Answering Tough Questions on Agriculture


The Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) met for a second session on Monday and anticipates an informal meeting tomorrow. The second session offered few answers to questions posed in the first session but highlighted country and organization experiences implementing work related to agriculture and climate change with the help of constituted bodies. Countries found the examples helpful but still lacked the clarity to move forward under the KJWA.

Zambia, in collaboration with the constituted body LEG, integrated agriculture into its National Adaptation Plan (NAP-Ag) project. LEG supports partners under a country-driven process to identify and integrate climate adaptation measures for agricultural sectors into national planning and budgeting processes.

Information on the Adaptation Fund can be viewed in my colleague, Amanda’s blog. The questions asked by the EU included how to link the services to the farmers and what the timeline looked like. It was answered with “ the timeline depends on the context in each country. They first identify user needs and tailor to those needs. Then, identify how the system works, what is missing to understand the market, the best way to deliver the information, and how to fund it.” “It takes around 2 years.”

Climate Technology Centre and Network Advisory Board (CTCN) Technical Assistance in Viet Nam provided assistance in bio-waste minimization and valorization for low carbon production in the rice sector, particularly in south-east Asia. Thailand asked, “how would you link this with the national programs as this is a local one?” Kenya stressed, “who is funding this project?” Which was answered with, “funding by donor countries and the GCF to be distributed by priority.”

Food and Myanmar-Philippines-to-work-together-on-agricultural-developmentAgriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations provided examples of work with the Technology Mechanism: TEC and CTCN, CGE, LEG, and SCF. Questions Kenya included “when you look at the five workshops and with FAO being specialized body, how do you see the FAO helping countries to implement those outcomes and the current workshops in Koronivia? Think beyond 2020. What is the synergy? The answer included “supporting a country through GEF and refocusing climate change through the GCF.” “Also, working with a country with their problems and taking a realistic approach.” The second portion of this session focused on “looking ahead” and asked the questions talked about in Amanda’s blog.

  • Tunisa, on behalf of the African group, stressed that meeting with the constituted bodies to discuss how to integrate implementation of the outcomes of the five workshops would help address these questions.
  • The EU said “first, institutionalize involvement of the constituted bodies with KJWA and invite them to the workshops to keep the communication going.”
  • Brazil added “There is so much synergy and work KJWA can share.” “The Parties can strength the linkages to become available to them so KJWA can move forward.”
  • Uruguay, in line with Brazil spoke about how it is key to establish a two-way road between Koronivia and the constituted bodies. Strong communication is essential.
  • Kenya continued “ these are useful inputs, but curious why GCF did not present. (Amanda’s blog covers this top) The question of what to do with the outcomes of the five workshops and the five workshops under Koronivia was not addressed.

The presentations and discussions barely scratched the surface of questions asked. These lingering concerns most likely will be addressed at the informal session on Wednesday.

A New Mitigation and Adaptation Tool: Low Emission Development


Today is the first day of COP24! Technical experts and policymakers come from around the world with one goal in mind – progress. Progress in building solutions that give us that extra step toward a solution to climate change. There is no one solution, and discussions occur at multiple fronts over a range of topics.

The decision in COP21 started a shift toward low emission development (LED), which seeks to fundamentally change human behavior as well as industry practices to seek ways to minimize emissions. LED utilizes both mitigation and adaptation strategies. LEDs are also flexible where they can integrate with other planning tools and strategies. Successful execution of LED varies by country but has been widely known to depend on three factors: participation, prioritization, and implementation. Now at COP24, the LED project is bearing fruit. Tunisia successfully implemented LED and now serves as a case study for other counties to benchmark from.

One reason why Tunisia was so successful in adopting LED was that it simultaneously campaigned for public participation, petitioned to political powers, and targeted the youth. Early involvement of stakeholders is key to gain LED traction. LED is best approached by lobbying. Tunisia hosted workshops for the public and designed activities for children to learn the value of conservation. Tunisia’s approach propelled LED to the point where Tunisia added language combating climate change into its constitution!

