The Quarterly Newsletter from CAN
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Welcome to the CAN Newsletter...

In the January edition:

  • Directors Note
  • A Look Ahead
  • The Times, They Are A Changin'
  • Agenda 2030 - The Train We Cannot Miss
  • Beyond Paris - Regional Perspectives
  • Movement Building
  • CAN - The Network of Networks

Upcoming Events

  • 11-12 Feb: CAN Strategic Planning Annual Meeting
  • 12-13 Feb: Global Divestment Day
  • 15-19 Feb: CAN Secretariat and Node Coordinators’ Annual Meeting
  • 8-11 Mar: UN Statistical Session on SDG Indicators
  • 20 Mar-8 Apr: ICAO Dialogue on Climate Change
  • 11-12 Apr: UNGA High-Level Meeting on Climate-Related SDGs
  • 22 Apr: UN High-Level Signing Ceremony for Paris Agreement

Director’s Note

“Yes, we did Paris we won! No we didn't...we lost!” Does it actually matter?

In economics the concept of 'sunk cost' means that after you make an investment, the size of it is no longer important - what matters is how many others choose to follow your lead. So, Paris happened and whatever the outcome means to you, together we need to focus on building on the effort invested in 2015, to strengthen and diversify our movement. We need to focus on how to best use Paris to achieve what we need, at all scales, to effectively limit climate change, deliver a just transition to a renewable powered world and support communities vulnerable to climate impacts.

Whatever your take, the Paris outcome can help galvanize global action and drive us to collaborate under a common purpose. Without Paris we may not have generated the momentum within the movement that we have today. The challenge is to harness that drive and momentum, doing so will not be easy and will require serious commitment from CAN members, but together we can build a strategy for success.

We started a strategic planning process early last year and thankfully members have provided input. There have been three face-to-face meetings and a number of conference calls. The result is a draft document that still requires some work and ahead of our February strategy session.

So will we do a better job than the governments and achieve an agreement that outlines our work in the coming years to satisfy all our inspirations? It is easy to criticize others. Now it is time to show the world how to build an effective road map to fight climate change (and implement it).

A Look Ahead

With the delivery of UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement, the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the signing of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 2015 may well be remembered as a turning point for international climate change governance. COP 21 in particular propelled climate change to the front and center of global politics. Its outcome – a new international climate agreement and accompanying decisions, including on enhanced pre-2020 action – send a clear message to the world that climate change needs to be urgently, systematically and seriously addressed. But while Paris has delivered some of the key building blocks necessary for a credible and sustained global response to climate change, much of the work to realize this imperative starts now.

There remains a glaring pre-2020 emissions gap that urgently needs bridging, while countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions for the post-2020 period also lack the ambition necessary to put the world on a safe trajectory. With few governments having signaled an intent to increase their short and medium term ambition, CAN has a key role to play in ensuring countries bring their climate action and support in line with the 1.5C degree limit.

Much of the work in the near future will lie in developing effective modalities for the framework agreed to in Paris, as well as ensuring the proper functioning and continuation of the Convention’s existing bodies and mechanisms. In this vein the following key milestones for 2016 are:




22 April 2016

High-Level Signing Ceremony for Paris Agreement

16 - 26 May 2016

44th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies

7-18 November 2016

UNFCCC COP 22: facilitative dialogue on pre-2020 ambition  on enhancing finance and mitigation efforts


Review of the WIM


Technical Examination Process on Adaptation


During the months of May the meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies and of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Paris Agreement will be key moments, as will COP 22 in November. On top of these the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism, the 2016-2020 technical examination process on adaptation, the operationalization and ramping up of new and existing pre-2020 actions, and COP 22’s facilitative dialogue (in particular with regard to opportunities for enhancing finance provision) will all warrant CAN’s concerted efforts in 2016.

Of course, the need for action extends far beyond the UNFCCC itself. Amongst other things, this year will be a crucial test of the aviation industry’s credibility as it seeks to finalise its proposal for a global market-based mechanism in October.

