02/10/2017 Cooperation with ISDB to support Ecosystem Approach for Climate Actions

PERSGA and ISDB initiative to support Ecosystem Approach for Climate Actions in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

Regional Workshop on “Ecosystem Approach in Nationally Determined Contributions ‘NDCs’ for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Coastal Areas”, 02-04 October 2017, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The regional workshop addressing “Ecosystem Approach in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for Climate Actions in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Region” was organized by PERSGA with the support of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) during 2nd- 4th October 2017 in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The objective of the workshop is to build regional capacities and coordinate regional efforts for developing and implementing ecosystem based adaptation and mitigation within the framework of NDCs for Climate Change actions, and associated policy development planning procedures.

The opening session was addressed by Prof. Ziad Abu Ghararah, PERSGA Secretary General, and Dr. Amadou Thierno Diallo, Director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department of the IDB.

 In his opening address, Prof. Abu Ghararah welcomed the participants, highlighting the importance of the workshop, which generally comes in the framework of the continuous efforts by PERSGA to support and strengthen regional coordination and collaboration between its member states; particularly, it is a pioneer workshop focusing on the NDCs for Climate Change actions and comes as implementation of PERSGA partnership established with IDB, addressing Climate Change and marine conservation. He indicated PERSGA mission and mandate towards these objectives, on the basis of Jeddah Convention and Regional Action Plan (1982) for conservation and of coastal and marine resources, require PERSGA parties to manage these resources in sustainable manner. He also indicated that a PERSGA regional strategy and program for climate change, which focus on building capacities and enhancing cooperation in building resilience for ecosystem based solutions, and mobilization efforts and funds from national regional and international resources. He valued the well established partnership of PERSGA with the IDB, ensuring the keenness of PERSGA to extend and sustain collaboration with the Bank for the benefit of the PERSGA member states and cooperation with countries of IDB in other regions.

Dr. Diallo welcomed the participants and valued the workshop role and collaboration between IDB and PERSGA. He stressed on the significance of the workshop issues, recalling the importance of the NDCs as guiding country-level climate actions for the future, after Paris Agreement having entered into force last year. Dr. Diallo outlined the IDB efforts supporting sustainable development in its member states and worldwide, emphasizing that caring of the environment and facing the challenge of Climate Change are indispensable to achieve sustainable development in the IDB strategy and vision for alleviating poverty, improving health, promoting education, improving governance and prospering the people.

The workshop was attended by 33 participants, including delegates from six PERSGA member states (Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Somalia), and regional and international experts from PERSGA, Islamic Development Bank, King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) and Perspectives Climate Group (Switzerland). It included an interactive 3-day program with a combination of key background lectures, national presentations, group works and plenary discussions.

Key background lectures introduced up-to-date knowledge on essential topics for the workshop discussions, covering evolution of global efforts addressing Climate Change, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for climate actions, ecosystem approach and its applicable mitigation and adaptation solutions for coastal and marine ecosystems, application of science-based baseline scenarios, building resilience of coastal ecosystems, financing options for coastal & marine mitigation and adaptation actions contained by the NDCs in relation to international climate finance and market mechanisms. The national presentations reported on the experience and state of the art for development of the NDCs in the participant PERSGA countries. Tow opening presentations were also offered to demonstrate PERSGA and IDB efforts in general and those addressing Climate Change in particular. The group and plenary discussions were guided by thorough handouts to design approaches for identifying coastal/ marine adaptation & mitigation options and priorities for NDCs in PERSGA region, considering resilience issues, and assessment of required interventions, such as relevant legal/ policy reforms, devices, programs, projects or activities, etc.

The workshop addressed a number of key themes, including features and concepts tied to NDCs and implementation approaches for adaptation and mitigation actions in the region. The potential for integrating blue carbon into NDCs was discussed at the theoretical and international level with case studies from outside the region to inform potential implementation plans by PERSGA member states. The current status of ecosystem based approaches in the region was then discussed with the aim of facilitating potential collaborative measures both at the national and regional level, based on contributions by member states on the current state of NDC planning and implementation in coastal areas.

Overall, the workshop proved to be a valuable contribution to efforts to enhance regional cooperation and capacity on the theme of ecosystem based adaptation and mitigation, and their integration into NDCs. To move beyond into effective implementation, a number of policy options were recommended by the workshop, including:

-       Ecosystem-based approaches should be strongly framed in terms of their adaptation benefits, with carbon sequestration as a mitigation co-benefit, given the subsidiary sequestration rates of blue carbon ecosystems (mangroves, seagrass, and saltmarshes) and the huge services supporting adaptation actions by these ecosystem, such as livelihoods from fishery and tourism and coastal protection

-       Given the trans-boundary nature of most coastal ecosystems and their spread in the PERSGA region, efforts at harmonizing certain policy instruments where feasible should be supported. To this end, efforts from other regions should be studied in terms of challenges and opportunities with a strong potential for PERSGA member states to act as a lighthouse for other regions.

-       Different sources of financing for coastal ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation will need to be combined, ranging from national to international and public to private.

-       Experiences of Blue Carbon in other regions should be examined to determine what lessons can be applied for the PERSGA region.

-       PERSGA and its member states should remain involved in discussion of how to put into operation the Paris Agreement with regards to coastal ecosystems.

-       PERSGA should moreover follow up with member states beyond the workshop to ensure buy-in from national governments for concrete actions. In this respect, the partnership of PERSGA and the IDB is to be sustained to address capacity building needs for planning and implementation of coastal ecosystem based Climate Change actions in the region

-       Existing efforts to establish evidence-base decision making through research on coastal ecosystems in the Red Sea should continue to be supported in order to establish a community of practice operating with regionally specific data.

-       Finally, the workshop suggested to develop a PERSGA region GCF proposal for ecosystem based adaptation with mitigation co-benefits of blue carbon protection. This could to be submitted by the eligible member states and benefit from financial and technical support of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for sustainable partnership supporting assessment studies at the project preparation phase, and capacity building component of the project implementation phase.

The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden