14 November 2019
Three Reasons Why Capacity Building Will Be at the Heart of COP 25
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If we could take a peek at what will be the highlights during COP 25 in Madrid, we would see that capacity building will be mentioned on several occasions by main stakeholders and key actors.

But why will capacity building be at the heart of this year’s COP?

It is clear that the post-2020 climate regime requires more ambition to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while also increasing resilience. However, there is a big challenge to be addressed: As UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa noted , “there can be no collective climate ambition – true participation by all nations – unless we first build capacity of developing countries.”

Capacity building is more than only climate action, as it has its own SDG target 17.9 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: “Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all the sustainable development goals, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.”

With regard to climate action and the Paris Agreement on climate change, capacity building received an important boost in 2015, when the Conference of the Parties (COP) established the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) to address gaps and needs, both current and emerging, in implementing capacity building in developing countries and further enhancing capacity-building efforts. The PCCB is formed of 12 representatives from both developed and developing countries who meet each year, and reports regularly to the COP on its progress and activities.

Since its creation, the Committee has worked towards strengthening capacity-building efforts by providing technical advice and guidance on climate capacity building, supporting greater coherence and coordination of capacity-building action under and outside the Convention, as well as by raising awareness on key capacity-building issues and facilitating information exchange and knowledge sharing. Last year in Katowice, Poland, Parties initiated review of the progress, including the need for extension, effectiveness and enhancement of the PCCB, – a task they will need to conclude at COP 25 in Madrid, Spain.

Here are three reasons why capacity building will be at the heart of COP 25:

  • Capacity building is an essential driver to boost climate action and innovation.

Capacity building serves to bolster countries’ ambition to meet their potential when talking about the specific components of adaptation and mitigation. Capacity building is embedded across numerous activities and sectors, and involves a diverse number of actors. Better and improved coordination among constituted bodies, climate funds and other processes is necessary to boost climate action and increase ambition.

Since its establishment, the PCCB has been proactive and successful in fostering working relationships towards enhanced coherence and coordination in capacity-building activities among climate actors and institutions under and outside the Convention. This is one of the main areas where the PCCB is adding value, and Parties and other key actors are taking that into consideration.

As an example, at COP 24, the PCCB hosted the first Capacity-building Hub where more than 130 experts from 90 institutions took part in more than 40 events related to capacity building, fostering dialogue, coordination, collaboration and coherence among relevant stakeholders. The Capacity-building Hub provides a space where a number of key actors can discuss, promote and explore synergies to boost climate action and increase ambition.

Building upon these efforts, more than 65 partners have been mobilized to organize the second Capacity-building Hub at COP 25, which will host around 55 events. have been created around a coherent narrative dedicated to highlighting capacity building as a cross-cutting issue that is embedded in all topics featured at the Hub, including transparency, local governments and cities, means of implementation, translating knowledge into action, raising ambition and loss and damage.

At COP 25, the PCCB also aims to unveil the idea of the PCCB Network, a leveraging platform for greater coherence and coordination on capacity building.

  • Capacity-building efforts have been directed at including new and more diverse actors.

The PCCB has been working on strengthening the engagement of academia and research institutions at the regional level to bridge the gap between climate-related research on the one hand and climate policy and action on the other. This is in pursuit of its mission to foster collaboration between actors at local, national and international levels.

With this aim in mind, the PCCB, together with a number of committed partners, co-designed an event series of full-day workshops – Capacity-building Knowledge to Action Days – during the The results of this events will be presented at the second Capacity-building Hub.

The Capacity-building Hub will dedicate sessions to the issue of gender responsiveness and women’s empowerment in almost all of the thematic days. The Hub will also host discussions focused on the knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities in the Capacity-building Knowledge to Action Day, and will involve youth organizations in several events.

The Hub will close with a marketplace where a number of actors will be sharing innovative tools and initiatives through dynamic capacity-building talks. The talks will showcase capacity-building initiatives through different and diverse lenses, involving the private sector and the human dimension of capacity building and taking into account innovation and technology.

  • Parties at COP 25 will take important decisions to strengthen capacity building through fit-for-purpose institutional arrangements.

In COP 25 , Parties will take important decisions on enhancing the existing capacity-building arrangements under the Convention, including by reviewing the implementation of the Convention’s capacity-building framework for developing countries and the work of the PCCB. Parties are also expected to define what will be the initial institutional arrangements for capacity building under the Paris Agreement. Having strong arrangements that can boost capacity-building efforts under the Agreement is key to its successful implementation.

When the world talks about ambition for greater climate action, capacity building is at the heart of the conversation. Stay tuned through the PCCB channels to learn more about the Committee’s work, initiatives and the outcomes of the second Capacity-building Hub.

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This article was written by the UNFCCC Capacity-building Team.

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