Development & Climate Days 2017


The Development & Climate (D&C) Days event at COP23 explored four key themes towards climate resilience for all.

UN climate change conference (COP23)
A series of pages related to IIED's activities at the 2017 UNFCCC climate change summit in Bonn
A popular feature of Development & Climate Days is the production of a giant illustration that highlights key points from the discussions over two days (Photo: Matt Wright/IIED)

More than 450 policymakers, researchers and development practitioners attended the D&C Days conference on 11-12 November 2017. The event, held alongside the 2017 UN climate talks, had the theme 'Global ambition. Local action. Climate resilience for all'.

D&C Days is held each year in the middle weekend of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The 23rd COP is taking place in Bonn, Germany, from 6-17 November 2017

D&C Days offers an opportunity for those attending annual UN climate talks to meet informally to explore key issues and develop ideas for future action. The programme for this year's event was designed to influence the UNFCCC’s 'ambition mechanism' processes – particularly the elements know as the facilitative dialogue and the global stocktake.

IIED has produced a detailed D&C Days 2017 event report (PDF), which details the key messages that came out of the two days of discussions.


IIED director Andrew Norton spoke at the close of the first day of the conference. Norton described climate change as "the biggest social injustice of our generation". 

Norton said the extreme weather events of 2017 had highlighted the struggles involved in coping with a one-degree warming of the planet. But a child born today could experience much more significant climate impacts, such as those related to a three- or even a four-degree warming.

Norton also noted that chronic climate impacts such as heat stress and sea-level rise were as important as headline-grabbing hurricanes and floods. These chronic impacts were affecting growing numbers of people in profound ways.

You can watch Andrew Norton's address in this Facebook Live video.

Key messages

The conference programe focused on four themes:

  • Resilience through empowerment and access
  • Valuing lived experience, and local knowledge
  • Transparency and downward accountability
  • Shared resilience

IIED has published a summary document (PDF) setting out the key messages which emerged from each of these themes, while illustrator Jorge Martin also produced a visualisation of the conversations that took place. This can be viewed below or on Flickr, where it can be enlarged.

Closing panel

The closing panel was chaired by Mary Robinson, former Irish President, and now president of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.


We reported on D&C Days as they happened on IIED's social media channels, and filmed a number of the sessions, including the key closing high-level panel:

Saleemul Huq, IIED senior fellow and director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) also reported on the talks at D&C Days. He outlined the first day's discussions in this video

Red Cross Red Crescent posted photos from the conference on Flickr.

At the end of the first day, participants watched 'Thank you for the rain', a film documenting five years in the life of Kenyan farmer Kisilu Musya. He charts the impact of climate change on his family and his village in the face of floods, droughts and storms, one of which destroys his house. Musya ultimately starts a communal farmers' movement and makes it to the Paris climate talks. Watch a trailer.

Programme design

The programme sessions (PDF) focused on four themes related to building climate resilience:

  • Resilience through empowerment and access: exploring the effective pathways to address poverty and climate vulnerability and manage climate risk, how engagement in decision making, equitable access to resources, and the provision of goods, services and innovation can be enhanced (download the background paper (PDF))
  • Valuing lived experience, and local knowledge: highlighting the importance of creating space and voice for those at the development and climate frontline in all discussions related to climate and development (download the background paper (PDF))
  • Transparency and downward accountability: examining the ways in which decisions are made, climate responses are prioritised and climate finance is directed (download the background paper (PDF)), and
  • Shared resilience: recognising we live in an interconnected world with complex intercontinental supply chains, global financial flows, and decision making shared between the international, national and local levels, strategies for managing risk and building resilience must be designed and implemented together (download the background paper (PDF)).

Participants used creative activities and interactive discussions to consider complex questions, including:

  • How can gender responsive climate action lead to resilient communities?
  • How can we build resilience in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, where many of the world's most vulnerable people live?
  • How should we decipher the politics of how the UNFCCC is addressing the issues of transparency and downward accountability?
  • What actions can companies take to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience in the communities along their supply chains?

About the organisers

This year's event was organised by a partnership between the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre; IIED; the International Development Research Centre (IDRC); the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR); the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice (MRFCJ)We Mean Business (WMB); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); and the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).

Contributing partners to this year's event are Action on Climate Today, Oxford Policy Management (ACT, OPM); the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO); the Adaptation Network; the NAP Global Network; the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); and the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO).


The first D&C Days took place in 2002, and the event has since become a popular part of COP, providing an opportunity for researchers, practitioners and negotiators to meet informally for honest and open discussions on news, ideas and solutions on climate change and development. Read about the history of D&C Days.

The 2016 conference in Marrakech, Morocco showed the impact and expertise of climate change practitioners working on the ground. 

The UNFCCC binds nearly 200 countries to tackle the global issue of climate change. The parties to the UNFCCC meet each year at the Conference of Parties (COP) to review progress. 

The ambition mechanism is the process set up as part of the Paris Agreement to ensure that action on climate change increases over time. The ambition mechanism requires a global stocktake to be undertaken every five years to review progress and set a forward course. The first global stocktake will be in 2023. In 2018 parties to the agreement will gather to take stock of action to date. This meeting is referred to as the 'facilitative dialogue 2018'. 

The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016 and has been ratified by 160 countries. The Bonn conference aims to finish the guidelines for implementation of the Paris Agreement and will prepare for the 2018 global stocktake.  

Sustainability statement

D&C Days organisers are committed to promoting sustainable development. To reduce the environmental impact of this event we encouraged participants to avoid distribution of printed publications and increase electronic distribution where appropriate.

The event was delivered in collaboration with suppliers and contractors that consider their carbon footprint and endeavour to reduce their environmental impact. The venue, Hotel Kameha, was chosen for its proximity to the COP23 venue in order reduce unnecessary travel, and has a leading sustainability commitment.