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At the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn which concluded last week, experts discussed a range of opportunities to help people, above all the most vulnerable , better adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change.

The opportunities presented ranged from information systems which advise farmers in the Philippines on which crops to plant to promoting gender in adaptation action in Vanuatu.

The discussions took place during the first Technical Expert Meetings on Adaptation (“TEM-A”) . The TEM-A is an open and flexible platform for discussion and sharing best practices and lessons learned among governments, civil society organizations and the private sector.

“It’s time for action and the Technical Expert Meetings are a very important part of it,” French climate champion Laurence Tubiana said in her opening remarks.

The TEMs are part of the Technical Examination Process on Adaptation (TEP-A), and were decided at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris last year.

“This process is established as part of the post-Paris regime to bring together governments and non-party stakeholders to enhance adaptation action before 2020,” Minpeng Chen, Co-Chair of the Adaptation Committee, said during the launch of the process.

The umbrella topic for the 2016 TEP-A is "Reducing vulnerability and mainstreaming climate change adaptation, including through the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans”.

The two day meeting in Bonn was the successful kick-off to this process, which will drill deeper into the topic throughout the year with the publication of a technical paper and as synthesis for policy makers and culminate in a high-level event at the UN Climate  Change Conferece in Marrakech in November (COP 22).  

Concrete Examples of Adaptation Action on the Ground

In Bonn, concrete examples of adaptation action were presented which can be transferred from one country to the next. Adaptation in agriculture is particularly important. The successful establishment of a climate information system (“Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture”) supports farmers in the Philippines to better adapt to the climate change impacts. Such tools are particularly important for countries in which the structure of the agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder farmers who already feel climate change impacts first hand.

To enhance the interaction among participants, several sessions were held in break-out groups. Day one focused on questions around providing financial, technology and capacity-building support as well as supporting decision-making, giving participants the opportunity to share knowledge and experience valuable input from government and private sector presenters, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and MunichRe.

Effective policy frameworks for Adaptation Planning and Implementation

The second day focused on effective policy frameworks and institutional arrangements for adaptation planning and implementation. One of the many highlights was the Floating Coconut Tool Kit” as a national and local tool, presented by Vanuatu. It communicated the importance of promoting gender in adaptation action towards equity and effective participation in the decision making process.

The session also highlighted effective trans-boundary policy frameworks for adaptation using the example of the Zambezi river Basin.

The break-out sessions examined existing and emerging trends for effective governance and monitoring and evaluation, as exemplified by the Adaptation Learning Highway presented by ICIMOD.

Participants were invited to submit ideas for future Technical Expert Meetings, which will – along with the broad range of issues discussed at the first TEM-A – be analysed by the Adaptation Committee for further action. As Don Lemmen, Co-Chair of the Adaptation Committee, said in his concluding remarks, using a quote from Christiana Figueres: The process is about PPP - People, Profit and the Planet.

The two full day meetings were an innovative way of stimulating an active exchange of views and knowledge sharing. The use of an interactive audience management tool, which enabled the submission of questions and remarks via smartphone, tablet or laptops, ensured a broad participation and brought new topics onto the table, such as how to best use journalism as an information sharing tool.

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