The second factor requires careful prioritization and scheduling. LED is data heavy and inputs vary significantly depending on the country conditions and available resources. For some developing countries, LED may not be cost effective to implement. However, case studies like the success in Tunisia help strengthen viable LED strategies. Over time, as the LED strategy matures, LED becomes scalable and ultimately lowers the costs in its implementation.

The final and most difficult factor is implementing the LED. Implementing the LED can be messy because it requires careful coordination of multiple stages. The best way to overcome obstacles from implementation is to maintain good record keeping practices and concurrently build the institutional framework creating LED laws and regulations. Establishing the institutional framework helps build trust and hold the parties accountable. This cross-government work is critical to support LEDs.

Moreover, LED is attractive because it works synergistically with any economy. LEDs focuses on national priorities for sustainable development and simultaneously serves as a road map that spurs economic development by driving the economy in minimizing waste and pollution. LEDs are known to guide diversification of an economy.

Finally, LEDs is a pathway for funding and capacity needs. Since LEDs apply both mitigation and adaptation tools, LEDs can benefit stakeholders and prepare the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) that help qualify for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF). LEDs can be eligible for numerous financial sources such as the World Bank ESMAP, US Country Studies program, and “fast start” funding under the UNFCCC.

Tunisia has already implemented the LED strategy in February 2018. Ukraine, Guyana, Indonesia, Mexico, and the UK have already adopted LED strategies, and more parties are following suit.

Adaptation and GCF at the Koronivia Workshop

Today was our delegation’s first day at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. The experience was a whirlwind. We all were figuring out where to go for meetings, identifying who was speaking for each Party, and how to best soak in all the activities of COP. We attended sessions in our area of expertise, and sometimes those sessions overlapped areas of expertise. The Koronivia Workshop was such a program with an overlap between adaptation and agriculture.

The Koronivia workshop was split into sessions: morning and afternoon. Both sessions included adaption and financing discussions. Presenters offered a PowerPoint about projects in their respective countries. The agenda can be found here.

At the end of the afternoon session, countries and NGOs were able to contribute to an open discussion. The Co-Facilitators opened the floor to discuss three questions about the constituted bodies (CBs), useful modalities to implement outcomes from the workshops, and future topics that may arise from the outcomes. Suggestions from the countries were helpful and constructive, but there was no decision made on how to proceed. Check the blog tomorrow for more specific answers given to the above questions from our ag expert, Liz.

One concerning question was raised about the role of the GCF. A GCF representative was present; however, GCF did not give a formal presentation because the workshop was focused on Parties and CBs. The GCF is not a CB, so its role in Koronivia is not mandatory. But the GCF representative stated that many projects currently funded by the GCF are agriculture focused and expressed that the GCF will continue to fund similar programs. GCF addressed concerns about their funding process. GCF guided all Parties to provide more information about their projects to develop tailor-made funding efforts. GCF can, and will, support climate resilient agriculture. Each country needs to request to funding in order for funds to be dispersed to their project.

The workshop concluded with the announcement that there will be an informal consultation on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, at noon to discuss some issues that were not addressed during this workshop. For information on the first session, and an overview of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, please see this blog post.

Adapting the Adaptation Fund under the Paris Agreement

Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 9.01.36 PMThe future of the Adaptation Fund (AF) is among the dicey climate finance issues to watch as Parties seek to complete negotiations on the Paris Agreement Rulebook over the upcoming 2 weeks. While it is small, with total cumulative receipts of only $737 million, the AF is highly regarded and widely celebrated for the “relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of its work” and its “contribut[ion] to transformational change.”

The AF was created under the Kyoto Protocol, and thus subject to the CMP, not the COP. The requisite decision to have it serve the Paris Agreement came in 2017 at CMP13.

