Legislators from 10 countries participated in the 1st International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation hosted by the Chinese National Development & Reform Commission in Beijing from the 2-4 July 2013.
20 legislators from South Africa, India, Jamaica, Nepal, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Costa Rica and Micronesia detailed their efforts to develop national adaptation legislation and the progress made in implementing existing laws. The Conference was supported by the Swiss Development Agency and the UK Department for International Development, organised by the Adapting to Climate Change in China project and run in partnership with GLOBE International and Intasave.
The conference focussed on sharing best legislative practice between countries and developed a set of Adaptation Legislation Principles designed to guide both legislative and policy adaptation responses. More than 150 delegates from over 30 countries participated.
The conference was opened by keynote speeches by Su Wei, Director General of the Climate Change Department of the National Development and Reform Commission, the Swiss and the UK ambassadors to China, Jacques De Watteville and Sebastian Wood CMG, and the Hon. Cedric Frolick MP, Chairperson of the National Assembly of South Africa, President of GLOBE South Africa and Vice President of GLOBE International.
The plenary dedicated to "South-South cooperation for Climate Change Adaptation through policy, and practice" was opened by a keynote speech by Madam Hang Wenhang, Director of the International Cooperation Department of the National Development and Reform Commission and by a panel discussion on challenges and experiences in adaptation chaired by the Hon. Prakash Javadekar MP, President of GLOBE India.
Deputy Lourdes Adriana Lopez Moreno, Chairwoman of the Environment Committee and member of GLOBE in the Mexican Congress, chaired a panel discussion on mechanisms for South-South cooperation and the Hon. Alfonso Perez Gomez, Chairman of the Environment Committee and member of GLOBE in Costa Rica chaired a panel on technology and infrastructure.
Climate Adaptation Legislation
The third day of the conference organised by GLOBE was dedicated to legislation. The outcome of this session was the adoption of a set of legislative principles.
GLOBE International's Secretary General, Mr Adam C.T. Matthews, chaired the session which included a keynote speech by Zhai Yong, Deputy Director General of the Environment and Resource Protection Committee of the National People's Congress of China, outlining adaptation measures contained in China's draft climate change law.
Lord Krebs, Chair of the Statutory UK Adaptation sub-committee intervened with a speech via video-link to share the UK's experience on adaptation policies and Dr. Lu Xianfu from the UNFCCC Secretariat delivered a speech explaining the importance of national legislation to UNFCC and to the process leading to the adoption of an international agreement in 2015.
The legislative principles
The Guiding Principles for Climate Change Adaptation: South-South Cooperation, Practice and Legislation provide concrete recommendations for the future direction of climate change adaptation, a synthesis of good practice and ways to strengthen responses by working together.
The primary points of the document are as follows:
- There is a strong need for anticipatory adaptation, underpinned by a risk management approach, solid monitoring and evaluation, and scaled up knowledge platforms to inform future work.
- Adaptation requires a broad range of practice, policy, and legislation that builds on responses from and engagement with all stakeholders. Responses will include those that use traditional knowledge.
- Public funding continues to be important but so too is an enabling environment for private sector involvement. This will include Public-Private-Partnerships, private investment, corporate responsibility and climate-compatible business practices.
- South-South Cooperation should provide opportunities to share lessons learnt and to contextualise these to national and subnational circumstances.
- Developed countries have an important role to play in encouraging and enabling South-South cooperation, in line with existing international commitments, to support the efforts of developing countries.
GLOBE delegation meeting with Su Wei (NDRC) and with the National People's Congress of China in Beijing
The presence in Beijing of GLOBE members from 10 countries to attend the International Conference on Adaptation provided an opportunity to engage with Chinese counterparts in the National Peoples Congress (NPC) and to meet with China's lead negotiator on climate change.
On Friday 5 July, a GLOBE delegation led by Hon. Cedric Frolick MP, Chairperson of the South African National Assembly, met with Su Wei, Director General of the Climate Change Department in the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The other legislators present included Deputy Lourdes Adriana López Moreno (Mexico), Congressman Walden Bello (Philippines) and Congressman Alfonso Pérez Gómez (Costa Rica). Issues discussed included the latest developments in the drafting of China's climate change legislation, the 4th GLOBE Climate Legislation Study (covering 66 countries and due to be launched in the US Congress in January 2014), and prospects for a new international climate change deal in 2015. DG Su reiterated China's desire to pass its climate change law "as soon as possible" and a full first draft was expected this year. Su also reiterated the importance of legislators in developing, passing and overseeing the implementation of legislation and in holding governments to account on their commitments.
Later, the GLOBE delegation met with Vice Chairmen Zhang Yunchuan and Wang Qingxi of the Environment Protection and Resources Conservation Committee in the NPC. The Vice Chairmen relayed the NPC's enthusiasm for participating in GLOBE's work programme on climate change and natural capital accounting, and expressed their willingness to participate in the launch of the 4th GLOBE Climate Legislation Study in January 2014 and the 2nd World Summit of Legislators in Mexico in June 2014.