As climate change talks continue in Doha, Qatar at the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it is increasingly clear that even if the highest ambitions to mitigate climate change are realised (and at the moment these commitments continue to fall far short of what is needed), the world will have to adapt to a changing climate. Two important focal areas for BirdLife in the negotiations here in Doha are the development of national adaptation plans to help guide and address adaptation actions, in an integrated way; and the damage and permanent loss due to climate change impacts in developing countries that can no longer be avoided through adaptation, so called loss and damage. As Ministers start to arrive for the high level segment of the talks, I would like to update you on the current state of the negotiations in these two areas:
National Adaptation Plans (NAPs)
Intended to address medium and long term adaptation needs and integrate adaptation action across governments, a decision to support the Least Developed Countries and other developing countries in this process is being discussed. BirdLife’s interest in these plans stems from the involvement of many BirdLife Partners in national adaptation planning to ensure that it helps ecosystems adapt in order to benefit from the adaptation services that they provide, such as wetland flooding regulation and forest run-off management. Guidance to the Global Environment Facility, the entity that runs the funds under the Convention tasked with supporting NAPs, has been agreed. The Least Developed Countries are committed, there is clear willingness among other developing countries, and the technical guidelines on how to undertake the NAP process are out. There is really no excuse for delays in supporting countries to adapt. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that despite the current financial issues across the world finance is available – this should be forthcoming!
Loss and Damage
Because of limited ambition and action on reducing emissions and because the support for developing countries to adapt has not been fully supported, those countries that contributed least to driving climate change are suffering, and will increasingly suffer, loss and damage to assets from extreme events and slower events (e.g. loss of biodiversity) driven by climate change. Despite negotiators working long into the nights over the last week, how this issue should be handled under the Convention, has still not been resolved. Loss and damage needs to be given the political space that it merits: future work to start now needs to be decided upon and arrangements to drive forward the work need to be agreed in the next few days. BirdLife will be continuing to provide advice to governments on these issues during the final week of the negotiations and will hold governments to account on their decisions.