8 December 2014
Enhancing South-South Cooperation to Complement North-South Cooperation on Climate Change
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South-South cooperation should be an integral part of the post-2015 agreement under the UNFCCC.

Developing countries are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate. Although greatly depending on climate-sensitive natural resources for income and well-being, most developing countries still lack sufficient financial and technical capacities to manage the increasing climate risks. The international community should enhance their support to vulnerable developing countries to mitigate and adapt to the changes in accordance with ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’.

World leaders at the UN Climate Summit “brought bold announcements and actions that would reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.” They also saw “significant new announcements made in support for South-South Cooperation on climate change (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon)”, including China’s announcement that it would increase support for South-South Cooperation.

South-South cooperation has been widely recognized as an important complement to North-South cooperation, yet its great potential in combating climate change has not been fully tapped. We suggest that South-South cooperation be an integral part of the post-2015 agreement under the UNFCCC. South-South Cooperation on Climate Change (SSCCC) includes, but is not limited to, science for climate policy, climate resilience for livelihood, capacity building, technology transfer, ecosystem-based approaches, and enabling conditions including policy, finance and institutions. Numerous studies have unveiled that:

  1. Science and knowledge are the basis for informed decision-making in climate actions.
  2. Building resilience to climate change is a top priority for saving lives, livelihoods and life-supporting systems.
  3. Capacity building is a pre-requisite for climate policy setting, investment and implementation, in particular in vulnerable developing countries.
  4. Clean technology and energy play key roles in mitigation actions, which in developing countries need to be placed in the context of sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
  5. Ecosystem-based approach is cost-effective and synergistic to achieving the goal of both adaptation (EBA) and mitigation (REDD).
  6. Innovative enabling conditions are the foundation to supporting and strengthening long-term South-South cooperation on climate change.

Based on these findings, the following recommendations are made for consideration of the parties to the UNFCCC:

  1. South-South cooperation must be given the appropriate political weight it deserves in future agreements on, and must be integrated into, global action against climate change.
  2. Enabling conditions including policy, finance and institutional settings should be in place to promote South-South cooperation action.
  3. All current and future initiatives and funding mechanisms under the UNFCCC, national and international alike, are suggested to include S-S cooperation in their respective work programmes.

For more information, please visit www.unep-iemp.org