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North South East West – COP16 Climate Cooperation without Borders

10 December 2010
North South East West – COP16 Climate Cooperation without Borders

CANCUN, 10 December 2010: The Climate Leaders Summit 2010 ended with a successful panel session – “A Clean Revolution for all: developed and developing regions working together” – exploring cooperation underway between developed and developing country regions to advance climate strategies and specific mitigation and adaptation actions.

Held in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), this panel enabled a diverse group of energy and environment ministers and experts from São Paulo, Tabasco State (Mexico), Mbale (Eastern Uganda), Wales and Guangzhou (Guandong province, China) to share practical experiences of low carbon development.

Philips Lighting added a corporate perspective to the panel by elaborating on their rural LED lighting projects in Africa.

Luc Bas, The Climate Group’s European Director, opened the panel by saying: "Direct  region to region co-operation between sub national governments not only results in faster and concrete action to cut emissions but also supports vital trust building among  developing and developed countries towards a fully fledged international agreement on Climate Change.”

Panellists shared examples of partnerships designed to limit climate change – both region to region and sub-national to sub-national. There was discussion of early signs of progress and the mutual benefits of cooperation both on a north to south axis but south to south too. Despite this, there was also a frank discussion of the multiple challenges involved in joint efforts, particularly the issue of financing, as highlighted by the representative of the UNDP in his closing remarks.

Representatives from Mbale and Wales discussed their joint partnership under the UN’s Territorial Approach to Climate Change (TACC) program that is helping prepare the Mbale region for a more climate-resilient future. Mbale will have the support and engagement of the UNDP over the next two years to develop an integrated plan that will be the basis for applications for UN carbon finance funds.

One of Mexico’s wettest states, Tabasco, was another area of the world that came into focus during the panel. As a result of the state’s high incidence of flood exacerbated by subsidence and deforestation, Tabasco is partnering with civil society organizations and international scientists to address climate change impacts head-on.

There was consensus among speakers that a changing climate requires commitment, hard work and significant amounts of training and capacity building on the ground. Close cooperation with UN agencies and government partners is one way to help break down barriers to finance and technology transfer.
The Climate Group’s Deputy CEO, Mark Kenber closed the panel by saying: “The potential for South-South collaboration in emerging and developing countries is tremendous. It is fascinating to learn about what can be done and what challenges remain in scaling up these successes.”

Speakers included: Andrew Mawejje, Chief Administrative Officer, Mbale Uganda; Jon Townley, Head of International Sustainability, Wales; Minister Silvia Whizar, Tabasco State, Mexico; Harry Verhaar, Sr. Director Energy & Climate Change, Philips Lighting; Josilene Ferrer, Head of Climate Change Office, São Paulo State; Yannick Glemarec, Executive coordinator of the GEF at UNDP, Zhigang Luo, Guangzhou Energy Institution of Chinese Academy of Science.

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