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The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, in conjunction with the Pan African Parliament has expressed concern that the process of obtaining climate finance is unnecessarily complex.

Speaking during their second press conference in Bonn, Germany, PACJA’s secretary General Mr Mithika Mwenda said the process of accessing climate funds is becoming more complex, warning that it risks shutting out certain groups, including women.

“We are wondering why there is such complexity in obtaining funds from institutions such as the Green Climate Fund,” he posed. 

He noted that as the GCF was being set up, civil society organisations had seen it as a democratic fund that would be easier to access that the World Bank, but this has so far not been the case.

He lamented that even after projects have been approved by the GCF, it still took up to two years for the funding to be made available, adding that the problem of climate change was an urgent one that demanded urgent action.

“We want the process to be made simpler and shorter to address the urgency of climate change,” he said, adding that the criterion for approval has been stingy and prolonged.

Mr Mwenda further expressed concern over the failed fulfillment of USD100 billion commitment that was supposed to be provided by developed country parties before the year 2020, adding that discussions on the new financial goal that would shape the implementation of the Paris Agreement have not yet begun.

“We urge the COP Presidency to initiate talks of the new finance goal here in Bonn to show the urgency of the matter. Also, the new finance goal should be beyond the floor of the pre-2020 commitment of USD 100 billion. The goal should reflect the scientific requirements and needs of African countries too, first and foremost, adapt, mitigate and cover loss and damage arising from climate change impacts,” read a statement by PACJA.

Regarding the Standing Committee on Finance, the team noted that they support the committee to prioritize mobilization of funds as a priority, adding that it must continue to play a key role in finance issues in the Paris Agreement era.

“We support the suggestion of having the alternate member during the SCF meetings so that they can fill in when the permanent member is not able to participate,” read the statement.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - African countries are already spending up to 20 percent of their total needs presently on climate adaptation, which is more than their fair share without any support from the international community, a new study by the United Nations has revealed.

Early findings from the study jointly commissioned by the UNDP Regional Office for Africa, and the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to review African commitment to adaptation has therefore dismissed the insinuation that African countries are not investing in their own climate adaptation responses and are instead waiting on the international community as recipients of support.

“African countries are already spending between 2 to 9 percent of their Gross Domestic Product on adaptation, thus reducing the potential impact of climate change by more than 20 percent,” Dr Johnson Nkem, a Senior Climate Adaptation expert at the ACPC told PAMACC News at the ongoing climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany.

The UN study is being implemented by two United Kingdom centres; Climate Scrutiny and Mokoro, to provide estimates of Africa’s public expenditure on adaptation as a proportion of the total cost for adaptation.

Although the level of investment as a proportion of GDP expenditure varies among countries, it ranges between 2-9 percent of GDP; and represents more than other forms of expenditure in public services such as healthcare and education.

“This contribution is significantly higher than the adaptation resource flow from international sources,” said Nkem.

The study therefore recommends that the disproportionate share of investment in adaptation as opposed to its smallest share of contribution to the global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, needs to be fully recognised and boosted under global financing mechanism for climate response, especially under the implementation of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Some of the study’s key findings are that, African countries are already making a major contribution to adaptation that constitutes; that for Africa as a whole, the estimated adaptation gap is about 80 percent; and that the adaptation gap is greater than 90% in nine countries. Most of these countries face major exposure and sensitivity to climate change risks as well as fiscal challenges.

Countries that have reduced the potential impact of climate change by more than 20 percent, include those with low climate change risks like Liberia, Namibia and Zimbabwe; high expenditure, for example Ethiopia, Gambia, Zambia; and lower risk and good expenditure countries like Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda.

The objectives of the Review of African Commitment to Adaptation was to provide some initial estimates of the current spending on adaptation by African governments, and to assess the extent to which this funding meets the scale of the adaptation challenge as determined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other assessments.

According to Nkem Ndi, there is a growing political will and socio-economic motivation in addressing climate change in Africa’s development agenda as demonstrated by the level of public expenditure on adaptation to climate change in the continent.

He pointed out that most adaptation expenditure in Africa is primarily linked to development expenditure that provides good benefits with current climate conditions.

Estimates of the adaptation expenditure were provided by classifying the most recent public finance data, preferably actual expenditure data rather than budget data, if it is available.

Actual data for 10 countries, and data obtained from the internet for additional 24 countries were used for the analyses in this study. The entire analyses in the study does not include expenditure by development partners that is outside the budget.

