What are the next steps for climate action transparency, and how can we use transparency to create a better and more sustainable world for all?
Transparency experts and practitioners from around the world attempted to answer these questions and many more at the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) Community Meetings in Copenhagen’s UN City last week.
The meeting focused on countries’ need for easy-to-use tools to effectively use data and information to drive the implementation of the Paris Agreement, including to live up to their reporting requirements, building trust in global climate action, as well as their need for support in using them. Participants also spoke on the need for better data to create more efficient climate policies, and the importance of linking to priorities for long-term sustainable development.
Continuing the ICAT success
The ICAT Community Meetings were co-hosted by the ICAT Secretariat together with the UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre, one of ICAT’s long-standing implementing partners.
Discussing and identifying the future needs for transparency, the meeting was not only about highlighting the crucial role of and need for tracking and transparency in climate data, it was also about ensuring that ICAT continues as the success story it has been since its inception.
In his closing remarks, ICAT Director, Dr Henning Wuester, said the three-day meeting felt “like a community growing together.”
“We’ve heard from international and in-country experts, many of whom are close to policy-making. All recognize how transparency can make a critical contribution to move global climate change efforts forward and push them to the level needed to avoid the disaster we are at risk of facing,” said Dr Wuester.
UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre director, Susanne Pedersen, also mentioned the importance of coming together and learning from the ICAT community in her closing remarks.
”We have heard some great examples of how transparency can be crucial in creating real impact on the ground and raise the ambitions for climate action. With the lessons learned here, we can’t wait to continue the work of UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre in developing much needed tools and helping countries build transparency systems,” she said.
The finance barrier
During the meeting’s three days, it was clear that many countries are struggling to access finance to implement climate action.
For developing countries, access to finance is crucial if they are to become integral part of the global response to climate change. Systems that are needed to ensure trust and ambition in climate action worldwide.
It was also discussed how tools and methodologies better could be used to define very specific policies aimed at clear goals and practices to ease mobilization of finance.
For finance, it was not just a matter of needing more money. Several countries cited the same need – the need for financial data to understand the cost of actual actions.
Capacity building and integration
A large part of how ICAT strengthens transparency in developing countries is to build capacity, both in building national transparency frameworks and related systems and in using ICAT’s tools and methodologies .
According to the participants in the ICAT Community Meeting, ICAT had been crucial in building up capacity. However, next steps needed to include a stronger focus on capacity building support to national teams in house, and on how to integrate transparency frameworks into existing institutions.
Making transparency central to governments
Gathered in UN City, the participants represented more than 25 countries and expertise from many different levels of implementation. However, when the talk centered around long term strategies for sustainable development and how to ensure continuing support for transparency efforts,
Throughout the meeting, the necessity of bringing together policymakers and setting up permanent institutions for coordinating and sharing knowledge for both implementation and reporting was highlighted.
A more overarching approach with central ownership will also allow countries to replicate good practices and collect lessons learned from each sector, and facilitate much needed knowledge sharing regionally and globally.