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Conference Report

Beijing-GLOBE-Confernece

In a changing climate, policymakers and legislators are facing new challenges in development planning and responding to climate impacts across a range of sectors. Recognising the need for joined-up working to face the common challenge of climate impacts, the brought together a full spread of policy makers but also build links with legislators who are building the legal framework for adaptation.

The three-day International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation: Policy, Practice and Legislation drew 150 leading policymakers, legislators, experts and representatives of multilateral agencies from China and 35 developing countries to Beijing to explore major opportunities for China and developing countries to work together to make their countries and communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Conference participants also had the opportunity to learn of China's achievements in planning for and responding to climate impacts.

The conference approved unanimously a set of Guiding Principles for Climate Change Adaptation; South-South Cooperation, Practice and Legislation and expressed strong support for a second conference on Climate Change Adaptation to be held in 2014.

Summary of proceedings

Su-Wei-Frolick-GLOBEOpening remarks and key note speeches were delivered by Director General Su Wei, China's National Development and Reform Commission, Vice Director General Michel Mordasini, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Hon Cedric Frolick MP, Chairperson of the South African National Assembly.

Day 1 of the conference began by focusing on China, the host country, and on key South-South partners, and by sharing what has been achieved during the ACCC project to reduce other countries' vulnerability to climate impacts.

Madam Huang, Director of the International Cooperation Division of the Climate Change Department of China's National Development and Reform Commission*, said that UK and Swiss support has played an important role in China's capacity building, noting that the drafting of China's National Adaptation Strategy had drawn upon the same expert pool and research base as the ACCC project.

Madam Huang expressed the wish for a continuing successful relationship through triangular cooperation as China meets its South-South Cooperation commitments and international commitments on climate change. China has made a significant commitment of 200 million RMB to cooperating with other developing countries on adaptation through technology transfer, training and mutual learning, making it a major part of the growing work in this area.

Ma Zhongyu, Deputy Secretary-General, Ningxia Provincial Government, presented on the preliminary results of joint research into provincial decision makers attitudes and knowledge in China, noting that 50% of decision makers fully understand adaptation measures, with more awareness amongst decision makers in coastal regions. The survey found key knowledge gaps including public health and urban infrastructure.

Day 2 of the conference explored key opportunities and avenues for South-South cooperation through policy and practice across 4 thematic areas, how adaptation needs and challenges can be met by South-South cooperation on climate change, and what the entry points for addressing these issues might be.

Day 3 focused on legislation for climate change adaptation with discussions about the merits of various approaches to adaptation legislation and the sharing of case studies.

Zhai-Yong-GLOBEZhai Yong, Director General for the Environment Protection and Resources Conservation Committee in the National People's Congress made clear that, in future, all development planning should hang on environment, nature and carry capacity. He highlighted the significant legislative work going on in China for CCA, noting in particular the current revision of the environmental protection law and the drafting of the climate change law.

Xianfu Lu, UNFCCC Secretariat, pointed out that domestic legislation on adaptation is as much about job creation, safeguarding economic growth and protecting public health and should be talked about in these terms. She talked about the importance of compliance to ensure implementation and legally created incentives for private sector involvement.

Legislators shared case studies of domestic legislative efforts from Micronesia to Mexico.

The conference closed with Hon Cedric Frolick MP, Chairperson of the South African National Assembly, presenting the unanimously agreed upon Guiding Principles and a response by Dr Ma Aimin from the National Development & Reform Commission of China (NDRC):

Frolick-Beijing-GLOBE"Although the impacts of climate change are local and varied, there is much we can learn from each other about how to approach our response. That is why we have developed a set of Guiding Principles that will help legislators and policymakers to ensure that the response is as effective as possible and learns the lessons from others' experience."

Hon. C.T. Frolick, Chairperson National Assembly of South Africa
President of GLOBE South Africa, Vice President of GLOBE International

"These Guiding Principles will assist China to develop the adaptation elements of its climate change legislation."

Dr Ma Aimin
National Development and Reform Commission - China

Conference organisers

The conference was organised by the Adapting to Climate Change in China project (ACCC) in partnership with The Global Legislators' Organisation (GLOBE International) and the INTASAVE Partnership.

