Blog / 13 December 2009

Both ENDS in Copenhagen, what´s up?

Both ENDS in Copenhagen, what´s up?

Both ENDS is here for a number of reasons. First of all, we had the opportunity to present and discuss in two sessions the rationale and preliminary results of our ADAPTS programme, which we implement together with the Institute of Environmental Studies, ACACIA and local partners in 6 river basins around the world. Secondly, the so-called Development & Climate Days are held parallel to the COP. These days focus, not surprisingly, on the role of climate change in development and provide an excellent opportunity for meeting up with partners, networking, sharing and learning. Our short documentaries on two projects funded by the European Investment Bank, which had huge impacts on the resilience of the local population and the environment, were also shown at this event. As for the negotiations, it is hard to follow the complex technical details, especially this week when the texts are being drafted, and the real tough decisions are to be made by the heads of state next week. But from talks with partners, some written updates and a briefing session of the Climate Action Network, I understand that after the fiasco of the leaked 'Danish text" there is 'positive momentum'. 
The critical issues in the current negotiations are well-known: industrialised countries will need to commit to ambitious emission reduction targets and at the same time provide funding to support developing countries to adapt to climate change and follow low-carbon development paths; developing countries are asked to take measures to curb the growth in their emissions; and governance structures need to be agreed upon to monitor all of this. The estimates of what developing countries need to adapt to climate change vary, but are tens of billions of US dollars a year. How will this money be spent? Who manages these amounts, and who will benefit from them? 
As we also presented in our sessions, the ADAPTS programme shows that at the local level people are already adapting to climate change, and these locally led adaptation initiatives are effective and can inform management plans and adaptation policies. If the large amounts for adaptation will indeed materialise, it is these local actors and bottom up policy development processes that should benefit from these funds.

In the big Bella Conference Centre where I am currently having a coffee, all the people, meeting rooms, sessions, stands and papers can be quite overwhelming. While some people are frantically discussing issues with each other or working hard on statements or press releases, you also see people wondering around somewhat lost. Looking around, I wonder how many of all the people here actually make a difference (including myself). At the same time, you do feel strengthened being here: the vibe is inspiring and the urgency can be felt. When you listen to a woman from Ghana struggling to grow enough food for her family, run into a group of people from small island states shouting to keep them on the map, or hear about a delegate from Tuvalu crying while giving his speech in the plenary session, you again realise all this is not just a high-level, international conference. For them it is their survival. 
Added by Annelieke Douma from Both ENDS in Copenhagen


United Nations Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen


 The Bella Conference Centre


A group from small islands states keeping them on the map

Promoting veggie diets

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