The Super-Awesome Introduction Guide on the Coolest Topic in Global Warming


Capacity Building
Welcome super awesome young person interested in advocacy on Capacity Building! If you haven’ done so already, please join the YOUNGO googlegroup on advocacy on Capacity Building – Thanks for your interest and welcome to the most fun, most exciting and most inspirational group of people you’ll be involved with this year, the YOUNGO Capacity Building working group. There might be some questions you are asking yourself at the moment…
Please note: In YOUNGO there is a lot of capacity building going on – from youth for youth. This is coordinated in a different working group with its own google group

What’s this all about? Capacity Building is another word for education/support/empowerment/training/skills sharing – so it is about empowering people, institutions, nations… to strategize, take action and take the lead to claim their rights, take up responsibilities and achieve what best meets their needs, especially in the long run. Climate Change is a threat to us all, but some countries are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than others and some countries have greater capacity to face this threat than others. Countries in the Global South are already struggling with poverty, poor health and conflict. Not only does and will climate change affect them more, climate change could also undermine these countries important progress in tackling poverty and all related challenges like health issues, gender inequality, employment and more. That’s a huge burden. But consider the solutions to Climate Change currently negotiated at UNFCCC: a global deal on emissions reductions that may include commitments from the Global South, transfer of technology and finance to these countries, investment in renewable energy. The components of a global solution to climate change could add an extra burden onto these already vulnerable countries. That’s why the Global South must be leaders at the UN climate negotiations, why their experiences must feed into any technical or political solutions that are created. But it’s difficult- with very few resources. Countries in the Global South often don’t have the capacity to send a big team of negotiators and these important details get dropped under pressure from richer countries. But if we want to build a future for us all we have to make sure those countries get the capacities and resources they need and deserve. That’s where Capacity Building comes in. Capacity Building is part of the UN negotiations that acknowledges that there must be a framework for strengthening the capacity of these countries to fight climate change and participate fully in the solutions.


The general idea behind the whole capacity building issue is that countries, and most particularly developing countries, need in the first place to build the institutions and to strengthen the capacity of individuals in order to best address climate change. In relation to multilateral environmental agreements, Capacity Building is understood as comprising three levels: • Individual level (behavioural change, education, skill development, participation, human resources) • Institutional level (functioning of institutions and their capacity to adapt) • Systemic level (overall environment within which institutions and individuals evolve). Why is this relevant to YOUNGO and youth in general? Capacity building is all about working together to build a just and sustainable future for all and that’s where we come in. At UNFCCC you will hear about the ‘young and future generations’ and the commitment the negotiations have towards them – well that’s us (alright, at least the ‘young’ part). And we are perfectly suited for that topic because young people, whether from the Global North or from the Global South, feel a connection that binds us. We speak with one voice we are really good in showing and living solidarity with others, and we will fight for strengthening the infrastructure of countries and institutions in vulnerable countries whether we live there or not. Furthermore as young people we have the most experience of education and developing skills for jobs. We just been there, done that and we know all about it. These are important aspects of Capacity Building, and we know what works well here and what doesn’t and can share valuable insights and recommendations. The topic also leads to some cross overs with other Working groups, for example gender and Human Rights, so there is great potential for cross-pollination and cooperation. What happened so far? Capacity Building is discussed in 2 places at the negotiations. One is the SBI – the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, where countries discuss implementation of Capacity Building based on agreements that have been made in the past. The SBI looks back on the progress and makes recommendations on how to move forward. The other is in the LCA- where they discuss a future deal on Capacity Building. So this is about agreeing on new commitments to come. In principle it makes sense to look back what worked and to look forward to plan next steps, so we should try to be in both places. The good thing is that they usually SBI meets rather earlier and LCA rather later during COP! Check out the overview schedule for Durban where you can also download the agendas (warning: highly contaminated with UN lingo – naturally!). 2