The study notes that despite its miniscule share of responsibility for the causes of climate change, Africa has always been labelled as a tenuous recipient of development assistance, with unending expectations of support in addressing climate impacts on its development.

While this stigma is baseless, it remains to be fully disbarred using empirical studies demonstrating regional investments for climate adaptation by the countries.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - A special initiative to protect people living in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from the heath impacts of climate change was today launched at the ongoing Bonn climate talks.

The initiative is an effort by World Health Organization, in collaboration with the UN Climate Change secretariat and in partnership with the Fijian Presidency of the twenty-third Conference of the Parties (COP23). 

By 2030, the initiate wants all Small Island Developing States to have climate-resilient health systems.  

It also envisions drastic global reduction of carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries.
 
With four main goals, the initiative seeks to amplify the voices of health leaders in Small Island Developing States, so they have more impact at home and internationally; and  to gather the evidence to support the business case for investment in climate change and health.
 
It further seeks to promote policies that improve preparedness and prevention, including "climate proof" health systems and the multiplication of international financial support levels to climate and health in small island developing states.
 
"People living in Small Island Developing States are on the frontline of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and increased risk of infectious disease," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. "We owe it to these people to do everything we can to help them prepare for the future that is already washing up on their shores."
 
"We in Fiji know all too well that climate change poses a serious threat to the health of our people. I'm delighted that we are launching this initiative - in partnership with the WHO and UNFCCC - to better equip small island states like ours with the knowledge, resources and technology to increase the resilience of their health systems, as part of larger efforts to adapt to climate change," said Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President Frank Bainimarama.
 
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change believes “climate change will increasingly impact the health and well-being of people everywhere unless nations fully implement the Paris Agreement”.
 
“Small islands are in the frontline from extreme weather events that can contaminate drinking water to health-hazardous heatwaves and the spread of infectious diseases. This initiative can strengthen the response of small islands to the rising risks as the world works to ensure that together we keep a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C and better, no higher than 1.5 degrees, “ she said.

Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Mithika Mwenda described the initiative as symbolic coming at a time island states have suffered serious health challenges enormously due to climate-related hurricanes and tornadoes. 

"As this initiative comes under the Fijian Presidency of the COP, we believe Fiji knows where the shoe pinches most, and we urge them to lead the COP23 into concrete outcomes that will shine light on the increasingly gloomy picture we are witnessing on the path towards the 2018 global stock-take," Mithika added.

SIDS and climate change 
 
Small Island Developing States have long been recognized as especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Their situation is highlighted in the UNFCCC, by Ministers of Health at the 2008 World Health Assembly, and in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
 
They have also pioneered innovative approaches to improve the resilience of their health systems to climate change. As well as emitting a small proportion of the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change, many are further reducing their already low carbon emissions.
 
"Small Island Developing States are ready to take leadership towards green, resilient and health-promoting national development – but the support of the international community is essential,” said Dr Joy St John, recently appointed Assistant Director-General for Climate and Other Determinants of Health at WHO.
 
"Less than 1.5% of international finance for climate change adaptation is allocated to projects which ensure that the health of all people is preserved, and only a fraction of this supports small island developing states. The recent severe weather events in the Caribbean demonstrate that targeted interventions are important. We need to do much more and we need to act very quickly."
 
Country ownership is a central principle of this initiative. Ministers of health from some of the most affected countries have already started to provide input through consultation with WHO's Director-General and at WHO Regional Committee meetings, and this process will continue.
 
Since 2015, WHO has been working with the UNFCCC secretariat to develop detailed country profiles to assess risks, and provide tailored advice on how these countries can adapt to, and mitigate, the health effects of climate change.  More than 45 country profiles have already been completed and, as part of this initiative, WHO commits to publishing a country profile for all small island developing states by the end of 2018.
 
Many national health actors, development and United Nations agencies are already making important contributions to protect health in small island developing states. WHO’s initiative aims to bring together existing and new efforts and scale them up so they achieve maximum impact.
 
“The vision is that, by 2030, all health systems in small island developing states will be able to withstand climate variability and change,” adds Dr St John. “And, of course, that countries around the world will have substantially reduced carbon emissions.”

This article was first published on the pamacc website

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Regional and local leaders attending COP23 in Bonn have made it very clear that global warming is worsening, and that its consequences are upon humanity.

At a moment of escalating environmental crisis on land, air and sea, leaders including those from Africa signed the Bonn-Fiji Commitment on Sunday November 12,2017 at COP23 in Bonn, to take further, faster action to deliver the Paris Agreement at all levels of government.


“The truth is undeniable,” said Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace international director. “The escalating environmental crisis again expose the dire threat to people on the frontlines of climate change.”

But the African civil society groups are wary of the multiplicity of commitments, calling on the Global community to instead take a common stand against Trump and his allies.

" We are tired of signing commitment after commitment. It is time to classify the global community into two: those for the people and planet, and those for Trump and Profit," says the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance. 

"Unless we see accelerated action on the implementation of the Paris Agreement pursuant to Marrakech Action Plan by industrialised countries, signing commitments for faster climate action without kicking Trump and his allies from climate negotiations turns logic on its head," PACJA's Mithika Mwenda said. 
 
Humans themselves, through a combination of deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation, are almost entirely at fault exposing human habitat to climate threats, thus the need for a critical self examination, the leaders emphasized.

With more than half the global population living in cities and expected to approach two thirds by 2050, the Bonn-Fiji Commitment of Local and Regional Leaders to deliver the Paris Agreement pushes forward efforts to advance sustainable urban development as an integral part of  urgent global climate action and the inter-linked goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“This is particularly focused around Sustainable Development Goal 11 – to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” the commitment stated.

It notes that urgent action is needed as extreme weather events and disasters are undercutting food security for millions around the world, especially among poor developing nations in Africa and South America, adding that 23.5 million people were displaced in 2016 by weather-related disaster, creating a flood of climate refugees throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
 
Worse as this is, the commitment believes it is "merely a harbinger of things to come,” 

The leaders commit to build resilient, low carbon communities to permit urban areas play an influential role in the course of global development.

“City and regional governments are pushing ahead, with an acute sense of their role in building a resilient, low carbon society,” said Ashok Sridharan, Lord Mayor of Bonn, Germany;
 
“Urban areas will play an influential role in the course of global development. By making urban sustainability a core part of national climate action, countries will be in a better position to meet and exceed their national climate goals,” he noted.

The commitment encompasses 19 initiatives, including creation of the African Sub-national Climate Fund to bridge the gap between infrastructure demands and the low number of bankable projects reaching investors, by providing ready-to-invest projects and funds to support the implementation of at least 100 infrastructure projects by 2020. 

It also include the creation of Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy - the largest coalition of over 7,400 cities from six continents and 121 countries to reduce emissions and make societies and economies resilient to climate change.

Cities are responsible for as much as 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels used for energy and transport, and 13 percent of the global urban population lives in vulnerable low-elevation coastal areas, the commitment initiative stated.

The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA), a regional body of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, is opening the door for more Sub-Saharan cities to join efforts to expand access to sustainable and efficient energy services.

 The Urban Climate Change research network says an estimated 80 percent of the costs of adapting to climate change are needed in urban areas. But much of the estimated $80 to 100 billion financing needed per year remains inaccessible to city governments and there is also a lack of bankable local projects reaching investors.

It is against this backdrop that the leaders have called on Planners for Climate Action, from UN-Habitat, to help ensure urban and regional planners play a strong role in advancing global climate and sustainability goals. To this end, this initiative will improve urban and regional planning practice and planning education.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Investors have been beckoned to turn attention to agricultural climate action to support the sustainable livelihoods of small-scale farmers. The drive is seen as pathways to unlock much greater potential to curb emissions and protect people against climate change, experts said at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn.

German government officials said it was time to invest faster, wider and further in agriculture to give small scale farmers a voice and potential to fight against climate change.

 “Agriculture is a key factor for the sustainability of rural areas, the responsibility for food security and its potential to offer climate change solutions is enormous,” Christian Schmidt, Germany’s Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, said during the session opening.

Different speakers at the session agreed that it was time  for investors and governments to direct far more resources to the agriculture sector as a key strategy to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the inextricably linked 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 “Countries now have the opportunity to transform their agricultural sectors to achieve food security for all through sustainable agriculture and strategies that boost resource-use efficiency, conserve and restore biodiversity and natural resources, and combat the impacts of climate change,” said René Castro, Assistant-Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

For the livestock sector, for example FAO estimates that emissions could be readily reduced by about 30 percent with the adoption of best practices.

