Home » Posts tagged 'Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)'
Tag Archives: Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
This achievement should be celebrated, especially by Small Island Development States (SIDS), a 41-nation group—nearly half of them in the Caribbean—that has been advocating for increased ambition on climate change for nearly a quarter century.
SIDS are even more vulnerable to climate change impacts — and risk losing more. Global warming has very high associated damages and costs to families, communities and entire countries, including their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
What does this mean for the Caribbean? Climate change is recognized as one of the most serious challenges to the Caribbean. With the likelihood that climate change will exacerbate the frequency and intensity of the yearly hurricane season, comprehensive measures are needed to protect at-risk communities.
Moreover, scenarios based on moderate curbing of greenhouse gas emissions reveal that surface temperature would increase between 1.2 and 2.3 °C across the Caribbean in this century. In turn, rainfall is expected to decrease about 5 to 6 per cent. As a result, it will be the only insular region in the world to experience a decrease in water availability in the future.
The combined impact of higher temperatures and less water would likely result in longer dry periods and increased frequency of droughts, which threaten agriculture, livelihoods, sanitation and ecosystems.
Perhaps the most dangerous hazard is sea level rise. The sea level may rise up to 0.6 meters in the Caribbean by the end of the century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This could actually flood low-lying areas, posing huge threats, particularly to the smallest islands, and impacting human settlements and infrastructure in coastal zones. It also poses serious threats to tourism, a crucial sector for Caribbean economies: up to 60 per cent of current resorts lie around the coast and these would be greatly damaged by sea level increase.
Sea level rise also risks saline water penetrating into freshwater aquifers, threatening crucial water resources for agriculture, tourism and human consumption, unless expensive treatments operations are put into place.
In light of these prospects, adapting to climate change becomes an urgent necessity for SIDS—including in the Caribbean. It is therefore not surprising that all Caribbean countries have submitted a section on adaptation within their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which are the voluntary commitments that pave the way for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
In their INDCs, Caribbean countries overwhelmingly highlight the conservation of water resources and the protection of coastal areas as their main worries. Most of them also consider adaptation initiatives in the economic and productive sectors, mainly agriculture, fisheries, tourism and forestry.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been supporting Caribbean countries in their adaptation efforts for many years now, through environmental, energy-related and risk reduction projects, among others.
This week we launched a new partnership with the Government of Japan, the US$15 million Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP), in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The initiative will be implemented in eight Caribbean countries: Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, benefitting an estimated 200,000 women and men in 50 communities.
It will set out a roadmap to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in line with countries’ long-term strategies, helping put in practice Caribbean countries’ actions and policies to reduce greenhouse as emissions and adapt to climate change. It will also boost access to sustainable energy and help reduce fossil fuel imports and dependence, setting the region on a low-emission development path, while addressing critical balance of payments constraints.
When considering adaptation measures to the different impacts of climate change there are multiple options. Some rely on infrastructure, such as dikes to control sea level rise, but this can be particularly expensive for SIDS, where the ratio of coastal area to land mass is very high.
In this context, ecosystem-based adaptation activities are much more cost-effective, and, in countries with diverse developmental priorities and where financial resources are limited, they become an attractive alternative. This means healthy, well-functioning ecosystems to boost natural resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change, reducing people’s vulnerabilities as well.
UNDP, in partnership with national and local governments in the Caribbean, has been championing ecosystem-based adaptation and risk reduction with very rewarding results.
For example, the Government of Cuba partnered with UNDP, scientific institutes and forestry enterprises to restore mangrove forests along 84 km of the country’s southern shore to slow down saline intrusion from the sea level rise and reduce disaster risks, as the mangrove acts as a protective barrier against hurricanes.
In Grenada, in coordination with the Government and the German International Cooperation Agency, we supported the establishment of a Community Climate Change Adaptation Fund, a small grants mechanism, to provide opportunities to communities to cope with the effects of climate change and extreme weather conditions. We have engaged with local stakeholders to develop climate smart agricultural projects, and climate resilient fisheries, among other activities in the tourism and water resources sectors.
