7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Global Climate Change Alliance plus (GCCA+): The role of CSOs supporting climate change and sustainable development agenda

Global Climate Change Alliance plus (GCCA+): The role of CSOs supporting climate change and sustainable development agenda

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) role climate change and sustainable development agenda

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 13:30 to 14:45

Key points

  • The role of civil society in disaster risk reduction is increasingly being recognised by national authorities and international policy-makers. The GCCA+ further underscores that role.
  • Civil society actors help connect local communities and governments, share relevant knowledge, monitor the various policy frameworks, and advocate for solutions.
  • Citizen participation is crucial given the size and complexity of the climate change challenge, especially at the local level.
  • It is particular challenge to coordinate local initiatives and ensure their influence at national level.
  • People become vulnerable when they are excluded from policy-making and other processes.


Civil society organisations (CSOs) have been at the forefront of climate action for decades, pushing governments to take action. But now the role of CSOs is increasingly being recognised nationally and internationally beyond general advocacy on climate. This includes articulating the needs of local communities, linking them to policymakers, implementing and monitoring specific actions, facilitating the sharing of relevant information and local-level knowledge.

This development follows the proliferation of CSOs active on climate policy, as the effects of climate change on local communities come into sharper relief. The EU Global Climate Change Alliance plus (GCCA+) flagship initiative, for example, is currently studying how to deepen its cooperation with CSOs.

CSOs have historically been involved in planning processes at local level. They reflect and articulate the needs of wide cross-sections of society, including groups that have been marginalised in policy-making. They help influence policies through participatory processes such as local budgeting. But at the nexus of climate change adaptation and sustainable development, national-level coordination is still not fully developed, and the field experience of local CSOs has typically not been fully harnessed.

The expertise of groups with field-level insights could be maximised with the proper national-level coordination. One example is in the development of climate vulnerability analyses, stakeholder coordination, and climate information management.

Local CSOs are also conduits for national policies and their translation into action on the ground. They provide an important monitoring function for field-level implementation.

The systemic inclusion of CSOs in climate policy-making is a step towards inclusive risk governance, the area where climate resilience, disaster resilience, and conflict resilience overlap. This interconnectedness is especially salient at local level, where communities are faced with interlocking resilience challenges. CSOs have a crucial role to play in integrating disaster risk reduction and resilience-building in climate adaptation strategies. Local communities become even more vulnerable when they are excluded from the policy process. 


Not all countries offer an enabling environment for civil society. In such cases, the EU can help CSOs by entering into political dialogue with a partner government and advocating on behalf of civil society.

Organised by

    Guido Corno
    Climate Change Policy Expert
    Global Climate Change Alliance +
    Maria Theresa Nera-Lauron
    CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness
    Buh Wung Gaston
    Geotechnology, Environmental Assessment and Disaster Risk Reduction
    Rosario Bento Pais
    Head of Unit Civil Society, Local Authorities
    European Commission - DG for International Cooperation and Development
    Felice Zaccheo
    Head of Unit C.6 - Sustainable Energy and Climate Change
    European Commission - DG for International Cooperation and Development
    Marcus Oxley
    Executive Director GNDR
    Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction
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