Etienne Coyette says the key is to take the ‘I’ from INDCs

The GCCA+ website caught up with the European Commission’s Etienne Coyette during its Global Learning Event in Brussels, 12-14 September.  As Head of Sector Climate Change in the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Unit of DG DEVCO, Mr Coyette gave the keynote address on Theme 1 of the event, which focused on how the INDCs can be effectively linked to other climate change policy processes.

He said 2015 was an “exceptional year” for climate change action, and spoke about the importance of creating synergies between the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and other climate change and development goals including the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Addis Abba Financing for Development and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The next challenge and the key now is to remove the ‘I’ from the INDCs, he said, and the GLE event will help all donors and stakeholders implement all these strategies, policies and planning in a coordinated manner.

What were your expectations coming into GLE?

Global learning is one of the main elements of the GCCA’s global dialogue pillar, and we’ve organised several such events in past years, so we are pleased to be able to convene the community again to network and learn from each other, especially in the context now of the Paris Climate Conference agenda and what comes next with the INDCs, which really reflect what the countries have in mind regarding their mitigation but also adaptation measures. This is the main challenge especially for the GCCA partners, the most vulnerable countries (LDCs and SIDs). We’ve taken a number of steps but hope to learn more from this conference; what we need to do and how we can do it.

You mentioned in your keynote that scaling up from a project to an economy wide basis is important?

In the past, climate action has worked on a project basis with lists of actions – or ‘wish lists’ of a given project in a given field – but it quickly became clear on the policy and implementation side that climate change is more a cross-sectorial challenge which both influences and is influenced by other sectors.
It is difficult to work in an isolated way because the climate challenge is so wide … and each country has a particular situation, policies, economy and social aspects that really need to fit the local situation. One size does not fit all situations. We can learn from methods or tools that give good results and we can try to transpose these and adapt to new or different contexts. 

What do you think GCCA+ should be taking home from the event?

Firstly, GCCA+ is a good network. People know each other, the knowledge sharing is effective and I am confident we’ll meet that objective.  Secondly, with the concrete topics we’ve chosen, the conclusions and recommendations are well framed and elements from the event show us concretely what we must do when working with a particular country or on a particular issue. For INDCs, we would know we have to go cross-sectorial or discuss with other donors – issues that were already there before but we’d know we have to put stronger accent on parts … such as gender, which triggers interesting discussion.