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Post-COP 19 Round-up: Six outcomes welcomed by the Caribbean

(Left to Right) Selwin Hart, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Dr. Ulric Trotz

(Left to Right) Selwin Hart, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Dr. Ulric Trotz

Caribbean Climate released a widely reviewed post called COP 19 – Five things the Caribbean anticipates in the lead up to the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UNFCCC and the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. Several decisions were taken at the event in Warsaw, Poland that are of particular relevance and importance to the Caribbean.

  • The region successfully lobbied for the establishment of a Loss and Damage Mechanism.
    The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage consists of an Executive Committee, which will develop the modalities to assist developing countries that suffer loss and damage from extreme events and slow onset events precipitated by climate change. While it does not explicitly mention a compensation mechanism as demanded by vulnerable countries, it does not prohibit the Executive Committee from discussing it. The Mechanism has been established under the Cancun Adaptation Framework even though the position of the Caribbean is that loss and damage goes beyond what can be accomplished through adaptation.
  • Agreement reached to reduce emissions from the forest sector in developing countries. Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States of America pledged US$280 million to support these actions. This will be of particular relevance to CARICOM countries such as Belize, Guyana and Suriname.
  • The Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) reached its target of mobilizing US$100 million to fund the six projects in its pipeline. These include a project in Belize, which had been submitted by PACT, one of only two National Implementing Entities (NIE) in the Caribbean accredited to the Adaptation Fund. The other NIE is in Jamaica, which has also received funding for its project.
  • The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) is now fully operational. This follows the COP's adoption of CTCN's modalities and procedures. Starting December 8, 2013, Caribbean countries can submit their technology requests to the CTCN, which is hosted by UNEP's Danish office.
  • The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been operationalized. Developed countries have been asked to channel a significant portion of their US$100 billion per annum pledge for climate change though the GCF.  The Board of the GCF has been tasked with ensuring that there is an equitable balance of funding for both adaptation and mitigation. All developing countries are eligible for funding from the GCF.
  • Parties to the Convention agreed to continue to work towards establishing a new legally binding climate change agreement by 2015.  This would be achieved through the convening of a high-level Ministerial dialogue in June next year to increase the mitigation pledges by developed countries and the summit to be convened by the Secretary General of the UN in September 2014. A draft negotiating text should be available at COP 20 next year to enable Parties to finalize the agreement in Paris at COP 21 in December 2015.

We welcome these developments and will continue to advance the region’s interest.

Also read: COP 19 – Five things the Caribbean anticipates

COP 19 – Five things the Caribbean anticipates

The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UNFCCC and the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will take place next week (November 11-22). The conference will be held at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland.

 Five possible outcomes that will benefit the Caribbean:
  • COP 19 is billed by many as the "Finance COP". A Ministerial high level segment will address issues on long term financing for developing countries. A pathway detailing how donor countries will honour the US$100 billion a year by 2020 pledge made at the 2009 U.N summit in Copenhagen, accompanied by interim targets and a private sector engagement plan would benefit the region.

Currently, there’s no specific date for donor pledges to begin, but developing countries have already contributed a majority of emissions reductions even without promised support from developed countries.

  • Operationalization of REDD+ activities. The region's heavily forested countries, particularly Belize and Guyana, are facing increased deforestation and would benefit from comprehensive programmes aimed at addressing this problem.
  • Raise mitigation ambition. The development of a road map to use the Ministerial summit scheduled for next year to increase the level of mitigation ambition, specifically cutting emissions substantially to limit global warming to 2°C.
  • Establish Loss and Damage Mechanism. A decision to establish such a mechanism would allow for the provision of compensation to countries that have suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable damage and loss due to climate change.
  • Draft the new CCA.  A significant shift from general discussions to the drafting stage for the new climate change agreement (CCA), the successor to Kyoto, would advance the likelihood that the negotiating text can be produced by the end of 2014 and ultimately allow for copious perusal and discussion.

Under Decision 1/COP.17, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) was given the  ambitious mandate: first, to deliver by 2015 a new international climate change agreement that brings all Parties together in taking action on climate change, and second, to undertake essential work on enhancing pre-2020 mitigation ambition. Success depends on all Parties and the Co-Chairs of the ADP working together to make the best use of the time available, guided by a clear plan of work.

**Bookmark this page for regular updates from the 5Cs’s delegation at COP 17.

UNISDR Policy Analysis of Disaster Management and Climate Adaptation in the Pacific

YardEdge

YardEdge

The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat (UNISDR) has released a study on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CAA) in the Pacific, titled “Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the Pacific: an institutional and policy analysis.” The study analyzes the level of integration of DRR and CCA activities across the region.

DRR is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through analysis and management of their causal factors. It reduces exposure to hazards, lessens the vulnerability of people and assets, and improves management of the land and environment and preparedness for adverse events (UNISDR, 2009).

CAA is defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCCC) as ‘adjustments in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects that moderate harm and exploit beneficial opportunities. This can include: (a) adapting development to gradual changes in average temperature, sea level and precipitation; and (b) reducing and managing the risks associated with more frequent, severe and unpredictable  extreme weather events” (UNISDR, 2010).

The 67-page report includes analysis of seven Pacific island countries: the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. The results indicate that despite the low level of integration at the operational level, countries are making efforts to develop Joint National Action Plans for DRR and CCA.

The report says there is strong evidence of an increase in the observed frequency and intensity of weather and climate-related hazards. An assertion buttressed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change IPCC), which anticipates that in the short to medium term many impacts of climate change may manifest themselves through changes in the frequency, intensity or duration of extreme weather events. Having made these observations, the report makes an urgent call for a paradigm shift in DRR noting that the recent Global Assessment Report on DRR shows that mortality and economic loss risk are heavily concentrated in developing countries, disproportionately affecting the poor and posing a real threat to the achievement of the MDGs.

The report also outlines challenges and barriers to integration, highlights evolving good practice towards integration, and provides recommendations for regional and national stakeholders for further action. Key recommendations include: the establishment and maintenance of a database of DRR, CCA and related projects, and a database of Pacific-focused case studies and good practices; to co-convene meetings on disaster risk management (DRM) and CCA at times and locations that maximize coordination and integration opportunities; to develop an integrated Pacific Regional Policy Framework for DRM, CCA and mitigation for implementation post-2015; and for donors, Pacific island governments, nongovernmental and relevant regional organisations to work collectively and promote greater integration of DRR and CCA.

The study was produced in collaboration with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), with resources from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Peruse the full report here.

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