5 December 2012. Capacity building is needed not only to enable developing countries to use clean technologies, but also to assess technology needs and support low emission development planning. This was one of the key messages of a One UN side-event entitled “Building Capacity for Effective National Planning and the Deployment of Clean Technologies”, 5 December 2012, Doha, Qatar co-organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in partnership with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The event which took place in the margins of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) engaged around 40 participants in an interactive dialogue.
In his opening remarks Mr. John Christensen, Director of the UNEP Risø Center, highlighted that the UN was one of the lead providers for climate change capacity building. Mr. Christensen who has been involved in this area for over 20 years pointed out: “A lot of positive developments can be seen in terms of country capacities to address climate change. However, at the same time, the complexity of issues is increasing with new developments such as NAMAs [Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions] and NAPs [National Adaptation Plans].”
Mr. Yamil Bonduki, Manager, Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) Programme, UNDP and moderator of the event, pointed out that many different activities supported by the UN and other development partners were implemented simultaneously. He emphasized that therefore “coordination of national initiatives is critical to ensure coherency in terms of capacity building and technology transfer.”
The introductory remarks were followed by presentations from country representatives who shared climate technology planning and deployment projects/initiatives supported by the UN with participants.
Ms. Lea Kai Aboujaoude, National Coordinator of the Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) project in Lebanon and Coordinator of Lebanon’s Third National Communication, Ministry of Environment, presented the main results and lessons learned from the TNA project supported by UNEP and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). She explained that the TNA allowed the country to identify appropriate technologies for climate change mitigation and adaptation with close involvement of stakeholders. Building on the TNA, the country then developed Technology Action Plans (TAPs) including two priority technology projects for each sector. Ms. Kai Aboujaoude highlighted: “Capacity building for project management and problem analysis played a crucial role in the process of identifying and prioritizing appropriate technologies.”
Mr. Luis Muñozcano, Deputy Director General for Climate Change Projects, Ministry of Environment, Mexico talked about Mexico’s participation in UNDP’s LECB Programme. His presentation focused on the Programme’s private-sector-driven technology transfer and capacity building process. He explained: “We are working with industry associations in developing sectoral low emission development strategies under a national umbrella. The private sector is interested in participating in the programme because it allows them to build their capacities and improve their competitiveness.” Currently, NAMAs in 12 different sectors are under development.
Prof. Dalia Streimikiene from the Lithuanian Energy Institute presented the modalities and results of IAEA’s energy planning tools and capacity building activities to support governments in developing national energy strategies. The strategies take into account climate change mitigation and adaptation aspects in the context of sustainable energy development, supply security requirements and other socioeconomic objectives. Prof. Streimikiene stressed that “important components of the IAEA approach include ‘training of trainers’ to expand the pool of qualified experts, as well as distance-learning which helps to save resources, time and reduce emissions.” This approach has helped IAEA to reach out to over 100 Member States. Prof. Streimikiene herself participated in IAEA trainings and has shared her expertise with partners in developing countries.
The discussion with participants and panelists highlighted the following points for successful capacity building: South-South information and experience-sharing; ensuring sustainability of learning, as experts often leave institutions after participating in training; and engaging regional partners and centers.
In summing up the presentations and discussions, Mr. Jorge Rogat, Project Manager of the TNA Project at the UNEP Risø Center, pointed out that all initiatives demonstrated the critical role of capacity building and skills development in advancing climate technology planning and deployment.