Most fundamental perhaps is that 2016 becomes the year governments - together with civil society and other stakeholders - start taking the action necessary to truly transform how the world operates. The Paris COP Decision text on long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies should prompt leaders of the largest economies to chart, in the next five years, a blueprint to decarbonise economies by 2050. To enable a global transformation, provision of adequate levels of climate financing must remain high on the agenda. In both regards, China’s G20 presidency offers interesting opportunities to ensure the political momentum from Paris is operationalised and sustained.

The Times, They Are A Changin’

2015 was an important year for everyone. For CAN it was a year to take movement building to the next level and help break mobilisation records. It was a year to support members for Paris - a climactic moment many had worked towards with eagerness and dread since Copenhagen. But now we are rolling up our sleeves again and getting on with the crucial job of ensuring we maximise the opportunities at hand in 2016 and beyond.

As many members are in the process of shaping up or rewriting their individual plans, CAN is also in the final stages of a strategic planning process to establish the mandate of our work over the next 5 years. The strategic planning process kicked off last year when CAN members put together a vision for where we want to be in 2020, along with 10 overarching goals to make the vision a reality.

Following the Paris agreement and a stocktaking of the general climate discourse we are now working to prioritise key goals. Some of the frontrunning draft goals suggested by members so far include: developing a stronger, more diverse climate, social justice and development movement; accelerating a just transition to 100% renewable energy; and getting national adaptation plans are in place with sustainable support for this, and ensuring loss and damage is urgently addressed.

When CAN members meet in Berlin in February, we will work draft goals into the bare essence of our key battles in the years to come. Together we will define interlinkages between these fights and the critical pathways to guide our strength on the ground.

Speaking of which, 2016 will see many amazing examples of people power, the Break Free from Fossil Fuels initiatives being one of the flagships. This cross-NGO and grassroots global action will take place in May - with communities using civil disobedience to simultaneously shut down fossil fuel extraction sites across the world at a scale never witnessed before.

The scene is set, we know where we are heading, and we have a stronger and bolder movement than ever before. The times are a-changin’...

Agenda 2030 – The Train We Cannot Miss!

2015 was an important year - with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement pointing the world in new directions, and with the additional milestones of the Sendai Framework and the Addis Ababa Financing for Development Agenda. It can also be described as a year in which landmark decisions were made in meeting rooms and conference halls, but now in 2016 these decisions need to gain solid footing on the ground, in the real world.

In 2016 governments must show strong ownership of Agenda 2030 by aligning policies, resources and legislation in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with input from and in collaboration with civil society all over the world. Climate action is a crucial element of the SDGs and hence the climate movement must capitalize on the existing synergistic effects of the new global development framework and the Paris Agreement when looking at implementation, review, pre-2020 mitigation, and adaptation.

Governments are already readying themselves to implement the SDGs. In March the Statistical Commission will review its indicators to help vigorously measure the implementation of the SDGs. Additionally in July the High-level Political Forum will hold its first meeting after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. First national reviews of the implementation in key countries will take place and Ministers will come to discuss progress made on all goals and targets - including the 51 targets that have important co-benefits for climate action.

If we are serious about climate compatible-sustainable development the next couple of month are crucial. The implementation process of the SDGs is the train we cannot miss.


Beyond Paris - Regional Perspectives

CAN’s Leadership Development Programme brought young climate experts from around the world to COP21. Here two of them give their reflections on how the Paris Outcome is reflected in their country.

View from South Africa

Heading into Paris people tried to curb their enthusiasm, because as we all know there is no silver bullet to tackle climate change, but there remained a spirit of energy. Everyone had their own opinion on the Summit ranging from extreme optimism all the way down to strong pessimism, and reactions to the Paris Agreement reflected this kaleidoscope of positions. In my opinion there are merits to all the arguments - the lens through which you analyze the text alters your opinion. What all these positions have in common is the understanding that the Paris Agreement is a new beginning in the fight to achieve a cleaner, fairer more sustainable world.

From the perspective of South Africa the key take home message relates to my country’s development pathways. In this rapidly changing world, we have the opportunity to leapfrog key development milestones, in the traditional sense. The first step would be addressing sustainable energy access for all, in the form of decentralized renewable energy systems. We need to look at life cycle analysis of all resources and how to develop cradle to cradle cycles. This isn’t just within the Department of Environmental Affairs or National Government but within all spheres of government, private sector and civil society. We need to join together because whatever we advocate for, whether it be parties asserting their sovereign rights or economic interests, all fade away in a non-habitable world.

