The inaugural meeting of the Durban Forum on Capacity-building was one of the highlights of the Bonn
Climate Change Conference in May 2012. It gave voice to more than 200 participants from diverse
backgrounds who came together to share experiences and good practices in building the capacity of
developing countries to respond to climate change.
Held during two afternoon sessions, the Durban Forum shed light on the work that has been happening
on the ground and the challenges that lay ahead. People from governments, youth groups,
intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, the United Nations and
academia took to the stage to tell their stories, signalling a shift to a more holistic way of
tackling capacity-building. In the spirit of inclusiveness, the meeting was webcast so that anyone,
anywhere, could join in.
The meeting was structured around 17 presentations under six headings. Following each session, the
floor was opened up to questions. Throughout the meeting, participants were reminded that
capacity-building is a complex issue but, at its core, it is a human issue. Two often-repeated themes
were ‘snowball effect’ and ‘country-driven action.’ Participants and
presenters spoke about the need to create a snowball effect, whereby capacity-building action builds
on itself, becoming larger and more effective as it goes. The second theme, country-driven action,
referred to the importance of building the right project in the right place, led by local communities
and for local communities. For more detailed information, read the summary report of the meeting
First meeting of the Durban Forum on Capacity-building: a close-up
Day 1: Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Following opening remarks from UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and SBI Chair Mr.
Tomasz Chruszczow, representatives from Parties, NGOs, youth organizations, United Nations
organizations, the private sector and academia took to the stage to share experiences and identify
needs and gaps in the delivery of capacity-building for adaptation and mitigation.
The audience was eager to participate in the discussion, asking targeted questions on how to better
enhance capacity-building in developing countries.
H.E. Ms. Dessima Williams (Grenada) and Mr. Maas Groote (The Netherlands), who acted as
co-chairs, directed the discussion component of the Forum, fielding questions from the audience
and summarizing issues in a clear and compelling way.
Day 2: Wednesday, 23 May 2012 (15:00-18:00)
The well-received presentations of the first day continued on Wednesday with a focus on technology,
financial support and the issue of monitoring and review of the effectiveness of capacity-building,
the latter being mandated in decision 2/CP.17.
Two often-repeated themes during the second day were “snowball effect” and
“country-driven action.” Participants and presenters spoke about the need to create
a snowball effect, whereby capacity-building action builds on itself, becoming larger and more
effective as it goes. The second theme, country-driven action, referred to the importance of building
the right project in the right place, led by local communities, for local communities.
The session on monitoring and review was characterized by a lengthy debate on the effectiveness of
quantitative vs. qualitative indicators when monitoring and reviewing capacity-building
The first meeting of the Durban Forum on capacity-building concluded with closing remarks by SBI
Chair Mr. Chruszczow, who hailed the Forum as a success in terms of the importance of the
issues raised, the quality of the presentations and the engaged debate which followed.
For a complete overview of the first meeting of the Durban Forum, you can consult
the agenda (181 kB) , the presentations by
panelists, and the webcasts of Day 1 and Day 2.