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 6.31.12 PMOn the eve of the Katowice climate change conference, concerns remain about whether, in its new life, the AF will retain the unique and innovative features that have made it so vitally important to developing countries. In particular, developing countries want to preserve:

  • Direct access (not having to access funds through multilateral institutions)
  • Grants-based funding
  • Full cost accounting of country-driven projects/programmes, and
  • A developing country majority on the AF board.

Negotiators have been grappling with two divisive issues that will impact these characteristics: 1) the AF board composition, and 2) how the Fund will be resourced.

The 16-member AF board currently includes 2 representatives from the 5 UN regional groups, 1 each from the small island developing states (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and 2 each from the UNFCCC’s Annex I Parties and non-Annex-I Parties.Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 6.47.17 PM

A proposal to eliminate the differentiation between Annex I and non-Annex I Parties and expand donor country representation on the board emerged during APA 1-6 in Bangkok in September. Developing country Parties want the make-up to remain unchanged and are pushing back hard. They fear undue donor country influence not only on funding decisions, but also on multiple other important aspects of governance and operations.

As for resources, a percentage of proceeds from the marketable emission reduction credits of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) initially funded the AF. With CDM proceeds drying up in recent years, the Fund has had to seek voluntary contributions – not a sustainable mode. Currently, the Fund has only ½ of the resources needed to meet the amount requested in the most recent round.

Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 8.07.46 PMWhile, across the board, Parties support establishing new innovative mechanisms to serve as revenue sources, most developing countries also want to continue the original model and link AF resourcing to the Article 6 international crediting mechanism(s) that will emerge from negotiations. Developed country Parties, don’t want to give up any value of the credits they secure from funding mitigation projects in other countries, and some have wondered why the Adaptation Fund should be continued at all, given that the Green Climate Fund provides adaptation financing. That perspective has little traction, and we are likely to see some rich engagement about resourcing.

Two just-released publications will certainly impact any climate finance negotiations: 1) the 2018 Biennial Assessment (BA) and Overview of Climate Finance Flows * (from the Standing Committee on Finance), and 2) the 2018 Emissions Gap Report of the UN Environment Program (Executive Summary is here).

According to the BA, climate finance flows to non-Annex I Parties reached a newScreen Shot 2018-11-29 at 8.39.43 PM high of $74.5 billion in 2016, still far short of the $100 billion per year by 2020 developed countries committed to provide and mobilize. Characteristically, too, adaptation funding remained less than 40% of that for mitigation in public climate finance flows for 2015-2016, with adaptation funding a rarity in private finance.

TScreen Shot 2018-11-29 at 8.28.30 PMhe emissions gap is the difference between the GHG emission levels needed to keep global temperature rise below 2°C or 1.5°C in 2100 (compared to pre-industrial levels) and the global GHG emission level the NDCs are expected to achieve if fully implemented by 2020.

Two of the many key messages from the Emissions Gap Report giving the climate community pause are that:

  • The “gap has increased significantly in comparison with previous estimates” and
  • “Global greenhouse gas emissions show no signs of peaking.”

Given the prospects ahead, poorer countries are expected to be unwavering on a strong funding foothold for the Adaptation Fund and a path to grow it.


Photo credits: 1); 2) Leolintang/iStock by Getty Images; 3); 4); 5); 6) Featured image:

(*The 2018 BA is a complex compilation that covers climate finance flows in 2015 and 2016, examines trends from 2011-2014, explores gains in measurement, reporting and verification of these flows, and considers the implications for global goals and efforts.)


G77 + China: Perspectivas de la COP23

230202_600Compuesto por 130 países, el G77 + China representa el grupo negociador más grande en la Convención Marco sobre el Cambio Climático (CMCC). El día de hoy durante su conferencia de prensa, la señora María Fernanda Espinoza en nombre del grupo, expresó los retos y debilidades de la COP23, así como los resultados positivos de las negociaciones sostenidas durante las últimas dos semanas en Bonn, Alemania.

En cuanto a los resultados positivos, el grupo resaltó la creación de la plataforma para las comunidades locales y los pueblos indígenas , la cual busca reforzar los conocimientos, las tecnologías, las prácticas y los esfuerzos de las comunidades locales y los pueblos indígenas para hacer frente al cambio climático.

