Summary report, 1–10 December 2015

Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP) at UNFCCC COP 21

The Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP or the Pavilion) was convened in parallel with the Twenty-First meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Paris, France, from 1-10 December 2015. The RCP is designed to raise awareness and disseminate information including on best practices and scientific findings aon the benefits realized from joint implementation of the three Rio Conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Sponsored by the Rio Conventions Secretariats and a number of other partners, the Pavilion’s programme focused on daily themes, which included: biodiversity and ecosystems; local communities and indigenous peoples day; land day; ocean day; implementing the Paris agreement; and, gender in the context of the Rio Conventions.


The RCP was established as a way of exploring the synergies and opportunities to improve implementation of the three Rio Conventions. Focusing on cross-cutting themes, the Pavilion aims to address the common objective among the three Rio Conventions - to support sustainable development and help implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda, in particular through identifying synergies and co-benefits for implementing the UNCCD, UNFCCC and CBD. This brief history provides an overview of the history of the Rio Conventions and the Pavilion.

UNCCD: The UNCCD was adopted on 17 June 1994, and entered into force on 26 December 1996. Currently, 194 countries and the European Union (EU) are parties to the UNCCD. The UNCCD is the core of the international community’s efforts to combat desertification and land degradation in drylands. It recognizes the physical, biological, and socio-economic aspects of desertification, the importance of redirecting technology transfer to be demand-driven, and the importance of involving local communities in combating desertification and land degradation in drylands. The UNCCD facilitates developing national, subregional and regional action programmes with national governments, in cooperation with UN agencies, donors, local communities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

UNFCCC: The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the UNFCCC in on 9 May 1992, and was opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit in June 1992. The UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, and now has 196 parties.

At the Durban Climate Change Conference, held in November and December 2011, parties agreed to launch the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) “to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties.” The ADP was also mandated to explore actions to close the pre-2020 ambition gap in relation to the 2°C target. The ADP will conclude its work at the Paris Climate Conference, held during December 2015, where a new instrument, a Paris agreement, will be agreed on, with a view to it entering into force in 2020.

CBD: The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992, and entered into force on 29 December 1993. The CBD was opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit. There are currently 196 parties to the Convention, which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The COP is the governing body of the Convention.

The CBD includes the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which was adopted 29 January 2000 and entered into force on 11 September 2003, with 170 parties. The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol, adopted on 15 October 2010, has not yet entered into force. The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing was adopted on 29 October 2010, and entered into force on 12 October 2014, and currently has 69 parties. The Nagoya Protocol aims to establish greater legal certainty for users and providers of genetic resources and help ensure benefit-sharing in particular covering traditional knowledge.

FIRST RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The first RCP convened alongside at CBD COP10, held from 19-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The Pavilion was organized around daily themes, including: linkages between biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management (SLM); the role of protected areas (PAs) in climate change; indigenous peoples and local communities; forest biodiversity; water, ecosystems and climate change; land day; economics of ecosystems and biodiversity; ecosystem-based adaptation approaches; and, promoting synergies for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

SECOND RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The second RCP was convened in parallel with UNFCCC COP16, which took place from 29 November - 10 December 2010, in Cancun, Mexico. The Pavilion focused on the themes: linking biodiversity, climate change and SLM; the role of PAs in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies; indigenous peoples and local communities; forest biodiversity; water, ecosystems and climate change; marine, coastal and island biodiversity; EbA approaches; promoting synergies for sustainable development and poverty reduction; and, linking biodiversity, climate change and SLM through finance.

THIRD RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The third RCP took place parallel to UNCCD COP10, held from 10-20 October 2011, in Changwon, the Republic of Korea. The main themes of the Pavilion included: cities and SLM; sustainable forest management and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD); ecosystem-based approaches to climate change; sustainable land and water management; food security and combating hunger; gender; engaging indigenous peoples and local communities; poverty reduction; and, synergies for the implementation of the Rio Conventions.

FOURTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The fourth RCP took place in parallel with UNFCCC COP17, held from 29 November - 8 December 2011, in Durban, South Africa. Main themes of RCP4 included: indigenous peoples and local communities; gender; EbA; business, economics and synergies; and, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stock (REDD+).

FIFTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The fifth RCP took place in parallel with the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20), which convened from 13-22 June 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The main themes of RCP5 included: the roads from Rio – 20 years of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin; Africa; indigenous peoples and local communities; ecosystem-based approaches (EbAs); oceans; land and global observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification; business; financing sustainable development; gender mainstreaming; cities; and, a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Rio Conventions.

SIXTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The sixth RCP took place in parallel with CBD COP11, which convened from 9-18 October 2012, in Hyderabad, India. The main themes of RCP6 included: tree diversity day; livelihoods day; 20/20 talks; sixth land day; ecosystem restoration; and towards integrated implementation of the Rio Conventions.

SEVENTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The seventh RCP took place in parallel with UNCCD COP11, which convened from 17-26 September 2013, in Windhoek, Namibia. The main themes of RCP6 included: resource mobilization; SLM; landscape approaches; and, land degradation neutrality (LDN).

EIGHTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The eighth RCP took place in parallel with CBD COP12 in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, which convened place from 6-17 October 2014. The main themes of RCP7 included: the role of EBAs; economics of biodiversity and ecosystem services in climate change management; indigenous peoples benefits and livelihoods; and, gender perspectives.

NINTH RIO CONVENTIONS PAVILION: The ninth RCP took place in parallel with UNCCD COP12, which took place in Ankara, Turkey, from 12-22 October, 2015. Topics discussed included: land’s role in mitigation; ecosystem restoration; SLM; and, the SDGs.


The RCP’s thematic days are summarized below, including: biodiversity and ecosystem restoration; LDN as a solution to climate change; oceans day; local communities and indigenous peoples; REDD+ day; synergies day; and, synergies and trade-offs in land-based climate mitigation and biodiversity.


The RCP commenced on Tuesday, 1 December with a day on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Ecosystems: meeting the climate challenge. The day took place under the theme ‘Biodiversity and Ecosystem Restoration: Meeting the Climate Challenge.’ Seven sessions were held, including on: forest and landscape restoration in REDD+; land-based climate mitigation: current and future contributions to protecting and restoring ecosystems; cooperation, a valuable commodity; afforestation and agricultural conversion of naturally non-forest ecosystems; and, experiences on the implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change.

MORNING SESSION: David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat, opened the session, introducing the day and its focus on understanding the opportunities and challenges of promoting synergies between the three Rio Conventions through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. He framed ecosystems as key to achieving shared goals and targets.

María Amparo Martínez Arroyo, Director General, National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, Mexico, outlined the role of EbA in addressing both climate change and biodiversity, and how this is reflected in Mexico’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). She further stressed the importance of meaningful inclusion of indigenous communities to achieve its INDC, and emphasized enhancing synergies among various partners and stakeholders to mainstream biodiversity conservation across sectors. In this regard, she concluded that CBD COP13 in 2016 would play a critical role.

Pyunghwa Yoon, Deputy Director, Korea Forest Service, highlighted progress made at CBD COP12, in 2014, referencing the Pyeongchang Roadmap 2020 for enhanced implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. She noted the need to draw on synergies between biodiversity and climate change in moving forward. She highlighted the contribution that the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, supported by the Korea Forest Service, could provide in addressing Aichi Targets 5, 14 and 15 vis-a-vis REDD+ objectives.

Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Meeting the Climate Challenge: David Cooper, Deputy Executive Secretary, CBD Secretariat, noted the effect of climate change on biodiversity loss, underscoring that climate change cannot be addressed in isolation as it impacts many other sectors. He highlighted actions undertaken by countries and reported through the fourth Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO4) that address these concerns and contribute towards meeting the goals of slowing and halting biodiversity loss, keeping within the 2°C limit, while and also achieving other human development goals. In this regard, he emphasized the role that healthy and resilient ecosystems play in achieving broader sustainable development goals.

The Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration – Scaling-up Actions on the Ground: Miguel Calmon, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), introduced the work of the Partnership, which aims to restore degraded and deforested lands. He also highlighted the Partnership’s commitment to meeting the Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million ha of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020. Calmon mentioned that said forest and landscape restoration recognizes that “just planting trees” is insufficient, and that the land should provide a wide range of goods and services.

Achieving LDN: Promoting Forest and Landscape Restoration: Victor Castillo, UNCCD, introduced the LDN concept, based on SLM, and forest and landscape restoration. He underscored local communities’ needs should be central to restoration. He introduced the Global Mechanism’s work on sustainable finance for landscape restoration, underscoring opportunities, challenges and ways forward, calling for stakeholder partnership, including via public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Outcomes of the World Forestry Congress and the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism: on behalf of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), David Cooper emphasized two messages on forests in achieving the SDGs and climate-related goals, as well as the ‘Durban Declaration’ adopted at the XIV World Forestry Congress held in September 2015. These messages, he stated, underscored, among other issues, the needs to: work at the landscape level; demonstrate the multiple benefits of reforestation to attract investment; and emphasize the role of planning and governance, including on land tenure. He highlighted the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, supported by the Korean Forest Service and implemented by the CBD, and the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism, implemented by the FAO, which supports developing countries in implementing forest and landscape restoration.

FOREST AND LANDSCAPE RESTORATION IN REDD+: Forest Restoration in Brazil: Rebecca Mant, UN Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), outlined the REDD+ Policy Assessment Center (REDD-PAC) project’s work on modeling the potential impacts of Brazil’s new Forest Code on emission reductions, biodiversity, preservation of mature forests, and land use change under different scenarios.

Restoration in Indonesia: Nirarta ‘Koni’ Samadhi, World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia, spoke on Indonesia’s approach to landscape-based restoration, including agricultural intensification, agroforestry, and forest restoration.

Mitigation Through Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks – How Far are Countries Willing to Go?: Rebecca Mant, speaking for Lera Miles, UNEP-WCMC, highlighted that developing countries have expressed intentions to restore circa 141 million hectares (ha) of land, noting these intentions are conditional, pending financial support for forest-related mitigation. She further underscored that significant opportunities exist to narrow emissions.

LAND-BASED CLIMATE MITIGATION: CURRENT AND FUTURE CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROTECTING AND RESTORING ECOSYSTEMS: Contributions of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets to Land-based Climate Mitigation: Paul Leadley, Université Paris-Sud, stated that the report on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets to land-based climate change mitigation addressed targets on: halving biodiversity loss (Target Five); sustainably managing agriculture, aquaculture and forestry for ensuring biodiversity conservation (Target Seven); conserving at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water and 10% of coastal and marine areas (Target 11); and, enhancing ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks (Target 15). He said that to achieve the goals on biodiversity, climate change and human development simultaneously, thinking “outside the box” is required. He cited possible approaches, including intensifying sustainable agriculture, promoting healthy diets, and reducing food waste and reducing emmissions from fossil fuels.

Integrated Insights on Land-based Mitigation from Scenarios and Models: Detlef van Vuuren, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, described different energy scenarios and their impact on current global warming trends. Focusing on the potential of bioenergy options, he discussed the potential implication of these options on land use change and GHG emissions.

Projected Impacts of Climate Change and Land-based Climate Mitigation on Mammal Abundance and Extinction Risk: Carlo Rondinini, Sapienza University of Rome, discussed current trends in biodiversity decline and outlined the need for a stepwise shift to change these trends. He highlighted consumption change as an alternative pathway to reduce both emissions and biodiversity decline.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed topics including on: tropical deforestation, noting a decline in deforestation in Brazil and an increase in deforestation in Indonesia; bioenergy; whether future models would include pathways to achieve the SDGs; and, tradeoffs between using land for agriculture and bioenergy.

COOPERATION, A VALUABLE COMMODITY: A LEADERS DIALOGUE: Edward King, journalist and producer, moderated the session. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF), identified three megatrends vis-à-vis population growth, middle class growth, and urban growth. Calling for a focus on the drivers of environmental degradation, she emphasized the need for systemic change in energy, city and food systems, respectively, noting that these provided the motivation for the GEF’s commodities programme.

Referring to his country’s natural resources, Rolando de Barros Barreto, Minister of Environment, Paraguay, referred to a “democratic dialogue” with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, on sharing environmental knowledge and production methods.

Marco Albani, Director, Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020), speaking on sustainable production, called for moving from commitments to implementation, including: new “fresh” finance; landscape-level certification; further engagement of consumers, companies and countries; and, improved data to verify impacts on the ground.

