A view of the general interior of the Qatar National Convention Center during the 18th U.N. climate change conference in Doha. Photo by: Michael Oko / World Resources Institute / CC BY-NC-SA

How is the Doha climate change conference relevant to development aid professionals?

Climate change is a big issue even for the aid community, even as many in the field are not clear about how the issue affects them and their work. Robert Dixon, Global Environment Facility’s climate and chemicals head, offers major takeaways from the year’s biggest climate change event for the community to look at:

  • The 2015 global climate change agreement. Governments have agreed to work “speedily” toward a universal agreement from 2020, to cover all countries and to be adopted by 2015. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that he will convene world leaders in 2014 to help ensure the 2015 deadline is met.Governments have also agreed to submit information, views and proposals on actions, initiatives, options to enhance ambition and scale up efforts before 2020 to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat by March 2013 — a task experienced technical consultants will be able to help with.

  • Green Climate Fund and long-term climate finance. Developed countries “reiterated” their commitment to meet the pledged $100 billion climate finance for adaptation and mitigation by 2020, while the Green Climate Fund is expected to begin operations in its headquarters in Songdo, South Korea by the second half of 2013. Contractors, implementers and even other donors should be aware that the GCF might be able to start its programs in 2014. The COP will help the fund’s board to ensure accountability and functionality.

  • Climate technology center. A UNEP-led consortium was confirmed as host of the Climate Technology Center, the implementing arm of the UNFCCCs Technology Mechanism, for an initial five-year term — an opportunity for contractors and organizations with climate and resilience innovation, research and development programs.

  • Adaptation and GEF guidance. For interested governments and relevant public sector stakeholders, national adaptation plans, guidance for concrete institutional arrangements and other ways to enhance least developed countries’ adaptive capacities and resiliency were identified.The GEF will help developing countries vulnerable to the impact of climate change prepare biennial update reports on national greenhouse gas inventories, mitigation actions done and support received. And, through the Special Climate Change Fund, the GEF will come up with enabling activities for least-developed and other interested countries, in preparation for the national adaptation plan process.

  • Extended Kyoto Protocol. For the interest of NGOs working in the climate change sector and other advocates, the protocol has been amended for its eight-year extension to start in 2013 with a scheduled reduction commitments review by 2014, at the latest, to assess the levels of ambition.

Dixon also told Devex that out of the 18 COPs he attended, the last session had the most emphasis on finance but actual breakthroughs will have to wait until a binding medium gets all the countries on board the climate change advocacy.

“The climate change negotiation is multigenerational and technically very difficult and complex. The parties moved as far as they could and decided that they need another year to think about the outstanding issues,” Dixon explained. The rest will have to wait until COP 19 next year at Warsaw, Poland.

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About the author

  • Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a former staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.