View from the Pacifc

The Pacific Island leaders have already initiated work to reflect the Paris agreement on their countries climate change policies domestically and regionally. This large but remote region, with already changing climate patterns, provides many challenges for successful implementation. A multi-sectoral approach is needed to face the enduring and new challenges of climate change.

Academic institutions play an important role in providing scientific information and will continue to support innovation and development in the technological advancement. This will help support government's’ to achieve their promised ambitious mitigation and adaptation goals. Civil society too of course injects momentum and supports innovation in the Pacific, helping to drive change.

Pacific SIDS are developing countries - they require financial support and technology transfer from the developed countries in order to cope with the climate impacts happening now. This support will be difficult to acquire, but is essential for our survival and prosperity. Nevertheless, the Paris agreement has provided some reassurance that vital finance can be forthcoming.

Movement Building

2015 brought fresh energy into the climate movement. We experienced unprecedented levels of cooperation between diverse communities focussing on their common objectives and key moments. Thanks to this alignment many of our joint demands were heard loud and clear -  whether it is the call to accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy, the 1.5°C imperative, or intrinsic links between climate action, inequality, justice and sustainable development.

In 2016, it is vital for the movement to retain this positive energy. After taking stock of last year we can define more coordinated ways of building on each others’ strengths and to mobilize respective constituencies to continue the struggle, making sure that the voices of those that we didn’t hear so much about in 2015, will become louder this year.

A number of opportunities to come together globally are emerging in 2016: the Break Free From Fossil Fuels resistance organized by international, national and local organisations; the World Social Forum will be an opportunity to exchange views with lots of different groups; and the COP in Morocco will provide a platform for African and Arab civil society to make their demands heard. Many more efforts are taking place at local level, or with like-minded allies in other sectors, and we need to paint a bigger picture of these initiatives.

In 2016 we need to continue building trust through more joint strategizing and coordination of tactics by enabling spaces for discussion in which more national and local level voices play an increasingly important role. Movement-building has become a central element of CAN’s strategy over the past years as CAN has significantly expanded and strengthened relations with a wide and diverse range of actors inside and outside the network. We are increasingly working with faith groups, development organisations, trade unions, social movements, social and solidarity economy groups, and many more.

The climate movement is gaining ground and this dynamic is set to continue. In 2016, the CAN family needs to continue to engage and putting its diversity and reach to good effect in continuing to build an even more vibrant and wider movement.


CAN – The Network of Networks

2015 was a good year for CAN nodes - the nodes that make CAN as a whole strong. We are very happy to have recently welcomed three new nodes to the CAN family: CAN Arab World, CAN New Zealand and CAN Pacific Islands, adding over 50 new members to our ranks.

Together CAN nodes engaged broadly and successfully in the myriad opportunities 2015 presented for engagement on climate change. Nodes lobbied national governments to raise their game at the  Paris Climate Summit and submit more ambitious INDCs. They utilised Paris and other major moments, like the signing of the new Global Sustainable Development Goals, to integrate new, diverse members. Nodes launched or joined campaigns, driving the public and political conversation forward on renewable energy, and were instrumental in the mobilization of 700,000 people for the Global Climate March.

2015 was also a period of internal strengthening for CAN nodes. CAN Secretariat’s Network Development and Outreach Team worked with 10 nodes to complete organizational assessments. They supported nodes with capacity building and strategic planning alongside members, with an aim to strengthen key aspects of work including governance, membership engagement, fundraising and communications.

Our network structure is of course at the core of what we do. Members created the ONE CAN Initiative in 2013 in order to develop a model of cooperation across nodes and members. This common approach of the network has helped bring forward CAN’s global strategy developed by its members at the international and national levels. It is a key part of the current strategic planning process to ensure the next global strategy is reflecting the diversity and richness of expertise, contexts and approaches which make CAN such a vibrant network.

The CAN regional and national Node Coordinators will be taking these achievements and processes to the Secretariat and Node Coordinators’ Annual Meeting after the Strategic Planning Meeting in Berlin to discuss and elaborate together how the new strategic direction of the network can be best implemented at national and regional levels.

Copyright © 2016 Climate Action Network - International, All rights reserved.

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