Development & Climate Days: the history

Development & Climate Days is an annual gathering that links the issues of climate change and development, and promotes dialogue, information sharing and informal discussion alongside United Nations climate change talks.


D&C Days logoThe Development & Climate (D&C) Days event is held each year in the middle weekend of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The UNFCCC binds almost 200 countries to tackle climate change. The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the convention, and all parties meet each year to review progress.

Amid these formal negotiations, D&C Days provides an informal space for policymakers, scientists and development practitioners to come together to explore common concerns and discuss strategic action.

D&C Days are designed to:

  • Bring together practitioners, negotiators, scientists and policymakers to explore key issues related to adaptation to climate change in developing countries
  • Share best practices in development and climate change
  • Provide opportunities to disseminate scientific news, literature and reports, and
  • Promote linkages between development and climate.


D&C Days were initiated by IIED's Saleemul Huq in 2002. The first event was titled Adaptation Day, and was held at COP8 in Delhi. The aim was to arrange an international event for people working on climate adaptation to enable them to share the latest developments.

In 2004, the programme expanded to include a 'Development Day'. Development practitioners had not previously attended the UN climate change negotiations, but their active engagement was seen as important for addressing the impacts of climate change on development.

In 2007, the event was renamed "Development and Climate Days" to reflect the fact that adaptation was becoming mainstreamed into the development agenda, and that good adaptation presupposes development. 2007 also saw the launch of a film festival featuring short films on climate and development. The film screenings are often attended by the film-makers giving a chance for the audience to ask questions. The subject categories include activism, animation, disaster, humour and participatory video.

D&C Days has been organised by a range of different partners over the years. The 2021 event is being hosted by a partnership of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCCC), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), the World Bank and Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance.

D&C Days archive

The list below briefly summarises previous D&C Days. The links in the text provide access to reports of the events. Participants focused on developing key messages to be shared with target audiences, both during the current UN climate negotiations in Madrid and at future international forums.

This year marks 20 years of Development & Climate Days, during which time hundreds of people have bene brought together to grow the adaptation and resilience space at the annual UNFCCC COPs.

Many of the priorities pushed forward by the D&C Days agenda have been successfully achieved. We've moved adaptation from the margins to the mainstream, featured local voices and lived experience in discussions alongside decision makers at COPs, and built a strong community interested in open honest dialogue about adaptation and resilience.
The partners feel proud to have been part of this journey and to find ourselves in a situation this year, during COP27, where we can pause and reflect on the strength of our partnership over two decades to define how D&C Days will contribute to shape the climate landscape in the future, with new and additional partners and contributors, at COP28 and beyond.
While there won't be a traditional two-day D&C Days event at COP27, we will instead step back and work with others to share our expertise and lessons learned at the various side events, hubs and pavilions.

D&C Days took place from 9-10 November 2021 at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. Unlike previous years, this wasn't in the middle weekend of the UN climate summit.

The two-day digital event spanned multiple time zones and was the most inclusive D&C Days event yet. We brought together grassroots representatives, researchers, development practitioners and policymakers from across the world to discuss how to work together to build a climate-resilient future for all.

Although COP26 was postponed until 2021, the 18th annual D&C Days took place online on 2 and 3 December 2020.

As part of the Understanding Risk Forum 2020 (UR2020), the world’s primary event bringing together experts and practitioners in the field of disaster risk assessment and risk communication, there were two days of discussion and dialogue.

COP25: Madrid, Spain 2019
The 2019 D&C Days focused on climate justice and key messages for climate negotiators. 

COP24: Katowice, Poland 2018
The 2018 D&C Days took place in Katowice, Poland on 8-9 December 2018, and agreed key messages that were shared with targeted audiences during the UN climate negotiations and at other international forums.

COP23: Bonn, Germany, 2017
The 2017 D&C Days took place on 11-12 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany, alongside COP23. The event explored four key themes towards climate resilience for all.

COP22: Marrakech, Morocco, 2016
The 2016 D&C Days conference focused on 'Global ambition. Local action. Climate resilience for all'. It looked at how the world could deliver on the ambition of the previous year's landmark Paris Agreement.

COP21: Paris, France, 2015
The 2015 D&C Days event was themed "tough talk on poverty and climate" and focused on the key transitions needed to tackle climate change and eradicate poverty by 2030.

COP20: Lima, Peru, 2014
The D&C Days event at COP20 focused on 'zero-zero' within a generation: getting to zero extreme poverty by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050. Participants explored ways to integrate targets on climate and poverty, how to influence the UNFCCC negotiations and ideas for measures that could produce zero-zero within a generation.

COP19: Warsaw, Poland, 2013
The 2013 D&C Days had the theme "innovative approaches, incisive dialogue on climate-smart development". Day one focused on showcasing the experience of adaptation practitioners from the field. Day two focused on innovative game-based approaches for inciting action for climate change education, learning and capacity building.

COP18: Doha, Qatar, 2012
2012 marked the 10th anniversary of D&C Days. Day one featured a 'speed-networking' session, followed by a 'D&C game' to encourage participants to think about the cost, value, and use of early warning information in development decisions. Day two focused on climate smart development and included a discussion on development and adaptation dilemmas.

COP17: Durban, South Africa, 2011
The 2011 D&C Days focused on the lessons and challenges emerging from existing adaptation planning processes. Key topics were: improving evidence-based adaption decision-making, exploring issues of information needs and the challenges of robust evidence generation, through to information use and the politics of decision-making in practice.

COP16: Cancun, Mexico, 2010
D&C Days at COP16 looked at supporting the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge by practitioners and researchers from developing countries. The discussions focused on the challenges that developing country researchers face in funding research and publicising research findings. It highlighted the need to ensure that evidence from the global south is included in assessments of climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other organisations. It also aimed to raise questions about the norms of what is considered 'valid' knowledge to inform policy.

COP15: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2009
In recognition of the importance of the Copenhagen COP, the 2009 D&C Days ran for four days and featured more than 70 speakers. Approximately 800 participants attended. The programme was structured around four themes: land, water and natural resources; justice, ethics and humanitarian issues; planning adaptation; and trade; finance and the private sector.

COP14: Poznan, Poland, 2008
The 2008 D&C Days programme featured more than 30 speakers and included discussions on: vulnerable groups; gender and climate change; children; the Arctic and small island developing states (SIDS); rights and justice; policymaking in a changing climate; community-based adaptation; adaptation effectiveness; and adaptation funding. More than 300 delegates from 72 countries attended.

COP13: Bali, Indonesia, 2007
The 2007 event was renamed Development and Climate days. The programme on day one focused on disaster reduction and extreme events, cities and health. There was also a  a panel discussion on financing adaptation. On day two, sessions focused on food and agriculture, community-based adaptation and energy. The event closed with a panel discussion on communicating for communities, across sectors and timescales. 

COP12: Nairobi, Kenya, 2006
Saleemul Huq of IIED opened the 2006 D&C Days event by welcoming the large number of participants from the development community who were new to the climate change policy process. Development Day focused on: energy and sustainable development; agriculture and food security; and water. Adaptation Day included sessions on: science, tools and adaptation; community-based adaptation; and experience with least developed countries' NAPAs.

Reports of early D&C Days are available on the IISD Reporting Services website or the IIED Publications Library, as follows: 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002