At its 21st session, HLCP agreed to extend the mandate of the Working Group on Climate Change for another year, in order to forge a unified approach to the 17th Conference of Parties (COP-17) of the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban and develop programmatic approaches to support the implementation of climate change actions. At its 22nd session, the Committee reviewed the Group’s proposed approach to Durban, stressed the need for the system to be strategic, and recommended a focus on key policy issues. It also agreed to hold a high-level CEB side-event, which was held on 7 December 2011 and moderated by the HLCP Chair, with the participation of the UN Secretary-General, the Executive Heads of UNFCCC, UNDP, UNIDO, WMO, the Vice-President of the World Bank, and Ministers of India, Italy, Kenya and Samoa.
Ms. Elena Manaenkova, Assistant Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization and Chair of the HLCP Working Group on Climate Change, briefed the Committee on progress made to date on the activities of the Working Group and provided suggestions regarding the way forward. Ms. Manaenkova introduced the report of the meeting of the HLCP Working Group on Climate Change, held on 17 February 2012, during which the Group reviewed the status of implementation of its 2011 Plan of Activities and Priorities, and reflected on its future programme of work.
In assessing the particular value added of the body, Ms. Manaenkova noted that the Working Group identified several critical areas in which its work contributed to supporting efforts of Member States to address climate change challenges. The Working Group had mobilized the wide range of expertise and knowledge available within UN system organizations, and promoted programmatic coherence through information sharing, by undertaking several initiatives, which had already helped Member States in implementing climate change action, and by streamlining climate-related issues in individual programmatic mandates of UN system organizations. These included, for example, UN CC:Learn (with 32 partners and 5 country level pilot projects), REDD+ (implemented in 40 countries), an international partnership on climate smart agriculture, the Climate Finance Options Platform (climate finance tracking, monitoring and finance services to countries), the Global Framework for Climate Services (under implementation through an intergovernmental process), or Climate Information (ClimDev) for Africa, an initiative launched in 2007 and now sponsored by AU, UNECA and AfDB and implemented by a new dedicated entity - African Climate Policy Centre.
Ms. Manaenkova also noted that there was an important future role to play for the Group in further advancing strategic, programmatic and operational coherence and coordination of UN system multi-sectoral activities at the global and regional levels. She noted that the Group recommended adding ‘mitigation’ as an explicit focus area of its work programme in light of new developments and enhanced opportunities to support countries’ mitigation efforts through joint action at the global level. Dr. Renate Christ, Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change joined Ms. Manaenkova in noting the importance of the work of the Group and requested that the Panel be invited to participate in its work.
Participants thanked Ms. Manaenkova for her efforts in chairing the Working Group and concurred with the need to extend its mandate. They supported the inclusion of “mitigation” as an additional priority focus area for the Group. Participants also called for greater coherence between the work of the Group and the UNDG Task Team on Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Rio +20.
The Committee agreed to extend the mandate of its Working Group on Climate Change for another two years. The Committee requested Ms. Manaenkova to continue as Chair, and that the Group hold further in-depth discussions on its Plan of Activities and Priorities in 2012. The Committee also agreed to include “mitigation” as an additional priority focus area for the Group and urged closer coordination with the UNDG Task Team on Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Rio +20. Finally, the Committee agreed to invite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to participate in the work of the Group. On this basis, the Committee will revert to this issue at its spring 2014 (27th) session with periodic updates from the Chair of the Working Group to the Committee.