UNDP’s support is directed to balance social and economic development with environmental protection, directly benefitting communities. Our approach is necessarily aligned with the recently approved 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its associated Sustainable Development Goals, delivering on protecting ecosystems and natural resources, promoting food security and sanitation, while also helping reduce poverty and promoting sustainable economic growth.
While there is significant potential for climate change adaptation in SIDS, it will require additional external resources, technologies and strengthening of local capacities. In UNDP we are ideally placed to continue working hand-in-hand with Caribbean countries as they implement their INDCs and find their own solutions to climate-change adaptation, while also sharing knowledge and experiences within the region and beyond.
Jessica Faieta is United Nations Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Credit: Caribbean 360
A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of negotiations. The pact is the first to commit all countries to cut carbon emissions.
The agreement is partly legally binding and partly voluntary. Earlier, key blocs, including the G77 group of developing countries, and nations such as China and India said they supported the proposals.
President of the UN climate conference of parties (COP) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled Paris Agreement outlined in the document. “Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.”
As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding. The announcement was greeted by cheers and excitement in the hall
Nearly 200 countries have been attempting to strike the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions, which would come into being in 2020.
The chairman of the group representing some of the world’s poorest countries called the deal historic, adding: “We are living in unprecedented times, which call for unprecedented measures.
“It is the best outcome we could have hoped for, not just for the Least Developed Countries, but for all citizens of the world.”
As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding. The announcement was greeted by cheers and excitement in the hall. Nearly 200 countries have been attempting to strike the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions, which would come into being.
The measures in the agreement included:
• To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century
• To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C
• To review progress every five years
• $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.
Analysis: The BBC’s Matt McGrath in Paris
The speeches and the cliches at the adoption of the Paris Agreement flowed like good champagne – success after all has many fathers! The main emotion is relief. The influence of the COP president, Laurent Fabius, cannot be overstated. His long diplomatic career gave him a credibility seldom matched in this arena. He used his power well.
The deal that has been agreed, under Mr Fabius, is without parallel in terms of climate change or of the environment. It sets out a clear long term temperature limit for the planet and a clear way of getting there. There is money for poor countries to adapt, there is a strong review mechanism to increase ambition over time. This is key if the deal is to achieve the aim of keeping warming well below 2C.
More than anything though the deal signifies a new way for the world to achieve progress – without it costing the Earth. A long term perspective on the way we do sustainability is at the heart of this deal. If it delivers that, it truly will be world changing.
Ahead of the deal being struck, delegates were in a buoyant mood as they gathered in the hall waiting for the plenary session to resume.
Mr Fabius was applauded as he entered the hall ahead of the announcement.
Earlier, French President Francois Hollande called the proposals unprecedented, while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on negotiators to “finish the job”.
Some aspects of the agreement will be legally binding, such as submitting an emissions reduction target and the regular review of that goal.
However, the targets set by nations will not be binding under the deal struck in Paris.
Observers say the attempt to impose emissions targets on countries was one of the main reasons why the Copenhagen talks in 2009 failed.
At the time, nations including China, India and South Africa were unwilling to sign up to a condition that they felt could hamper economic growth and development.
The latest negotiations managed to avoid such an impasse by developing a system of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
In these, which form the basis of the Paris agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise “well below” 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels, nations outline their plans on cutting their post-2020 emissions.
An assessment published during the two-week talks suggested that the emission reductions currently outlined in the INDCs submitted by countries would only limit global temperature rise by 2.7C.
Nick Mabey, chief executive of climate diplomacy organisation E3G, said the agreement was an ambitious one that would require serious political commitment to deliver.
“Paris means governments will go further and faster to tackle climate change than ever before,” he said. “The transition to a low carbon economy is now unstoppable, ensuring the end of the fossil fuel age.”
