Capacity-building to Boost Climate Action

As capacity-building experts and practitioners held key events and discussions at the Capacity-building Hub during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in December 2019 in Madrid, their message was clear: strengthening the capacity of individuals, institutions and systems can significantly boost collective climate action.

The Capacity-building Hub at COP25 drew a wide array of actors in capacity-building for climate action for the second year in a row, fostering both the creation and spreading of knowledge for climate action.

Hosted by the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) under the UNFCCC, the Hub also provides a platform for dialogues and networking opportunities, and embodies the spirit of collaboration within the capacity-building community.

“The success of the second hub at COP25 clearly shows that building capacity is rightly perceived as central to transformational change,” said Ms. Marzena Chodor, Co-Chair of the PCCB. “By hosting the hub, the PCCB has provided a very targeted response to the demand for network building and knowledge sharing among actors involved in capacity-building for climate action,” she added.

Zooming in on how to best support capacity-building in developing countries, events, discussions and networking opportunities at the hub were grouped around distinct themes, including: measuring and reporting emissions, dealing with loss and damage associated with climate change impacts, bridging the gap between research and climate change policy and action, raising the climate action capacity of local governments and cities, and how strengthened capacity can bolster climate action in 2020 and beyond.

 “What is perhaps the clearest sign of the hub’s success is that the overwhelming majority of participants feel confident in their ability to transfer the lessons learned, methods and/or tools from the event into their work,” said PCCB member Mr. Mahawan Karuniasa.

“This is very encouraging as it shows the hub’s potential to provide real and tangible capacity-building support where it is really needed. Equally importantly, it is a clear indication that the right capacity in the right place will drive and speed up climate action,” he underlined.   

The 2015 PCCB itself has a unique mandate to help developing countries identify needs and gaps in capacity-building and to promote the active engagement of a wide range of stakeholders to increase the impact of capacity-building efforts.

Discussions held at the COP25 hub over the course of seven days showed an impressive level of alignment and convergence in the focus and approaches across different sectors and actors.

A key aspect to emerge centred on the need for stronger capacity in the area of emission measuring and reporting. Very technical in nature and with an imperative need for accuracy, participants underlined the need for the continuous training of experts, peer-to-peer learning and stronger regional cooperation. In response, targeted capacity-building initiatives, such as on-line tools, methodologies and platforms were presented.

The usefulness of applying on-line communication platforms such as social media to share information and knowledge among actors in the field of climate action capacity-building was consistently underlined by participants.

The importance of mainstreaming human rights, indigenous voices and gender and youth perspectives into capacity-building for climate change was also consistently emphasized.

The success and significance of the Capacity-building Hub was acknowledged by a wide array of actors during COP25, placing capacity-building in the spotlight of the conference. Parties to the UNFCCC solidified the hub as an integral part of the PCCB’s workplan, as the Committee received a mandate to continue its work for the duration of 2020-2024.

The PCCB is determined to keep up the momentum. It recognizes the importance of active learning and continuous refinement in the development of the hub. The committee will build upon the lessons learned, experiences gained, and feedback received in the previous hubs, to maintain the success of Capacity-building Hub in the future. Suggestions and inputs are welcome from all members of the capacity-building community worldwide.

The next Capacity-building Hub will be organized at COP26 in Glasgow in November. All interested individuals and organizations are welcome to join the debates and contribute to the discussions.

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