No More Adaptation TEM Seminars

Technical Expert Meetings (TEMs) must be solutions oriented, identify ways to overcome barriers to implementation and seek to expedite implementation of actions on the ground. TEMs on mitigation have successfully brought discussions into the UNFCCC on how we can concretely go about reducing GHG emissions, beyond hypothetical percentages and carbon equivalents. It has brought about the launch of exciting initiatives, such as the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, and will hopefully give legitimacy to other initiatives under the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA). ECO is hopeful that the technical examination of adaptation can deliver similar things, especially in terms of addressing the barriers to implementation and fostering concrete action on the ground, in the spirit of more, faster, now.

In May, ECO noted that negotiators at the first adaptation TEMs were surprised they were “just seminars”. To go beyond this, it is time to identify which crucial issues adaptation TEMs should address to achieve outcomes not already covered by other existing processes. No one is interested in duplication. To gain support from Parties and buy-in, a common understanding of what the added value is must be established.

For example, the adaptation TEMs could be tasked with answering questions about overcoming barriers to implementation, and then leveraging the considerable capacity of the Champions for pre-2020 climate action. It will ensure this happens in practice, enabling action and resilience building. Questions to be answered would concern institutional, technological, capacity building and knowledge barriers and gaps for implementation; effective tools for the transfer and dissemination of technological know-how; barriers to accessing finance; analysis of the possible role of business in expediting implementation and, finally, how we can promote cooperation on concrete action on adaptation in accordance with nationally defined development priorities.

Hakima El Haité and Laurence Tubiana, the Champions, have crucial roles in ensuring the adaptation TEMs bear fruit. Their focus must be on how existing initiatives can be scaled up and replicated, how ideas developed can be matched with necessary means of implementation and how concrete initiatives can be launched at annual high-level events and/or as part of the GCAA. A significant benefit of the Champions is leveraging the interplay between states and non-state actors, including business, which ECO believes will be necessary to overcome barriers to implementation of adaptation actions.