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Project Preparation Partnership Launched to Support Latin America and Caribbean National Institutions Improve Capacity for Developing Climate Resilient Water Projects for the Green Climate Fund

PRESS RELEASE

Panama City, Panama, September 5th, 2019:

A Technical Workshop on Project Preparation for Transformational Climate Resilient Water Project Concepts in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), was held with 95 participants  – comprised of GCF National Designated Authorities (NDAs), GCF Direct Access Entities (DAEs), representatives from Water Ministries and agencies, as well as academia – from 23 LAC countries.

The workshop was organised by the Global Water Partnership (GWP), in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), with technical inputs from the GCF Secretariat and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Group Photo 2

Group photo of participants 

The workshop responded to countries’ needs for support to strengthen the capacity of NDAs, DAEs, and Water Ministries and agencies to prepare climate resilient water projects that meet GCF investment criteria. Participants reviewed the GCF funding requirements and mandate, investment criteria, and its operational modalities and procedures for delivering climate finance through different windows. They also considered fit-for-purpose examples of project design and financing instruments. Countries shared their experiences and lessons in accessing GCF resources. Through interactive, hands-on exercises over three days, NDAs, DAEs, and water professionals and decision-makers, worked on 36 country-prioritised water project ideas to sharpen their climate rationale and paradigm shift potential.

The workshop is a flagship initiative that is driven by a collaboration of three GWP regions – Central America, South America and the Caribbean – in accelerating climate action via water, as per the GWP 2020-2025 Strategy. Additionally, the workshop served as a pivotal milestone to launch the Project Preparation Partnership for Climate Resilient Water Projects in LAC for the GCF, between GWP, IDB and the CCCCC. It will provide a platform for countries to continue exchanging knowledge and lessons, as their experience in preparing, financing, and implementing water projects, grows within the context of the GCF.

Co-organisers and participants of the workshop, and other relevant sector entities, are invited to join the Partnership and benefit from it. The Partnership provides a structured resource for LAC countries to continue accessing strategic and technical support to prioritise and prepare climate resilient water projects via a facilitated, flexible mechanism that enables demand-driven technical assistance for NDAs, DAEs, and national water agencies.

According to a 2016 UNFCCC survey of country climate action priorities, water is the most-cited pathway through which countries experience climate impacts and also the most-often prioritised sector through which countries seek to build resilience in their economies, their inhabitants’ livelihoods, and their natural ecosystems.

But when it comes to preparing and implementing adaptation projects, few of these water actions shift from priority lists to action on the ground. Barriers cited by countries include capacity limitations within countries, and weak coordination among in-country entities including Ministries of Water, Ministries of Planning, and Ministries of Finance.

The Partnership is committed to continue the momentum generated from this workshop, with NDAs, DAEs, and ministries supporting one another to overcome barriers, drawing on the increasing expertise across the continent. Furthermore, recognising aspects of water projects that deliver development benefits that do not directly address climate impacts, require co-financing from other sources such as governments or the private sector. The Partnership will work with active and relevant financing partners for project preparation to appropriately structure financing for climate resilient GCF water projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 About the IDB

We work to improve lives in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through financial and technical support for countries working to reduce poverty and inequality, we help improve health and education, and advance infrastructure. Our aim is to achieve development in a sustainable, climate-friendly way. With a history dating back to 1959, today we are the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. We provide loans, grants, and technical assistance; and we conduct extensive research. We maintain a strong commitment to achieving measurable results and the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability.

About CCCCC

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and on the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change in the Caribbean.

 About GWP

The Global Water Partnership (GWP) is a global action network with over 3,000 Partner organisations in 183 countries. GWP’s vision is a water secure world. Our mission is to advance governance and management of water resources for sustainable and equitable development.

GWP Launches Global Support Programme for NDCs, Water, Climate, and Development

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Ms Christiana Figueres, Morocco’s Delegate Minister of Environment Ms Hakima El Haite, GWP Executive Secretary Mr Rudolph Cleveringa.

Global Water Partnership (GWP) has launched a global programme to assist countries to implement the adaptation component of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – the climate plans submitted to the UNFCCC ahead of the Paris Agreement.

The launch took place at this year’s UNFCCC climate conference in Bonn, SB44. The event was attended by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Ms Christiana Figueres and COP 22 host, Morocco’s Delegate Minister of Environment Ms Hakima El Haite, who both opened the session together with GWP Executive Secretary Mr Rudolph Cleveringa.

“NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and Adaptation is at the heart of the urgency”, said Ms Figueres. She reported that 85% of NDCs include adaptation.

Mr Cleveringa said that GWP will support countries to develop investment plans for water-related commitments in their NDCs, and he called for the urgent need to act on water, now.

“Water is the most cited ‘sector’ in NDCs. By the end of November 2015, 129 countries (including the EU), submitted their NDCS to the UNFCCC. 92% of them included water as a priority”, he said – adding that water also topped the list of the global top 10 risks to business and economic progress, according to the 2015 World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report.

Morocco’s Minister of Environment, Ms Hakima El Haite, welcomed GWP’s support to assist countries in implementing their adaptation commitments in NDCs.

