IIED and partner events at COP23


This page summarises the activities of IIED, its researchers and partners during the annual climate change talks (COP23) in Bonn, Germany from 6-17 November, 2017.

UN climate change conference (COP23)
A series of pages related to IIED's activities at the 2017 UNFCCC climate change summit in Bonn
The COP23 venue in Bonn nears completion (Photo: Achala Abeysinghe/IIED)

Each year international negotiators gather for global talks on climate change, the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UNFCCC was hosted by Fiji and took place in Bonn, Germany from 6-17 November 2017.

This page summarises IIED's activities during the two-week gathering. In addition to hosting and speaking at COP side events, our researchers provided support to negotiators from the Least Developed Countries and analysed progress at the main negotiations.

IIED worked to ensure that the battle against climate change focuses on the poorest countries, which are most at risk, and to ensure that the Paris Agreement, already behind schedule, was put into action with rules that are fair and transparent for all. 

European Capacity Building Initiative training and support programme

Training workshop (invite only)

Date: Saturday, 4 November

The European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi) aims to support international climate change negotiations by building and sustaining capacity among developing country negotiators, and by fostering trust between both developed and developing country negotiators.

IIED is a lead partner in the initiative, along with Oxford Climate Policy. The training and support programme organises pre-COP workshops to support senior and junior negotiators from vulnerable developing countries to come together shortly before the UNFCCC sessions to identify key issues for their countries and groups that will be discussed. Key representatives from other important ministries who have participated in regional workshops are also invited to offer expertise and knowledge.

Related reading: Pocket guide to capacity building for climate change | Increasing the influence of LDC climate diplomacy; developing a theory of change | Pocket guide to the Paris Agreement

2nd EbA Knowledge Day – Strengthening ecosystem-based adaptation in policy frameworks: communicating benefits, developing financing strategies 

Date: Monday, 6 November
Room: Interconnection Zone, German Development Institute (DIE), Room 'Sitzungssaal' Tulpenfeld 6, Bonn (PDF) 
Partner organisations: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and IIED under Friends of EBA 
Speakers: Including Nathalie Seddon, IIED

Related reading: Ecosystem-based adaptation: question-based guidance for assessing effectiveness (en français | en español) | Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation: strengthening the evidence and informing policy. Research overview and overarching questions

Community-based adaptation: research, practice and partnerships for adaptation and resilience-building 

Side event

Date: Monday, 6 November
Room: Meeting Room 4 
Speakers: Members of Research Institution Non-Governmental Organizations (RINGO) and the TEC Adaptation Task Force; Xiaoting Hou Jones, IIED

Increasingly, innovative examples of adaptation are being implemented at the community level to address food and water security and to build socioeconomic and ecological resilience. Examples of community-based adaptation research, practice and collaborations, including South-South cooperation, were highlighted. 

Related reading: Ecosystem-based adaptation: a win–win formula for sustainability in a warming world?

The local dimension of the NDCs: 100% renewable energy

International forum

Date: Thursday, 9 November
Partner organisations: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Speakers: Including Sarah Colenbrander, IIED

IIED senior researcher Sarah Colenbrander spoke on a panel titled 'Tracking and quantifying local action: how do 100% renewable energy pioneers contribute to limit global warming to 1.5C?' at 1.30pm at this all-day event. 

Seminar Series on Biodiversity and Ecosystems in Climate Change: ecosystem-based adaptation planning and implementation (session 4)


Date: Thursday, 9 November
Partner organisations: Organised by United Nations University (UNU), Center for Development Research (ZEF), and IUCN under Friends of EBA 
Speakers: Including Xiaoting Hou Jones

Integrating energy access into NDCs

Side event

Date: Friday, 10 November
Partner organisations: WWF and ACCESS coalition
Speakers: Judi Wakhungu, cabinet secretary, Ministry of Environment, Natural resources and Regional Development
authorities, Kenya (keynote); Prince Mupazviriho, permanent secretary, Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, Zimbabwe (keynote); Charles C. Mutai, director of Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment, Kenya; Dorsouma Al-Hamdou, African Development Bank Group; Ben Garside, IIED; Shepard Zvigadza, CSOs Climate Change Working Group Zimbabwe & ZERO; discussants Frank van der Vleuten, senior energy expert, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands; Chris Henderson, Practical Action; Daniel Benefor, Environment Protection Agency, Ghana; Sarah Wykes, CAFOD & ACCESS (moderator)

This event brought together experts from government, private sector and civil society to discuss the learning to date on delivering energy services to poor groups to boost local economic development, and how energy access can be better integrated into NDC implementation.

