The co-benefits lab has started and what a start it was! Despite pouring rain in wintery Bogota, 22 participants gathered to share, discuss and explore issues around the co-benefits of climate change mitigation actions. Expectations ranged from thrashing out general and fundamental ideas about co-benefits to delving into very technical details of measurements. Key note speakers from India (Ilika Mohan,TERi), Brazil (Ronaldo da Motta, State University of Rio de Janeiro) and South Africa (Britta Rennkamp, University of Cape Town) kick-started the lab by outlining high-level thinking and challenges around integrating development and climate change mitigation objectives into national policies. After a delicious Colombian lunch, the lab proceeded with poster presentations of the different MAPS countries and Argentina. The presenters shared their country’s approach to co-benefits. A plenary discussion followed where the group had an opportunity to compare and discuss both similarities and differences between countries, and the advantages and disadvantages associated with different approaches.
Representatives from the different countries expressed their gratitude for the stimulating feedback from other participants. After the first day, the general sentiment from participants was that assessments of co-benefits involve ‘learning-by-doing.’ As a representative from Colombia noted: “We learn by doing and will make mistakes with co-benefits, but are encouraged [because] two years ago we had no mitigation information.”
Day two of the lab will involve training sessions on decision-making tools to equip participants in their country processes. We believe the use of tools such as multi-criteria decision analysis, the action impact matrix and the Gold Standard methodology can greatly assist the assessment and prioritisation of mitigation actions.