Igualmente, destacó el trabajo que se ha realizado en el área de las pérdidas y daños con ocasión a los efectos de cambio climático en la que se están cuantificando los mismos para así definir los recursos necesarios para mitigación y adaptación y sobretodo recuperación después de un evento de cambio climático como los vividos en los últimos meses (Huracanes Irma y María).

Por otro lado, en lo que tiene que ver con las debilidades y los retos a los que todavía se enfrenta el grupo, Espinoza señaló que aún no está claro cómo las Partes van a cumplir con sus compromisos de adaptación y mitigación, en especial por los problemas de acceso a financiamiento y recursos, transferencias de tecnologías y el fortalecimiento de capacidades de los países.

En cuanto al financiamiento, resaltó que ocho años después de su creación el Fondo Verde Climático no ha recaudado el monto determinado para cada año y el acceso a este se hace cada vez más difícil, lo que pone en desventaja a los países menos desarrollados.

¿Qué está haciendo el G77 y China para mejorar el acceso al financiamiento y que las Partes puedan cumplir con sus metas de mitigación y adaptación? change_in_hand_2x3

El grupo presentó una propuesta ante la Conferencia de las Partes-COP23, en la que además de solicitar que el procedimiento para acceder a los recursos económicos sea más sencillo, se está solicitando un acceso real y consistente a los recursos que se necesitan por parte de los países.

Adicionalmente, se solicitó que estos recursos sean nuevos, predecibles y sostenibles en el tiempo para que se puedan financiar las actividades por medio de las cuales se busca cumplir con los compromisos adquiridos bajo el Acuerdo de París.

Así las cosas, y aunque se cumplieron algunos de los objetivos que se tenían para la COP23, los medios de implementación y en especial el acceso al financiamiento y los recursos sigue siendo “la pata débil” de las negociaciones.

Se espera que con la petición efectuada por el G77 y China, la COP continúe negociando y se llegue a un consenso para mejor el financiamiento que requieren los países menos desarrollados para cumplir con las metas propuestas bajo el Acuerdo de París.

Adaptation Communication Website: Broken Links

A key focal point of the Pabroken linkris Agreement (PA) that came out of COP21 was the issue of transparency. While the Kyoto Protocol (KP) created the mechanisms for mitigation and eventually adaptation, it wasn’t until the Paris Agreement that accountability was implemented so that Parties would reach their proposed contributions. For the first few years of the UNFCCC, adaptation was not a major focus. Instead, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions retained the majority of the negotiator’s time. But now that adaptation has received it’s due from the Marrakesh Accords, Parties found it worthwhile in the Paris Agreement to emphasize transparency of adaptation communication. Article 7 of the PA  focuses on adaptation and paragraph 10 and 12 of that article discuss the creation of a public registry to house adaptation communications. One might think the formation of a website would be of little concern to countries, but the implications of this website run through numerous items that countries find of value.

afr-modernizing-meteorological-services-to-build-climate-resilience-across-africa-780x439Article 4 of the Paris Agreement calls for the creation of a nationally determined commitments (NDCs) registry where countries can deposit iterations of their documents. This language closely follows the language in the Art. 7 public registry mandate and several countries have taken up the torch of proposing the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI)  combine the two registries. These countries claim that by combining the two registries they would be more economical and draw the distinction between mitigation. Within NDCs there is already a section labeled adaptation for most countries; this section states what countries intend to implement in to improve their resilience to climate change. These adaptation plans usually require some form of funding, which can be acquired through direct donations from countries and organizations or application through the Adaptation Fund or Green Climate Fund. Most developing countries want to draw that clear line between their adaptation and mitigation, especially because the focus in most developed countries is on mitigation.