ACCC is a joint project between China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC) and the UK Department for International Development and Department for Energy and Climate Change (UK DFID & DECC)

 
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Guiding Principles for Climate Change Adaptation: South-South Cooperation, Practice and Legislation

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On 2­‐4 July 2013, policymakers, experts and legislators from 35 countries met in Beijing, China, to:

  • Enhance the understanding of policy makers and legislators of mainstreaming climate change adaptation into development planning across sectors
  • Learn about China's and other countries' experience relating to National and Subnational Adaptation planning and responses
  • Explore opportunities for international & regional cooperation to strengthen adaptation responses

The participants developed and agreed a set of Guiding Principles for Climate Change Adaptation: South-­‐South Cooperation, Practice and Legislation.

  1. Recognising that mitigation is the best form of adaptation, that there are limits to adaptation, and that response­‐driven adaptation is unlikely to be enough, anticipatory adaptation processes should be initiated, including assessing and building on existing response processes and strategies in governments, local communities, civil society and business to climate and weather­‐related shocks, and ensuring top political and official level long-‐term leadership, commitment, management and follow up.
  2. Scale up knowledge mechanisms, underpinned by multi-­dimensional research, accurate data and robust methodologies, in order to mainstream institutional and operational climate change adaptation and to foster South South Cooperation.
  3. Underpin climate change impact, vulnerability and adaptation assessments with broader risk management processes that include uncertainty and that identify threats and opportunities.
  4. Design cost-­effective and inclusive adaptation strategies and responses, taking into account the local context.
  5. Go beyond technical and engineering adaptation options by recognizing, assessing and appropriately implementing a wide range of adaptation options that include consideration of social and economic measures and that ensure the incorporation of traditional knowledge.
  6. Utilize and strengthen natural ecosystem functions as an effective long-­‐term solution to reduce the vulnerability of people and infrastructure to climate change impacts.
  7. Take into account long term and slow onset threats as part of a strategy to minimize the likelihood of implementing mal­‐adaptive responses
  8. Promote and support monitoring and evaluation feedback mechanisms for adaptation strategies to maximize the impact of lessons learned and ensure appropriate and effective implementation of good practices at the local, national, regional and global levels.
  9. Although the public sector will remain an important source of funding for adaptation strategies, the creation of an enabling environment to enhance public-­private partnerships will be critical.
  10. Encourage private investment, corporate responsibility and business practices consistent with socio-­‐environment protection and climate-­‐resilience.
  11. Reinforce the existing normative and legal framework to maximize the institutional adaptation response and, where appropriate, develop and pass amendments to existing or new policies and legislation, combined with effective enforcement.
  12. South‐South Cooperation should provide opportunities to share lessons learnt, to demonstrate the links between adaptation, economic and social development and growth, and to explore how the resulting understanding can be contextualized to be consistent with different national and sub­‐national circumstances.
  13. Recognise that developed countries have an important role to play in encouraging and enabling South­‐South Cooperation, in line with existing international commitments, to support the efforts of developing countries, with special emphasis on the Least Developed Countries.

The principles are based on an agreed need to establish a principled and flexible model of climate change adaptation in order to pursue the goals of increasing the resilience and adaptive capacity of societal and ecological systems. The principles reflect the four stages of successful adaptation: planning, implementation, evaluation and dynamic refinement.

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International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation

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Legislators from 10 countries participated in the 1st International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation hosted by the Chinese National Development & Reform Commission in Beijing from the 2-4 July 2013.

20 legislators from South Africa, India, Jamaica, Nepal, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Costa Rica and Micronesia detailed their efforts to develop national adaptation legislation and the progress made in implementing existing laws. The Conference was supported by the Swiss Development Agency and the UK Department for International Development, organised by the Adapting to Climate Change in China project and run in partnership with GLOBE International and Intasave.

The conference focussed on sharing best legislative practice between countries and developed a set of Adaptation Legislation Principles designed to guide both legislative and policy adaptation responses. More than 150 delegates from over 30 countries participated.

The conference was opened by keynote speeches by Su Wei, Director General of the Climate Change Department of the National Development and Reform Commission, the Swiss and the UK ambassadors to China, Jacques De Watteville and Sebastian Wood CMG, and the Hon. Cedric Frolick MP, Chairperson of the National Assembly of South Africa, President of GLOBE South Africa and Vice President of GLOBE International.

