Paris, 6 December 2015 – The second edition of the South-South Cooperation on Climate Change Forum took place at COP21 in Paris, with the theme ‘from political commitment to action’.
With more than 100 participants, including ministers, government representatives, principals of UN and other international organizations, the Forum promoted South-South cooperation as an integral part of the future climate architecture. The synergistic benefits of SSCCC were emphasized and it was agreed that this Forum, first held in Lima in 2014 at the margins of COP20, serves as a milestone for warranting a platform for promoting SSCCC, and for catalyzing new resources in the South and for the South.
In his opening remarks, Zhenghua Xie, China Special Representative for Climate Change, emphasized the important complementarities of South-South Cooperation to North-South Cooperation and a way of demonstrating solidarity of the global South against climate change. He reiterated China’s determination of making available the USD 3.1 billion for setting up a ‘China South-South Climate Fund’ to provide continuous support to other developing countries combating climate change.
“South-South cooperation is emerging as a key element of the global response to climate change and has shown great potential as new dimension. Many emerging economies are moving to the frontline of international climate policy; taking a lead in defining and implementing low-carbon, climate-resilient and sustainable development pathways” said Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP. In his remarks, Hongbo Wu, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted a few key areas for promoting SSCCC, including knowledge generation and knowledge sharing, technology transfer on sustainable energy and access to climate data. The UN stands ready to cooperate to build a wider and broader global partnership with the Global South. Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO of the Global Environment Facility, appreciated China’s leadership on SSCCC and endorsed the major functions of SSCCC, such as building long-term institutional and human capacity in the South; enabling more effective engagement of Southern countries in international science and policy processes; and, supporting the development and dissemination of South-based solutions and technologies. On behalf of UNFCCC, Youssef Nassef, Coordinator of the Adaptation Programme underlined that “All avenues to find solutions must be opened to truly meet the climate change challenge. North-South cooperation is fundamental and central. Supplementary support such as this South-South cooperation is also important as it can pull more levers, drive even more action and take the world to even higher levels of action.”
Ministers and high-level governmental representatives from Costa Rica, India, Mauritania, Mongolia, Nepal and Switzerland shared their respective views and experiences on the role of South-South cooperation on climate change, and called for inclusion of a South-South dimension in all current and future initiatives and funding mechanisms under the UNFCCC, bilateral and multilateral alike. They highlighted the importance of building on current South-South mechanisms such as this Forum, in order to create long-term and effective arrangements for operationalizing South-South cooperation. They emphasized the need to ensure complementarity of SSCCC with existing North-South mechanisms.
The panelists at the high-level roundtables identified priority areas for SSCCC, such as ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation and mitigation. Panelists called for the establishment of new mechanisms for action, such as a Platform for Promoting South-South Cooperation on Climate Change. Further, it was proposed that the SSCCC Forum could serve as a standing policy interface for this Platform, by providing a means for ongoing dialogue and engagement with policy-makers and the policy process.
The Forum was co-sponsored by the National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC) and UNEP, and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), INTASAVE-CARIBSAVE Group, WWF, UNFCCC and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). It was organized by the UNEP-International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP).