The two-day virtual 2022 PARIS21 Spring Meetings focused on the topic of climate change data. The meetings introduced the concept of a climate change data ecosystem (CCDE), examined challenges that keep data from being fully leveraged for climate reporting and action, and explored best practices and opportunities at the country level. Over the two days, the meeting was attended by over 400 participants from 100 countries.
- Adequate data are key to understanding the problems of climate change and making decisions about the best ways to solve them as a tool for monitoring, reporting and decision making – a perspective that has not been reflected enough in international discussions. The global conversation has mainly focused on reporting and ensuring internationally comparable data, not on providing actionable data on the ground, or aligning and integrating country level work into international approaches.
- Climate change data ecosystems can help countries to understand both the "what”; what data are needed, and the "how”; how they can work with this data.
- Having an approach that promotes multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration and sustained human and financial resources is crucial for making data available for climate action.
- Country examples are offering insights of how challenges can be overcome, highlighting that engagement and collaboration are crucial. There is potential for NSOs to take on a bigger role as data stewards to encourage and ease collaboration across organisations.
- Next steps include piloting country assessments, identifying key partners for collaboration, and conducting additional analytical work to map the global landscape of climate change data, answer questions raised during initial exploration, and begin to identify a model for how the CCDE can function in practice.
WHAT WAS DISCUSSED
5 April: Better climate change data for all – the transformative potential of climate change data ecosystems to drive collective action
- The importance of data for reporting on climate change and taking action to mitigate and adapt to its impacts was highlighted by Ayush Ariunzaya, Minister for Labour and Social Protection, Mongolia
- Keynote speaker, Sony Kapoor, CEO of the Nordic Institute for Finance, Technology, and Sustainability, stressed the enormity of the undertaking necessary to fight climate change over the coming decades. He highlighted the need for adequate data to understand the problems, make decisions about the best ways to solve them, and identify and target financing and other incentives to do so. Finally, he stressed the importance of developing countries in these efforts and the responsibility of international efforts to support them.
- PARIS21 launched its scoping paper presenting the concept of climate change data ecosystems to help countries to address challenges in fragmented and incoherent data for international reporting, and national mitigation and adaptation policies.
- Discussants from the Maldives, the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States, and the OECD discussed how a holistic CCDE approach can be beneficial in these efforts. They highlighted the CCDE’s potential to advance at least three critical areas. A developed and active country-driven CCDE can improve communication and coordination by bringing stakeholders together in a meaningful and coherent way – around a common problem: the urgency for climate action. It can bring in and connect new resources to develop capacities in low-income countries by identifying the strategic areas where resources are most needed. And it can unlock climate change data for new uses by making available what is already there.
- Sam Joiner from the Financial Times provided insights into how data on climate change can be visualised to increase its utility.
- A high-level panel began to assess and develop ideas for how climate change data ecosystems can be leveraged for uses including monitoring and decision making. Discussants from the Global Green Growth Initiative, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, and the Department of the Environment of Antigua and Barbuda acknowledged that the complex realities of developing and establishing climate change data ecosystems on the ground require a case-by-case approach. Emerging examples from countries on how to tackle challenges and reconcile complexity include:
- Jamaica’s efforts to compile a climate change statistical compendium, which have required a considerable coordination effort to explore who produces what and make data available for the publication.
- The National Environmental Information System built by Antigua and Barbuda, which has integrated and made available climate change data for reporting and policy action.
6 April: From climate change data to action - the barriers and opportunities of creating sustainable climate change data ecosystems
- Panelists described several interventions that have focused on practices for improving climate change data by linking up and leveraging existing efforts at the global level as well as taking on practical challenges with ongoing projects at the country level.
- The recently launched Global Set of Climate Change Statistics and Indicators was discussed by Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the United Nations Statistics Division, as a starting point to improve both reporting and national level monitoring and action with value in creating comparable climate change data across countries. He argued for the need to move the discussion from the “what” to the “how".
- Country examples from Paraguay, Norway and Indonesia illustrated the importance of coordination and cooperation, capacity development, resource sharing, and new approaches. The presentations highlighted the importance of developing country-level data and exchanging knowledge and capacity, even in “developed” countries.
- In the final panel, discussants shared concrete examples that illustrate challenges and show the value of best practices - including coordination and data sharing. Examples from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Mauritius were raised to show how difficult coordination can be, both within governments and between governments and non-governmental actors. Work by the World Resources Institute highlighted the need to integrate new types of data to complement existing sources. Examples from the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics and the International Monetary Fund illustrated how dashboards and other approaches can connect climate data with new audiences.
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