Francesco Tramontin, Mondelēz International, described the desire to carry commodity commitments forward by investing more in farming communities, citing Mondelēz’s approach to address deforestation in supply chains.

Michael Jenkins, President and CEO, Forest Trends, noted the significant shift in approach to address deforestation, moving from a focus on illegal deforestation to focusing on agriculture as a driver. He further stated to address these challenges effectively, companies, civil society and multilateral actors need to collaborate.

In closing, Albani highlighted that momentum from UNFCCC COP21 will be important for ensuring business and “conservation” act in concert. Ishii underscored that supply chains are undergoing a paradigm shift, and collaboration is needed to ensure that the desired result is achieved.

AFFORESTATION AND AGRICULTURAL CONVERSION OF NATURALLY NON-FOREST ECOSYSTEMS: Colin Osborne, University of Sheffield, presented on conserving grassy ecosystems to protect biodiversity, while supporting social and economic benefits in local communities, presenting cases from, among others, African savanna systems, Bolivia and Inner Mongolia. He stated that while grasslands are often assumed to be artificial or influenced systems, existing fossilized remains identify their long-term relevance, noting humans first evolved in savanna ecosystems. He highlighted ecosystem services provided by grasslands, including providing pasture and grazing lands, and supporting tourism due to a high species diversity and the presence of “charismatic animals.” Acknowledging that while grasslands are adapted to frequent disturbances, he emphasized they are still vulnerable to agricultural conversion. Referring to the Bonn Challenge, Osborne cautioned against only restoring forested lands, noting grassland recovery can take centuries.


Cordula Epple, UNEP-WCMC, provided an overview of a study on five non-forest ecosystems – peatlands, grasslands/savanna, vegetated coastal ecosystems, tundra, and agro-ecosystems. She compared their global coverage, relative carbon storage, and options for addressing climate change mitigation.

Dorothée Herr, IUCN, focused on carbon in coastal wetland ecosystems, identifying reporting mechanisms, and market incentives, respectively, for countries to address mitigation in these areas. She highlighted that for effective national implementation, technical and financial support, linking mitigation and adaptation, and synergizing policies, are needed.

Marcel Silvius, Wetlands International, noted that peatlands are permanent stores of carbon until they are disturbed. He highlighted successful interventions that have taken place to rewet peatlands, stating that this shows nature can regenerate if the right conditions exist.

Vhalinavho Khavhagali, Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, noted important policy considerations, including land tenure, and land-use planning risks. He said tradeoffs, such as rapid job creation in the agricultural sector, versus sustainable development, should also be considered.

Tim Christophersen, UNEP, commended efforts that led to ecosystem-based approaches being included on the climate change negotiations’ agenda. He underscored the need to support restoration initiatives, and called for a deeper examination of the drivers of biodiversity loss. Christophersen noted that government policies are often inconsistent, highlighting more money is spent on subsidizing deforestation than on REDD+. He lauded the SDGs, stating governments are beginning to realize they cannot continue with non-holistic policies.

KEY MESSAGES ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEMS: MEETING THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE: David Cooper outlined the day’s key messages highlighting the importance and benefits of mainstreaming biodiversity issues across sectors within the context of climate change and increasing biodiversity loss. He emphasized the urgency for action on conserving and restoring habitats, and enhancing ecosystem services as a part of sustainable development. He reiterated the contribution of initiatives including REDD+, the Bonn Challenge, LDN, the Forest and Ecosystem Restoration Initiative and the Forest and Landscape Restoration Initiative toward achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs. In closing, he stated, “The direction we go in will have large impacts on how we adapt, and if we adapt.”


On Wednesday, 2 December 2015, RCP addressed the theme of ‘Land Day: Land Degradation Neutrality as a Solution to Climate Change.’

Four sessions took place on: EbA; evergreen agriculture and land restoration; ecological rainfall infrastructure: a new perspective on how forests and trees matter for climate; and, desertification, land degradation and climate change - time to act!: lessons learned from the international civil society forum, Désertif’actions.

EbA: Ravi Prabhu, Deputy Director General (Research), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), introduced the session, noting it would address supporting mechanisms for EbA.

Dennis Garrity, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador, spoke on using EbA to reduce exposure and sensitivity to shocks, and increase coping capacity. He drew on examples in Southern and Western Africa where planting trees in farmer-managed natural regenerated systems has reduced negative climate change impacts, and increased resilience and coping capacity.

Lalisa Duguma, ICRAF, pointed to the linkages between ecosystems and climate change, outlining that by providing ecosystem services, exposure to climate change impacts is reduced and adaptive capacity is enhanced. He called for restoring degraded areas, enhancing resilience through integrated climate change adaptation and mitigation approaches, reducing pressure on ecosystems, facilitating sustainable ecosystem management, and investing in ecosystem management.

Meine van Noordwijk, ICRAF, described three pairs of topics separated in the climate change conversation and negotiations that he said should be discussed together: trees and farmers; climate and rainfall; and, climate change mitigation and adaptation. Focusing on climate and rainfall, van Noordwijk outlined how the hydrological cycle is connected to tree and vegetative cover and climate. He underscored that water dimensions are more tangible and measurable than carbon, and an increased focus should be placed on examining the relationship between water and climate.

Edmund Barrow, IUCN, underscored that EbA processes must be owned by rural communities. He also noted that tree planting activities framed under EbA may seem to be business-as-usual (BAU), but are “climate smart” when planting suitable species for future climate conditions.

Larwanou Mahamane, African Forest Forum, stated that EbA should be backed by political will to be successful. He suggested greater incentives for EbA and pointed to it as providing a “guarantee” for natural capital, supporting local communities.

Winnie Khaemba, African Centre for Technology Studies, underscored the role of education, information and communication technologies, and data in transforming EbA-driven agriculture in Africa. She called for EbA to have enhanced involvement with the private sector.

Margaret Kroma, ICRAF, outlined how women’s voices, responsibilities, knowledge, and challenges should be a central part of policies addressing climate change vulnerability and ecosystem degradation.

Responding to a question from the audience, participants discussed the importance of drawing on evidence of successful EbA approaches to inform policymaking.

EVERGREEN AGRICULTURE AND LAND RESTORATION: Louise Baker, UNCCD, presented on the LDN target, which was adopted at UNCCD COP12, held in October 2015. She called it “the first quantifiable target for the UNCCD,” underscoring that LDN will help UNCCD address climate change. She defined LDN as a combination of prevention, good SLM, and rehabilitation. Baker noted that LDN has multiple climate benefits, including carbon sequestration, and improved food security and water availability.

Stating that Africa has the world’s largest restoration potential, Dennis Garrity shared examples of working with farmers on reforestation. He identified the benefits of such efforts, including improvements in microclimate buffering and soil fertility. Garrity described several large-scale activities in Africa, noting that 17 African countries are now involved in the EverGreen Agriculture Partnership, and referred to the African Restoration Initiative, which aims to restore 100 million ha by 2030.

Ravi Prabhu underscored how agroforestry can contribute to food, energy, income, and livable environments, but noted challenges in convincing policy makers about these.

Randall Purcell, World Food Programme (WFP), drew on the WFP’s approach in Kenya to support beneficiaries in adopting adaptive farming practices. Calling for organizations working in the same space to speak with a “coordinated voice,” he noted the need to look at natural, institutional, and “market” landscapes, respectively, for more effective delivery of benefits to beneficiaries.

Lori Pearson, Catholic Relief Services, called for changing the way of doing business and looking at how to incorporate policy design at the project level. She said that to successfully scale-up initiatives, organizations need to meet in a “common space.”

Matthew Reddy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), provided examples of companies already investing in sustainable farming practices, citing the evolving WBCSD action plan that includes commitments to deliver on solutions addressing degraded lands, in part, through support for smallholder and land restoration activities.

Mark Shepard, Co-Founder, Restoration Agriculture Development, described restoration agriculture as “profitable ecological restoration,” providing examples of restoring degraded lands in East Africa that also delivered livelihood and economic benefits.

Cheikh Mbow, ICRAF, drew on connections between food security, energy security, and livelihood transformation. He described how integrated landscape approaches, including evergreen agriculture and agroforestry practices, can address all three issues.

During the discussion, participants addressed issues of traditional knowledge, the involvement of youth in agriculture, and market access.

ECOLOGICAL RAINFALL INFRASTRUCTURE: A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON HOW FORESTS AND TREES MATTER FOR CLIMATE: Peter Minang, ICRAF, moderated the session. Acknowledging that many farmers have long believed trees help generate rainfall, Dennis Garrity described emerging science exploring this relationship and referred to the “exciting conversation” developing between scientists and farmers.

Meine van Noordwijk introduced a policy brief, titled ‘Ecological Rainfall Infrastructure: Investment in Trees for Sustainable Development.’ Discussing evapotranspiration and circular water flows, he noted rainwater is influenced by ocean and forest systems. He stated “sufficient evidence” exists to support initial policy discussions on how trees contribute to rainfall.

David Ellison, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and, member, WeForest Scientific Steering Committee stated, “if you take away forests, you take away rainfall.” He described how trees influence cooling, groundwater recharge, and up- and down-wind interactions influencing rainfall. Ellison called for examining water systems at the continental scale, noting water management is often discussed at the catchment scale.

Daniel Murdiyarso, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), discussed the importance of “icons” to communicate environmental issues and interactions, especially for the next generation. He provided five iconic examples of the relationship between forests and water systems, which included forests’ provision of ecosystem services to: generate precipitation; act as a natural cooling system; create wind transport of water vapor; improve groundwater recharge; and facilitate moderate flooding.

Ravi Prabhu provided reflections on gaps and how to move forward. He stated that there is a need to focus on the biophysical and policy dimensions, and effectively communicate gaps and challenges. He stressed the importance of the “nexus perspective” to realize linkages between food, energy, water, and livelihoods.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed: linkages between global warming and rainfall systems; and, translation of forest knowledge as “powerful adaptation tools” to local communities on the ground.

DESERTIFICATION, LAND DEGRADATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE - TIME TO ACT! LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM DESERTIF’ACTIONS: Patrice Burger, Centre d‘Action et de Réalisations Internationales (CARI), presented a film from Désertif’actions 2015, an international civil society forum, held in Montpellier, France, in June 2015, in preparation for UNCCD COP12 and UNFCCC COP21.

The film addressed: challenges associated with land degradation, such as over production and pesticide use; the role of civil society in addressing land degradation and climate change, such as through climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and reforestation; and, how land restoration can support biodiversity protection and carbon sequestration.

Burger described the civil society forum, noting the development of a declaration to be delivered at UNFCCC COP21. He called the events “a global gathering of civil society involved with land and climate issues,” stating that that the linkages between land and agriculture have been largely left out of the climate discussions.

Reflecting on the film presented, Marcos Montoiro, UNCCD, commented on CARI’s work. He stressed the importance of land and agriculture to address climate change and emphasized civil society’s input to these processes.

Benoît Ivars, CARI, outlined the role agroecology can play in addressing the LDN goal and SLM. He underscored the opportunity to draw on synergies between adaptation and mitigation to address development and climate change, and increase resilience.

Jean-Luc Chotte, L’Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), urged working with stakeholders to address land degradation, and underscored the benefits of LDN, including supporting carbon sequestration, food security, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. He encouraged additional research and studies to explore different ways of producing biomass, as it relates to supporting LDN.

Lauding civil society efforts to combat land degradation, Delfin Ganapin, Global Manager, GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), stated that a community grant on agroecology had been established under the GEF SGP, which provides up to US$50,000 per community activity.

Philippe Baret, Université catholique de Louvain, underscored the need to focus on resilience at different scales, highlighting the need for market penetration. He noted efforts to combat land degradation are often based on subsidy-dependent expensive technical systems, which are out of reach for small farmers. He cautioned against a focus on “quick fixes” and called for balancing long-term sustainable solutions and “slow and low-tech” solutions developed in partnership with farmers. He emphasized that by doing so, LDN solutions could benefit from farmer knowledge, while ensuring farmer ownership over such solutions.

Sylvain Berton, Agrisud International, spoke on the role of markets to support agroecology. He underscored drawing on complementarities between stakeholders, the three pillars of sustainability, parcel and territory scales, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Erdoğan Özevren, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Turkey, reflected on the success of achieving an LDN target under the UNCCD. He lauded the work of NGOs, and expressed support for working with civil society.

