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​Mitigation co-benefits at the core of side events at Bonn climate talks

by Nadia Kähkönen at 23 Jun 2015

Participants at the Bonn Climate Conference saw mitigation co-benefits as a prime example of how action on climate change can support the post-2015 development agenda. The conference brought together nearly 4,000 participants, representing parties and observer states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and media.

During the side event on 'Quantifying and Monetizing Sustainable Development Co-benefits of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs),' South Pole Group presented a paper on valuing the sustainable development co-benefits of mitigation actions in the waste sector. The paper was jointly prepared by UN ESCAP, Waste Concern, South Pole Group and the UNFCCC secretariat. It explores the socio-economic benefits of recovering organic waste from municipal waste and using it as fertilizer - an activity which translates into savings, employment, and increased crop yields, valued in three pilot cases in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal in a range from tonnes of CO2 saved. The aim of the side event was to illustrate the co-benefits associated with certain typologies of projects, provide suggestions for the quantification and possible monetization, and draw recommendations for the design of NAMAs, including the role of government.

"Carbon is just one source of "value to society" that we were able to monetize via carbon markets. Good mitigation projects have many other sources of value that should be "unlocked": understood, recognized, quantified and, if possible, monetized," said Manuel Cocco, Principal, Climate Policy at South Pole Group, who was presenting at the side event.

In this same vein, South Pole Group also contributed to the in-session workshop on gender-responsive climate policy, which focused on co-benefit rich mitigation actions in the area of women empowerment. The Group presented the W+ Standard (Woman Carbon Standard), a social standard allowing the valuation of women empowerment related "co-benefits" created by a climate action from carbon credits. The W+ Standard uses a results-based approach to evaluate the impact of a diverse set of project types on women empowerment, measuring results and channeling money directly into the hands of women. The approach was shown as an example of how results-based finance can help in mainstreaming gender into development and climate mitigation action.

The talks in Bonn served to pave to way to the key conference in Paris in December, at which countries will aim to sign a new global agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions. During the same week as the Bonn Climate Conference, key players around the world also sent strong signals during for more ambitious climate action: the G7 made historic pledges to decarbonize the global economy over the course of the century and highlighted the role of women empowerment as a key driver for innovation, growth and climate protection.

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