The counterargument, though, is that adaptation communications deserve their own repository. NDCs compromise one complete document. There is currently an interim NDC registry to house the NDCs that have already been submitted by the 169 Parties that have ratified the Paris Agreement. This interim NDC registry is a placeholder for the permanent registry currently undergoing negotiations at COP23 under the SBI. This repository houses one document per country, and only one. Opponents to the one registry plan argue that adaptation communications involve numerous documents, would be updated frequently, and are of a more complex nature than an NDC. In sum, the website would lose transparency and undermine the mandate from the Paris Agreement. Concerns also arose from the unbalanced progression of the NDC registry in comparison as the facilitators of the discussion are already promulgating an informal note to sum the takeaways from negotiations. The Parties in the adaptation registry, on the other hand, refused to agree upon the promulgation of an informal note because of the complete lack of points of convergence. Developed countries and developing countries sticking to their sides with no intention of crossing the divide.
AOR_6There was, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. In a session today, Canada proposed a series of compiled ideas from both sides that would lead to further discussion. While this didn’t lead to an informal note, it created a more facilitative discussion that laid more points of divergence on the table that countries could address. The hope is that these ideas will lead to one idea that reflects the numerous ideas of the Parties, drawing a clear link between mitigation and adaptation and fixing the broken communications.

Future of the Adaptation Fund: Developing Countries vs. Developed Countries

adaptation-fund-logoThe Adaptation Fund (AF) is a mechanism created through the Marrakesh Accords but funded through the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs) described in the Kyoto Protocol. The intention of the COP in the creation of the AF is the facilitation and funding of adaptation projects in developing countries to strengthen their resistance to climate change. Two percent of the funds invested in CDMs go to the Adaptation Fund where the money can then be divvied out to developing countries when they send in proposals. But the Kyoto Protocol was only intended to last ten years. Enacted in 2010, the Kyoto Protocol will reach its end in 2020 and with the end of the Kyoto Protocol comes the end of CDMs, and thus the end of the funding for the Adaptation Fund.

At COP23 there have been significant concerns about the future of the Adaptation Fund, where future funding will come from, and if that means the Fund will operate in the same manner as before. But these issues, as most do, draw a dividing line between developing countries and developed countries. In the most recent review of the Adaptation Fund in COP23, developing countries continued to emphasize the critical nature of the Fund in providing critical finasudanncial assistance as these countries attempt to adapt to the increasing effects of climate change. Many developing countries have emphasized the need for the increase in the scope of the Adaptation Fund, finding the review of the Adaptation Fund Board too narrow and limiting the abilities of these countries to acquire necessary funding. Developing countries also emphasized the need for certain aspects of the Fund that have caused them concern. This includes predictability, adequacy, and consistency. In particular, the Least Developed Countries negotiating group advocated for a further integration of the Adaptation Fund into the Paris Agreement in order to facilitate the continuance of the Fund and the assistance it provides to the LDCs.

Developed countries, on the other hand, had little opinions on the continuation of the Adaptation Fund. In the Marrakesh Accords, the purpose of the Fund was intended to assist in developing countries on their climate change resilience initiatives. No benefit was gleaned by the developed countries in the implementation of this Fund. And they will glean no benefit from the continuance of this Fund under the Paris Agreement. But there was no equal assessment in how to address the Adaptation Fund from the perspectives of the developed countries. Some countries enjoyed the small-scale implementation techniques that function well through the Adaburkina_faso_tearfund1_1ptation Fund. Other countries advocated for the continuous improvement of the Adaptation Fund to reinforce the constantly changing needs of developing countries. Overall, developed nations appeared to be ambivalent towards the Adaptation Fund and its future; striving forward to complete the agenda item with as little fanfare as possible.

The future could be bright for the Adaptation Fund. It has the ability to further the needs of developing countries to reduce the damage sustained in the ever-increasing extreme weather and natural disasters the world is facing. But if actions aren’t taken in COP23 and future COPs then when the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2020 those funds will be out of view for the vulnerable countries that need it.

