Durban, South Africa - The IDLO Delegation to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) led conferences, launched programs and publications, hosted meetings and experts side-events and supported negotiations on Legal Preparedness for Climate Change in developing countries. In the context of the UNFCCC, IDLO is the main inter-governmental organization to provide expertise and build partnerships on rule of law and the legal aspects of adaptation and mitigation of climate change in developing countries. The IDLO Delegation was led by Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Head of Economic Growth and Trade for IDLO, and engaged IDLO legal specialists from Kenya, Mexico, Canada, France and Vietnam.
On December 3 & 4, IDLO co-organized the International Conference on Climate Law and Governance in the Global South, alongside the COP17. The objective of the Conference was to catalyze legal thought on climate change and its implications for the development of laws and institutions in developing countries, and to promote south-south dialogue and share legal best practices. The Conference attracted over 200 participants, including international legal experts and policymakers from developing countries. It resulted in a fruitful and open dialogue about common experiences, challenges and strategies employed as well as opportunities for adapting legal and policy frameworks to the growing challenge of climate change. The Conference benefited from keynote speeches by high level representatives from UNEP, UNDP, UN FAO and the World Bank, also ICTSD, who shared current perspectives and directions within their organizations on the legal aspects of climate change in developing countries. An interactive event, it featured numerous workshops for a meaningful dialogue between participants on topics such as Human Rights and Climate Adaptation, Legal Aspects of Climate Finance, Legal Preparedness for Climate Change, Legislative Initiatives for REDD+, and International Economic Law on Climate Change. The Conference was co-organized by IDLO along with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and Warburton Attorneys.
On December 3, IDLO launched a new Compendium of Legal Best Practices in Climate Law, and a series of new policy briefs on “Behind the Success Stories in Climate Compatible Development” at a high-level Reception in the context of the COP17. The briefs were commissioned by the Climate & Development Knowledge Network (CKDN), and drafted in collaboration with CISDL and local partners in developing countries. Climate compatible development is development that minimizes the harm caused by climate impacts, while maximizing the many human development opportunities presented by low-emissions, for a more resilient future. The Reception included inspiring keynote speeches by Her Excellency Mary Robinson, Honorary President of Oxfam International, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, and former President of the Republic of Ireland, and Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International.
On December 6, IDLO experts spoke at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development Conference organized in the context of COP17. IDLO specialists and experts focused on climate finance, sustainable development aspects of investment and trade agreements, protecting human rights in REDD+ mechanisms and the green economy.
At COP 17, the Government of Vietnam, represented by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MONRE), signed an MOU to launch Phase 1 of a Legal Preparedness for Climate Change program in Vietnam, heralding a new era of collaboration for IDLO with this leading country.
On December 8, IDLO along with FAO, UN-REDD and CISDL organized an official side-event at the COP17, on the topic of Legal Preparedness for Climate Compatible Development: The Role of REDD+. The side-event was based on recent IDLO publications on Legal Preparedness for REDD+ in Mexico, Vietnam and Zambia. The side-event involved policymakers from Mexico, Vietnam and Zambia, along with international legal experts from IDLO and CISDL, who discussed key legal challenges and opportunities for REDD+ in these countries. Discussions focused on how existing laws and regulations shape national contexts for REDD+ implementation. Participants attempted to identify innovative legal instruments to offer lessons and ideas to REDD+ policymakers and stakeholders in developing countries.
IDLO events at the COP17 benefited from wide and diverse participation, and contributed to fostering dialogue and building partnerships with regard to Legal Preparedness for Climate Change, raising awareness about the complex legal issues concerning climate change among policymakers and climate negotiators, and facilitating a south-south exchange of legal best practices on a range of climate change-related issues.