Capacity-building Is Key to Boost Regional Climate Action

In two different interactive workshops that took place during the Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Weeks, regional and national experts, university institutions and key stakeholders involved in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to the inevitable impacts of climate worked together to share ideas and experiences and to find concrete ways on how to boost climate action in both regions.

Such ways range from early warning models to prevent the spread of dengue disease in Asia, worsened by rising temperatures, to leadership programmes to mobilize people in cities of Latin America and the Caribbean to tackle climate change.

The events were organized by the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) and relevant partners in both regions.

The Paris Agreement acknowledges capacity-building as a fundamental precondition to foster enhanced and sustained coordination and coherence to enable governments and stakeholders to cut emissions and adapt to climate change.

As outlined in the recently published report by the Global Commission on Adaptation, “governments, development agencies, and the private sector need to collaborate to strengthen knowledge and capacity for managing climate risks (…) and concerted capacity-building, particularly at the local level, is needed to move from improved information to better decisions”.

As one of the key takeaways, participants of the Capacity-building Knowledge to Action Day in Latin America and the Caribbean stressed the importance of involving the private sector when starting the process of identifying capacity-building gaps and needs in the region, aiming to jointly create platforms where government, academia and the private sector can interact, identify and understand the capacity-building gaps and needs in each sector.

However, in order to do so, it is necessary to develop a mapping exercise to identify the already existing capacity-building programmes that contribute to achieving higher climate ambition and collective climate action in collaboration with academia and research organizations.

As a first step to follow up on these important discussions, UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Development Research Center (IDRC) are currently discussing the possibility of developing together a map of engagement for private sector actors in capacity-building activities for climate action in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the event organized during the first day of the Asia-Pacific Climate Week, participants recognized that universities and research institutions are already strong knowledge hubs in the region which are creating relevant new findings, knowledge and data that could support decision makers to effectively boost climate action and increase ambition.

However, policy makers don’t have systematic access to this information and/or deep understanding on how to interpret and use the data provided.

As said by Mizan R. Khan, Programme Director of the Least Developed Countries Universities Consortium on Climate Change (LUCCC), “I fully believe in the sage saying that if you know the risk, there is no risk. So, knowledge as the prime pillar of capacity-building is key to boost action for climate change.

Aiming to share good practices and lessons learned, the World Meteorological Organization shared a project on modeling science to climate services for health that clearly evidenced the benefit of collaboration between climate information providers such as academia and the application sector (Regional Health Agency) to have a real and measurable societal impact.

This was the case in Jakarta, Indonesia, where academics worked together with the Jakarta Regional Health Agency to develop early warning models on health, especially regarding the development of dengue. This Regional Agency used the dengue prediction information and circulated it to hospitals, health agencies and local health facilities.

In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO for its name in Spanish: Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales) shared the importance of building leadership in climate change in the region in order to enhance social and professional capacities of young urban leaders.

As identified by participants in the Capacity-building Knowledge to Action Days, it is necessary to explore different and innovative ways to dialogue with and include actors that are not usually considered in the design and development of capacity-building initiatives, such as indigenous peoples, youth and researchers from disciplines such as art, humanities and social sciences.

The leadership programme shared by FLACSO is a great example of enhancing, strengthening and mobilizing local capacities for climate change in an inclusive way.

The results and next steps of the Capacity-building Knowledge to Action Day will be shared in the 2nd Capacity-building Hub hosted by the Paris Committee on Capacity-Building (PCCB) at the UN Climate change Conference COP25 in Chile in December.

As the PCCB strives for regional balance, the same workshop is envisioned to be organized in the Africa Climate Week in 2020.

As the post-2020 international climate regime comes closer, it is more evident that building an inclusive, low-carbon and climate-resilient world will not be possible without effective capacity-building.

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