Investing in People and Learning to Foster a Climate Resilient and Green Transition

COP-16 One UN Side Event on Capacity Building Features Successful Country-UN Partnerships to Foster Low-Emission and Climate-Resilient Development

02 December 2010

What are good and illustrative case studies of effective capacity development supported by UN agencies that deliver results on climate change in Member States? This question was at the heart of the discussions at the One-UN COP-16 side event on Capacity Building as a Driver of Low-Emission, Climate-Resilient Development, 1 December 2010, Cancun, Mexico. The event was co-organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the co-conveners for capacity development under the One UN Climate Change Action Framework of the UN Chief Executive Board for Coordination (CEB).

“Capacity development is not abstract, but needs to be linked to concrete issues and problem solving“, said Kaveh Zahedi, Climate Change Coordinator of UNEP in his opening remarks. Moderated by Yamil Bonduki, Coordinator of UNDP’s National Communications Support Programme, the event featured case studies on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in Peru, vulnerability assessment at the local level in the Philippines, forest monitoring in Tanzania, and institutional capacity development at the regional level in Africa.

Julia Justo Soto, Executive Director of the Peruvian National Environment Fund (FONAM), introduced a collaborative project with the UNEP Risoe Center and the World Bank which facilitated the implementation of CDM projects in Peru. In total over 13,000 people were trained in national and local financial institutions with support of local consultants as part of a broader capacity development project. “Today, Peru is one of the leading countries accessing the carbon world market with over 200 projects in place – and this is thanks to our capacity development initiative”, Ms. Justo Soto highlighted.

María Dolores Franco, Head of the Office of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) in Mexico described a partnership between UN-HABITAT, the Philippine Government and local stakeholders to develop capacity in the area of climate change vulnerability and adaptation at the city level. Drawing on policy research supported through the collaboration, a pilot project was implemented in Sorsogon City to strengthen local capacities and initiate concrete adaptation action, including the enhancement of risk management systems and the improvement of housing structures for the poor.

Peter Holmgren, Director of the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), discussed FAO support to the Tanzanian Government in developing capacity to implement forest monitoring and verification systems. “The UN can play an important role in supporting skills development through a mix of national and global training programmes, including North-South and South-South collaboration”, Mr. Holmgren emphasized. In the case of Tanzania, for example, FAO engaged Brazil in offering capacity development and technology transfer to Tanzanian institutions.

Secou Sarr, Coordinator of Environment and Development Action in the Third World (ENDA-TM) discussed a collaboration of ENDA-TM with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to develop institutional capacity and knowledge sharing at the regional level in Africa to address climate change vulnerability in specific areas, such as food security. “The partnership played a key role in facilitating experience and knowledge exchange among experts and institutions in the region and globally”, Mr. Sarr pointed out.

An important theme which emerged during the discussions was the need to sustain climate change training initiatives and strengthen local training institutions. “This is one of the challenges the One UN Training Service Platform for Climate Change, UN CC:Learn seeks to address through its country based pilot projects”, said Achim Halpaap, UN CC:Learn Secretariat. UN CC:Learn is a collaborative initiative of 23 UN agencies included in the CEB "One UN Climate Change Action Framework" under the capacity development group co-convened by UNDP and UNEP, with funding provided by the Swiss Development Cooperation. Starting in 2011, UN CC:Learn will support three pilot projects with the goal to support countries in taking a strategic, long-term and results-oriented approach to climate change learning that complements and provides value added to existing initiatives.

Download case studies presented at the side-event as well as other success stories of UN capacity development collected by UNDP and UNEP in advance of the side event.

Read more about the CC:Learn Pilot Projects to Strengthen Human Resources, Learning and Skills Development to Address Climate Change.

For further information on the side event, please contact:

For further information on CC:Learn, please contact the CC:Learn Secretariat (