Related reading: Turning up the volume: financial aggregation for off-grid energy | Money is power: tracking finance flows for decentralised energy access in Tanzania

National urban policy for better urban growth

Pavilion session

Date: Friday, 10 November
Partner organisations: Coalition for Urban Transitions, McKinsey, World Resources Institute, C40 Cities
Speakers: Hon. Solly Msimanga (Mayor of Tshwane), Shannon Bouton (chief operating officer, McKinsey Center for Business and Environment); Shewangizaw Kifle Mulugeta (chief of the Infrastructure Asset Management, Ethiopian Railways Corporation); Atnafseged Atnafkd (Ethiopian Ministry of Transport); Peter Erickson (senior scientist, Stockholm Environment Institute); Angela Enriquez (WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities), and Sarah Colenbrander (chair, and global programme lead, Coalition for Urban Transitions).

Transformational pathways towards universal energy access

Side event

Date: Friday, 10 November 

Partner organisations: SNV Netherlands Development Organisation 
Speakers: Roelof Buffinga, Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Ram Prasad Dhital, executive director, Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), Ministry of Population and Environment Nepal; Andries Hof, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL); SNV expert on Integrated Energy Planning and practice; Clare Shakya (moderator), director of Climate Change, IIED

Meeting universal energy access (SDG7) while reducing climate impact requires transformational changes. This event examined practical solutions on energy transition pathways (including both electricity access and clean cooking), linking to policymaking, informed by integrated energy planning models.

Seminar Series on Biodiversity and Ecosystems in Climate Change: ecosystem-based adaptation standards, criteria, and linkages (session 5)


Date: Friday, 10 November
Partner organisations: United Nations University (UNU), Center for Development Research (ZEF), and IUCN under Friends of EBA 
Speakers: Including Nathalie Seddon, IIED             

Related reading: Making ecosystem-based adaptation effective: a framework for defining qualification criteria and quality standards | Can ecosystem-based adaptation help deliver the promise of Paris?

Low carbon energy access and transformation at local level: delivering sustainable results and measuring impacts

Pavilion event

Date: Friday, 10 November
Partner organisations: UNDP GEF Small Grants Program, IIED
Speakers: Including Ben Garside, IIED

The panel discussed effective approaches to providing low–carbon energy access and transforming energy systems at community level. The panelists presented their views on the essential elements that contribute to sustainable and scalable energy investments in developing countries based on real life examples and in-depth research. They also presented emerging approaches and methodologies aiming at capturing co-benefits of climate action, including measuring and maximising impacts within the context of small-scale energy and related projects contributing to SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. 

Related reading: Making mini-grids work: productive uses of electricity in Tanzania

NDCs and nature-based solutions (TBC)

Side event

Date: Friday, 10 November
Partner organisations: IUCN
Speakers: Including Nathalie Seddon, IIED

Climate resilient agriculture for smallholder farming in Least Developed Countries

Side event

Date: Saturday, 11 November
Partner organisations: Government of Ireland, IIED, Least Developed Countries Group
Speakers: Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Irish Aid) will facilitate this session. Panel: Simon Anderson, IIED; John Muldowney, Department of Food, Agriculture & the Marine, Government of Ireland; Gebru Jember Endalew, chair of the LDC Group

Climate change presents serious risks to smallholder famers (SHF). These farmers produce 80 per cent of food in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, yet face escalating food insecurity and poverty. This event brought the European Union (Ireland), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and IIED together, to present and discuss suitable options for climate-resilient agriculture in LDCs, informed by a recent paper on the topic, developed by IIED and Ireland, based on learning from across LDCs. Discussions informed policy and programming on climate-resilient agriculture options for SHF at local, regional and national level in LDCs.

15th Development & Climate Days (D&C Days)


Date: Saturday 11 to Sunday, 12 November

The theme for the 15th D&C Days conference is 'Global ambition. Local action. Climate resilience for all'. This year's D&C Days aimed to influence the 'ambition mechanism' processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – particularly the facilitative dialogue and global stocktake – and to inform climate action on all levels. Register for the conference.

D&C Days brought together high-level government representatives, academics and practitioners from around the globe. Participants share learning experiences by engaging, being productive and having fun. The dynamic format encourages people to participate and share dialogue on a range of issues that link policy, knowledge and practice. Download the programme (PDF).