Long, long time ago… up to COP 16 in Cancun The texts of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (that’s the UNFCCC) from 1992 and of the Kyoto Protocol from 1997 contain references to capacity building. However, neither contains a provision specific to the issue of Capacity Building. So it’s usually been dealt with as a side-issue of other agenda items (adaptation, tech transfers), where a reference to Capacity Building is added to the end of each of those agreements. It became a specific agenda item at COP5 in 1999. The parties established in 2001 two frameworks, one for Developing Countries and one for Economies in Transition, as part of the Marrakesh Accords (Decisions 2/CP.7 and 3/CP.7). The two frameworks are similar, the main difference being that the Capacity Building agreement for “Economies in Transition” is mainly focused on helping them deal with their emissionsreduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. The Capacity Building agreement for “Developing Countries” includes a call for the prioritization on the needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The annexes of these decisions define the scope of Capacity Building as including the following (list non exhaustive): (a) Institutional capacity building, including the strengthening or establishment, as appropriate, of national climate change secretariats or national focal points; (b) Enhancement and/or creation of an enabling environment; (c) National communications; (d) National climate change programmes; (e) Greenhouse gas inventories, emission database management, and systems for collecting, managing and utilising activity data and emission factors; (f) Vulnerability and adaptation assessment; (g) Capacity building for implementation of adaptation measures; (h) Assessment for implementation of mitigation options; (i) Research and systematic observation, including meteorological, hydrological and climatological services; (j) Development and transfer of technology; (k) Improved decision-making, including assistance for participation in international negotiations; (l) Clean development mechanism; (m) Needs arising out of the implementation of Article 4, paragraphs 8 and 9, of the Convention; (n) Education, training and public awareness (o) Information and networking, including the establishment of databases So nearly everything, basically. The main characteristics of Capacity Building activities are that they are driven by countries themselves, to reflect national priorities, to build on existing institutions and activities, to involved learning from experience, to be continuous and to be implemented through a programmatic approach. So countries are meant to take the lead on implementing all of this. The frameworks were reviewed at COP10 and subsequent reviews by the SBI should take place every five years.


Developments on Capacity Building at the COP16 (Cancun) Nov/Dec 2010: Capacity Building under the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI, the review of implementation) The second review of the existing frameworks remains under discussions in the SBI agenda item on Capacity Building as consensus on the review of the frameworks could be found neither at the COP15 (Copenhagen) nor at the COP16 (Cancun). The objective of the SBI discussions is to conclude this review ASAP in order to move forward and provide guidance. Among the points of divergence in Cancun were that the Annex 1 countries would like to include positive statements about how they’ve done in the past into the CB review while the G77 wants to focus on a generally negative assessment of efforts on CB. There are also different points of view on matters related to the role of the private sector and of the Global Environment Facility (institution connected to the World Bank dealing with Environmental funds). Marie Jaudet from France is the co-chair of the contact group discussing this. Capacity Building under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG_LCA, the future deal) Capacity Building is also under the AWG_LCA, which considers how to move forward on Capacity Building in the future climate regime. The AWG_LCA discussions are based on the Bali Action Plan (BAP, adopted at COP14 in Bali), but there is no specific reference to Capacity Building in this document. Due to the strong insistence of G77, Capacity Building was added as a specific agenda item of the AWG_LCA later on. Using the lack of reference in the Bali Action Plan as an argument, the Umbrella Group (USA, Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia, NZ, Norway) was strongly resisting to moving forward on this in Cancun. In Cancun it was clear that developing countries would prefer a project-based and country driven approach, associated to a legally binding obligation to deliver support for Capacity Building and with a specific body reviewing implementation. They are also using the Capacity Building issue as a vehicle to bring other issues in the LCA negotiations, issues that were not covered under the BAP (such as article 6-related issues of Education, Participation and Training). They would like to see a specific body/institution to work only. Developed countries on the other hand were pushing for the inclusion of CB in specific sub-points within different institutions on different areas of focus (negotiations on adaptation, tech transfers, least developed countries, forests (REDD)). The latter approach would be more fragmented and would also fail to properly address Capacity Building related to mitigation as there is no specialized institution created under the UNFCCC to deal with this mitigation. A gentleman from Japan is charing the AWG_LCA contact group on Capacity Building. CAN (Climate Action Network, group of hundreds of NGOs) also supports the creation of a dedicated technical panel, and have rather similar views with the G77 even if they do not share all the same arguments (you can see this support in the CAN position paper for COP17 Durban).


