Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Musings from Priyadarshini Karve: #COP27: Day 2

 #COP27: Day 2

8 November 2022, the second day of COP27, was an important day for our team. We were going to kick off the calendar of side events! 

While the UNFCCC COP is primarily about various government representatives negotiating the future of state-lead climate action across the world, the observer organisations attending the conference have their own calendar of events. In this COP we have been assigned a booth for 3 days and we were also allotted a slot for a side event. We had applied for a side event a few months ago, but we were waitlisted (many organisations are keen to have their say on the global platform, however there are space and time constraints). We were finally sanctioned a side event after we agreed to merge with another organisation. This happens a lot of the times and generally the collaborators try to present a single cohesive side event of 1.5 hr duration. Sometimes it does not work out that way - which was our case this time. 

We thus had 45 min to say our piece. As the moderator of the session I am happy to say that everything worked smoothly, the speakers stayed on schedule, and we managed to hand over the stage to the next moderator on the 44th minute. I feel rather proud of our team work and planning that made this work in an effortless manner. 

Laya Side Event COP27: 
From L to R: Nakul Sharma, Martin Voss, Myron Mendes, Priyadarshini Karve

So what was our side event about? 

We talked on 'Locally Developed Choices' for 'Nationally Determined Contributions' - LDC for NDC. This is INECC's current theme of action and we wanted to talk about it with the global audience. The gist of our argument is this: 

Paris Agreement is not just about keeping the warming below 1.5 deg C, it also talks about helping the climate-affected populations for adaptation. However, this aspect has always been ignored by the UN negotiators. This year finally the COP is looking at 'Loss and Damage' (more about this in a latter blog!) but the developing countries really had to struggle hard to get the topic on the discussion agenda. If one looks at the NDCs (commitments by individual national governments under Paris Agreement) these too only talk about mitigation. As a result, when climate change impacts hit locally, communities have to fend for themselves. This is however leading to some innovative choices being developed locally (LDC) that can not only achieve adaptation but also contribute to mitigation. For the last couple of years INECC has been trying to document such LDC and trying to build an awareness raising as well as policy advocacy campaign around these initiatives. 

Laya Side Event @ COP27:
Priyadarshini explaining '
LDC for NDC'
In the side event I explained the 'LDC for NDC' concept with the example of lacunae in India's NDC and also briefly described the work we have done so far on this theme. My colleague Myron Mendes presented the case study of Laya's work on resilience building among the indigenous communities in the Eastern Ghats through technology interventions in agriculture and basic services. Nakul Sharma of Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) presented a case study of local action for adaptation from Nepal which described a wonderful collaboration between local community groups and local government. The final speaker was Martin Voss of GermanWatch who talked about how the big multilateral banks can and should fund replication of such success stories... but unfortunately are still stuck in the conventional thinking of pouring money into big infrastructure projects. 

Even though we had 4 speakers and only 45 minutes, we had structured the session in such a way as to keep 10 minutes for questions and comments from the floor. And this turned out to be a very good decision! We had an audience of about 20-30 people. A member of the organisation leading the local action in Nepal was present in the audience and gave some additional detail on the case study presented by Nakul. The theme of LDC for NDC seemed to have really resonated with people from Africa in the audience. A couple of them made very moving comments on personal experiences of how the local reality is being ignored by the state-driven 'climate action'. One audience member pointed out the importance of understanding local vulnerabilities to shape adaptation - basically that funding for adaptation and resilience building must be targeted at ecosystem community level rather than at country level.  

All in all, I can say that we managed to get our point across. We felt highly encouraged by the reactions from the audience and hope to build an international momentum behind LDC for NDC! 

The side event was livestreamed and for those who are interested here is the link. We are in the first 45 min.  

Day 1 Blog

Priyadarshini Karve
Director, Samuchit Enviro Tech
Convener, Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change (INECC)

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