Capacity-building in the negotiations

Capacity-building is fundamental to achieving the objectives of the Convention, the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol. It enables individuals, organizations and societies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Capacity-building is provided through bilateral and multilateral efforts within and outside the Convention.

The institutional architecture addressing capacity building in the UNFCCC process has been evolving since the establishment of the Convention in 1992 and the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

So what have been the major steps to enhance climate capacity-building?
Over the recent years, various arrangements have been established to enhance capacity-building under the UN climate change regime:

1992, 1997: Capacity-building, the Convention & the Kyoto Protocol

Capacity-building is involved in many issues referred to in Convention articles, such as adapting to climate change, providing financial and technical resources, transferring technology, ensuring research, education and training, and improving national communications.
Specifically on education, training and public awareness, Article 6 of the Convention calls on governments to educate, empower and engage all stakeholders and major groups on policies relating to climate change – a call that is echoed in the Kyoto Protocol (Article 10(e)).

2001: Adopting Frameworks for Capacity-building

In 2001, the COP adopted two frameworks that address the needs, conditions and priorities of developing countries and countries with economies in transition (EITs). The frameworks are enshrined in decisions 2/CP.7 for Capacity building in developing countries (non-Annex I Parties) and 3/CP.7 for Capacity building in countries with economies in transition and are regularly reviewed. At regular intervals, the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) conducts comprehensive reviews of the implementation of the capacity-building frameworks in developing countries and in EITs.

2005: Parties to the Kyoto Protocol endorse the Capacity-building frameworks

In 2005, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), at its first session, decided that the capacity-building frameworks are also applicable to the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol (decisions 29/CMP.1 and 30/CMP.1).

2011: The Durban Forum on capacity-building

At COP 17 in Durban, Parties established the Durban Forum on capacity-building. The forum meets once every year during UNFCCC negotiation sessions and is open to all stakeholders engaged in capacity-building efforts under the Convention. It contributes to monitoring and reviewing capacity-building efforts under the Convention, and focuses on the sharing of experiences, good practices and lessons learned in building the capacity of developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

2012: Doha work programme and the Dialogue on Article 6 of the Convention / Launch of the Capacity-building Portal

In 2012, the COP adopted the Doha work programme on Article 6 of the Convention and requested the SBI to organize an annual in-session Dialogue on Article 6 of the Convention for Parties, constituted bodies and other stakeholders to share their experiences and exchange ideas, good practices and lessons learned regarding the implementation of Article 6 of the Convention. A ministerial declaration was adopted at COP 20.
Also in 2012, the Capacity Building Portal was launched as an interactive tool that collects, compiles and disseminates country-driven information and allows the display of information from submissions of non-Party stakeholders providing capacity-building.

2015: Capacity-building in the Paris Agreement

Paris Agreement Article 11
Article 11 of the Paris Agreement defines capacity-building related goals, guiding principles and procedural obligations for all Parties. It calls on developed country Parties to enhance support to capacity-building in developing countries, and on developing country Parties to regularly communicate progress on implementing capacity-building plans, policies, actions or measures.
The Agreement also calls for country-driven capacity-building that is based on recipient countries’ needs and ownership. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, at its first session (CMA 1) is to consider and adopt a decision on the initial institutional arrangements for capacity-building.
Paris Agreement Article 12
The Paris Agreement also recognizes the importance of climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, and asks Parties to cooperate in taking appropriate measures. CMA 1 will explore ways of enhancing implementation in this regard.
Paris Committee on Capacity-Building (PCCB)
COP 21 established the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) as a new constituted body, which aims to address capacity need and gaps, both current and emerging, and to further enhance capacity-building efforts. The PCCB has been tasked with managing and overseeing the capacity-building workplan for the period 2016–2020 (1/CP.21 paragraph 73). Based on the mandates received from the COP, the PCCB adopted its rolling workplan for the period 2017-2019.

2015: Establishing the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT)

COP 21 also requested the establishment of the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) in order to build institutional and technical capacity and to support developing country Parties in meeting the enhanced transparency requirements of the Paris Agreement. The GEF supports the operation of the CBIT.

Outlook on capacity-building in the negotiations

The Paris Agreement calls for country-driven capacity-building that is based on recipient countries’ needs and ownership. For the future, it will be important to enhance the effectiveness of the institutional arrangements at the international and national levels that allow for long-term, sustainable capacity-building approaches.

Against this background and in line with Article 11 paragraph 5 of the Paris Agreement, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA), at the third part of its first session in December 2018, is expected to consider and adopt a decision on the initial institutional arrangements for capacity-building.

In addition, the COP, at its twenty-fourth session in December 2018, will initiate a review of the PCCB, and, following this review, is expected to make a recommendation to the CMA, on enhancing the institutional arrangements for capacity-building consistent with Article 11.5 of the Paris Agreement.