9 November 2017: On Thursday, 9 November, UN Climate Change Conference side events focused on, inter alia: building green and inclusive economies to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change; interlinkages between water, biodiversity and climate change; and harnessing Africa’s youth for climate action.

A side event titled, ‘Nature-Based Solutions for Water and Adaptation to Climate Change,’ focused on the interlinkages among water, biodiversity and climate change. Jean Launay, President, French Water Partnership, recalled the UN resolution establishing the ‘International Decade for Action, Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028’ in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 (clean water and sanitation). Speakers highlighted transboundary benefits of functional habitats, and recalled that water is not mentioned in the Paris Agreement, suggesting that COP 23 focus more on this issue. They underscored links between the SDGs, water and land protection, the role of development agencies to positively influence more sustainable development patterns, and similarities between the challenges faced by countries suffering from drought. Participants were invited to sign the ‘International Declaration on Nature-Based Solutions for Water Management Under Climate Change,’ to be presented on 10 November. This event was organized by the French Water Partnership (FWP) and the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO).

A side event on DRR in vulnerable island emphasized the difficulty of separating development issues from climate adaptation and DRR to ensure additionality of climate finance.

A side event titled, ‘Harnessing Africa’s Emerging Youth Demographic for a Climate-Resilient Future,’ explored the role and potential of African youth in addressing climate change. Speakers called for greater African youth participation in UNFCCC processes, and increased funding for Global South youth delegates. One speaker presented on youth projects in Madagascar, including on plastic bag use, biogas renewable energy and a zero-waste festival. This event was organized by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).

A side event titled, ‘Building Resilience for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Vulnerable Islands,’ shared experiences of the Solomon Islands and Taiwan. Speakers emphasized the difficulty of separating development issues from climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) to ensure additionality of climate finance, and the need to separate DRR from disaster management in policy making. They highlighted Taiwan’s development strategies for solar and wind energy, an early warning system for extreme weather events and earthquakes in the Solomon Islands, and applications in Taiwan that provide flood warnings, produce hazard maps for landslides, communicate information to the public and evacuate houses during typhoons. This event was presented by the Solomon Islands and Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).

Other events discussed, inter alia: how the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA), to be officially launched on 14 November, will contribute to recognizing, building and promoting excellence in adaptation among relevant stakeholders; the relevance of climate-resilient forests, ecosystems and local communities’ livelihoods in the context of NDC implementation in Latin America; and the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI), which is designed to address knowledge gaps hindering the successful scaling up of adaptation. [ENBOTS Coverage 9 November] [IISD RS Coverage of Selected Side Events] [IISD RS Coverage of the Excellence in Climate Adaptation Event] [IISD RS Coverage of COP 23]

An event titled, ‘How to Build Green and Inclusive Economies to Implement the Paris Agreement,’ aimed to explore policy innovations developed by countries to advance implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Stephan Contius, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Germany, pointed to the emergence of sustainable and inclusive growth models following on from the Paris Agreement. Amrei Horstbrink, UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), acknowledged that the structural transformation towards sustainability will cause short-term economic disruption, and, therefore, must be aligned with the 2030 Agenda based on the principle of leaving no one behind.

Speakers also noted that structural changes from the transition to a low-carbon, resilient economy “hold the promise of jobs creation,” but also lead to job losses in carbon-intensive industries. They highlighted that increased digitalization could provide greening opportunities, for example by reducing transport needs, and that trade plays a significant role in greening economies. They also cautioned against establishing “a green divide” where some countries are more able to meet higher sustainability requirements, while others are left behind.

The event was organized by the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), in collaboration with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). [IISD RS Coverage of Event on How to Build Green and Inclusive Economies to Implement the Paris Agreement]

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IISD Reporting Services is producing ‘ENB on the side’ (ENBOTS), providing coverage of selected side events, special days and other events held at the UN Climate Change Conference. This Daily Update brings you the highlights.