The Southern Voices team participated in the COP20 in Lima to promote the Joint Principles for Adaptation and to launch the Climate Change Advocacy Toolkits –a key outcome of the SV Programme Phase 2. SV regional facilitators and partner networks also engaged in promoting the adaptation agenda in the relevant workstreams in the negotiations and at various side-events in Lima.
Both JPA and Radical Adaptation call for addressing policy and institutional processes that lead to adaptation planning and implementation that address adaptation needs in practice. Examples of radical adaptation interventions that were cited include climate sensitive urban infrastructure development and policy solutions to climate induced rural-urban migration. By promoting equitable adaptation policy and planning, the JPA provides an enabling framework within which radical adaptation solutions should occur. It was therefore fitting to present the Joint Principles for Adaptation following an introduction to Radical Adaptation.
Besides this key event, the JPA was presented by Tania Guillén – in Spanish - at the Voices for the Climate – the Climate Change Fair.
The JPA debated at the Southern Voices evening and beyond
"The Joint Principles ought to include also ecosystem-based approaches" (Vietnam) "The JPA grading tool was too difficult for us to apply" (Vietnam); "What about deltas – where one communities adaptation solution – can harm downstream communities (SVA advisory board member Koos Neefjes, UNDP); How will the JPA take into account indigenous peoples rights and adaptation needs? (Ibis partner)...
These were some of the many questions raised and debated in the Southern Voices evening arranged on Friday 5th December for SV-networks, colleagues and friends present in the first COP-week in Lima, and facilitated by SV-regional facilitator for Asia, Vositha Wijenayake – and with participation from some 40 participants including colleagues from CARE, Ibis, Germanwatch and WRI.
Not all issues were settled: The Southern Voices on Adaptation project will over the next year consider the outstanding questions in light of the expereriences from testing the JPA in 12 different country settings – where SV-partners are using the JPA as a tool for promoting pro-poor adaptation policies.
The JPA and the UNFCCC adaptation framework
How does the Joint Principles for Adaptation relate to the adaptation issues discussed during the COP?
This was a key issue debate during the SV-evening by many SV-partners in the midst of the COP negotiations. Sven Harmeling from CARE emphasized that "language and decisions taken by the COPs are mentioning concerns and issues on adaptation only in very general terms – which then have to be developed further by the parties – the member governments and the institutions set up by the UNFCCC – the Adaptation Committee, the LEG expert group etc. These are then developed in much further detail for instance in the Guidelines on National Adaptation Plans developed by the LEG Expert Group. Many of the principles and some of the criteria relate to both COP decisions and the NAP guidelines, but they take them a bit big step forward aiming at identifying key areas where we from civil society wish to develop new norms."
Learning from Southern Voices – key achievements for networks
What were the main achievements for partner networks in the Southern Voices programme 2011-14 which ended in mid 2014?
According to the answers provided by networks themselves for the SV Phase 2 review - presented by SV Programme Coordinator Peter With, 24% mention "organizing better for advocacy" as their main achievements followed by 20% on "promoting policy positions", 39% -the top score – on "improving relationship with government" and 17% mentioning actual "policy change".
Since the SV partners networks in the programme were very diverse in their backgrounds and different experience with advocacy – it was not feasible to judge achievements by the same parameters. But generally the picture illustrates that civil society has played a key role in bringing climate change on the public agenda in the South, and that they have engaged in a dialogue with national governments.
Added value of Southern Voices
What was the added value of the SV-programme for the networks to achieving their results – asked Ruth Mitei from ALP Kenya – can the results be attributed to the SV?
When you work in advocacy you can seldom attribute results to a single actor – and many of the climate networks have had support from other sources besides SV.
So what made Southern Voices unique and attractive was the great level of flexibility in the funding? Peter With explained "It was up to networks themselves to decide what capacity-building they requested, and which advocacy initiatives they would take, as long as it was related to climate change issues and promoting the interests of the poor and vulnerable communities. Funding from SV allowed southern policy actors to set their own advocacy agenda."
An example of this was shared by Sanjay Vashist from CAN South Asia: The SV flexibility of funding had allowed CANSA to promote Civil Society priorities by providing support to the Government of Nepal as chair of the LDC-group in the – UNFCC negotiations. Also the SV had allowed CANSA – according to Sanjay - to strengthen and consolidate as a network by formalizing its structure as an independent regional network with its own registration. The report Learning from Southern Voices includes a couple of examples of this by presenting the cases of the CISONECC network in Malawi and the CCWG in Vietnam. See also presentations at the SV learning event (link to this)
Cross – learning and International perspectives
In addition to support to the individual networks trough consortium members – the SV – programme helped bring SV networks together in cross learning events – regional and international seminars – often linked up at events in the UNFCCC negtiations and through the CAN-International or other networks.
Lessons from the review report on these activities have been that:
- Learning among networks is easier when participants have similar backgrounds – and are working in similar issues: Peter explained that it was due to this lesson that it was decided to led to set up the thematically focused project Southern Voices on Adaptation
- It is important to deliver early results to sustain engagement of participants: Also it was due to this lesson, that we decided to work out the Joint Principles for Adaptation early in the new project to get momentum
The final conclusion of the Learning from SV report is that NGOs play a crucial role in advocating for ambitious climate policies, and in promoting climate policy and action benefit socially and economically excluded people. This is key both at international, national and local levels.
Hence investing in the capacity of southern NGOs must be an integral part of an equitable response to climate change.
Sharing the climate change advocacy toolkits
The Toolkits are one of the tangible outcomes of Phase 2 of the SV programme – they were presented briefly and shared in the form of usb-sticks to participants present at the Southern Voices evening.