The plenary dedicated to "South-South cooperation for Climate Change Adaptation through policy, and practice" was opened by a keynote speech by Madam Hang Wenhang, Director of the International Cooperation Department of the National Development and Reform Commission and by a panel discussion on challenges and experiences in adaptation chaired by the Hon. Prakash Javadekar MP, President of GLOBE India.

Deputy Lourdes Adriana Lopez Moreno, Chairwoman of the Environment Committee and member of GLOBE in the Mexican Congress, chaired a panel discussion on mechanisms for South-South cooperation and the Hon. Alfonso Perez Gomez, Chairman of the Environment Committee and member of GLOBE in Costa Rica chaired a panel on technology and infrastructure.

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Climate Adaptation Legislation

The third day of the conference organised by GLOBE was dedicated to legislation. The outcome of this session was the adoption of a set of legislative principles.

GLOBE International's Secretary General, Mr Adam C.T. Matthews, chaired the session which included a keynote speech by Zhai Yong, Deputy Director General of the Environment and Resource Protection Committee of the National People's Congress of China, outlining adaptation measures contained in China's draft climate change law.

Lord Krebs, Chair of the Statutory UK Adaptation sub-committee intervened with a speech via video-link to share the UK's experience on adaptation policies and Dr. Lu Xianfu from the UNFCCC Secretariat delivered a speech explaining the importance of national legislation to UNFCC and to the process leading to the adoption of an international agreement in 2015.

The legislative principles

The Guiding Principles for Climate Change Adaptation: South-South Cooperation, Practice and Legislation provide concrete recommendations for the future direction of climate change adaptation, a synthesis of good practice and ways to strengthen responses by working together.

The primary points of the document are as follows:

  • There is a strong need for anticipatory adaptation, underpinned by a risk management approach, solid monitoring and evaluation, and scaled up knowledge platforms to inform future work.
  • Adaptation requires a broad range of practice, policy, and legislation that builds on responses from and engagement with all stakeholders. Responses will include those that use traditional knowledge.
  • Public funding continues to be important but so too is an enabling environment for private sector involvement. This will include Public-Private-Partnerships, private investment, corporate responsibility and climate-compatible business practices.
  • South-South Cooperation should provide opportunities to share lessons learnt and to contextualise these to national and subnational circumstances.
  • Developed countries have an important role to play in encouraging and enabling South-South cooperation, in line with existing international commitments, to support the efforts of developing countries.

GLOBE delegation meeting with Su Wei (NDRC) and with the National People's Congress of China in Beijing

The presence in Beijing of GLOBE members from 10 countries to attend the International Conference on Adaptation provided an opportunity to engage with Chinese counterparts in the National Peoples Congress (NPC) and to meet with China's lead negotiator on climate change.

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On Friday 5 July, a GLOBE delegation led by Hon. Cedric Frolick MP, Chairperson of the South African National Assembly, met with Su Wei, Director General of the Climate Change Department in the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The other legislators present included Deputy Lourdes Adriana López Moreno (Mexico), Congressman Walden Bello (Philippines) and Congressman Alfonso Pérez Gómez (Costa Rica). Issues discussed included the latest developments in the drafting of China's climate change legislation, the 4th GLOBE Climate Legislation Study (covering 66 countries and due to be launched in the US Congress in January 2014), and prospects for a new international climate change deal in 2015. DG Su reiterated China's desire to pass its climate change law "as soon as possible" and a full first draft was expected this year. Su also reiterated the importance of legislators in developing, passing and overseeing the implementation of legislation and in holding governments to account on their commitments.

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Later, the GLOBE delegation met with Vice Chairmen Zhang Yunchuan and Wang Qingxi of the Environment Protection and Resources Conservation Committee in the NPC. The Vice Chairmen relayed the NPC's enthusiasm for participating in GLOBE's work programme on climate change and natural capital accounting, and expressed their willingness to participate in the launch of the 4th GLOBE Climate Legislation Study in January 2014 and the 2nd World Summit of Legislators in Mexico in June 2014.