‘Poor countries are not ready and need support to develop national adaptation plans. When we started to talk about adaptation, it was to make the voices of the most vulnerable heard’, said Minister El Haite.

Ms Figueres encouraged all countries to finish or at least start their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). The UNFCCC Chief also encouraged countries to consider adopting the 1.5 degrees in the Paris Agreement as the target for mitigation and 2 degrees as the target for countries to prepare adaptation plans.

“This is not an official position of the Parties, but can be a way forward to help countries prepare for adaptation”, she said.

Welcoming the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the SDG goal on water in 2015, the GWP Executive Secretary stressed that SDGs and NDCs provide an opportunity for countries to put water on national agendas.

The adaptation component of NDCs provides an opportunity for countries to outline current and future actions to improve water security. For many countries, water security is key for climate change adaptation and essential to economic development.

GWP recognizes the challenge that many countries face in adapting to climate risks. Many countries faced challenges in preparing their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Many will face challenges in implementing their actions in NDCs. Mr Cleveringa reported five priorities for GWP’s global support programme on NDCs, Water, Climate and Development:

  1. Support to formulation of NDC road maps and implementation at the national and subsector level. This will be linked to existing and planned adaptation activities such as NAPs and other water-related strategies.
  2. Support to formulation of NDC investment plans. This includes estimating the finance and investment requirements, sources of finance, linking national budget planning processes to medium term expenditure frameworks, absorption, financial management capacity, and potential to mobilise private investments.
  3. Support to project preparation and development of funding proposals to implement NDC investment plans. Countries will be assisted to prepare proposals for submission to international climate funds such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and others.
  4. Capacity development for planning, implementation, and monitoring of NDC activities.
  5. Promote south-south cooperation and coordination at all levels in implementation of NDCs, NAPs, and SDGs.

Mr Mohamed Benyahia, COP 22 Head of Side Events and member of the COP 22 Steering Committee from Morocco government applauded the partnership between Morocco and GWP. ‘This is just a beginning, an important step for south-south cooperation as we progress towards Marrakesh in COP 22.’

Mr Alex Simalabwi, GWP’s lead on climate change, lauded the partnership with Morocco and announced that the support on NDCs builds on GWP’s flagship programme on water, climate, and development, and associated programmes on drought and flood management, jointly implemented with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Since 2012, GWP, through its climate programme, has assisted over 60 countries on four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Caribbean) to integrate water security and climate resilience into national development.

Credit: Global Water Partnership

Caribbean Youth Ready to Lead on Climate Issues

Members of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CEYN) clean debris from a river in Trinidad. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

Members of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CEYN) clean debris from a river in Trinidad. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

At 24 years old, Stefan Knights has never been on the side of those who are sceptical about the reality and severity of climate change.

A Guyana native who moved to Trinidad in September 2013 to pursue his law degree at the Hugh Wooding Law School, Knights told IPS that his first-hand experience of extreme weather has strengthened his resolve to educate his peers about climate change “so that they do certain things that would reduce emissions.”

“Notwithstanding our minor contribution to this global problem we are taking a proactive approach, guided by the recognition of our vulnerability and the tremendous responsibility to safeguard the future of our people.” – Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran.

Knights recalled his first week in Trinidad, when he returned to his apartment to find “the television was floating, the refrigerator was floating and all my clothes were soaked” after intense rainfall which did not last more than an hour.

“When we have the floods, the droughts or even the hurricanes, water supply is affected, people lose jobs, people lose their houses and the corollary of that is that the right to water is affected, the right to housing, the right to employment and even sometimes the right to life,” Knights told IPS.

“I am a big advocate where human rights are concerned and I see climate change as having a significant impact on Caribbean people where human rights are concerned,” he said.

Knights laments that young people from the Caribbean and Latin America are not given adequate opportunities to participate in the major international meetings, several of which are held each year, to deal with climate change.

“These people are affected more than anybody else but when such meetings are held, in terms of youth representation, you find very few young people from these areas,” he said.

Youth climate activist Stefan Knights. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

Youth climate activist Stefan Knights. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

 

“Also, the countries that are not independent within Latin America and the Caribbean, like Puerto Rico which is still a territory of the United States, Montserrat, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, the voices of those people are not heard in those rooms because they are still colonies.”

Knights, who is also an active member of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), said young people are ready to lead.

“They are taking the lead around the world in providing solutions to challenges in the field of sustainable development,” he explained.

“For instance, CYEN has been conducting research and educating society on integrated water resources management, focusing particularly on the linkages between climate change, biodiversity loss and unregulated waste disposal.”

CYEN has been formally recognised by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) as one of its Most Outstanding Partners in the Caribbean.

As recently as December 2014, several members of CYEN from across the Caribbean participated in a Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) Media Workshop on Water Security and Climate Resilience held here.

CYEN has been actively involved in policy meetings on water resources management and has conducted practical community-based activities in collaboration with local authorities.