Small Island Developing States Fishing for Adaptation Solutions

Coral aquaculture in FijiFor Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Fiji, climate change adaptation requires immediate action. As my colleague Val analyzed previously, fish stocks are depleted and international tensions are rising as each nation attempts to protect the fishing economy it still maintains. When the Ocean Conference met in June of 2017, participants recognized the crucial role oceans play as a climate regulator and the impact the changing environment would have on food and nutrition. This will be particularly impactful on SIDS as fisheries fade; those nations now cast for ideas in alternative food options. Some SIDS have hooked on aquaculture as an adaptive strategy.

The average consumption of seafood in the world is roughly 20 kg/capita/year with 70% of SIDS exceeding that global average. That, with the rising ocean temperatures, the migration of fish out of their previously habitable areas and the unsustainable fishing practices, creates a massive deficit in global fish markets when measured against demand. This mismatch creates the perfect atmosphere for aquaculture development.

Biota-Palau-Hatchery-1In 2015, the total aquaculture production of SIDS was 71,893 tons, with Cuba manning the helm with around 30,000 tons. Overall, most nations produced less than 100 tons of aquaculture and the diversity of SIDS creates a particular problem with the implementation of any “one-size-fits-all” program. Branching off of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)’s FAO program, Palau, Nauru, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) formed the Micronesian Association for Sustainable Aquaculture (MASA) in November of 2015. MASA’s goal is to facilitate region specific cooperative programs and assistance in order to meet demand and reduce market reliance on fish.

Implementation of these adaptation techniques is an issue that runs through COP 23 and is recognized also by the Oceans Conference. The Oceans Conference emphasized the need for sustainable development goals (SDG14), and a Blue Economy to support and finance ocean initiatives. It specifically mentioned the strengthening of sustainable economies with reference to aquaculture within their action plan. Based on that action plan, the Seychelles raised roughly $40 million towards their SDG14 and their INDC places a heavy emphasis on sustainable fisheries and adaptation to ocean climate change. This funding will have a substantial impact on their ocean economy. But funding is challenging to acquire. With the Green Climate Fund (GCF) increasing fund accessibility for least developed countries (LDC) for adaptation plans, this could present an opportunity for many nations who have already implemented or are in the process of implementing aquaculture plans to acquire necessary funding. While the GCF does not specifically address aquaculture as an adaptation strategy, several nations, including SIDS like Vanuatu and Tuvalu, have already included in their GCF proposals aquaculture adaptation strategies.

With the current momentum aquaculture dSustainable-Aquaculture.adapt.1190.1evelopment has gained in SIDS, COP 23 has the unique advantage for aquaculture and sustainable fishing measures with Fiji at its helm. While the focus of the Paris Agreement was the mitigation of effects to reduce the overall rise in temperature, adaptation still remains a strong focus for the countries that are feeling the most significant of those effects. Aquaculture has worked its way into the economies of many nations and will hopefully further alleviate the burden that climate change is having on SIDS.

LDCs – Concern, yet hope, entering Week 2 of COP22

Courtesy www.afd/frAt the end of the first week, many were expressing concern that Marrakech’s purported COP of Action wasn’t measuring up for the world’s most vulnerable countries. Yesterday morning, Least Developed Countries (LDC) Chair, Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, identified troubles on key issues of ambition, adaptation / loss & damage, and climate finance. In particular, he noted that:Screen Shot 2016-11-15 at 3.37.17 PM

  • The Paris Agreement rulebook development is being stymied and strong action on pre2020 commitments is not materializing.
  • Adaptation needs of the most vulnerable, exploding as a result of inadequate mitigation by developed countries for decades, are not being addressed in a balanced manner, with even the adaptation registry being complicated. And, foot dragging on other seemingly simple decisions, such as the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM), is eroding trust and confidence that the global community will concretely respond to the very real and devastating losses and damages increasingly suffered by poor countries on the front lines of climate change impacts.
  • Developed countries have been blocking the Paris-mandated inclusion of the Adaptation Fund in the Paris Agreement rulebook, and the developed country recent “roadmap” to reach the promised $100 billion/year by 2020 lacks credibility – – unfortunate circumstances in the face of developing countries’ low-carbon climate resilient development needs now estimated to collectively exceed $4 trillion.

