UNFCCC Adaptation Committee Meeting Goes Digital

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Climate Change secretariat is embracing telecommuting and teleconferencing options in order to carry on with its work, as demonstrated by the upcoming 17th Meeting of the Adaptation Committee (AC 17), which will take place virtually on the originally scheduled dates, 24-27 March 2020.

Now everyone has the opportunity to follow proceedings every day of the meeting during the time-frame 13:00 – 15:00 CET (Berlin time) via YouTube Live.

The live broadcast ensures that the Adaptation Committee’s work continues to be transparent, and that it can continue to benefit from the presence and inputs of observers. Observers that have registered for the physical meeting in Bonn are invited instead to actively participate in the virtual meeting.

Youssef Nassef, Director of the Adaptation Programme of UN Climate Change, said:

“In agreeing to move ahead with the virtual meeting, Adaptation Committee members have shown great flexibility and steadfast commitment to their work despite the challenging circumstances. Whilst the world is grappling with the COVID-19 crisis, climate change continues to accelerate, and we must continue to build resilience to its inevitable impacts as quickly and effectively as we can.»

A further recent example of the UNFCCC secretariat’s commitment to continuing its work under the current difficult circumstances relates to transparency and tracking the progress of governments’ 2020 emissions pledges. During the last two weeks, reviews were carried out remotely of biennial reports of 10 developed countries and technical analysis of biennial update reports (BURs) of 11 developing countries, as well as analysis of REDD+ of 2 countries.

A pool of 43 reviewers of biennial reports and 41 technical experts of BURs and REDD+ were connected from home and collaborated through the audio/video tools with the review officers of the UN Climate Change secretariat, while national teams of transparency experts in 21 countries engaged with the reviewers and technical experts.

Adaptation Committee meeting programme

With Adaptation Committee members hailing from 16 countries across the world, time zone differences mean that each day’s meeting can take place for two hours, as opposed to the usual 8-hour meetings that take place when the Committee meets in Bonn. As a result, the meeting will take a two-tiered approach to addressing all agenda items.

The Committee’s virtual discussions this week will focus on agenda items that require immediate extensive inputs and guidance from members, as follows: 

  1. All items addressing mandates from the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA), including:
  • Launching consideration of the approaches to reviewing the overall progress made in achieving the global goal on adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience, and reducing vulnerability to climate change by considering a draft technical paper that reviews and discusses the scientific literature on this topic and existing national-level approaches to assessing progress on adaptation.  

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