Delivering Money Where It Matters: effective climate action through predictable local climate finance

Side event

Date: Monday, 13 November
Partner organisations: IIED and Both ENDS
Speakers: chair - Minister Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources of the Gambia; keynote - Eva Svedling, State Secretary to the Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden; panellists - State Senator Bob Wieckowski, Chair, Senate Environmental Quality Committee, Chair, Senate Budget Sub 2 Committee (Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy & Transportation), Chair, Council of State Government's 'Energy & Environment Committee', California; and Prof. Francesco Pigliaru, President of the Region of Sardinia and rapporteur on the Paris Agreement, Italy; Pa Ousman Jarju, director of the Green Climate Fund's Country Programming Division; Kenyan representatives of the Devolved Climate Finance Alliance: Professor Kivutha Kibwana, Governor, Makueni County; and Peter Odhengo, The National Treasury, The Government of Kenya; William Kostka, Director, Micronesia Conservation Trust

Sub-national governments and non-state actors can work alongside climate vulnerable communities to understand their most critical climate risks. Drawing knowledge from the ground, these sub-national actors can direct climate finance to help build the resilience of local communities to the escalating shocks and stresses of climate change, and therefore deliver more effective and efficient climate solutions. 

This event examined the latest innovations driving local climate action, and explore opportunities to deliver sustainable and predictable climate finance to these sub-national geographies. These finance flows will be crucial if we are to collectively deliver the ambition of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Download the draft programme (PDF).

Related reading: Going local: fast tracking climate finance to the most vulnerable | Delivering real change: getting international climate finance to the local level | Money where it matters: local finance to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement | Decentralising climate finance to reach the most vulnerable

Women Leading the World to 2030

Pavilion event

Date: Tuesday, 14 November
Partner organisations: SYSTEMIQ
Speakers: Noelene Nabulivou, political adviser to Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA); Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation; Achala C Abeysinghe, principal researcher, Climate Change, IIED; Monica Araya, founder of Nivela and Costa Rica Limpia Gail Klin 

Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 13 explicitly calls on the world to achieve successful climate action by 2030. However, successfully achieving all the goals will depend on humanity's ability to effectively keep a global temperature increase to 2-degree Celsius increase and uphold the sustainability of our natural resources. The Business & Sustainable Development Commission contends that the achievement of Goal 13 will require the mobilisation of more women to lead for change in their communities and in the world. As a number of studies show, women, who shoulder greater social and economic burdens, are disproportionately affected by climate change impacts. Women's unequal participation in decision-making processes and labour markets exacerbate inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation.

Why climate resilience matters: challenges and solutions for building climate resilience of people living in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other vulnerable countries

High-level panel

Date: Tuesday, 14 November
Partner organisations: FAO, Global Resilience Partnership, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UN Environment, IUCN and the World Bank, as partners of the UN Climate Resilience Initiative: Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape (A2R)
Speakers: Moderated by Clare Shakya, IIED; Panellists: H.E. Mr. Inia B. Seruiratu, Minister of Agriculture, Fiji; Mr. Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for DRR, UNISDR; H.E. Mr. Taneti Maamau, President of Kiribati; H.E. Dr. Mary Goretti Kitutu, Minister of State for Environment, Uganda; The Hon. Dr. Gale Tracy Christiane Rigobert; Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Saint Lucia; Mr. Rommel Lo, EFFATA Deaf, Philippines; Ms. Jane Madgwick, CEO, Wetlands International; Mr. Rowan Douglas; Insurance Development Forum (IDF); Mr. Elhadj As Sy, IFRC Secretary General

In the lead up to Paris, firm commitments were made by both state and non-state actors to work together to build climate resilience. These commitments were reflected in the Paris Agreement, which for the first time, set global ambitions to strengthen climate resilience and reduce vulnerability. At COP23, under the framework of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, leaders again came together to reaffirm their commitments, raise the ambition for implementing the Paris Agreement, and demonstrate how climate resilience can only be achieved by working together with all stakeholders.

Climate resilience is a cross-cutting issue for the Global Climate Action Days of COP23, culminating in three-high level events designed to identify concrete actions needed to build resilience. This was the second of these three events (PDF).

