COP18 - Poverty, Climate Change, and Knowledge Institutions

Most of the world's poor live in middle-income countries, which need to mitigate emissions, too, and not only adapt to the consequences of climate change. Climate action and poverty reduction continue as a trade-off. However, it is widely accepted that reducing poverty and addressing climate change (both mitigation as well as adaptation) require innovative solutions that can be customized and implemented at the local level. Innovations, both in terms of conception and implementation of policy and technology, are critical. In addition to policy-makers, the role of knowledge institutions too is vital in this regard. The side event discussed the policy concepts, e.g. NAMA, CDM, SD-PAMs, and the role of knowledge institutions in catalysing climate and poverty action.

Setting the background for discussions, Britta Rennkamp from the UCT introduced the MAPS project and highlighted the importance of looking at mitigation actions through the lens of poverty alleviation. Manish Shrivastava from TERI shared the interventions that TERI has made in the last 30 years in addressing climate change and development challenges simultaneously. He pointed out that knowledge institutions and their experience in developing and implementing climate and development solutions have a lot to offer to international climate policy, and their experience is something which the future climate regime must use.

Responding to the arguments and questions set by these background presentations, and posed by the moderator Tasneem Essop (WWF), K Umamaheshwarn pointed out the role CDM has played in alleviating poverty. Highlighting the limitations of the CDM, Dr Prodipto Ghosh (Former Secretary, MoEF and Distinguished Fellow, TERI) pointed out that the experience with CDM has contributed significantly to the formulation of various national policies in India. Harald Winkler (UCT), explaining the experience with the idea of Sustainable Development-Policy and Measures (SD-PAMs) pointed out that ongoing climate and development actions are encouraging, but we still have to figure out the dynamics between mitigation and poverty alleviation, which can allow scaling up of these actions. Amit Kumar (TERI) suggested that one must unbundle the concept of poverty into its constituent elements that could be measured. Only then can the link between poverty and climate change be adequately addressed. He substantiated his argument citing examples of various interventions instituted by TERI. Maria Elena Gutierrez of PlanCC and Pierre Dumbele of the Mali Folke Centre shared similar experiences from PERU and Mali, respectively.

For a report of the event, Click here.

Date: 29 Nov 2012
Location: Doha, Qatar
Category: Any Other


Mr Manish Kumar Shrivastava
Associate Fellow
Centre for Global Environment Research
Earth Science and Climate Change Division