Work did continue yesterday, while heads of state and ministers arrived for the high-level segment. By the end of the day, among some positive developments were two improved draft decisions on the WIM (here and here). (More on these to come.) Additionally, the Green Climate Fund expedited grants for Liberia’s and Nepal’s National Adaptation Plans. Climate finance remains a hot topic on this week’s COP22 agenda, in particular, the upcoming High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance; so, Screen Shot 2016-11-15 at 3.09.30 PMhope remains for new and encouraging news on that front. (Check back with us on this, too!)


Photo credits: Action Time courtesy www.afd/fr; Informal negotiations courtesy iisd enb

Lighting the Way for LDCs

green-plant-in-the-light-bulbIn the COP21 opening ceremonies this morning, President Obama spoke of the need to turn international progress on climate action into “an enduring framework for human progress.” Later, the Global Environment Facility hosted a session today called “Investing in Resilience—Responding to the Adaptation Needs of the Most Vulnerable.” The event concerned various countries’ participation with the Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF), goals for the future, and means of continuing support for urgent and immediate needs. Eleven developed countries pledged almost $250 million to support Least Developed Country (LDC) adaptation efforts through the LDCF. Several LDCs also spoke about their unique vulnerabilities to climate change and their specific adaptation needs.

Strikingly, in Paris, the City of Light, a delegate from Benin discussed a project in his country called a “Light for All” which will ensure every house has electricity. He elaborated on the importance of energy—“the end all and be all of development”—and of the need for international support for electrification and other energy necessary for development. Ethiopia also discussed its need of funding for energy. When asked whether LDCs voices were being heard at the COP, Manuel Augusto, current speaker for the LDC negotiation group and the Secretary of State for External Relations of Angola, said that the pledges made during the session were evidence that their voices are being heard, but not enough.

Providing LDCs the support they need to reach their adaptation and sustainable development goals is a way to form an enduring framework for human progress. Hopefully developed countries will leave on the light for LDCs to reach these goals.

Meeting the $10 Billion Goal With A Long Way Still To Go

As reported in this blog last week, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) reached $9.95 billion of its $10 billion goal for 2014. Pledges over the weekend increased the total to $9.9 billion. Today, the Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance discussed how current institutions and tools are providing countries with reassurance that public finance is flowing internationally.

The Standing Committee on Finance estimated that total global climate finance ranges from $340-$650 billion per year. Of this, $40-$175 billion flows from developed countries to institutions. $35-$50 billion flows to developing countries via public institutions. The SCF projected that 47-78% of funds will be used for climate change mitigation, 11-24% for adaptation efforts, and the remaining will go to other climate change objectives.

The GCgcf_logoF noted that 74 countries have assigned a Nationally Designated Authority (NDA) or focal point designations. This will aid in climate finance efficiency and distribution of funds. Funds are becoming more easily accessible as entities seeking accreditation to receive funds from the GCF can apply online. The GCF stated that savings can be used to build a climate resilient future.

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) reenforced the necessity for all parties to complete their intended nationally determined contributions (INDC). So far, the GEF has provided support for 18 countries’ INDCs. The GEF stressed that climate finance in both mitigation and adaptation is critical in order to have sustainable, low carbon development. Further, the public funding only makes up a small portion of the funds necessary to achieve such development.

When parties took the floor, more and more pledges rolled in for different climate finance entities. Germany pledged to contribute USD $55 million to the Adaptation Fund while Spain pledged EUR 20 million to the New York Declaration on Forests. Belgium will contribute EUR 50 million to the GCF. The Australian pledge of AUS $200 million to the GCF put the total over the $10 billion mark.

Despite achieving the goal, the Co-Chairs of the Ministerial Dialogue stated that more countries should still make pledges and become involved. This will spur more private entities to pledge so that adequate funds will be available to support global sustainable development.