A win-win-win for nature - enhancing NDCs by integrating action on biodiversity and development

Side event

Date: Wednesday, 15 November
Partner organisations: WWF       
Speakers: Paula Caballero, Global Director, Climate Program, World Resource Institute (WRI), Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Andrew Norton, IIED director; H. E. Ronald Jumeau, Permanent Representative to the UN and Ambassador to the US, Seychelles; Wolfgang Jamann, CEO, CARE International; Isabel Cavelier-Adarve, Senior Adviser, Mission 2020; Chair: Fernanda Viana de Carvalho, Policy Manager WWF Climate and Energy Practice

Nature is declining at alarming rates with climate change as important driver. An expert panel discussed recommendations based on the WWF think paper 'NDCs – a force for nature?'. It analysed how NDCs potentially contribute to halting and reversing biodiversity loss and to achieving the SDGs.

A global adaptation goal and borderless climate risks: strengths and limits of the Paris Agreement

Side event

Date: Wednesday, 15 November
Partner organisations: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) 
Speakers: Including LDC Parties; Richard Klein, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Saleemul Huq, ICCCAD and IIED senior fellow

Many climate risks are 'borderless', meaning national adaptation is a global concern. But how do climate impacts cross national borders? Which countries are most exposed? Who should adapt and how? New research was presented and a practitioner panel discussed the road from Paris.

Capacity Building Day

Date: Thursday, 16 November 
Partner organisations: International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), UNFCCC Secretariat (UNFCCC), Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB), Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organizations (RINGO), Brown University, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and TH Köln.
Speakers: LDC Chair, PCCB and UNFCCC delegates; featuring a presentation on the LDC Universities Consortium on Climate Change by Saleemul Huq, ICCCAD

The event brought together practitioners, policymakers, researchers and entrepreneurs to bridge the gap between the need for capacities and those offering capacity-building activities. The day featured discussions on adaptation, mitigation and measuring/tracking initiatives that enhance the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions. The event served as a platform for sharing new, untested ideas, initiatives in the planning stages, and current and proven initiatives on capacity-building.

LUCCC - an LDCs initiative to build long-term climate capacity and implement Article 11 of the Paris Agreement

Side event

Date: Thursday, 16 November
Partner organisations: Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB)
Speakers: Including Saleemul Huq, ICCCAD, Bangladesh; Gebru Jember Endalew, chair, LDC Group; Lars Ribbe- TH Koln, Germany; Sidat Yaffa, University of Gambia, Gambia; Timmons Roberts, Brown University, USA

The LDCs University Consortium on Climate Capacity (LUCCC) was launched this year as a response to the Article 11 of the Paris Agreement. The event shared the context, vision, and function of the consortium and the role universities can play in building climate capacity in LDCs and beyond. 

Related video: watch the launch of the LUCCC at CBA11 conference

Attributing climate impacts to major fossil fuel companies

Side event

Date: Thursday, 16 November
Partner organisations: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
Speakers: Myles Allen, Oxford University; Peter Frumhoff, UCS; Elisabeth Holland, Pacific Center for Environment and Sustainable Development; Saleemul Huq, IIED; Carroll Muffett, CIEL

Questions of climate responsibility have mostly focused on countries, but are increasingly turning to fossil fuel producers. New scientific research links global average temperature and sea-level rise to specific fossil fuel producers, opening up questions of who should pay for climate damages. 

Contributing to the NDC with decentralised renewable energy by engaging state and non-state actors at Sumba Iconic Island: lessons from Indonesia

Side event

Date: Friday, 17 November
Partner organisations: Hivos; IIED
Speakers: Rida Mulyana, director general of New and Renewable Energy, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources; Aria Witoelar, PT. Arya Watala Capital; Dedy Haning, HIVOS; Clare Shakya, IIED    

The government of Indonesia, together with Hivos, has set the example of a multi-stakeholder approach for decentralised renewable energy in Sumba, which has become known as Sumba Iconic Island. The session focused on how this experience can support the fulfilment of Indonesia's NDCs and at the same time contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The session shared lessons learned on involving multiple stakeholders, and what decentralised renewable energy can bring for resilient and vibrant communities all over the world. 

Mesoamerican Territorial Fund: a contribution to preserve forests, strengthen governance and guarantee community rights 

Side event

Date: Friday, 17 November
Speakers: Luis Guillermo Solís, President of Costa Rica or Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala (TBC); Levi Sucre Romero, coordinator of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB); Clare Shakya, climate change director, IIED; Lou Munden, TMP System; Juan Antonio Martínez, Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID)

This panel provided an opportunity to hear about the synergies and efforts being made by Indigenous Peoples and Forest Communities in Mesoamerica, governments and the German cooperation, on territorial investment actions to reduce the negative effects of climate change, and also in relation to conservation of biodiversity, forest management and the guarantee of rights-based community livelihoods.