Saturday, 8 October 2011

Interview with SPREP's Climate Change Adviser, Espen Ronnerberg

Espen Ronnerberg, SPREP’s Climate Change Adviser has been exclusively following adaptation negotiations here in Panama. Here are his comments on the outcome of the adaptation negotiations.
Espen Ronnerberg
Ronnerberg:  After one week of talks here, we have resolved a lot of issues on adaptation. There are still a few issues that need to be fixed up and activities for the adaptation work to be decided on. But at least we have a draft text and we know what we will be dealing with. It’s a lot easier for us to prepare for Durban, at least on adaptation. We also resisted a suggestion to try and link everything together but we decided to move ahead with the positive spirit now adopted here in Panama. It’s a positive signal to other areas of negotiations here where I understand have been facing a lot of resistance from some Parties. We have to keep the big picture in mind. 

Q; So a draft text on adaptation is ready to be taken to Durban?
Ronnerberg: We will have a draft text decision presented at the plenary. Off course we never know for sure what can happen at the plenary, somebody may object but at least the working group has approved the draft decision text, for further negotiations off course. There are a number of key areas that have not been fully resolved but what we have done is clarify some of the underlying issues – the methods of work for the committee and the functions. Now that this is clear, we can all quickly look at the actual activities that the adaptation committee will be undertaking. What will be their short term tasks after Durban and what will be their long term tasks. And having that clarity in the discussion makes it a lot easier to push for things that are important for the region.

Q: What is going to be the work of this adaptation committee?
Ronnerberg: The adaptation committee is an advisory committee group aiming at improving the delivery of adaptation action at the national level. So it will be doing that particularly through guidelines to the finance committee, guidelines to the countries on how to form their plans and programmes and also to develop a yearly report on the state of adaptation work, which will then give us as Parties, information that we can utilise to direct financing to a particular region or to a particular sector because it will give us an overview of what is actually happening. If we can identify that some countries are not getting some assistance or some sectors aren’t getting any help, ten we take remedial action to address that. We need to have this logical framework that we can work with and hopefully the proposed adaptation committee will be able to do that. It’s a welcome that we are getting this committee now.

Q: Apart from some good progress in adaptation, other issues don’t seem to enjoy the same level of progress in the talks here.
Ronnerberg: It is positive that we are making some progress in some areas we do need to step back and look at what the overall package look like for us. For example we may have a good framework developed for adaptation but if the resources are not going to be forthcoming, then it is not much of a victory. Similarly we need a lot of capacity building in the region so the eventual decision relating to capacity building will also have to be taken into account. We need to step back a bit and reflect on what we have on the table and see where we need to do more work and where we need to put more pressure.

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