At its previous session, the Committee agreed to extend the mandate of its Working Group on Climate Change for two years, until spring 2014, and requested the Chair of the Working Group, Elena Manaenkova, Assistant Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), to lead further in-depth discussions on the Group’s plan of activities and priorities and on a joint contribution to the eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Doha, Qatar from 26 November to 7 December 2012. The Working Group held a workshop in Geneva on 10 and 11 September to discuss its vision, strategic direction and working methods for 2012-2014, and agreed on the joint contribution of the United Nations system to the forthcoming session of the Conference of the Parties.
In her introduction, Ms. Manaenkova noted that during the workshop, the Working Group had made good progress towards the development of a plan of activities and priorities which would be further refined by the Group. The Group had also agreed on modalities for United Nations system engagement in the Conference of the Parties. In the lead-up to 2014, the Group would continue to implement ongoing joint initiatives and would brief the Committee at its twentyfifth session on progress made.
Ms. Manaenkova was pleased that the Working Group participants had expressed strong enthusiasm at the workshop, which allowed for effective interaction and learning among the members and enhanced understanding, collaboration and strategic engagement of entities of the United Nations system on climate action. The workshop had greatly contributed to the revitalization of the programme of work of the Working Group by aligning activities along major tracks of strategic engagement and by defining the most immediate actions concerning preparation for the session of the Conference of the Parties. It had also allowed participants to explore and develop new joint initiatives.
As a commendable example in that context, she cited the Integrated Spatial Data for Climate Adaptation Planning initiative, which sought to establish a common spatial data framework for vulnerability analysis and adaptation planning by linking a wide range of relevant data using geographic information systems. Ms. Manaenkova added that several successful joint programming initiatives had been created and were being implemented under the auspices of the Working Group, including the Global Framework for Climate Services, the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD), the One United Nations Training Service Platform on Climate Change (UN CC:Learn) and climate-smart agriculture.
Participants congratulated the Working Group, under the leadership of Ms. Manaenkova, for the progress made and cited the Group as a good example of United Nations system coordination. Committee members also agreed that the workshop had been valuable in instilling a sense of common purpose for joint activities of the United Nations system in support of climate change action.
Going forward, the Working Group needed to build on the existing initiatives within its plan of activities and priorities that had proven to be most successful and effective. Among the activities that were seen as critical for United Nations system coordination on climate change were information and knowledge-sharing; joint implementation of climate action; informing CEB members on climate change issues; coordinating the United Nations position and presence at sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other relevant forums; and preparing joint outreach and communication tools.
In terms of the system’s engagement in the eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties, participants noted the need to ensure that the system was strategic and pragmatic in its approach and supported the efforts of the Secretary- General. In that regard, the need for the system to facilitate negotiations by providing substantive support for discussions on issues relevant to the mandates of each organization was emphasized.
The Committee noted the development and implementation of joint initiatives. It agreed to hold a high-level CEB side-event at the eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties and requested the Working Group to report on further progress regarding its plan of activities and priorities at its next session.