CYEN National Coordinator Rianna Gonzales told IPS that one way in which young people in Trinidad and Tobago are getting involved in helping to combat climate change and build resilience is through the Adopt a River (AAR) Programme, administered by the National Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA).

“This is an initiative to involve the community and corporate entities in the improvement of watersheds in Trinidad and Tobago in a sustainable, holistic and coordinated manner,” Gonzales said.

“The aim of the AAR programme is to build awareness on local watershed issues and to facilitate the participation of public and private sector entities in sustainable and holistic projects aimed at improving the status of rivers and watersheds in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Most of Trinidad and Tobago’s potable water supply (60 per cent) comes from surface water sources such as rivers and streams, and total water demand is expected to almost double between 1997 and 2025.

With climate change predictions indicating that Trinidad and Tobago will become hotter and drier, in 2010, the estimated water availability for the country was 1477 m3 per year, which is a decrease of 1000 m3 per year from 1998.

Deforestation for housing, agriculture, quarrying and road-building has also increased the incidence of siltation of rivers and severe flooding.

“The challenge of water in Trinidad and Tobago is one of both quality and quantity,” Gonzales said.

“Our vital water supply is being threatened by industrial, agricultural and residential activities. Indiscriminate discharge of industrial waste into waterways, over-pumping of groundwater sources and pollution of rivers by domestic and commercial waste are adversely affecting the sustainability of our water resources.

“There is therefore an urgent need for a more coordinated approach to protecting and managing our most critical and finite resource – water,” she added.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran said there is an urgent need to protect human dignity and alleviate the sufferings of people because of climate change.

“We know that the urgency is now. Business as usual is not enough. We are not on track to meet our agreed 2.0 or 1.5 degree Celsius objective for limiting the increase in average global temperatures, so urgent and ambitious actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere is absolutely necessary,” he told IPS.

Dookeran added that “there is no excuse not to act” since economically viable and technologically feasible options already exist to significantly enhance efforts to address climate change.

“Even with a less than two degrees increase in average global temperatures above pre-industrial levels, small island states like Trinidad and Tobago are already experiencing more frequent and more intense weather events as a result of climate change,” Dookeran said.

The foreign affairs minister said residents can look forward to even more mitigation measures that will take place in the first quarter of this year with respect to the intended nationally determined contributions for mitigation.

“Notwithstanding our minor contribution to this global problem we are taking a proactive approach, guided by the recognition of our vulnerability and the tremendous responsibility to safeguard the future of our people,” he said.

“Trinidad and Tobago has made important inroads in dealing with the problem as we attempt to ensure that climate change is central to our development. As we prepare our economy for the transition to low carbon development and as we commit ourselves to carbon neutrality, the government of Trinidad and Tobago is working assiduously towards expanding the use of renewable energy in the national energy mix,” he added.

Credit: Inter Press Service News Agency

Africa and the Caribbean Talks Water Security and Climate Resilient Development

Participants at the Africa and the Caribbean Knowledge Exchange on Water Security and Climate Resilient Development

Participants at the Africa and the Caribbean Knowledge Exchange on Water Security and Climate Resilient Development

A first of its kind south-south knowledge exchange between Africa and the Caribbean on water security and climate resilient development was held at the Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad this week (June 26, 2014). The meeting, which was held as a side event during the 2014 Global Water Partnership Network and Consulting Partners Meeting (held outside its host country Sweden for the first time), sought to enable lessons and experience sharing across the regions based on initiatives planned and realized under GWP’s global Water, Climate and Development (WACDEP) programme. “Despite obvious geographic differences, the two regions have much to learn from each other on the development and application of the regional frameworks, tools, strategies and knowledge products for advancing water security and climate resilience,” said GWP-Caribbean WACDEP Coordinator Natalie Boodram.

The high-level technical meeting was attended by 17 participants representing entities such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Global Water Partnership (GWP) Secretariat, and regional GWP teams from Africa and the Caribbean.

Under the WACDEP programme, which is now active in 13 GWP Regions, GWP-Caribbean and GWP-Africa with support from the Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN) have been supporting the development of contextually relevant Frameworks that promotes synergies and opportunities to integrate water security and climate resilience into development planning processes. Among the distinguishing features of this approach is the focus given to the preparation of no/low regrets investment strategies.

The CCCCC’s project development specialist Keith Nichols told Caribbean Climate that the knowledge sharing exercise was “very revealing and informative”. He added that “it highlights the fact that there are significant achievements across the regions that should be shared notwithstanding the geographical differences”. Alex Simalabwi, global coordinator for WACDEP at GWP, agrees. He notes that the Africa and the Caribbean knowledge sharing exercise was an outstanding initiative that “offers excellent opportunities for both [regions] to address climate resilient development and should be pursued further within the context of international investment and trade”. To realize this he made a call for south-south exchange involving key regional entities such as CARICOM, 5Cs and the African Union.

The inaugural knowledge exchange on water security and climate resilient development between Africa and the Caribbean follows discussions two years ago at the 8th Annual High Level Session (HLS) Ministerial Forum on Water, which was not only attended by Caribbean Ministers responsible for water but also the Executive Secretary of the Africa Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW).

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