How can capacity development projects ensure that tangible results are achieved? This question was at the centre of discussions at the One UN Side Event on “Results-Based Capacity Development to Address Climate Change: Lessons Learned from UN Supported Projects”, that took place in Durban, South Africa on 2 December 2011 in the margins of the COP17/CMP7 of the UNFCCC. The event that was co-organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) attracted more than 80 participants.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, Climate Change Coordinator at UNEP, who moderated the event, highlighted that development partners were increasingly realizing that instead of “parachuting projects” on countries, support should be aligned with national climate change objectives in order to achieve concrete results. The event comprised two parts. The first part featured presentations by four country representatives on tangible projects supported by the UN. Drawing upon the presentations, the second part featured an interactive discussion with the audience and discussant statements by international development partners.
Mr. Fabio Andrés Bernal Quiroga, Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), Colombia, presented the Joint Programme on Ecosystem Integration and Adaptation to Climate Change in Macizo Colombiano (supported by FAO, UNOPS, UNDP, UNICEF). He highlighted important factors that contributed to successful project implementation including experience exchange, strengthening networks of local stakeholders, working in intercultural teams, and a “learning by doing” approach.
Mr. Jope Davetanivalu, Director of Environment, Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment, Fiji, and Ms. Preey Lelii, Town Clerk and CEO of the Lami Town Council, introduced the Cities and Climate Change Initiative in Lami Town (supported by UN HABITAT). Mr. Lelii pointed out that community involvement as well as close coordination with other local government institutions had been essential to effectively implement disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation measures.
Mr. Animesh Kumar, Adviser, Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) at the Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia, who presented the LEAP initiative (Livelihoods, Early Assessment and Protection) supported by the World Food Programme pointed out the importance of training people at all levels on early warning systems. Under the LEAP project a training mechanism has been established, whereby federal trainers are continuously training counterparts at regional and sub-regional levels.
Ms. Amanda Katili-Niode, Coordinator of the Communication, Information and Education Division at the National Climate Change Council of Indonesia and national focal point for Article 6 of the UNFCCC highlighted that the various climate change activities in the country had created unprecedented learning needs in various sectors. In order to address this challenge in a strategic manner the country was developing a National Strategy on Strengthening Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development with support of UN CC:Learn.
In his discussant statement, Mr. David Playton, Senior Environmental Advisor, UNDP said that results-based capacity development was not only about defining indicators, but mainly about clearly defining what one wants to achieve with a certain project. He further explained the UNDP capacity development framework, highlighting that individual skills development needed to be linked to capacity development at the institutional and systemic level.
Mr. Achim Halpaap, Associate Director and Head of Environment Unit at UNITAR, focused in his discussant intervention on the importance of scaling up individual learning and linking it to achieving national climate change objectives. He further highlighted that evaluating learning results is of key importance, not only to ensure accountability of donor resources, but more importantly to provide feedback for continuously improving capacity development support.