Three Reasons Why COP19 Matters to Evaluators

About this same time four years ago, publicity was awash with the historic Copenhagen climate change summit. Understandably, more than 100 Heads of State and government representatives had signed up to attend and everyone had heightened expectations: a legally binding climate deal.

Well as we all know, much did not go as expected and the world was left to grapple with the Copenhagen Accord which many observers described as ‘toothless’. Till this day, the outcome of that conference continues to divide international public opinion.

Since then, Cancun, Durban and Doha have come and gone and now government delegates, civil society activists, NGOs, international organizations and businesses are getting ready to hit the road to Warsaw, for the 19th conference of the Parties to United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) -- with little fanfare this time around.

From now on, the expectation is to achieve a universal and legally binding climate agreement by the time curtains will be pulled on COP21 in Paris in 2015. What a year 2015 will be for the international development agenda. A new global development vision is expected to be adopted called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

But right now, all eyes are on Warsaw including evaluators of climate change who do not only have to cope with conceptual challenges of climate change impacts but should also be keenly paying attention to discussions on international climate finances  as these have implications on monitoring and verifications  of standards.  

Development stakeholders will be looking at a plethora of issues to see how they develop at the COP, but we are picking three for you -- not because they are exhaustive. Please feel free to add any issue(s) whose outcome might be of interest to you.

Progress towards Reaching Target of $100 Billion Per year by 2020

The Copenhagen Accord might be contentious but it went down into the annals of history as the summit that hatched the decision for developed countries to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to finance climate change activities in lower-income countries. The 2011 Cancun agreement proposed that the pledged funds be new, additional to previous flows, adequate, predictable and sustained and come from a variety of sources -- both public and private.

It is no secret that respecting these pledges have been slow but the September 2013 UNFCCC workshop on climate finance held in Bonn holds good signs.  South Korea pledged 40 million USD towards the Green Climate Fund while France reiterated its pledge to donate 2 billion euros. New Zealand proposed a “Warsaw Platform for Effective Climate Finance.” These actions should create the right momentum heading into the summit.

And while it will be interesting to see how this develops in Warsaw, it is also interesting from an evaluation perspective to ask: what is the role of evaluators in monitoring and reaching this target as well as evaluating the quality of interventions undertaken?

Future Climate Investment

It is one thing to meet the $100 billion a year pledge by 2020, it is another to determine where the money will be spent. Will it be on adaptation -- a move favored by developing countries or on mitigation? Previous climate negotiation rounds have examined these issues and it is on the agenda in Warsaw.

Next year, the Green Climate Fund will be lunched. The South Korean-based fund shall add to several other funding mechanisms in place such as the Adaptation Fund, the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), bilateral and multilateral funding sources such as the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). These are the official channels of climate funding whose programmatic shifts would depend on the flow of contributions and what countries determine as priority areas.

Several of these multilateral development banks (MDB) are setting ambitious targets for climate change lending. The Inter-American Development Bank for example has set its climate change and sustainable development lending targets at 25 percent by 2015. The AfDB, ADB, and the World Bank are also increasing their climate lending. We also notice similar increase in the climate portfolio of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and several of its agencies --a boon for climate change evaluation?

Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation

Mainstreaming climate change into the national development agenda is one area within the UNFCCC negotiation process that attracts some consensus. At the traditional mid-year negotiation round in Bonn this year, delegates gathered within the framework of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2) and agreed to a cross-ministerial cooperation and stakeholder involvement at all levels in order to ensure mainstreaming of climate change.

Progress in developing countries in this area has been uneven and it would be interesting to see what progress has been made in Warsaw as nations present their National Adaptation Plan of Actions (NAPAs). For climate change evaluators in developing countries, integrating climate change into other development sectors such as natural resources management, agriculture, health, education, urban and rural development comes with new evaluations challenges.

Please share with us areas that you are looking at and why.

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