IFAD at the Development & Climate Days

By Ilaria Firmian 
5-6 December 2015
L’Usine, Saint-Denis, France

This year for the first time IFAD has co-sponsored the Development & Climate Days (D&C Days) at COP21.

Since COP10 in Buenos Aires, D&C Days has taken place annually in the middle weekend of the UNFCCC COPs. It is a unique space, where policy, knowledge and practice are linked in a way that enables substantial learning and dialogue. The atmosphere is designed to attract a diverse set of participants seeking to find joint solutions. The format of the sessions is innovative and dynamic, very different from the traditional side event format seen elsewhere in the COP.

The theme of this year “Zero Poverty. Zero emission. Tough talk on poverty and climate” provided an opportunity to focus discussion on integration of global efforts to tackle climate change and poverty, aiming to set the world on a path to zero extreme poverty and zero net emissions.

I attended one session on creating a business case for resilience – an x-factor style session where panellists from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Red Cross Climate Centre (RCCC) pitched innovative ideas to enhance resilience. The participants voted for the most compelling approach, which in my view was an approach focusing on the risks at the different stages of agricultural value chains.

I also attended a session on main-streaming climate information services, including up-scaling already established projects. IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) was discussed and it's experience on salinity monitoring in Vietnam was used to compare potential possibilities with other projects in Bolivia, India and Kenya.

Day One closed with a plenary session on ‘Radical Adaptation’. This involved questioning the suitability of current climate adaptation programmes and proposing, using field examples, different adaptation approaches that complement poverty eradication. The approaches addressed the structural causes of vulnerability and resilience. They also talked about what it meant to be 'climate-informed' and the best way to ensure this. 

Day Two closed with a high level panel where people like Mary Robinson and Janos Pasztor shared their vision of what will, or at least should, happen at the end of COP21.

The expectations are high. “We need the best possible and most robust agreement that we can manage. The SDGs come into operation as of the first of January, and this is a great opportunity to build”, said Mary Robinson, the founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation -Climate Justice.