A closer look at the outcome document from AWG-LCA which became Annex one of the Cancun agreements The outcome of the work of the AWG_LCA adopted in Cancun (open this and have a look to follow the next few sentences, but don’t be scared by the technical language!) includes two pages on Capacity Building (pages 20 and 21). This document does not include a reference to the special attention being paid to youth (which we could want as part of the introduction sentences of paragraph 131, or more specifically in paragraph131 (d)). On the issue of the institutional arrangements related to Capacity Building, paragraph 137 leaves the negotiations open: “Also requests the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention to further elaborate the modalities regarding institutional arrangements for capacity-building, for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its seventeenth session”. (i.e. “don’t so anything on this, talk about it in Durban”) Linking to article 6, paragraph 131 (c) mentions the importance of “Strengthening climate change communication, education, training and public awareness at all levels”, but there is no direct reference to the article itself. Article 6 was important advocacy topic for youth at COP 16 in Cancun – to find out more you can watch this little clip or check out the background info in this WAGGGS toolkit or wait a little while until the supercool YOUNGO toolkit is published. A few thoughts from Sebastien Duyck, a passionate environmental advocate who has been following CB for a while, on how we can build on Article 6 work for advocacy on Capacity Building Capacity Building is key to enabling the paradigm shift which we are calling, and it is also pretty close to our work on article 6. Among other policy issues, I think that it would make particularly sense for us to engage in advocacy work on capacity building for the following reasons: • It includes in its scope issues covered under article 6 (education, training, public awareness), so strengthening Capacity Building would help the environment for a better implementation of article 6 • Since the two issues are related, some of those involved in the discussions on Capacity Building are the same than for the discussions on article 6 and thus we can build on our relation with Article 6 negotiators and UNFCCC secretariat staff. • Since it is an issue covered also under AWG_LCA, this would allow us to address on of the key issues of the on-going negotiations, and not only under SBI. We would be able to work on this as well during each interesessionals [the meetings between COPs]. In discussions about the future of the regime (AWG_KP and AWG_LCA), there is no discussion specific on article 6, and Capacity Building offers a window to raise this issues. Development on Capacity Building at the intersessionals June 2011 in Bonn Intersessionals are meetings in between sessions (obviously!) of COP/CMP. At the intersessionals there is time to take negotiations further and draft suggestions for next steps, new texts, etc. and prepare for the next COP where decisions can be taken, which is not the case in intersessionals.


Under the SBI (who discuss implementation), it was the fourth time that parties considered the review of the implementation of Capacity Building, the review which was supposed to be completed by COP15 (Copenhagen). Since divergences remained (particularly on the role of the private sector in supporting Capacity Building of developing countries), the review will be continued at the SBI35 during the COP17 in Durban. Under the LCA (future deal), an informal meeting discussed the Capacity Building issue twice. Basically we are still stuck with the same issue: while references to Capacity Building are included under several issues in the Cancun Agreements, parties cannot agree whether there should be a new institutional mechanism (e.g. a “Capacity Building” part of the Secretariat) to deal with Capacity Building (G77 preference) or whether we should strengthen Capacity Building only under existing processes and bodies so as to avoid duplication (Annex I, developed country preference). There is no formal outcome of the talks but the facilitator issued an informal document summing up the conclusions of the discussions. The secretariat is expected to deliver a technical paper before the next session in Panama on “how capacity-building is being addressed under existing and newly established bodies under the Convention”. During the Bonn meeting in June 2011 there was a side event on capacity building. A Finish youth climate advocate, Maria Vuorelma reported back on the discussion: Some think that capacity building should be a part of all the agenda items discussed. True that, but since there are other parties that overlook that, it should also be discussed as an agenda item on its own. Put in one of the panelists words: capacity building is not sexy. It is hard to measure and hard to monitor. It is a soft science. G77 (I think it was them) thinks that the best way to evaluate capacity building is by counting the money paid for it. Finance in general is of course one of the major issues. Like one of the panelists said, financing focuses too much on supply, but also the demand should be looked into. It is an ongoing discussion to what extent private sector should be involved in financing capacity building. I raised the issue that capacity building seems to be very much about top down approaches. I asked if informal, non-formal and peer to peer education has been discussed. On of the panelists said that we need to remember that capacity building is national actions, but agreed that youth could have an interesting point here. I asked about why the youth was discarded from the negotiation text in the last minute in Cancun. The EU negotiator on CB knew exactly why (nobody claimed to know in Cancun). The reason is that the women and gender constituency was lobbying strongly for the inclusion of women in the text (which it was together with youth) but then Venezuela (I am not sure, so sorry Venezuelans if it wasn't you) got frustrated and asked if disabled people and all other groups should be included too, so the whole thing was changed to gender, as a sort of compromise. Intersessionals in Panama in October 2011 In Panama the conversations continued and continued not to deliver any outcome. While CB seems to be pretty relevant and central for Climate Change solutions to the naked eye, it is


