rural landscapes around the world. The session also looked at the use of holistic indigenous concepts to link the two approaches in the context of the Indigenous Peoples’ Climate Change Assessment (IPCCA) and the SIFOR project.

Related reading: Biocultural heritage territories flyer | Smallholder Innovation for Resilience (SIFOR) in India

Mountain indigenous peoples, climate change and biocultural heritage

 A traditional ceremony before harvest in the Peru Potato Park (Photo: Khanh Tran-Thanh/IIED)

Side event
Date: Saturday, 5 December

Speakers: Including IIED's Krystyna Swiderska and Alejandro Argumedo of ANDES Asociación, plus Lino Mamani, of the Potato Park (Peru), and Yiching Song Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy (China)

Mountain ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to climate change. Indigenous and other mountain peoples are already experiencing several extreme impact events attributed to warming. This event examined the impacts of climate change on indigenous mountain communities and sought to identify strategies for effective adaptation that build on indigenous biocultural heritage. The subjects covered included biocultural adaptation in the Potato Park in the Andes (Peru), the International Network of Mountain Indigenous People, as well as the Tuggoz Declaration and key messages for climate policymakers.

Related reading: The Tuggoz Declaration on Climate Change and Mountain Indigenous Peoples

Global Landscape Forum: the role of agroecology in exploring innovative, viable adaptation measures for resilient smallholder coffee landscapes

Dehusked and dried coffee beans at a farm in Cauca, southwestern Colombia (Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT, Creative Commons, via Flickr)

Side event
Date: Saturday, 5 December

Speakers: Including IIED's Ina Porras

Hosted by Hivos and the International Coffee Organization (ICO), this session focused on smallholder agricultural systems, especially coffee, in the context of climate change. Results were presented from a two-year research programme by IIED, Hivos and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) looking at the potential of carbon funding finance to promote sustainable agriculture and encourage climate-change mitigation activities at farm level. This research looked at the impact of incentives along value chains in Kenya, Indonesia, Central America and Peru.

Related reading: Payments for Ecosystem Services in smallholder agriculture: lessons from the Hivos-IIED learning trajectory

IUCN EbA Day: EbA from ridge to reef – evidence from the field

Peru's Potato Park protects the genetic diversity of local crops (Photos: Khanh Tran-Thanh/IIED)Side event
Date: Saturday, 5 December

Speakers: Including IIED's Krystyna Swiderska

This event included a seven-minute presentation on mountain ecosystem-based adaptation in the Potato Park (Peru) and the Stone Village (China), based on genetic diversity, indigenous knowledge and customary institutions.

Related reading: Biocultural heritage territories flyer | Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation: strengthening the evidence and informing policy | Press release: Extreme climate impacts already causing devastation in mountain communities

13th Development and Climate Days (D&C Days) conference

The 13th Development & Climate Days conference will take place at COP21 (Image: IIED)

Date: Saturday, 5 December and Sunday, 6 December, 2015

The theme for the 13th D&C Days conference was 'Zero poverty, zero emissions: tough talk on climate and poverty'. The 2015 D&C Days brought together high-level government representatives, academics and practitioners from around the globe. The programme focused on transitions – the changes necessary to integrate adaptation to climate change and development.

D&C Days was hosted by IIED, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Global Landscapes Forum: Strengthening land and resource rights through REDD+

Side event
: Sunday, 6 December, 2015

Speakers: Including IIED's Phil Franks

This session focused on the land and resource rights and equity in the design and implementation of REDD+ activities. It explored why equity and resource tenure security are important for the effectiveness and sustainability of REDD+, as well as for increasing non-carbon benefits, and addressed practical measures to achieve these objectives. This event was hosted by USAID, Climate Focus, the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, the Center for International Forestry Research, IIED, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Related reading: Equitable REDD+: exploring concepts and strategies | Food vs forests in sub-Saharan Africa: a challenge for the SDGs | Applying three dimensions of equity to REDD+ 

Global Landscapes Forum: Food Security and Safety Pavilion

: Sunday, 6 December, 2015

We shared a booth with the Plan Vivo Foundation in the Food Security and Livelihoods Pavilion to promote the foundation's work on smallholder and community Payments for Ecosystem Services. We also presented results from our ESPA project 'Streamlining monitoring in smallholder PES', and launched a monitoring tool for greenhouse gases for smallholders that increases precision and reduces costs – watch the video. This event was jointly organised with the Plan Vivo Foundation, the University of Edinburgh and ESPA.

Related reading: Innovations for equity and inclusion in smallholder payments for ecosystem services | Linking Smallholders to PES/REDD+ intermediaries and ecosystem service markets | Payments for Ecosystem Services in smallholder agriculture: lessons from the Hivos-IIED learning trajectory

Supporting poor, vulnerable and indigenous communities

Peru: members of a women's collective produce traditional crafts made from local materials (Photo: Khanh Tran-Thanh/IIED)

Side event
Date: Monday, 7 December, 2015

Speakers: Including Hannah Reid and Krystyna Swiderska

This event shared research on the quantity and quality of adaptation finance reaching those most in need; how to practically support the adaptation strategies and traditional knowledge of indigenous communities; and local community engagement with and benefits from REDD. The event was organised jointly with Grupo de Trabalho Amazonico (GTA) and Natural Justice.

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