UN climate conference 30 Nov – 11 Dec 2015
Guyana signed a readiness grant agreement with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris on Tuesday, December 08, 2015. The funding will provide USD 300,000 to Guyana to help the country build capacity to access GCF funding for its priority projects in the future.
This project, which was negotiated between the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC or 5C) and the Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy, aims to address several issues affecting CARICOM States under the rubric of Climate Change, inclusive of mitigation, adaptation and vulnerability. The 5Cs is an Accredited Entity (AE) to the Fund, meaning that it can partner with GCF in delivering mitigation and adaptation projects on the ground in the Caribbean.
Executive Director of the 5Cs, Dr. Kenrick Leslie attended the ceremony along with H.E. Raphael Trotman, Minister of Governance of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, who signed on behalf of Guyana in the presence of H.E. Winston Jordan, the Guyanese Minister of Finance. Ousseynou Nakoulima, Director of Country Programming, signed on behalf of the Fund.
The GCF aims to help CARICOM Member States to adapt to climate change, by lessening their vulnerability to sea level rise and climate variability; identifying and implementing the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs); reporting and assessing of the Member States INDCs and the development and dissemination of renewable energy sources and technology.
According to iNews Guyana, “Francesco La Camera, Director General of the Ministry of Environment of Italy, signed a €6 million project to assist CARICOM Member States to mitigate climate variability and change.”
The GCF also seeks to transfer scientific and technical knowledge, experiences and technology, facilitate the exchange of experts, scientists and researchers; enhance the capacities for the implementation of mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its related instruments, and to promote joint ventures between the private sectors of the Parties.
The Fund provides early support for readiness and preparatory activities to enhance country ownership and access through its country readiness programme. A minimum of 50 per cent of readiness support is targeted at Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Guyana, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and African States.
More than 95 countries have so far expressed interest in receiving readiness support from the Fund, and more than 30 such grants have been approved to date.
The estimated timeframe for the project is five years. Minister Trotman thanked the Government and People of Italy for their continued support and friendship shown towards the people of Guyana and the Caribbean.
Credit: iNews Guyana, Green Climate Fund
The path towards the next agreement on climate change expected in Paris at the end of the year passed through the UNFCCC ADP 2.8 session in Geneva from 8 to 13 February. According to an informal note by the Co-Chairs of the Geneva session, the objective was to “mak[e] available a negotiating text for a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties before May 2015″. The following analysis aims at underlining the role that the 2015 Climate Agreement to be adopted at COP 21 in Paris could play in mobilising climate finance. It was first published under the ICCG Reflections Publication Series. The full document is available in pdf.
The role of the 2015 agreement in mobilising climate finance
The improved coordination, greater coherence and enhanced transparency of the institutional climate finance arrangements are key issues under the 2015 climate agreement because they could contribute to mobilising increased levels of climate finance.
Enhanced transparency of climate finance is pivotal throughout the timeframe from initialising pledges and commitments to disbursing finance. Acquiring more consistent and reliable information on climate finance could help build trust among various stakeholders, including investors and the public sector. More transparent information could also help improve efficient and effective use of international climate finance, and therefore contribute to raising further international climate finance flows.
Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) is an essential tool under the UNFCCC to produce and disseminate information on outcomes from particular climate finance instruments or funds, and therefore to ensure transparency. But there are still some challenges and gaps of MRV provisions and methodologies regarding the mobilisation and use of international climate finance. These challenges range from a lack of common definition of climate finance, the fact that not all types of climate finance are required to be reported, the problem in tracking private adaptation finance, and difficulties in attributing specific climate finance flows to certain countries.
To cope with these challenges, the Standing Committee on Finance was requested by the COP 20 in Lima, “as part of its ongoing work on measurement, reporting and verification of support, and with a view to recommending improvements to the methodologies for reporting financial information, to consider the findings and recommendations of the biennial assessment in its annual report to the Conference of the Parties for its consideration at its twenty-first session; and also, “in the context of its ongoing work, including the preparation of the biennial assessment and overview of climate finance flows, to further explore how it can enhance its work on the measurement, reporting and verification of support, based on best available information on the mobilization of various resources, including private and alternative resources, through public interventions.