PURSUING SYNERGIES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RIO CONVENTIONS IN NAMIBIA:  Theo Nghitila, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia, facilitated the session, and Malan Lindeque, Permanent Secretary of Environment and Tourism, Namibia, welcomed participants. Yukie Hori, UNCCD, lauded Namibia for implementing national synergistic actions.

Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Namibia, noted that the session aims to highlight the role of LDN to address climate change. He said Namibia has aimed to implement the Rio Conventions synergistically, and that the sustainable management and use of Namibia’s natural resources is vital for ensuring the wellbeing of current and future generations. Shifeta stated that impact of the severe drought currently being experienced underscores the extent of Namibia’s dependence on land. He said Namibia’s efforts in achieving LDN have been innovative, citing efforts such as allowing wildlife to co-exist with farmlands.

Petrus Muteyauli, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia, gave an overview of the approaches taken by Namibia in the implementation of the Rio Conventions. He said one focal point has been established to address and coordinate implementation of the conventions. He described “on-the-ground” implementation, saying this has included CSA and the establishment of communal conservancies for wildlife tourism.


On Thursday, 3 December 2015 the RCP convened under the theme ‘Day for indigenous peoples and local communities.’ Five sessions were held, on: the outcomes of “local-national” dialogues on climate change; local gender-responsive climate action; community responses in the face of armed conflict and illegal extractive industries; local actions for strengthening climate resilience; and, protected areas’ contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

INDIGENOUS VOICES AND CLIMATE CHANGE: OUTCOMES OF NATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES-GOVERNMENT DIALOGUES: Charles McNeill, UN Development Programme, outlined the process of a series of national dialogues held between local communities and indigenous peoples, and their governments. He said the goal of these dialogues was to encourage inclusion of indigenous peoples’ voice in climate discussions.

Delfin Ganapin, Global Manager, GEF SGP, outlined that the support provided by the GEF SGP aims to “create a bridge” to link global climate discussions with local climate actions. He stressed that without “the bridge,” actions taken may be inappropriate or not happen at all.

Edward Porokwa, Pastoralists Indigenous NGOs Forum, Tanzania, reported on national dialogues, explaining that the impact of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies on indigenous peoples is a key issue, and that the priority message from the dialogue was the need to accept and respect indigenous peoples’ rights.

Lola Cabnal, Ak’ Tenamit, Guatemala, said her government has an inclusive regime that acknowledges indigenous peoples’ rights.

Nathalie Flores Gonzáles, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Dominican Republic, stated that as most of the Dominican Republic’s economy is dependent on agriculture and tourism, climate change is of great concern. She underscored that indigenous peoples do want to support governments in their mitigation and adaptation actions.

Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri, Indigenous Peoples’ Foundation for Education and Environment, Thailand, described a dialogue between indigenous peoples and government agencies, resulting in an increase in knowledge of the challenges indigenous peoples face. He noted intentions to develop Thailand’s climate change adaptation plan jointly.

Andrew Bishop, Lead Climate Negotiator, Guyana, described legislation to protect indigenous peoples’ rights. He stated that indigenous peoples have contributed to Guyana’s INDC, and described a partnership between Guyana and Norway to fund “homegrown” low-GHG emissions projects.

Filifilia Iosefa, Indigenous Peoples Delegation of the Pacific, Samoa, described the Pacific Regional Dialogue held in October 2015, which centered on several themes, inter alia: climate change leadership and crafting a common voice; capacity building on climate change science and the negotiations process; and, communication strategies.

Acknowledging that climate change disproportionally impacts indigenous peoples, Hans Brattskar, Deputy Foreign Minister, Norway, recognized that indigenous peoples play a “critical role” in addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Duong Hoang Cong, Centre for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas (CSDM), Viet Nam, described a workshop that developed several key messages on the specific climate change challenges and needs facing indigenous peoples, including the need for capacity building and technology support.

Participant interventions and closing remarks highlighted traditional knowledge as fundamental capital for all of humanity. They addressed the potential impact of only including reference to indigenous peoples in the preamble of the draft Paris agreement.

GENDER-SMART CLIMATE POLICY: Moderator Alejandra Pero, UNDP, introduced Verania Chao, UNDP, who provided opening remarks. Chao framed the session as focusing on how local-gender actions linked to climate change can be scaled up into gender equality and policy frameworks.

Nicolás Cartagena, Consejo Indígena del Pueblo Tacana, Bolivia, outlined the experiences of his community, highlighting the important role women play in managing resources to increase community resilience. He underscored that a significant challenge is having the government respect the rights and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.

Mahamat Ahmat Abbas, Association Tchadienne des Volontaires pour la Protection de l’Environnement (ATVPE), Chad, described his organization’s work with poor, landless women, and the process of securing degraded land as a resource to lift women out of poverty through land restoration activities. These initiatives, he said, have empowered the women involved.

Maite Rodriguez, Huairou Commission, Guatemala, presented on work in Guatemala and Honduras to address climate change, build local resilience, and facilitate disaster risk reduction (DRR) in partnership with grassroots organizations. She outlined the important role of women, and referenced a community resilience fund to help scale up political advocacy efforts.

Titilope Akosa, GEF SGP Grantee, Nigeria, provided an example of working in a water-scarce community in Nigeria to improve rainfall-harvesting techniques through participatory community processes. She emphasized the role of women in this process, and the resulting health and livelihood benefits.

Allison Davis, Global Greengrants Fund, described her organization’s approach to small grant distribution targeting “powerful” community-based solutions with an emphasis on bringing women’s voices to the policy level.

Ana Maria Currea, GEF SGP, outlined the emphasis the GEF SGP places on empowering women, citing examples of gender mainstreaming and women-led projects. She underscored the importance of bringing women’s voices to policy makers and providing a space for actors to learn from each other to facilitate positive change.

COMMUNITY INNOVATION IN THE FACE OF CONFLICT: STORIES FROM THE 2015 EQUATOR PRIZE WINNERS: Jan Kellett, UNDP, moderated the session, underscoring the interactions between climate change and conflict. He then introduced the panel of 2015 Equator Prize winners.

Norvin Goff Salinas and Deborah Sanchez, Moskitia Asla Takanka - Unidad de la Moskitia (MASTA), Honduras, discussed challenges such as land grabbing, deforestation, and oil extraction. They emphasized a strategic focus on land and human rights, working with political powers through community consultations, and improving land tenure.

Haway Isak Ali, Oromia Pastoralist Association, Ethiopia, described a surge in local conflicts, and efforts to support peace building in pastoral communities. He explained that these conflicts were the result of a long-running drought, resulting in water scarcity and competition over the remaining grazing lands. These conflicts, he stated, have restricted mobility, resulting in overgrazing and soil erosion. He described a cross-border peace-building process among pastoral communities in Ethiopia and Kenya, which undertook activities such as: inter-community dialogue and trust building; training on early warning and response systems; and, a “peace directory” phonebook where community members can call others in efforts to resolve possible disputes or conflict.

Sopheak Phon and Sopheap Hoeun, Prey Lang Community Network, Cambodia, shared efforts of Kuy communities to protect 500,000 hectares in the Cambodian lowlands. They described an interactive mobile app, which uses text, images and voice recordings, enabling both literate and illiterate users to document, inter alia, forest crimes.

Farkhunda Ateel Siddiqi, Rural Green Environment Organization, Afghanistan, explained challenges of addressing climate change in a war zone, emphasizing the need to build trust among local commanders. She noted community-based adaptation efforts, which have decreased floods, reduced soil erosion, and greened an area of 1,500 square kilometers in 90 villages.

Hernando Chindoy, Wuasikamas, Colombia, shared the results of efforts by his community, the Aponte Inga, to exercise their sovereign rights on their ancestral territories and protect their local environment. He noted that the Colombian government has established a communal fund, in return for which the Aponte Inga rid the territory of guerrillas and drug crops that threaten local ecosystems and depleted soil fertility. María Encarnación Janamejoy, closing the presentation on the Aponte Inga, stressed that “if we do not do the ‘proper work,’ we will not be able to protect the earth.”

LOCAL ACTION ON RESILIENCE: LESSONS FROM THE 2015 EQUATOR PRIZE WINNERS: Jamison Ervin, UNDP, opened the session outlining seven principles for resilience as defined by the Stockholm Resilience Centre - diversity, connectivity, managing feedback loops, complex systems thinking, encouraging learning, broadening participation, and nested governance. She then invited the 2015 Equator Prize winners to share their respective stories related to the seven resilience principles.

Fatima Ahmed, Zenab for Women in Development, Sudan, described working with rural women farmers to improve their agriculture practices to be more resilient, productive, and sustainable, and build local community capacity.

Sirous Entekhabihassaniouei, Umbrella Group of Naghadeh NGOs, Iran, presented the process of establishing the work of the Umbrella Group, starting from establishing why wetlands were drying up, to engaging local communities in wetland restoration and management. Manizheh Hajighasemi, involved in one of the NGOs under the Umbrella Group, gave examples of training and workshop initiatives targeting women on resource management, sustainable agricultural practices, and alternative livelihood supporting activities.

Rakotondramanga Rafanomezantsoa, and Voahanginanahary Jeanne D’Arc Victoria Rakotondrasoa, Union Soamitambatra, Madagascar, discussed community management of forest and lake areas to improve livelihood opportunities and natural resource management. Rakotondrasoa described activities targeted at increasing communities’ resilience to climate change.

Leana Corea, Comité para la Defensa y Desarrollo de la Flora y Fauna del Golfo de Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF), Honduras, provided information on community activities to adapt to climate change. She described projects undertaken to rejuvenate the local fishing industry. She underscored that a key to the success of these projects is to “ensure they have net-positive benefits” for local communities. Modesto Ochoa, CODDEFFAGOLF, described awareness raising efforts, underscoring that the Honduras government has recognized how these activities have supported local industries.

THE CONTRIBUTION OF PROTECTED AREAS TO CLIMATE MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION: Terence Hay-Edie, GEF SGP, moderated the session, describing how PAs and indigenous peoples’ and local community’s conserved areas and territories contribute to addressing climate change, including through enhancing carbon sequestration, mitigating storm impacts, maintaining water and food security, and protecting vulnerable species.

Pagi Toko, Wanang Conservation Area, Papua New Guinea, described a village-based protected area, supported by ten clan leaders, to conserve approximately 10,000 hectares of lowland rainforest. Noting that government-sanctioned logging concessions dominate in lowland forests, he lauded initiative leader Filip Damen’s efforts to secure forest protection in Madang Province on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, and highlighted how the local community has come to understand the forest’s global significance. Revocatus Wilbard Njau, MJUMITA, Tanzania, outlined how his organization has helped to ensure communities use their forest resources sustainably.

Nicholas Fredericks, South Central People’s Development Association (SCPDA), Guyana, said his community decided to establish the Wapichan Conserved Forest, to protect against pollution and food insecurity from mining and logging concessions, underscoring that only a small proportion of the land tenure for this area is secure.

Budi Setiawan, Kelompok Peduli Lingkungan Belitung, Indonesia, highlighted his organization’s work with local communities to ensure that they benefit from protecting their local environment. He said that a number of ecotourism activities have been established, including ecolodges, that would benefit from the PAs that had been established in the surrounding area.

In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed: protecting the rights of the indigenous peoples and local communities living in them; protecting and transferring traditional knowledge; and, whether to endorse PAs at the community level.

RECEPTION: MEET THE 2015 EQUATOR PRIZE WINNERS: Charles McNeill outlined the important roles indigenous peoples and local communities play in protecting and managing land and forests, and contributing towards climate change mitigation and adaptation. He then introduced three of the 21 winners of the 2015 Equator Prize, who shared their experiences.

Mugabe Gregory, Kayonza Growers Tea Factory, Uganda, described a tea farming community’s initiatives to address climate change, focusing on food security, nature conservation, family planning, and water conservation.

Xiaogang Yu, Yunnan Green Watershed Management Research and Promotion Center, China, spoke on initiatives promoting sustainable development and indigenous peoples’ resource rights by engaging local communities and encouraging policy dialogue within China and Southeast Asia more broadly. Min Sun, Yunnan Green Watershed Management Research and Promotion Center, China, described addressing climate change through natural resource management activities, which also increased villages’ income at least ten-fold.