not an extremely popular topic because for years now the negotiations have been ongoing without much outcomes. The ongoing cause for dissent in the discussions taking place in SBI is the role that the public sector should play. In the LCA negotiations the CB discussion is actually one of the most polarized conversations, with two main visions on how to progress. On the one hand, developing countries (as well as the NGO community) are advocating for a country-driven project, supported by the creation of a particular body that would coordinate support provided for capacity building.On the other hand, developed countries request more guarantees before providing additional resources and rejects the creation of any new institution. The Umbrella Group (non-EU developed countries) and EU both support this approach, with slight differences of views. At the intersessional in Panama the negotiators nearly failed to pull together a text proposal for Durban – but then agreed to pull together a list of options that will be looked at again in Durban with the view to bring the negotiations to a more productive level. Some of the options bear real potential to get the youth view in. What can we do next? Whatever you fancy There is a lot of ways to get involved. There are some suggestions listed below but you might well have an even better idea – so, what do you think would be good to do next? Let the world know Inform your friends and colleagues about capacity building and why it is important Use your favourite communication tools – info leaflet, blog, twitter, facebook, carrier pigeons – to reach out to others Invite others to join the working group – we want a really diverse team and since this topic is a lot about countries from the Global South we hope young people from that part of the world are inspired to get involved Join the working group skype calls Invitations will be sent throught the google group You can read minutes from previous meetings when you log on the google group and look at previous messages Help working on the key messages There will be a workshop at the Conference of Youth where we will pull together our key messages As a working group we will meet during COP to update each other, strategize and plan further If you are not able to come to Durban, you are warmly invited to share your input on the google group Find government negotiators that are working on this topic Most countries send a whole team of negotiators to the COPs and they divvy up the topics among themselves. So it would be good to know who in your country is going to work on Capacity Building. It might actually be two people, one more focussed on the SBI side of things and the other one more focussed on the LCA side of things 7

It is sometimes quite difficult to get in contact with government negotiators but it is always worth a try and you would be surprised sometimes a simple question gets a straight forward answer Are there some useful docs and websites so I can find out more? Websites The UNFCCC web page on Capacity Building, with the history of Capacity Building and links to all kind of documents: Blog entry on capacity building progress in Panama Documents Cancun Agreement (page 22 and 23 of Add 1 on Capacity Building CAN’s positions for COP 17 page 13 on Capacity Building Panama options for Capacity Building in LCA. The Working Group is currently putting together some comments on these recommendations which we will share through the google group. Youngo briefings on Capacity Building like the one you are reading at the moment which you can find on the Youngo wiki page – but there might be more already, check out the latest updates. This document was put together based on briefing notes from Sebastièn Duyck, Maria Vuorelma, Danny Hutley, Kari Anne Ikasen and Bernadette Fischler


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful