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Open Space 8: Managing competing donor-driven climate change activities at a national and regional level

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The group had a wide ranging discussion. All developing countries there had experienced challenges of coordination of climate change activities in a multi-donor environment as well as having multiple agencies, communities and sectors involved.

It was suggested the problem was not necessarily that any one agency of Government needed to (or could) coordinate the range of climate change activities or that there were too many activities being funded.

The key problem with not having a lead agency informed is that the donor activity comes and goes and then there is no institutional memory, meaning the action to address climate change is fragmented and not sustainable. There are also issues of communities’ consultation fatigue, where studies and participatory approaches are undertaken, but no implementation results in the near term, despite raised expectations for action.

It was also noted that institutional arrangements for climate change are changing rapidly within countries in an effort to enhance coordination and address the added burden of climate change impacts. Sometimes it may be difficult for external partners to be aware of these new systems and policies, or it more expedient (both time wise and in terms of political agendas) to work with known counterparts and bypass the new systems..

It was agreed that countries needed to be empowered to take the lead in terms of having strategic directions and indicators against which externally funded activities could contribute and be measured.
To help achieve this through GCCA it was suggested:
• Information link/dissemination first point of contact in a country should always include UNFCCC focal point(s) (especially as GCCA stemmed from response to negotiations).
• Coordinate activities between GCCA regional and national projects and the technical assistance facility. GCCA HQ to update website, include country pages for all countries under GCCA (even if only part of a regional project) and link up GCCA contacts working in the same country or region through formal communications.
• Facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue at different levels within countries around implementation of strategic plans on national or sectoral basis.
• Build on recent or parallel bilateral (especially EU members) supported climate change activities to enhance sustainability, including looking at capacity needs assessments already completed and how to support those through the project based approach in the interim and longer term timeframes.
• Develop a pilot system or database to track substantive climate change activities (not just funding) against national climate change strategic plan and indicators (including finance).
• Work with countries to support the establishment of a single mechanism/pool for funds, to which incoming partners can be directed to contribute to in future.

I also wonder why this has been filed under Ethiopia as a category? Perhaps it could be under finance, mainstreaming or something more relevant. Countries present included: Cambodia, Ireland, Mauritius, Nepal, Timor Leste, Solomon Islands, and from intl organisations there was ACP Research, and SPC

Thanks for these very useful and comprehensive inputs, Pasha. Other people who participated in your open space group are welcome to provide extra insights. With regard to Ethiopia as a category, this was a mistake - I have now corrected it.

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12 September 2012

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