Maria Leusa Munduruku, Movimento Ipereg Ayu, Brazil, called on participants to join the struggle of the Munduruku Amazon people in protecting their forests and lands being threatened by private companies and the Government of Brazil’s plans to dam the Tapajós River. Stating, “we will guarantee the life of the forest,” she urged the global community to ensure the Munduruku people’s rights are protected.


On Friday, 4 December 2015, the RCP convened under the theme of Oceans Day, which aimed to advance the climate and ocean agenda. Six panel sessions were convened on: challenges and opportunities in the context of climate and oceans; addressing the effects of climate change on oceans, and on coastal and small island developing states (SIDS) populations; mitigation and the oceans; adaptation, and financing for adaptation; capacity development, scientific monitoring, and public education; and, bringing it all together: a five-year agenda for action.

Three special addresses were made by: Prince Albert II of Monaco; Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation; and, Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, France.

SETTING THE STAGE: THE CLIMATE AND OCEANS CONTEXT -- CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES: This session was co-chaired by Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador, Climate Change and SIDS Issues, Seychelles, and Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Julian Barbière, UNESCO, opened Oceans Day, calling for stronger commitment to the oceans’ environment. Co-Chair Jumeau introduced the “debt for adaptation swap” concept and noted the Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning Initiative, covering its entire exclusive economic zone.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of Environment, Peru, described moving from the 1992 Earth Summit to the SDGs and UNFCCC COP21, underscoring oceans continued relevance. Tommy Remengesau, President, Palau, introduced the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, which includes a “no-take” zone of 500,000 square kilometers, providing a critical carbon sink. Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, highlighted the importance of: keeping warming below 2°C; healthy seas; “blue growth”; and, global ocean governance.

Catherine Novelli, Department of State, US, on addressing ocean threats, called for: a durable climate change agreement; low-carbon economies; ocean resilience; and, worldwide monitoring. Hans Hoogeveen, Director General for Agriculture and Nature, the Netherlands, emphasized the blue economy, calling for increased investment, and focusing on oceans and food security. Achmad Poernomo, Senior Advisor on Public Policy for the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, underscored the need for improved capacity and sustainable management of oceans.        

Biliana Cicin-Sain, President, Global Ocean Forum, cautioned that oceans will be unable to perform their vital functions if climate change persists. The ensuing discussion, inter alia, addressed how to ensure oceans remain included within the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

ADDRESSING THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON OCEANS AND ON COASTAL AND SIDS POPULATIONS: THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, SCENARIOS, AND CHOICES FOR DECISION MAKERS: This session was co-chaired by Yuriko Koike, Member, House of Representatives, Japan, and Angus Friday, Ambassador of Grenada to the US. Co-Chair Koike emphasized the role oceans can play in being a reliable energy source for SIDS.

Carol Turley, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, presenting on the science of oceans, said that even under a low-temperature-increase scenario, oceans are still at risk. David King, Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, UK, said more work is required to reduce GHG emissions while preparing for extreme climate impacts.

Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization, underscored further strengthening of observation systems to provide better information for climate change action and decision makers. Underscoring the linkages between climate, fisheries and food security, Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General, FAO, noted FAO’s ‘Blue Growth Initiative’ and called for better aquatic resource management.

Stressing how climate change impacts marine biodiversity, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD Secretariat, pointed to the CBD’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets, noting several address ocean ecosystems. Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair, Working Group II, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and University of Bremen, described oceans within IPCC reporting, mentioning a report dedicated to oceans as one of 25 proposals under consideration.

Co-Chair Friday, on behalf of Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister, Grenada, spoke on the blue economy and innovative options for financing in SIDS, calling for action before convening again next year for Oceans Day.

MITIGATION AND THE OCEANS: Monde Mayekiso, Deputy Director-General, Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, and Heremoana Mamaatuaiahutapu, Minister of Environment and Culture, French Polynesia, co-chaired the session. Prefacing the panel session, Margaret Leinen, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, called on participants to urge their respective representatives that “we should not be removing oceans from the ADP and the Paris agreement.”

Speaking on behalf of Polynesia Against Climate Threats (P.A.C.T.), Co-Chair Mamaatuaiahutapu underscored actions and commitments to address climate change in Polynesia. Dorothée Herr, IUCN, outlined how oceans can address mitigation, citing examples including: coastal carbon wetlands; ocean carbon; ships’ emissions; renewable energy from oceans; and, ocean-based carbon sequestration. Brian Murray, Duke University, discussed the costs associated with sea-level rise, storm surges, and losses of ecosystem services, and called for dedicated ocean finance.

Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment, Australia, suggested “blue carbon” be included within the draft Paris agreement. Inger Andersen, Director General, IUCN, expressed support for a global blue carbon partnership, stating the need to work at local, national, and global levels.

Edmund Hughes, International Maritime Organization, spoke on emissions from international shipping, and the London Convention and Protocol on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter. Rawleston Moore, GEF, described climate change and energy challenges in SIDS, giving examples of GEF-supported projects addressing these challenges. José Filipe Moraes Cabral, Portugal, introduced his country’s ‘Ministry of the Sea’ and the World Ocean Assessment, coordinated by Portugal and Argentina.

ADAPTATION AND FINANCING FOR ADAPTATION: The session was co-chaired by Meg Taylor, Secretary-General, Pacific Island Forum Secretariat, and Paula Caballero, World Bank. Opening the session, Co-Chairs Taylor and Caballero described adaption as complex, but good for development. They posed questions for the panel, including on how to attract adaptation investment to ensure implementation.

Raphael Billé, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, described the evolution of adaptation in international discussions, calling for action through regional and DRR mechanisms, and ecosystem-based approaches. Cautioning that there is a lack of coherence in adaptation policies, Luke Daunivalu, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fiji, stated that Fiji has prioritized water infrastructure. Referring to scientific studies, Maria Damanaki, The Nature Conservancy, called for transforming scientific facts into action, and urged for redirecting a portion of investment from “gray to green” infrastructure.

Noting existing adaptation challenges in Africa, such as depleting fish stocks, Hashali Hamukuaya, Executive Secretary, Benguela Current Commission, called for investing in multi-sectoral approaches. Admitting some maritime professionals are “guilty of criminal behavior,” Francis Vallat, President, European Network of Maritime Clusters, stated environmental awareness, and operations are largely improving, citing examples of eco-friendly ship-related operations.

Ngedikes Olai Uludong, Ambassador to the EU, and Ambassador on Climate Change, Palau,underscored Palau is on the frontlines of climate change, and said issues of loss and damage need to be addressed.

Angus Garrett, Seafish, UK, described adaption measures taken within the UK seafood industry, underscoring wild capture of seafood as an important resource and seeing climate change as a strategic challenge.

SPECIAL ADDRESSES: Prince Albert II of Monaco called for reducing the divide between “the world of the sea and ‘normal’ human activities,” highlighting that, “we are living in one of the most sea-faring times in history.” He underscored the roles oceans play in supporting livelihoods and the economy, urging drawing on marine PAs, marine renewable energies and science. Calling for new strategies, he said further political efforts are needed to strengthen the focus on oceans in the climate negotiations.

Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation, underscored that of the 183 coastal countries, many already feel the impacts of climate change, and shared examples from several SIDS that are developing resettlement plans to support “migration with dignity.” She referred to the current migration crisis as a forewarning of future climate change impacts, stating that climate actions should be guided by human rights, so that future resettlement is well planned. Robinson underscored the need for capacity building for continued mitigation action.

Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, France, expressed France’s leadership in addressing climate change in oceans. She highlighted the important role that oceans play, in relation to biodiversity, quality of life, and human survival, framing Oceans Day as a key event at UNFCCC COP21. Royal closed by saying, “if we continue to work together we can reach a solution.”

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT, SCIENTIFIC MONITORING, AND PUBLIC EDUCATION: This session was co-chaired by Lisa Emelia Svensson, Ambassador for Oceans, Seas and Fresh Water, Sweden, and Philippe Vallette, Director General, Nausicaá the French National Sea Center, and, Co-President, World Ocean Network. Co-Chair Svensson stressed Sweden’s efforts to implement SDG14 (Life Below Water) on oceans, while highlighting the need to address blue economy principles. Co-Chair Vallette encouraged, among other issues, fostering stronger citizen engagement on climate change.

Hiroshi Terashima, President, Ocean Policy Research Institute, Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan, suggested, inter alia, mainstreaming climate change adaptation into integrated coastal area management plans, and disaster preparedness.

Samuel Kamé-Domguia, African Union (AU) Commission, provided an overview of the AU’s ‘2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy,’ saying that, among other issues, it aims to promote Africa’s blue economy.

Vladimir Ryabinin noted that the IOC places an emphasis on capacity building, and urged for implementing: a technology transfer programme for developing countries; and, technical capacity development.

José Soares dos Santos, Fundação Franciso Manuel dos Santos, Portugal, said those with knowledge and resources have an obligation to act, announcing a new foundation dedicated to ocean issues.

John Tanzer, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International, described a report on the economic value of oceans, and said, “we can’t desert the most vulnerable.”

Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator for Rhode Island, US, stated ocean damage is non-debatable, but it is often overlooked. Quoting Pope Francis, “nature never forgives,” he emphasized, “we need to get this right.”

Langston James “Kimo” Goree, Founder and Chief Executive, Earth Negotiations Bulletin, Vice-President, Reporting Services and UN Liaison, International Institute for Sustainable Development, underscored the importance of knowledge management, focusing on tracking issues as they emerge, developing concise, neutral and transferable messages, and building networks to share knowledge.

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER: A FIVE-YEAR AGENDA FOR ACTION: This session was co-chaired by Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP, and Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO. Noting expectations at COP21 are high, Co-Chair Bokova urged for addressing climate change and oceans as a “single agenda.” Co-Chair Thiaw called oceans “the lungs of the planet” for their capture and storage of approximately 30% of human-produced carbon.

John Pundari, Minister for Environment and Conservation and Climate Change, Papua New Guinea, urged for advancing the nexus between climate change and oceans, and lauded SDG13 (Climate Action) and SDG14 (Life Below Water), respectfully.

Speaking on how to adopt and deepen blue economy and multi-sectoral approaches, Naoko Ishii, said the task ahead is achieving SDG14 (Life Below Water).

Closing the final panel session on Oceans Day, representatives of the Ocean and Climate Platform, Romain Troublé, Secretary General, Tara Expeditions, and Catherine Chabaud, President, Innovation Bleues, presented Bokova and Biliana Cicin-Sain with ocean and climate flags, thanking them for their efforts in moving the oceans and climate agenda forward.


On Saturday, 5 December 2015, RCP convened under the theme of GEF Day, aiming to highlight the synergies achievable between the conventions that GEF serves as a financial mechanism. There were four sessions, on: the GEF Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP) programmes; facilitating synergies for sustainable development; a discussion between civil society organizations (CSOs) and the GEF CEO; and, on the launch of the book ‘Vision 2100: Stories from Your Future.’

INTEGRATED APPROACHES TO FOOD SECURITY, SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMODITY SUPPLY CHAINS: TACKLING MAJOR DRIVERS OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION FOR MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION AT SCALE: Mohamed Bakarr, GEF, introduced the GEF IAPs. Noting that the GEF has several focal areas, inter alia, biodiversity, land degradation, and climate change, he explained the new integrated model to tackle several focal areas together, in line with the GEF 2020 Strategy and the SDGs.

Overview of the Integrated Programs: Food Security: Bertrand Reysset, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), explained the IAP on food security, which takes a multi-benefit approach. He stated that it is currently being piloted in 12 countries, focusing on supporting small agriculture, and food value chains. He underscored that a focus on SLM both improves soil fertility and genetic diversity, thus ensuring carbon sequestration and biodiversity protection, respectively.

Sustainable Cities: Noting rapid urban population growth, Xueman Wang, World Bank, stated, “sustainable futures require sustainable cities,” pointing to SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). She provided an overview of a project, which is being piloted across 24 cities in 11 countries, sharing examples on transit-oriented development, waste management, and watersheds. She urged for people-centered urban planning for low-carbon resilient cities, and financing, including through PPPs.

Commodity Supply Chains: Underscoring the importance of land issues to address climate change, Iain Henderson, UNEP, urged for taking deforestation out of commodity supply chains. He stressed the importance of financing and partnerships, stating, “sustainable production means many things,” from reducing fertilizer use to improving social systems.

IAP Projects Feedback: Bakarr then introduced the panel, with country representatives outlining their respective GEF IAP projects.

Alimata Kone Bakayoko, Ministry of Economy and Finances, Côte d’Ivoire, described addressing traffic congestion and air pollution in Abidjan through the Côte d’Ivoire IAP on sustainable cities. Noting that the project is still at the planning stage, she said the pilot project will focus on enhancing human mobility, mainstreaming clean transport, and improving industrial air quality.

Stephen Muwaya, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda, described addressing food security and climate change, taking an integrated synergies approach in the Ugandan IAP on food security. Focusing on fragile regions in Uganda, he outlined work on land degradation, biodiversity, and income diversification at the smallholder farmer scale. He called for synergizing national policies for more effective implementation.

Putera Parthama, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia, discussed deforestation reduction activities under the national programme, but also emphasized that Indonesia’s need to develop will require some planned deforestation activities to meet food, fuel and fiber demands. He referenced commitments on deforestation reduction within Indonesia’s INDC, saying the Indonesian IAP on commodity supply chains will build on existing projects.

David McCauley, WWF, reflected on the challenging environmental issues faced in the panelists’ countries, and outlined WWF’s work with buyers to promote sustainable commodity demand. He underscored the important role of knowledge management, and bringing together actors within the process of promoting responsible demand.

In the ensuing discussion: Bakayoko noted that the Côte d’Ivoire IAP has included private sector involvement in the cities programme; on data collection and management, Wang stressed that assisting cities with data issues is one of the components of the IAP; and Muwaya said one of the challenges faced in Uganda is that many small producers rely on rain-fed systems, and in times of serious drought, this poses a big risk to food security and production.

FACILITATING SYNERGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: MEAs AND THE GEF: This session was moderated by Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs, GEF. He opened by saying that the number of conventions that the GEF serves as a financial mechanism to, has increased, leading to increased fragmentation of funding. He stated that the GEF is aiming to increase impact from the projects it funds, saying that this can be achieved by leveraging synergies between the multiple conventions. He stated that the session aims to look at the barriers to implementation, and try to “connect the dots” for effective implementation.

Frank Schroeder, Senior Advisor on Climate Finance, UN Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, called for an “action agenda” on climate change, stressing the importance of finance and sustainable energy. He lauded the SDGs as a “new investment pipeline” to tackle climate change as a crosscutting issue, and called sustainable energy “fundamental” for sustainable development, suggesting bundling small projects together to become attractive for investors.

Niclas Svenningsen, UNFCCC, urged for better collaboration among the Rio Conventions to improve implementation and financing efficiency, and lauded the GEF for supporting this. Referring to the growing significance of the adaptation agenda, he noted this requires an automatic examination of biodiversity and LDN concerns.

Underscoring that 12 million hectares of fertile land are lost every year, Markus Repnik, Managing Director, Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, emphasized the significance of the UNCCD’s new LDN target. Calling it a “paradigm shift” to move from land degradation, to degradation neutrality and restoration, he lauded SDG15 (Life on Land) for its support. He underscored the need to bring the environmental agenda into the economic agenda to incentivize investment.

David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat, described overlaps between the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the SDGs, the LDN target, and climate change mitigation and adaptation, respectively. He outlined linkages between biodiversity and, among others, human wellbeing, provision of food, land restoration, reducing habitat loss, enhancing carbon stocks, and increasing resilience and adaptation. He underscored that the SDGs present an opportunity to mainstream biodiversity within other sectors.

Chizuru Aoki outlined the progress made from establishing the GEF and the process of moving towards more integrated approaches in an increasingly complex world. She emphasized countries’ current demands for cross-sectoral approaches to address sustainable development challenges and for integrated implementation.

Rose Mukankomeje, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority, expressing appreciation for the integrated approach of the SDGs, compared to the MDGs, highlighted the need to synergize reporting requirements across the Rio Conventions to reduce barriers for implementation. She emphasized using a people-centered approach, drawing on examples of protected area conservation.

Discussion and panelist closing remarks touched on: channels for supporting countries to mainstream integration of the Rio Conventions; opportunities to include ecosystem services economic thinking in the conventions, and within the private sector; the need for integrated national policies supporting civil society and private sector implementation; the need for the conventions to adapt to facilitate integration; project implementation as the potential bottleneck given the abundance of commitments; consideration of the different timetables of different strategies in integrated approaches; and, the GEF as a vehicle to do things “successfully.”

A DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE GEF CEO AND CSOs: Ramón Cruz, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), and GEF-CSO Network Focal Point for North America, opened the dialogue, highlighting that over 500 CSOs are participants in the network. He noted CSOs’ work in relation to the GEF, stating that they assist in implementation, provide monitoring and feedback, and share lessons learned.

Lauding the SDGs as “universal goals” that take cognizance of “planetary boundaries,” Naoko Ishii, said that at COP21 countries, cities, businesses, key sectors, and CSOs are finally coming together to address the future of the planet. She announced commitments ofapproximately US$250 million for the GEF’s Least Developed Countries Fund, stating that this is a good indication of prioritization to those most vulnerable to climate change, while at the same time recognizing the need for additional funding. She explained GEF’s transition of priorities to focus more on ‘integrated’ systemic challenges, highlighting sustainable cities, food security in Africa, and global commodities as part of this new focus.

In the dialogue between Ishii and CSOs, CSOs asked questions and sought clarification on issues such as the role of cities and local governments to address climate change. Ishii and other GEF representatives explained that while the GEF traditionally worked largely with national governments, they are increasingly attempting to work with city actors, such as mayors, with Ishii describing cities as “a key stakeholder to address climate change.”

Delfin Ganapin, Global Manager, GEF SGP, explaining that financial support is limited, and suggested finding other ways to engage with and support CSOs, such as through sharing knowledge. On improving networking among the GEF CSO Network, the ‘Communities Connect’ platform was referred to as a means to exchange best practices and share successful projects among the GEF-CSO Network.

BOOK LAUNCH: VISIONS 2100: Book contributor, Claus Astrup, GEF, introduced the launch of the book, ‘Visions 2100: Stories from Your Future,’ with opening remarks by the author, John O’Brien, Founder, Australian CleanTech and Sino CleanTech.

O’Brien described the need for a positive, optimistic vision of the future to inspire serious environmental and climate change action. Drawing on science from psychology and decision making, he outlined how climate action is rational but, decisions are emotional, and fear as an emotion cannot result in long-term behavior change. Therefore, he said, there is a need for positive storytelling, which is what his book aims to do by sharing leading environmental thinkers’ and leaders’ visions of the future in 2100. Using storytelling “to bring forward the challenge,” O’Brien, said, “having a vision of a better future is likely to result in the world being better.”

Four of the book contributors then presented their visions of the future in 2100, and explained the development of their stories..

John Gibbons, ThinkOrSwim, used his vision titled, ‘The Age of Madness’ to “ring the bell,” saying, “sometimes we need to see and feel the nightmare to avoid it.” He said, “we know where we don’t want to go, but we need to figure out how not to get there.”

Rohan Hamden, Rohan Hamden and Associates, presented an optimistic vision of the future, reflecting upon his anthropology studies of Australian aboriginal tribes, and, how in every culture and community there are “geniuses.” Drawing on the view of the capacity to have geniuses make contributions and transfer their knowledge over generations, his vision titled, ‘The Century of Awakening’ used the connectivity of the internet to scale-up and disseminate solutions to global challenges.

Dessima Williams, Former Ambassador of Grenada to the UN, focused her vision around SIDS. She also provided an optimistic vision titled, ‘No Island Left Behind,’ were the global community was able to bring GHG emissions to net zero successfully, reducing warming impacts and sea level rise. Her vision included a healthier, more secure world where, “islands did not drown and people are not climate refugees.”

Astrup presented his vision titled, ‘Eight Dollars a Barrel.’ His vision, he said, came from the point of view of his son, who would be 87 years old in 2100. In his vision, people changed their way of life and “the world was more resilient than humans deserved.”


On Monday, 7 December 2015, the RCP addressed issues relating to REDD+. Five panel sessions were convened, including on: country approaches to safeguards and safeguard information systems (SIS); the economic rationale of REDD+; where and how REDD+ can deliver the most benefits; and, innovations in private finance for REDD+. REDD+ Day was closed with a reception.

BEING RESPONSIBLE IN REDD+: COUNTRY APPROACHES TO SAFEGUARDS: REDD+ Day opened with a movie on an expert consultation event on REDD+ safeguards, and SIS with countries sharing their experiences, reflections, and lessons learned.

Following the film, moderator Jaime Webbe, UNEP, introduced the panel, outlining the progress made since the adoption of REDD+ safeguards at UNFCCC COP16, in Cancún, Mexico, in December 2010. She emphasized the panel as being a “platform for discussion” to take stock, and identify opportunities and persistent challenges.

DRC Approaches to and Experiences of Safeguards for REDD+: Rubin Rashidi, National REDD+ Coordinator, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), discussed the DRC’s process and experience integrating the REDD+ safeguards within the national programme, and developing a strategic environmental and social assessment. He described taking an integrated approach to develop standards that, working with UNFCCC, national legislation and partner frameworks, supported both environmental and social co-benefits of REDD+, and also addressed risks. He outlined existing gaps, inter alia, limited capacity, safeguard monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems, and data availability.

What We Learned in Peru: Claudia Ochoa, Ministry of Environment, Peru, stated that increasing deforestation is a large source of emissions, and underscored the need to ensure that REDD+ implementation reduces deforestation and does not just “move it” elsewhere, while at the same time respecting safeguards. The challenge, she said, is including everyone in the process of safeguards saying, “we need to do institutional frameworks better,” highlighting the need to include regional and local actors and not just address them within national-level frameworks.

Zambia’s Approach to Safeguards: Deuteronomy Kasaro, Ministry of Development Planning, Zambia, described a number of studies completed to understand how to address and support REDD+ safeguards in Zambia. He underscored Zambia’s approach of drawing on, and integrating, existing frameworks to create a single harmonized SIS.

Robert Chimambo, Africa Representative, UN-REDD Policy Board, provided an overview of the seven safeguards, which include respecting the rights of indigenous peoples’ and local communities, and ensuring their full and effective participation. Noting the role of CSOs and others in monitoring policy, he said that policy should address forest usage so that indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ usage is taken into account.

Participants also addressed inclusion of local communities and indigenous peoples, including ensuring sufficient consultation, with some noting that national policy may contribute to the exclusion of certain groups. Others underscored that the planning and revision of REDD+ policies should be a transparent and ongoing process.

Steve Swan, UN-REDD, then introduced the new UN-REDD publication, ‘Country Approaches to REDD+ Safeguards,’ which drew on three regional South-South knowledge exchange workshops, held in the Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

INFORMING STAKEHOLDERS IN REDD+: SIS DESIGN AND COUNTRY EXPERIENCES: Steve Swan moderated the session, discussing the need to share safeguarding experiences.

Jorge Mario Rodríguez Zúñiga, Executive Director, National Forest Financing Fund, Costa Rica, shared his country’s progress on SIS, calling it a “dynamic” work in progress, and underscored the need to focus on long-term planning. He stressed the need to communicate results, and noted the use of videos and documents, as well as engaging with stakeholders to benefit from their “complimentary” work.

Development of SIS for REDD+: Indonesia’s Experience: Acknowledging that Indonesia’s SIS was developed in 2011, Novia Widyaningtyas, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia, shared existing lessons, inter alia: using a phased-approach when including CSA; using existing policy instruments and best practices as a starting point; remembering that implementing SIS is an iterative process; and ensuring stakeholder participation.

SIS: Practical Design Considerations: Kimberly Todd, UN-REDD, introduced the SIS concept, which aims to provide information on how safeguards are being implemented. She shared early experiences from countries, and referred to two already published REDD+ SIS documents that address the objectives, functions and institutional arrangements of SIS. She shared several key lessons, including that SIS can be integrated with existing systems, and SIS implementation is different in each country, as countries build their own systems.

During the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia, SIS implementation at the local level, including local communities’ and indigenous peoples’ involvement in implementation.

EMBEDDING THE ECONOMIC RATIONALE IN REDD+ NATIONAL STRATEGIES: Ivo Mulder, UNEP, opened the session, saying that economic considerations are either direct drivers or indirect drivers of deforestation.

