D&C Days 2019: Illumination amid ‘a sea of warnings’

The Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre reports from the 2019 Development & Climate Days event, where IIED director Andrew Norton highlighted that "every year the remaining carbon budget for a safe world declines".

News, 10 December 2019
UN climate change conference (COP25)
A series of pages related to IIED's activities at the 2019 UNFCCC climate change summit in Spain (COP25)
Three people stand on a stage holding a large piece of paper between them

Participants at the 2019 D&C Days present the results of their conversations and experience (Photo: Anne Schulthess, IIED)

The 17th Development and Climate Days took place in Madrid on Sunday, over a single day this year after the UN climate talks were rescheduled from Chile to the Spanish capital.

Intended to develop the Building a Resilient Future dialogue from this year’s UN Climate Action Summit, it incorporated the five resilience-centred themes of food and agriculture; early warning, early action; finance; working with nature; and cities, infrastructure and energy.

Despite the necessarily shortened format, D&C Days was again encouraging “dialogue on a range of issues that link policy, knowledge and practice,” said organisers. “Innovative approaches encourage participants to interact, challenge existing thinking and generate new ideas, leaving no one behind.”

The event, by tradition held on the middle weekend of the COP meeting, gathers representatives of grassroots organisations and NGOs, the Red Cross Red Crescent, development practitioners, national climate leaders and policymakers.


In the opening address, IIED director Andrew Norton said D&C Days remained important as a reflection of participants’ commitment to climate justice and their focus on the poorest countries and people, and as a launch pad for messages aimed at the COP negotiations themselves.

He added that “since Paris the context has changed. At Paris we were mostly optimistic that we had a framework that could drive change in the world. But the dials haven’t moved yet: emissions are 4% higher since Paris and every year the remaining carbon budget for a safe world declines.”

Recalling the recent UNEP report that found emissions now needed to decline at 7.6% a year “for a decent shot” at limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, he concluded that “in short we are clearly in a crisis situation, a climate emergency.” Watch Norton's opening remarks below or on IIED's YouTube channel.


This year’s event was a partnership between IIED and 13 other organisations. It included 12 sessions covering a wide range of topics, including a session on making gender-responsive climate finance a reality and another entitled 'Climate grief and resilience in a sea of warnings: can we move from darkness to illumination?'

Two new warnings on emissions last month from within the UN system suggested the world will struggle to meet even the modest ambitions of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

‘Funding flows’

The venue was also lined with a 16-metre mural sharing Greta Thunberg’s words and collaborating on a moving work of art.

A closing panel focused on ensuring messages are resonating with key agents for change, ranging from the grassroots to the major global institutions shaping how funding flows and policies address the needs of the most vulnerable.

It included Bisola Akinmuyiwa of Slum/Shack Dwellers International; Sheela Patel, founder and director of Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres; Louise Cord, global director for social development at the World Bank; and Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, who initiated D&C Days alongside COP8 in Delhi in 2002.

It was chaired by Megan Rowling, a correspondent with the Thomson Reuters Foundation specialising in climate, development and resilience. Watch the closing panel below or on IIED's YouTube channel.

This report first appeared on the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre website.