Behind Closed Doors: Adaptation Fund Negotiations

logo adaptation fundThe last session of the informal consultations on the second review of the Adaptation Fund was scheduled for today, but the parties took longer than planned in their previous negotiations, so the final meeting was pushed back until tomorrow. Today’s meeting instead became a continuation of earlier negotiations, and as it was announced at the start of the session, observers were asked to leave. As one of those observers who had to vacate my seat, I wonder what progress this review is undergoing. The Adaptation Fund was first established in 2001 to finance adaptation projects and programmes in especially vulnerable developing countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol. These funds come from a percentage of the clean development mechanism (CDM). The status of funds contributed and projects approved are available in handy maps and charts on the Climate Funds Update website.

What changes and positions were proposed at today’s session, only the lucky parties in attendance will know. Observers, such as myself will just have to wait to see final product.senegal adaptation fund

Updated Loss and Damage text – “Warsaw international mechanism” under Cancun Adaptation Framework, still L&D not LDM

As of Saturday morning, the COP 19 delegates negotiated a new draft text (FCCC/CP/2013/L.15) for the international arrangement for loss and damage (L&D), hereinafter referred to as the “Warsaw international mechanism” (para. 1). The draft text outlines the general structure of the international mechanism, recalling decisions 1/CP.16, 7/CP.17, and 3/CP.18 but most of the discussion will center around paragraph 1, which places loss and damage “under” the Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF).


Under the UNFCCC, COP 19 had the legal mandate from Decision 3/CP.19 in the Doha Climate Gateway to “establish institutional arrangements, such as an international mechanism, including functions and modalities, to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change” (Decision 3/CP.18, para. 9), including extreme events and slow onset events. The COP 19 “establishes” the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage under the CAF, which would enhance action on adaptation under the five clusters of implementation, support, institutions, principles, and stakeholder engagement (para.1). This language means that L&D will not be a stand alone mechanism but will operate “under” the CAF, which was not advocated by G77 + China, AOSIS and other developing countries.

The draft text outlines how the Warsaw international mechanism will have an executive committee, consisting of two representatives from the following bodies under the Convention, to ensure “balanced representation” (para. 4): Adaptation Committee, the Least Developed Countries Expert Group, the Standing Committee on Finance, Technology Executive Committee and the Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties not included in Alex I of the UNFCCC.

Also, the Warsaw international mechanism outlines a timeframe for future discussions. The workplan for L&D would operate over the entire 2014 calendar year to establish a two-year work plan for implementation of the Warsaw international mechanism. The executive committee will meet by March 2014 to develop an initial two-year workplan by COP 21 in December 2014 (para. 8-9). Then, the executive committee would conduct a review of the 2 year program by COP22, where this review would be part of an “appropriate decision” to be adopted at COP22 (para. 15).

The Warsaw international mechanism would fulfill the role of promoting the implementation of measures to address loss and damage (para. 5), First it would fill in knowledge gaps to improve risk management, increase data sharing and management, including gender indicators, share best practices, provide leadership and coordination, and foster dialogue at all levels. Second, the Warsaw international mechanism would enhance action and support for adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building (as stated under the Durban Platform); provide information, guidance, and recommendations to reduce risks and provide technical support to the various bodies under the UNFCCC, including the operating entities of the financial mechanism (i.e Adaptation Fund); and facilitate the mobilization and securing of experts  to address L&D. Third, the Warsaw international mechanism will facilitate and coordinate actions to address loss and damage, including working with various bodies outside the UNFCCC and those within the UNFCCC. The language is very broad and vague at this stage. Substantive and specific modalities will be discussed at later meetings.

Furthermore, the new Warsaw international mechanism will aim to establish new institutions at the regional and national levels and should be country-driven. Vulnerable developing countries, in particular, will need these new institutions to enhance adaptation and deal with climate change impacts “beyond adaptation.” Cooperation, coordination and partnership between developed and developing countries as well as relevant stakeholders (including communities directly involved in loss and damage programs) will be vital.