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Friday, September 22, 2023

UN defies Covid-19, continues to build climate resilience

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, work is said to continuing apace on efforts to build resilience to the inevitable impacts of climate change.

Youssef Nassef
Youssef Nassef, Director of the Adaptation Programme of the UNFCCC secretariat

Last month (March 2020), the Adaptation Committee (AC) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) hosted its first-ever virtual meeting, thereby showing a determination to continue delivering timely and quality products in the face of the pandemic.

Youssef Nassef, Director of the UNFCCC Adaptation Division, said: “The COVID-19 challenge is giving us the opportunity to rethink our perception of a lot of things including vulnerability, early action, rapid response and what timescales mean when confronted with a crisis. I’m hopeful that the AC will itself be an engine for the world to understand these lessons even after the crisis ends.”

Key issues discussed at the virtual meeting were:

  • How to most effectively recognise the adaptation efforts of developing countries through the lens of its synthesis paper on “How developing countries are addressing hazards”.
  • Considering approaches to reviewing the overall progress made in achieving the global goal on adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience, and reducing vulnerability to climate change.
  • Reviewing an initial draft outline for supplementary guidance for voluntary use by governments as they prepare their adaptation communication and discussing how to ensure that this guidance does not create an additional burden on developing countries.
  • Finalising the development – in partnership with the Least  Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG), partner organisations of the Nairobi work programme, and other stakeholders – of an inventory of methodologies for assessing adaptation needs related to action, finance, capacity-building, technological support and other areas. Members brainstormed ways to ensure the inventory is user-friendly, accessible, and tailored to the needs of the practitioners who will use it on the ground.
  • Launching a discussion on the synthesis report the AC will prepare as an input into the global stocktake – a periodical assessment of progress  towards achieving the purpose of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals.
  • Members also discussed the AC’s draft technical paper on data for adaptation and reflected on how the paper can highlight opportunities for international cooperation to improve data availability, use and quality.

All 16 AC members, hailing from 16 different countries, participated in the meeting.

To uphold the practice of ensuring transparency and enabling observer participation, the secretariat invited all registered observers to participate in the Zoom meeting and the floor was open to observers. In total, 29 observers joined the meeting via Zoom and the meeting was broadcast live and is available on demand on YouTube.

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