Pavan Sukhdev, CEO, GIST Advisory, and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, stated that the initial REDD+ architecture operated largely at the national level, and typically focused on payments between two states. He noted that this has evolved to now consider forests as entire living ecosystems. He said that financing of REDD+ has similarly evolved, citing the advent of green bonds as a signal of increasing private sector involvement. He stated, however, that a systemic solution involving the private sector must be sought.

Ivannia Quesada Villalobos, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Costa Rica, stressed the importance of working with smallholder producers to improve their productivity and revenues, noting this can reduce the impact on primary and secondary forests. Highlighting that 52% of Costa Rica’s territory is covered in forest, and noting ambitions to increase this to 60% by 2030, she stated that common strategies across ministries need to be developed to achieve this goal.

Underscoring that climate change and deforestation have become “mainstream issues,” especially regarding charcoal dependence, Maria Kiwanuka, Senior Presidential Advisor, and former Finance Minister, Uganda, referred to efforts to formalize the agriculture sector and support non-farm jobs, such as those in the hydroelectric sector. She noted Uganda’s goal to increase forest cover to 24% within five years, urging for financing and quantifying forest resources, and suggesting the commercialization of forests.

Satya Tripathi, Head, UN Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID), stated that, “you cannot manage what you cannot measure,” underscoring the importance of the valuation of forest services. He stated that approximately 75% of the earnings of forest-dwelling communities come from the forest, and stressed that this needs to be accounted for.

The ensuing discussion addressed the important role that smallholders play, and the challenges associated with financing them. It was recognized that both public and private financing is needed to fill the smallholder-financing gap.

WHERE AND HOW CAN REDD+ DELIVER MOST BENEFITS?: Valerie Kapos, UNEP-WCMC, moderated the session. Lera Miles, UNEP-WCMC, noted that the choice on how to implement REDD+ affects the extent of the benefits and risks, stating that the safeguards also aim to enhance the social and environmental benefits of REDD+. Providing an overview of the Cancún safeguards and the Warsaw Framework for REDD+, she said that identifying realistic options for REDD+ is key to realizing benefits.

The Multiple Benefits of Mapping for REDD+ in the Republic of Congo: Carine Saturnine Milandou, Ministry of Forest Economy and the Environment, Republic of Congo, said that, due to the extent of the Republic of Congo’s forest cover, REDD+ is being used as a tool for sustainable development. She stated that the mapping exercises in the Republic of Congo have been conducted to provide a deeper understanding of the uses and benefits of the forests. Milandou described the results of mapping, saying findings included that the carbon sequestration potential of forests was four times higher than that of grasslands.

Delegates were then invited to share ideas on ‘How Could Information on the Valuation of Ecosystem Services be Brought Together with Mapping Work to Better Inform REDD+ Choices?’ They suggested, inter alia, that: co-benefits should be linked to a country’s development; environmental valuation be incorporated within GDP; and, actions should be “people-centered” with a focus on land tenure.

CBA of REDD+ Policies and Measures to Inform the Development of Cambodia’s National REDD+ Strategy: Elina Väänänen, UNEP-WCMC, on behalf of Leng Chivin, Deputy Director, Department of Forestry and Community Forestry, Cambodia, presented on efforts to incorporate a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of REDD+ in Cambodia. The analysis, she stated, undertook several activities, including: developing a CBA ‘Spatial Decision Support Tool’; using geographic information systems (GIS) to combine spatial and economic data; building capacity among Cambodian partners to use the tool; and, using the results to inform the national REDD+ strategy.

INNOVATIONS IN PRIVATE FINANCE: TAKING STOCK AND EMERGING TRENDS: Will McFarland, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), describing private sector finance as a “catch-all phrase,” outlined a study looking at the range of different private finance actors and institutions to better understand where finance is needed to scale-up investment in sustainable resource management activities. Three main recommended investment areas identified in the study, he said, included agricultural intensification, sustainable plantation establishment and management, and sustainable use of fuel wood. Each, he stated, needed a specific policy mix to unlock action and innovation.

Clément Chenost, Moringa Partnerships, described the approach of his impact investment fund, investing in agroforestry projects to deliver environmental, social and financial returns. Providing an example of investing in the restoration of degraded coffee areas in Nicaragua, he called for mobilizing more capital in landscape restoration.

Bruce Duguid, Hermes Investment, spoke on Hermes’ ‘Equity Ownership Services,’ acting as a stewardship service provider, using a long-term sustainable business model to drive pension fund clients’ investments. Focusing on consumer good companies, he gave an example of working with an oil palm company to improve the sustainability of their operations.

Helen Bellfield, Global Canopy Programme, described the Forest 500 Agency, the first rainforest rating agency tracking 500 powerbrokers influencing forest risk commodity supply chains, constituted of companies, investors, and governments. She said that it acts as a tool to help investors benchmark against competitors and screen investment, but a remaining challenge is the implementation of the policies and commitments made.

Facilitated by moderator, Iain Henderson, UNEP, panelists and audience members discussed, inter alia: understanding the impacts of divestment; harmonizing methodologies for social and environmental indicators; working closer with investors, including on implementation; addressing the conservative nature of pension funds; supporting the growing demand for high quality commodity products; moving from the narrow view of credit ratings to a focus on “natural capital”; integrating environmental risks into sovereign credit analysis; and, getting the “small amounts of money” invested on the ground.


On 8 December 2015, the RCP convened under the theme ‘Day of Action: Implementing the Paris Agreement.’. Three sessions were held on: a ‘Adapting from the Ground Up: A New Perspective on Private Sector Engagement and Resilience,’ where participants heard keynote speeches from Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, and Andrew Steer, President and CEO, WRI, followed by a panel discussion. The afternoon session began with a presentation on the ‘Pole to Paris’ project.

Panel sessions also took place on aggregating finance for low-carbon energy, and strengthening climate policies through the UNFCCC’s reporting tools.

ADAPTING FROM THE GROUND UP: A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON PRIVATE SECTOR ENGAGEMENT AND RESILIENCE: Referring to the film that opened the session, which presented a solar-powered water pump project in Cambodia, Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, UNDP, stated that after implementation, average incomes increased 300%, and described the “important multiplier effects” from the project, including that communities formed themselves into collectives, pooled resources to maintain the system, and sold excess water resources.   

Calling micro and small enterprises (MSEs) the “backbone of the communities in which they operate,” Helen Clark introduced a report, produced in collaboration with WRI, titled ‘Adapting from the Ground Up.’ This report, she stated, addresses, inter alia: how decision makers can create a supportive environment for MSEs; innovative mechanisms to reduce investment risks; and, the removal of policy and regulatory obstacles. Clark said the report makes the case for focusing on the micro-scale, stating that, “strengthening the resilience of MSEs strengthens the resilience of communities,” noting that MSEs provide approximately 60% of livelihoods in developing countries.

Andrew Steer described MSEs as being at “the heart of the adaptation challenge,” as they account for a large portion of employment, are the most vulnerable and the most nimble, and have a huge potential to bring solutions. Drawing on the report, Steer outlined six categories to facilitate adaptation, which included: information systems; technical assistance and training; institutions and policies; the role of government, civil society and international agencies in market and business development; partnerships; and, finance and financial institutions. He closed, calling for participants to support meaningful implementation.

Heather McGray, WRI, summarized the main sections of the report, focusing on, among others: drivers of investment in adaptation; drivers of barriers to adaptation; interventions to catalyze private sector engagement in adaptation; principles for engaging MSEs in adaptation; and, recommendations. She described the report as providing a menu of flexible options for governments to apply within their specific context.

Alan Miller, International Finance Corporation (IFC), moderated the subsequent high-level panel. Ponlok Tin, Secretary General, Cambodia National Council for Sustainable Development, discussed Cambodia’s history and context, outlining opportunities and barriers facing MSEs in his country. He noted the challenge of accessing finance, while underscoring the importance of local analysis, engagement of the private sector, climate-smart investment, and scaling-up technologies. Miller closed saying, “we need a whole value chain for creating adaptation.”

Theo de Jager, President, Pan African Farmers’ Organization, and President, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions, noted that the average farmer in his region is female, with low crop yields due to limited resources. He underscored that to resolve this, a paradigm shift and “brave political decisions” are needed to allow for easy cross-border collaboration and cooperation. He said that through collaboration or grouping, small-scale farmers can mechanize and commercialize their operations.

Robert Rutaagi, Chairperson, Uganda National Meteorological Authority, outlined the importance of PPPs in the agricultural sector. He said that the private sector is vital in Uganda, underscoring that it has led to modernization and efficiency gains. He noted that to achieve success in the agricultural sector, timeously supplied and appropriate meteorological information is necessary.

Francine Stevens, Vodafone Global Enterprises, stated that there is a growing acknowledgement that the private sector must become part of the solution to sustainability challenges. Stevens noted that the huge growth of emerging markets provides both opportunities and challenges, but said that Vodafone has used mobile solutions to meet some of the challenges. She provided an overview of the ‘Vodafone Farmers Club,’ now operating in six countries, saying that it provides services such as access to: forecast and best practice information; a virtual market place; and, financial services.

Ewan McDonald, Co-Chair, Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board, commended efforts to get adaptation placed at the center of the new climate agreement. He stated that the GCF has approved its first eight projects, noting that six of them focus on resilience. He described a specific private sector window, focusing on small enterprise activities.

Mohamed Abdoulkarim, Minister of External Relations and Cooperation, Comoros, underscored efforts to build a “green growth economy” in the Comoros, addressing health, the environment, and poverty eradication. He described efforts to increase private sector capacity to support green initiatives, such as training women to install solar equipment to reduce the use of wood-based energy systems, and working with farmers to support CSA.

Participants then shared examples of small-scale projects they were involved in, such as designing resource and energy efficient building technologies, and asked how to define resilience, and how to support and share information on resilience.

Miller summarized the discussion, underscoring that increased attention on resilience should be directed towards small businesses.

POLE TO PARIS: Pradeep Kurukulasuriya introduced Daniel Price, Founder, Director, and Southern Cyclist, and, Erlend Moster Knudsen, Deputy-Director, and Northern Runner, both from the ‘Pole to Paris’ project. Together Price and Knudsen described their project and journey. Originally meeting in an artic field school as PhD students studying climate change in Antarctica and the Artic, respectively, Price and Knudsen stated that they developed the project to raise awareness about climate change, and collect stories from communities along the way. Both described climate change impacts occurring at the two poles, and told the story of their respective journeys, as well as the routes they took, and the people they met along the way. They described travelling from the poles to Paris with “one common voice,” and underscored the need to continue speaking and caring about climate change, obtain finance to address it, and reduce CO2 emissions. They closed saying, “by running and biking, we pulled together in the same direction,” and, “it is possible to move in the same direction, working together for a sustainable solution.”

The ensuing discussion touched on keeping the momentum beyond Paris, as well as: the importance of communication; the need for positive messages and stories when talking about climate change; the opportunity to use the project to lobby delegates to make strong commitments; the need to go beyond commitments to actions; and, the importance of storytelling by people affected by climate change.

AGGREGATING FINANCE FOR LOW-CARBON ENERGY: Sean Kidney, CEO, Climate Bonds Initiative, moderated this session. Calling energy a dominant issue to support the new global sustainable development agenda, and, referring to SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Helen Clark introduced efforts to aggregate finance for low-carbon energy. She noted several developments, including: the decreasing costs of renewable energy; the emergence of decentralized energy systems that compliment large-scale systems; and, innovative business models to support renewable energy. She underscored that through aggregation, small-scale energy projects can be supported by bundling them together, while stressing the need for standardization and supportive financing.

Naoko Ishii underscored the growing willingness to support sustainable energy initiatives. She called for creating multi-stakeholder platforms, for example to support energy efficiency in buildings, and suggested working with city mayors, the private sector, and other partners. She announced the ‘Climate Aggregation Platform,’ a collaborative Platform with financial support from the GEF to be implemented by UNDP and Climate Bonds Initiative, which will aggregate small projects in order to attract investors and capital markets. She underscored the need for: awareness raising; harmonization to attract capital; and, demonstration projects at the country-scale.

Questioning how to create the right policy circumstances to move investments in the energy transition from “billions to trillions,” Christopher Kaminker, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), called for creating an enabling environment for investors. Highlighting the need for regulation, design and oversight, he underscored the importance of specific framework conditions, including: ensuring credit worthiness and risk return; and, creating a stable and transparent investment environment.

Michael Eckhart, Citigroup, described being, “40 years into a 100-year transition to a clean energy world.” He said current challenges include “not creating innovations, but scaling them up,” recognizing that PPPs form part of the answer.

Martin Berg, European Investment Bank (EIB), said his bank is a large financier of climate action projects worldwide. He underscored that, “we need to move beyond the green bond market” towards aggregation. Berg outlined obstacles facing investment, noting the “weak profiles” of energy service companies (ESCOs).

Henning Wuester, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said that, by 2030, renewables can bring half of what is required to solve the climate problem, but cautioned that this will require scaling-up private sector investments and aggregation. He underscored the need to focus on three areas: policy, pipelines, and the advancement of risk mitigation.

Arjun Batra, Lendable, outlined his company’s approach to developing an aggregation platform for consumer and small business lending within “frontier” markets. He said challenges include the lack of both infrastructure and risk transparency.

Stating that “we don’t have to wait, we can start now,” Kidney invited participants to share examples. The ensuing discussion addressed, inter alia: how to support resilience, such as via IRENA’s renewable energy in SIDS initiative; the ‘G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan’; the importance of standardization; and, how to achieve scale.

STRENGTHENING CLIMATE POLICIES THROUGH THE CONVENTIONS’ REPORTING TOOLS: NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS AND BIENNIAL UPDATE REPORTS: Rawleston Moore, GEF, opened the session, saying that the GEF is a committed partner for supporting countries to help meet their reporting obligations. Outlining the ways in which the GEF supports countries, Moore highlighted that through assistance in project implementation, and accessing further funding from additional sources, these efforts help “plot the pathway forward for a carbon-neutral future.”

John Christensen, UNEP, on behalf of Ermira Fida, UNEP, drew on the success of countries increasing their communication through national communications (NCs) and biennial update reports (BURs). He underscored reporting as a key aspect of the new “INDC world,” and crucial for the success of the anticipated Paris agreement.

Yamil Bonduki, UNDP, described the collaboration between UNDP, the GEF and UNEP, and emphasized the increasing importance of the role of reporting within the context of INDCs, and the opportunity to expand countries’ NC work.

Damiano Borgogno, UNDP, outlined the work of the Global Support Program (GSP), supporting non-Annex I parties in preparing their NC and BURs. He said the GSP is working with 135 countries on NCs, and 80 countries on BURs, and aims to support countries to overcome institutional and technical barriers, in part by fostering South-South cooperation. Lessons learned, he said, included the need to: establish a national entity that has strong leadership and political support; create capacities at the institutional level within the countries; engage different ministries and other actors; make tools more relevant; build capacity; foster technical rigor; and, move from communications to actions.

Verania Chao, UNDP, introduced a gender toolkit, which aims to support countries in enhancing their NC and BUR reporting to meet the UNFCCC guidance on gender. The toolkit, Chao said, encompasses two sections, “making the case” for gender mainstreaming in the NCs, and tools for integrating gender and climate change. These, she said, cover: rationale to support advocacy; analysis, examples and tools; gender issues by climate change topic; and, “how to do it” suggestions.

Borgogno introduced Nguyen Van Anh, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Viet Nam, Lea Kai, Ministry of Environment, Lebanon, Ramón Méndez, Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment, Uruguay, and Daniel Tutu Benefoh, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana, who shared BUR examples, and GHG data gathering and reporting strategies. Examples included: a national “stakeholder GHG reporting ceremony” that facilitates national data gathering, and marketing of stakeholder initiatives; inter-agency collaboration on GHG reporting; and, national GHG reporting databases.


On 9 December RCP convened under the theme of Gender Day. Four sessions took place on: ‘Filling in the Blanks’; gender, land rights, and the surrounding policy frameworks; climate change and DRR using a gender-focused lens; and, synergies among the Rio Conventions to support achieving the SDGs, with a focus on gender.

FILLING IN THE BLANKS: BUILDING THE EVIDENCE-BASE ON GENDER AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: David Cooper, chaired the session, welcoming participants and noting that 18 partners were involved in Gender Day. He referred to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, stating that it is “about transforming our world” and said that efforts to ensure gender equity are “an essential part of this transformation process.” Regarding the Rio Conventions, he said that initiatives to reduce land degradation, address climate change, and reduce biodiversity loss, are only possible when taking a broader approach to sustainable development, including a focus on equity, education and gender equality, and identified the importance of gender-disaggregated indicators.

Calling the approval of the SDGs and their 169 targets an “ambitious and universal agenda,” Yannick Glemarec, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women, acknowledged that there are not enough resources to achieve the SDGs in isolation, and underscored the need to address them synergistically. He noted that there is strong consensus that women are particularly vulnerable, stating that approximately half of the targets could be achieved by taking a gender-focused approach. Pointing to the gender gap in the agricultural sector, including regarding land tenure and access to credit and equipment, Glemarec identified that approximately 70% of farmers are women, but only 5% benefit from agricultural extension services.

Jacqueline McGlade, Chief Scientist, UNEP, discussed the first UNEP Global Gender and Environment Outlook (GGEO) report. Noting that some UN tools and guidelines may not be gender-sensitive, especially at the community level, she called for gender-disaggregated data. McGlade said the GGEO included combining micro- and macro-level data, incorporated traditional and indigenous knowledge, she noted that “western science” has to be scaled-down to the community level to understand what it means to local populations.

Margaux Granat, IUCN, on behalf of Lorena Aguilar, IUCN, presented on IUCN’s Environment and Gender Index (EGI), which, she said, assesses women’s participation across six categories, in 72 countries. She provided results from the pilot phase, saying that, generally, there is a paucity of gender-focused data. For the next phase, she said, IUCN will expand the number of countries assessed so that the EGI is universal.

Amy Duchelle, CIFOR, on findings from a global comparative study on REDD+, highlighted that in early REDD+ implementation, a mix of interventions were used, encompassing enabling environments, incentives and disincentives. She said that in general, women were less aware of REDD+ projects compared to men, but this levelled out over time.

Responding to questions from the audience, panelists discussed: the need and opportunity for collaborating on data collection and knowledge generation; donor demand for mainstreaming gender; and, gender’s role at the implementation level. On the need for improved data, one panelist stated, “we cannot improve situations if we don’t have data on them.” Responding to a question about REDD+, Duchelle stated, “the biggest hope for gender and REDD+ are the Cancún safeguards.”


Wagaki Wischnewski, UNCCD, stated that in 2010, UNCCD adopted an ‘Advocacy Policy Framework on Gender’ to have a systematic approach to address gender issues and women’s rights in dryland communities. She presented a study that examined women’s land rights, underscoring that in dryland communities, women face unique challenges, and that they are more vulnerable to climate change. She outlined several findings, including: that social and cultural factors are powerful, including women’s relative confidence to assert their land rights; the need to tackle both institutional and practical barriers; and, governance conditions in pastoral communities.

Mariela Puga, Executive Director, Fund for Women from the South, shared an example of the Fund’s financial and political support for women’s engagement in the Chaco Americano Ecoregion, an area that includes a large forested region across Paraguay, Argentina, and Bolivia. She called local and indigenous women “natural leaders,” as they are most affected and have most to fight for. She urged for “a politics of care, versus a politics of power.”

Tatiana Cordero, Director, Urgent Action Fund Latin America and the Caribbean, discussed the work of “women human rights defenders” in Latin America. She described her organization, which started as a collaborative initiative on women, land and territory, defending the rights of women and indigenous peoples who provide resistance to environmental and human right threats. She underscored the challenges “women human right defenders” face, including prosecution, stigmatization and harassment, lauding their continued efforts, despite these obstacles, to protect land rights and ensure environmental justice. Cordero closed, stressing the power of women to confront power structures to ensure the future of generations to come.

The ensuing discussion touched on the role of men in addressing problems facing women, with Cordero highlighting, “the struggle at home is not the struggle of women alone, and is often related to the community.” She also underscored the role of youth. Wischnewski outlined the importance of networking with people and aligning with like-minded organizations to facilitate meaningful change.

ADDRESSING CLIMATE ADAPTATION AND DRR THROUGH A GENDER LENS, PERSPECTIVES FROM THE FIELD: Priscilla Achakpa, Women Environmental Programme, Nigeria, moderated this session. Sakhile Koketso, CBD Secretariat, presented on EbA and ecosystem-based DRR (eco-DRR) and experiences with gender mainstreaming, based on a recent CBD synthesis report. She highlighted key messages, saying that, to strengthen application of EbA and eco-DRR, gender should be mainstreamed. Koketso also underscored the need to consider tradeoffs in the two approaches, and that the potential limitations of the two approaches also need to be acknowledged.

Houria Djoudi, CIFOR, presented case studies from pastoral communities in Mali and Burkina Faso. She said that the Mali study examined how men and women reacted, vis-à-vis, short- and long-term coping strategies to climate change. She said the Burkina Faso study examined the use of ecosystem services. Urging for adopting a “gender index” when examining how communities are impacted by climate change, she recommended including a focus on “intersectionality,” as women are not a homogenous group. She suggested combatting this “over simplification” of gender considerations.

The ensuing discussion focused on the CBD synthesis report. Participants questioned the inclusion of indigenous peoples’ perspectives, EbA in cities, the use of mangroves as a climate change adaptation measure, and the linkages between adaptation, DRR and biodiversity. Civil society representatives then described experiences from their project experiences, including on DRR initiatives in different parts of the world, noting linkages with climate adaptation, the relevant conventions, and the SDGs.

Farah Kabir, Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh, spoke about putting women at the center of DRR and response in Bangladesh, framing their work around SDG5 (Gender Equality). Kabir drew on examples of women-led, community-based adaption as part of disaster preparedness. Recommendations from the project, she said, included among others, having women design and prepare disaster response approaches, and scaling-up micro programmes. She closed saying, “women are not just recipients of disasters, but also leaders in disaster response.”

Kalyani Raj, All India Women’s Conference, presented on implementation of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services during post-disaster periods. The work of her NGO, she described, is increasing access to SRH services within populations displaced by disasters. Raj gave examples of training that provided women with knowledge to respond more effectively to SRH needs, such as how to deliver a baby in an emergency situation.

Jacqui Patterson, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), described work in Mississippi promoting DRR resilience. Outlining how extreme flooding events are becoming the norm, she noted areas of vulnerability faced by women, colored people and low-income communities. She highlighted initiatives to empower women and girls, including developing a post-disaster equity framework.

Josefina Miculax and Maite Rodríguez, Huairou Commission, presented on the experiences of Guatemalan communities benefiting from a community resilience fund. They noted that the aim is to empower grassroots women’s organizations to “emerge as leaders, change agents, and champions of resilience who help their communities to face the adverse impacts of natural disasters and climate change.” They said that the communities they work in have taken steps to increase food production, create disaster funds, and renew disaster affected areas. In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted that while climate change is often a negative concept, some local communities are using the opportunity of climate change adaptation to challenge “the gender and power dynamics that persist in society.”

EXPLORING SYNERGIES IN THE RIO CONVENTIONS TO SUPPORT THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE SDGs: Elwyn Grainger-Jones, GEF, moderated the session, inviting audience members to share what they would like the panel to address. Responses included: what role women’s organizations can play to support the Rio Conventions; and how the Rio Conventions can help implement the SDGs “on the ground.”

Tanya McGregor, CBD Secretariat, noted that gender considerations are incorporated within the CBD’s preamble paragraphs, and highlighted that since 1996, the CBD has included text on gender. She called for integrating gender considerations within National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), while underscoring that there has been little in the way of integration into NBSAPs and National Reports to date. She urged for inclusion of both women and men within decision making on conservation measures.

Ousseynou Nakoulima, GCF, highlighted that the GCF aims to incorporate gender equality, while noting that applicants’ projects are very diverse, and that not all projects address gender responsiveness. He stated that applicants must automatically fill out a gender assessment, even if their particular project does not have a specific gender focus, and in this way the GCF can understand the overall importance of this issue, from the perspective of their applicants.

Wagaki Wischnewski described how inclusion of women on the “process side of things” has “fizzled out” in implementation, noting a decline in the inclusion of women in reporting since 2010. She said in the next two years she wants to incorporate a systematic way for the UNCCD to address gender, alongside a framework for parties to address gender. The big challenge, she stated, is demonstrating change on the ground.

Eleanor Blomstrom, WEDO, described that despite gender no longer being included in the text of the draft Paris agreement, gender remains critical in understanding how to achieve the UNFCCC’s objective. Given the large challenges facing the Paris agreement, she stated, “some issues can be traded,” with gender being an issue currently “traded out,” stressing the need for it to be brought back in.

Fleur Newman, UNFCCC, reflecting on progress made on the reporting of women’s participation since COP18 in Doha, Qatar in December 2012, said, participation is critical but not the entire “gender story.” She further outlined opportunities to move the gender agenda forward through existing decisions and highlighted gender responsiveness as a remaining gap that can be drawn upon to create solutions.

Verania Chao, UNDP, stressed the need to respond to national priorities, and said there are very good experiences on the ground, but most of these are small-scale and need to be scaled up. She highlighted the need to improve gender-sensitive approaches, and better include gender considerations in projects and proposals with partners integrating gender in a more systematic way.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed developing sustainable development strategies that link NBSAPs, SDGs, and other development plans. Others suggested providing guidance on best practices on mainstreaming and implementing gender considerations, and the newly-formed GEF partnership on gender, and having an increased understanding of women’s contribution in the food and agriculture supply chain.


RCP convened for its final day on 10 December 2015, under the theme ‘Synergies and Tradeoffs in Land-based Climate Change Mitigation and Biodiversity.’ Two sessions took place, namely: synergies and tradeoffs in land-based climate change mitigation and biodiversity; and, the contribution of research-action clubs for agriculture and forestry sectors: economic expertise and innovation for climate.

Three films were also screened. The first, titled ‘Youth Climate Report,’ which was produced and directed by students, provided an overview of climate change challenges. The second, ‘Moana Rua: The Rising of the Sea,’ depicted the urgency of addressing climate change for Pacific Islanders. The third, ‘Ethiopia Rising’ showed the story of land restoration projects in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

SYNERGIES AND TRADEOFFS IN LAND-BASED CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION AND BIODIVERSITY: Mark Rounsevell, University of Edinburgh, moderated this session. Hoesung Lee, Chair, IPCC, said the appropriate management of ecosystems can help mitigate climate change, but that tradeoffs will likely be necessary. He urged increased collaboration with the biodiversity community to identify the solutions.

David Cooper described, “already seeing the impacts of climate change on biodiversity,” calling for strong mitigation efforts. He framed biodiversity as part of the mitigation and adaptation solution, and said up to half of the emission reductions needed can come from reducing deforestation, and facilitating regeneration and land restoration. To do this though, he said incentive and policy frameworks are needed. Cooper closed, saying he hopes there is greater integration between the biodiversity and climate communities to develop a range of solutions.

Global Scenarios of BECCS, Afforestation and Reforestation and their Effects on Biodiversity: Alexander Popp, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, presented the results of scenario modeling, looking at the impacts of bioenergy combined with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), afforestation, and BAU scenarios on climate mitigation, biodiversity and land use change. For BECCS, Popp said there are different bioenergy futures, and that sustainable bioenergy expansion needs to go hand-in-hand with forest protection and agricultural intensification. To facilitate this, he suggested employing integrated land use policies.

Using Ecosystem Modeling to Support Assessment of Changes in Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital due to Land-based Mitigation: Almut Arneth, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, opened saying, “forests are more than sticks of carbon.” She described a study looking at natural capital and ecosystem services within different land-use scenarios. She outlined four types of ecosystem services - provisioning, cultural, regulating and supporting services. Stating that all of these are interlinked with biodiversity, Arneth highlighted the importance of understanding how climate-regulating services link to other ecosystem services. She presented on the results of the models, which assessed vegetation and carbon, water availability and impacts on the atmosphere. She said, “we need to keep in mind land-based mitigation impacts on ecosystem services.” Closing, Arneth said, “ecosystems are more than carbon dumps; we need to come up with strong land management and governance plans.”

The Limitations and Constraints to Land-based Mitigation: Mark Rounsevell began by quoting Bertrand Russell, who said, “the whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people are so full of doubts,” and underscored the challenges related to uncertainty as it pertains to climate science modeling. He said one of the biggest uncertainties regarding land-based mitigation, is the variability of the tools and models used to make assessments. Rounsevell  cautioned that if the tools are uncertain, the consequent policy recommendations will also be uncertain. Despite uncertainty, he said that models are still needed, for example, to understand tradeoffs as they relate to the “intensification or extensification” of croplands for food production or bioenergy production. Rounsevell cautioned that models do not take into account the spatial diffusion of a particular policy role-out, and that transitions do not occur instantaneously.

Rounsevell  shared modeling studies, which examine the mitigation potential regarding the role of diets, and shared experiments that look at how to reduce the carbon- and land-intensity of diets.

Panel Discussion on Finding Solutions to Tradeoffs in Land-based Mitigation: Encompassing the previous presenters, the panel discussion addressed, among other issues: how to incorporate socioeconomic factors into models, for example, as they pertain to the specific context of dryland areas; the importance of having global models, noting that efforts to address mitigation will have a limited mitigation impact if this increases food purchasing from elsewhere; and, the carbon capture and storage potential of bioenergy, especially third and fourth generation bioenergy technologies, such as microalgae.

Responding to a question on the draft of the Paris agreement as it stood at the time, which reduced the significance of land use to address climate change, Cooper highlighted that how the agreement is implemented is important. He pointed out that in many INDCs, there are “strong commitments” on reducing deforestation and increasing reforestation. Panelists were asked to share their perspectives on how BECCS can support mitigation, with several noting that they can be effective under particular contexts, using Brazil as an example where sugarcane produces high-energy bio-ethanol. Cooper stressed the importance of land zoning and enforcement in the Brazilian case, stating that sugarcane farming is not allowed in the Amazon biome.

THE CONTRIBUTION OF RESEARCH-ACTION CLUBS FOR AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY SECTORS: ECONOMIC EXPERTISE AND INNOVATION FOR CLIMATE: Forestry, Agriculture and Climate: The Research Clubs’ Expertise: Benoît Leguet, Institute for Climate Economics (I4CE), introduced the session, outlining the purpose of the research clubs, constituting a network of different actors, to produce expertise, and generate tools and knowledge.

Claudine Foucherot, I4CE, outlined the format of the session and described, inter alia: the history of the research clubs; their current activities, including monitoring science and economic tools; and, their efforts to implement projects and organizing events.

Philippe Touchais, Chamber of Agriculture (APCA), France, provided an overview of the agriculture club’s focus and activities. He described it as being a network of organizations that support and advise companies and farmers, providing them with information and trainings on energy efficiency, emission reductions, adaptation, and climate change. Touchais said they also aim to mobilize key figures and authorities to work on climate change.

Marianne Rubio, National Forestry Office (ONFA), France, spoke on the forestry club stating, “the impacts of climate change on forests are already being felt.” She said forests and forest products can sequester and store carbon, providing examples of offset projects in France and abroad. 

Carbon Certification in Europe: Julia Grimault, I4CE, moderated the session, introducing the club’s efforts to work with companies to offset carbon. Grimault noted several obstacles, including: difficulties to write-up methodologies; and, the low transparency and visibility in voluntary markets, which limits demand.

Lucio Brotto, ETIFOR, stated that over the last four years, ETIFOR has been involved in 57 projects in the forestry carbon market sector, in Italy, Latin America, and Africa. He noted several challenges, including the diversity of the projects types, addressing REDD, afforestation and “green infrastructure” projects, making it difficult to quantify.

Pat Snowdon, Forestry Commission, UK, presented on the UK Woodland Carbon Code, which is a voluntary standard to provide the assurance of high standards in the UK’s voluntary carbon market. Snowdon provided an overview of how the code operates, saying that next steps include completing a small woods scheme pilot, gathering more evidence on the wider benefits of the projects, and broaden its scope.

Carbon Projects’ Development in France: Jean-Baptiste Dollé, Livestock Institute, France, spoke about low-carbon dairy farming and the process of developing a methodology for voluntary emissions reduction in dairy farming. He described an initiative in France that was started in six regions across 4,000 farms, which was later increased to 5,000 farms.

Thierry Geslain, French Dairy Interbranch Organization (CNIEL), built on the initiative described by Dollé, outlining plans to further up-scale,project activities highlighting the need to identify additional financing. He said carbon credits can act as an incentive for farmers to adopt the practices.

Pierre Compere, InVivo AgroSolutions, described the potential to reduce GHG emissions in agriculture, citing 19% of GHG emissions in France are linked to agriculture. He said that solutions exist, outlining growing leguminous crops that fix nitrogen as an option.

Stéphane Le Goff, Groupama, described his company’s activities on asset management of forests. Speaking on corporate social responsibility activities, he said these involve, among others, studies on carbon storage and increasing forests’ positive impacts on climate and sustainable development, responsible consumption, and monitoring activities.

Alexander Murillo, EcoAct, dicussed working with companies to reduce and offset their carbon emissions. He said they do this by focusing on GHG emissions related to energy consumption, and by estimating carbon stock, and carbon stored in wood products.

Conclusion and Perspectives: Noting that many initiatives have been implemented to expand France’s forest cover, Olivier Picard, National Centre for Forest Owners (CNPF), France, underscored the need to highlight the “value created” from the forestry sector, and called for developing supportive financial systems. 

Caroline Marie, GIP Massif Central, described several reforestation projects, and the importance of obtaining carbon credits in reforestation projects. She underscored the need to work on local projects and with companies. Marie pointed to a “pioneering” collaboration with the French postal service, La Poste, developing a forest carbon framework.

Odeline Jacob, Association Aquitaine Carbone, underscored the importance of working with public and private forest owners to improve forest management. She highlighted work to protect forests in four regions, identifying efforts to protect the declining chestnut tree population. She called for integrating different sectors, such as the building and agricultural sectors.

Joseph Lunet, Ministry of Ecology, France, closed the session, lauding the efforts of the two clubs, and reflected on the session’s key messages, highlighting the potential of the agriculture and forestry sectors to reduce GHGs in France, and in other European initiatives.


IPBES4: The fourth plenary session of IPBES will report on its progress, including the Platform’s work programme 2014-2018, budget and financial arrangements, communication and stakeholder engagement and institutional arrangements. IPBES Stakeholder Days will be organized directly prior to the meeting, on 20-21 February, to provide observers and stakeholders with updates on the process and their engagement.  dates: 22-28 February 2016  location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  contact: IPBES Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-0570  email: www:

CBD SBSTTA and CBD SBI: The twentieth meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will meet in April, followed by the first meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Implementation in May. dates: 25 April-6 May 2016  location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: www:

Second Meeting of the UN Environment Assembly: The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) of UNEP will convene for the second time, representing the highest level of governance of international environmental affairs in the UN system.  dates: 23-27 May 2016  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Jorge Laguna-Celis, Secretary of Governing Bodies  email: www:

50th Meeting of the GEF Council: The GEF Council meets twice a year to approve new projects with global environmental benefits in the GEF focal areas, including biodiversity, climate change mitigation, land degradation, and sustainable forest management; and in the GEF integrated approach programs. The GEF Council meeting will be preceded by a CSO consultation at the same location, and conclude with the 20th meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF).  dates: 6-9 June 2016  location: Washington D.C., US  contact: GEF Secretariat  phone: +1-202-473-0508  fax: +1-202-522-3240  e-mail: www:

High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: The Fourth High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), convening under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), will be followed by a three-day ministerial meeting of the Forum.  dates: 11-20 July 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Marion Barthelemy  phone: +1-212-963-4005  e-mail: www:

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought: The UN World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is annually observed on 17 June, highlighting the need to curb desertification and to strengthen its visibility on the international environmental agenda.  date: 17 June 2016  contact: UNCCD Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2800  fax: +49-228-815-2898/99  email:  www:

IUCN World Conservation Congress: Held every four years, the Congress is the world’s largest conservation event, bringing together leaders from government, the public sector, NGOs, business, UN agencies and indigenous and grassroots organizations.  dates: 1-10 September 2016  location: Hawaii, US  contact: IUCN  phone: +41-22- 999-0368  fax: +41-22-999-0002  email: www:

UNFCCC COP 22: COP 22 to the UNFCCC is expected to take place in from 7-16 November 2016.  dates: 7-16 November 2016  location: Marrakesh, Morocco  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  e-mail: www:

CBD COP13, Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety COP/MOP8, and Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing COP/MOP2: These meetings are expected to take place concurrently.  dates: 4-17 December 2016  location: Cancún, Mexico  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: www:

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