Decision Makers from UN CC:Learn Pilot Countries Discuss Opportunities and Challenges to Advance Climate Change Learning at COP 17 Side Event

3 December 2011, Durban, South Africa. What challenges do countries face to strengthen human resources and skills to implement national climate change priorities and what can be done to enhance the capacity of national learning institutions to deliver climate change learning? These were among key issues discussed at the COP17/CMP7 Side Event on “Developing and Sustaining Human Resource Capacities to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development”, 3 December 2011, Durban, South Africa.

The event was hosted by the Government of Uganda in collaboration with UN CC:Learn. It brought together more than 80 COP delegates, including representatives from Article 6 Focal Points, stakeholder groups, and international development partners. The first part of the event featured an interactive discussion with senior representatives of the five UN CC:Learn pilot countries which include Benin, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Malawi and Uganda. The second part featured discussant statements by international UN CC:Learn partners.

In her opening remarks, the Hon. Nabugere Munaaba Flavia, Minister of State for Environment of Uganda stressed the importance of the UN CC:Learn Pilot Projects to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Address Climate Change: “The UN CC:Learn project is a strategic investment to promote real transformation in countries”. Borrowing from Confucius, she stated that “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime”.

Mr. Omar Ramírez Tejada, Secretary of State and Executive Vice President of the National Council for Climate Change and the Clean Development Mechanism (CNCCMDL) of the Dominican Republic expressed that climate change education was a national priority in his country. He said that it was necessary to develop different strategic approaches for formal education, vocational/professional training and public awareness to promote cultural change and develop skills in society.

Ms. Amanda Katili Niode, Coordinator of the Communication, Information and Education Division, National Climate Change Council of Indonesia and National Focal Point for Article 6 of the UNFCCC emphasized the importance of an interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder process to develop a National Strategy to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development. She also expressed that effective implementation of the Strategy requires engagement of regional and local governments as well as local communities.

Mr. Théophile C. Worou, Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urbanism of Benin highlighted that legal frameworks were important to address climate change. The real challenge is, however, to implement these regulations with concrete action. Mr. Worou further highlighted that government ownership and close involvement of national training and education institutions were key factors for the successful training and capacity development projects.

Mr. David O. O. Obong, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda pointed to the importance of public awareness about climate change, and developing skills for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation action. He expressed that project monitoring and evaluation is necessary to achieve concrete results and that this process should be executed with close involvement of all concerned institutions and stakeholders.

Mr. Yona Kamphale, Director of Economic Planning, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Malawi, explained that Malawi was taking a multi-sectoral approach to climate change capacity development. A Steering Committee and a Technical Committee had been established under the National Climate Change Programme that brought together key sectors and stakeholders.

Following the interactive panel statements, representatives from UN organizations including Daniel Schensul from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Jan Rijpma from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Office Malawi, Ana Sanchez from the International Labor Organization (ILO), Alberto Sandoval from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Stephanie Hodge from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provided their perspectives.

UN CC:Learn is a partnership of 30 UN agencies which supports Member States in designing and implementing results-oriented and sustainable learning to address climate change. The Secretariat for UN CC:Learn is provided by UNITAR. An important aspect of UN CC:Learn is to support countries in developing a National Strategy to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development, through a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder process. Core funding for the 2011-2013 implementation phase of UN CC:Learn is provided by the Swiss Government. UN CC:Learn activities at COP17/CMP are supported by a contribution from UNFPA.

In commenting on the side event and the UN CC:Learn initiative, Stephen Gold, Head of UNDP’s Green, Low-emission and Climate-resilient Development Strategies, pointed out that "capacity and human resource development are key determinants to advance green, low emission and carbon resilient development. UNDP is therefore pleased to participate in UN CC:Learn and to collaborate with UN partner agencies and pilot countries in advancing learning and skills development within a broader capacity development framework to advance climate compatible development”.

For further information please contact Mr. Paul Isabirye (paul_isabirye@yahoo.com) or Mr. Bob Natifu (bnatifu@yahoo.com) from the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda; or Ms. Amrei Horstbrink (amrei.horstbrink@unitar.org), UN CC:Learn Secretariat; or visit www.uncclearn.org.