Extreme climate impacts also disproportionately affect small-scale farmers, pastoralists and fishing and forest communities who still provide the bulk of the planet’s food. Supporting these communities with innovative solutions both to reduce their emissions and protect their communities also meets many of the objectives of literally every one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

So far, FAO has released a new Sourcebook on Climate-Smart agriculture detailing some actions needed to transform the agriculture sector. The book, launched at the event, features knowledge and stories about actual projects to guide policymakers and programme managers to make the agricultural sectors more sustainable and productive while also contributing to food security and lower carbon intensity.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), an organizer of the Agriculture Action day announced they will work in the next few years to create the conditions for greater agricultural climate action. They aim to help give countries the confidence to set realistic yet ambitious targets through the next revision of their national climate plans - Nationally Determined Contributions.

“Agriculture is a large source of powerful greenhouse gases like methane and other short-lived climate pollutants but has great potential to store carbon and reduce greenhouse gases in our lifetime, that’s why we support and advocate for countries to improve their livestock emissions inventories,” said Helena Molin Valdes, Head of the CCAC Secretariat.

A number of other agriculture-based solutions for addressing climate change were also presented at the event. Discussions involved participants from governments, civil society, the private sector, small scale and young farmers centered on livestock, traditional agriculture systems, water, soil, food loss and waste, and integrated landscape management.

Among the recommended actions and initiatives were; scale up of public and private climate finance flows to agriculture, and use them in a catalytic manner. Climate finance flows continue to favour mitigation over adaptation, and focus overwhelmingly on energy systems and infrastructure. 

Another recommendation was to ncentivize public-private partnerships. Strong dialogue and collaboration between the public and private sectors is key to ensure alignment between public policy and private sector investment decisions in agriculture and throughout the entire food system. 

There is also need for a strengthened multi-sector and multi-stakeholder dialogue towards more integrated approaches. Integrated approaches to landscape management will require enhanced coordination of policy and climate action across multiple public and private entities.

It is also important to invest in knowledge and information. Additional analyses are needed to better identify the institutional barriers and market failures that are inhibiting broader adoption of climate-resilient and low-emissions agricultural practices in individual countries, regions and communities.

Lastly, it was noted that gricultural producers require additional capacities to understand the climate risks and vulnerabilities they face from day to day, season to season. 

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - African civil society groups and climate activists have called for extensive clarifications on how African countries and especially indigenous grassroots communities can access funding to adapt to climate change and pursue green growth.

“African governments and especially vulnerable indigenous communities need access to climate funds. These funds are needed for climate adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer, capacity building and forest management,” says Julius Karanja, Programme assistant,Pan African Climate Justice Alliance,PACJA at a side event on GCF/CSO readiness in Bonn,November 8th , 2017.

“But accessing these funds by African countries and indigenous communities is still an uphill tasks and we think COP23 is the place for the right decisions and engagements to be taken,’’ Julius said.

Other African representatives said climate impacts are multiplying in many developing nations underlining the need to protect vulnerable states from rising risks of extreme weather.

“We listen and watch with horror weather extremes in many African and Asian countries and we know that the impacts of climate change are ravaging mostly the vulnerable grassroots communities with attendant loss of lives, property and means of livelihood. Accessing finances for adaptation in these countries have become very urgent, thus the need for flexibility, and clarity on the Green Climate Fund process” said  Jean Paul Brice Affana, Policy Advisor, Climate Finance and Development, German Watch.

African Civil society say for this to happen, a multi-stakeholder mobilization and participation in the Green Climate Fund process is imperative.

According to Dr. Curtis Deobbler, representative, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, participation of the different stakeholders in the Green Climate Fund process will not only ensure transparency but will provide the opportunity for full engagement of grassroots communities via civil society organizations.

“Though the Green Climate Change Fund promises to be the most ambitious in the fight against climate change, there is need to ensure total transparency and equity in access to the funds. This can best be ensured with the participation of grassroots communities, represented by civil society, at all levels of the process,” Curtis said.

He said there is need to recognize the role of civil society in accountability at national level where they consult with implementing entities and are versed with local best practices.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) accordingly is intended to be the major conduit for funding to flow from wealthy economies built on fossil fuels to those that will suffer most from climate change they did not cause. Experts say it aims at being the most ambitious step in the fight against climate change.

 “It is a very important step forward in the global effort to fight climate change,” Dr. Curtis Deobbler said.
Many developing countries have indicated that their commitments to cut emissions are conditional on support from wealthy nations but the funds are coming at a very slow pace, the African civil society has said. The developed world has agreed that poor countries should receive $100bn a year by 2020, but have so far pledged just $10.2bn to the GCF, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA noted.

The COP23 in Bonn, CSOs say, is expected to be more about UN house-keeping than grandstanding with many of its conclusions being technical and businesslike, designed to make the process of cutting greenhouse gas emissions work better, rather than announcing new goals or targets.

They called on the UNFCCC to recognize the role of the civil society in accountability and the need to get them participate at all levels of the process, as the voice of the grassroots communities.

OPINION

Bonn, Germany - A top priority for the Fiji Presidency at COP23 is preparing the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement. These guidelines help put the Paris Agreement into practice and establish how each government will implement its requirements. That’s why the implementation guidelines are sometimes referred to as the Paris rulebook.

While the guidelines will be finalized next year, progress negotiating their terms is essential to this climate summit’s success.

The role of the implementation guidelines is complex. the guidelines must enable Parties to communicate, report, review and strengthen climate action to the fullest of their capabilities, and do so in a way that is transparent and accountable to the international community. Clear guidelines will enable a more predictable transformation to a low-carbon and climate-resilient world, while enhancing international cooperation and support for countries and communities in need.
What Are the Main Components in the Paris Agreement Implementation Guidelines?

At COP22 in Morocco, negotiators confirmed 2018 as the deadline to finalize the guidelines for several processes and requirements, including:

Reporting and review of countries’ individual actions and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to climate change, and of support received or provided. These two processes of the transparency framework will help track progress every two years with respect to the implementation and achievement of countries’ climate plans and associated targets, and contribute to understanding any gaps and relevant needs that countries may have.

Accounting rules that provide a basis for understanding the total global impact of countries’ targets/goals, and to compare them. This facilitates the use of international market mechanisms, supported by tracking systems and an understanding of the role that land use changes and forestry play in countries’ efforts.

Communication of countries’ climate plans (nationally determined contributions, or NDCs), to share updates on their efforts and possibly signal strengthened actions every five years.

The mechanism countries will use to regularly take stock of progress (called the global stocktake) over five years, and identify ways countries can go further and faster.

Establishing a committee to facilitate implementation and promotion of compliance.

What Are the Main Sticking Points?

Parties will need to find common ground between a range of interests and perspectives on key issues.  Some technical provisions are particularly sensitive and will require a careful balancing act to reach agreement. These include:

 Providing flexibility for Parties that need it without reverting to a bifurcated approach (that is, different sets of guidelines for developed and developing countries). Striking this balance is especially necessary for the communication, reporting and review of countries’ actions and support.

Clarifying the functions of the various processes established in Paris and identifying the most appropriate platforms to advance specific issues (for example, when the limits to adaptation in impacted countries are breached and communities face permanent loss and damage). It will be important to find a compromise on the scope of these process (for example, the global stocktake), without renegotiating the Paris Agreement.   

Designing the transparency and accountability regime under the Paris Agreement in a coherent, effective and mutually reinforcing manner. This was explored in WRI’s research paper Mapping the Linkages between the Transparency Framework and other Provisions of the Paris Agreement.

Other issues also pose important challenges, such as designing rules that ensure all countries measure their emissions, financial support and other activities consistently. And some issues are less mature than others, such as measuring adaptation progress or tracking climate finance. Similarly, negotiators are still figuring out how they can best cooperate through new market or non-market mechanisms that would contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting sustainable development. Finally, the lack of capacity for many developing countries to collect, manage and use data exacerbates these difficulties also presents a challenge.

What to Expect at COP23

COP23 is about coming together to tackle this complex set of issues, at both the technical and political levels, and to pave the way for finalizing and adopting the Paris Agreement implementation guidelines at the 2018 climate negotiations in Poland. To help make that happen, we will need innovative, creative thinking about how to sequence and cluster negotiations on the many inter-related elements of the Agreement and the implementation guidelines.

To facilitate the negotiations next year, negotiators must leave COP23 with a document that conveys key decision points on the guidelines, along with options for how to resolve the most sensitive remaining issues. And this document should be accompanied with a plan for how these issues will be taken forward over the course of 2018 (such as workshops, additional negotiation sessions and requests for countries’ views on outstanding issues).

To undertake this process this effectively, negotiators should recall that they are not starting from scratch. They will be building on 20 years of experience on these issues as they seek to craft effective rules for the Paris Agreement that build trust, incentivize action and ultimately guide the transformation to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future.

Yamide Dagnet is the Project Director - UNFCCC, Climate Program - World Resources Institute

African climate justice advocates at the ongoing 23rd Session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have demanded that the 48 US negotiators be barred from climate talks. Members of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) said they were planning to circulate a petition to show support for kicking the US delegation out....Read more

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