The enhanced transparency under the 2015 climate agreement could contribute to mobilising climate finance in these following ways:
- facilitating dialogue among all Parties to develop methodologies on what financial flows need to be measured, reported and verified under the agreement;
- Using MRV as a tool to generate and disseminate information on results from specific climate financing instruments and funds;
In the end, more transparent information through international and domestic MRV processes could be useful resources for countries and private investors in making their financing decisions.
Another action that the 2015 agreement could undertake in order to mobilise effective climate finance is strengthening cooperation among international finance institutions. Concretely, the COP under 2015 climate agreement could encourage:
- consideration for geographic and thematic balance in allocating climate finance;
- facilitating coordination amongst institutions financing climate projects;
- enhancing synergies between institutional arrangements outside and inside the UNFCCC.
The need for a more balanced allocation between mitigation and adaptation is clearly pointed out in the 2014 Global Landscape of Climate Finance by Climate Policy Initiative. According to the CPI Report, in 2013 annual global climate finance flows totaled approximately US$ 331 billion. Compared to 2012, mitigation finance has decreased, and finance for adaptation has grown. Adaptation received in 2013, US$ 25 billion (7 percent of total flows) of exclusively public resources, up US$ 3 billion from 2012. Private investments are not captured due to scarce and unreliable data. As already observed, the lack of transparent Information about private investment in adaptation remains one of the most important gaps in the tracking of climate finance. Although mitigation investments decreased by US$ 24 billion compared to 2012, mitigation accounted for 91 percent of total climate finance flows, totaling US$ 302 billion in 2013.
As for the geographic distribution of climate finance flows, they were split almost equally between developing (non-OECD) and developed (OECD) countries, US$ 165 billion and US$ 164 billion respectively. The good news reported by CPI Report about adaptation finance allocation is that about 90 percent of total adaptation finance was invested in non-OECD countries of which only 8 percent came from OECD countries. The East Asia and Pacific region has taken the lead in 2013 as the main destination of adaptation finance and the main recipient of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs).
The COP 21 under the 2015 climate agreement with a view to a better coordination among international financial institutions could encourage coordination among local financial institutions and relevant actors in a specific country, especially for effectively catalysing domestic investments.
As for the last point concerning enhancing synergies between institutional arrangements outside and inside the UNFCCC, the 2015 agreement could request entities under the Convention (e.g. the SCF and the GCF Board) to monitor climate-relevant financial flows channelled outside the Financial Mechanism. COP 20 Decision on the Fifth review of the Financial Mechanism recalls this idea for the GCF: “There is ample room for the GCF to learn from the experiences of other funds in terms of improving the enabling environments in recipient countries. It can do this by linking investments with focused efforts to engage stakeholders within countries in programming, and by providing technical assistance and capacity-building so as to strengthen enabling environments – institutions, policies, and regulations – that support mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries.”
The 2015 climate agreement could also play a role by facilitating the efficient use of financial instruments and tools. Which financial instrument is best suited for targeting different types of climate activities is highly case-specific. For example, instruments such as grants are very well suited for capacity building and for adaptation measures in most vulnerable countries, whereas concessional loans are best suited for projects with high risk-return profiles such as utility-scale renewable energy projects and power transmission grids. Other financial tools are better suited for attracting private sector finance in more mature markets, such as green bonds and equity.
The importance of a new bottom-up approach
The 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (COP 15) highlighted how the top-down approach adopted in climate negotiations and climate agreements had been a failure, and launched the new bottom-up approach. This approach has now become even more urgent and should be followed in the negotiations leading to the 2015 climate agreement.
The introduction of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) at COP 19 in Warsaw was a clear signal that each nation is responsible for pledging its own contributions for post-2020 action. This means that each individual country (INDCs indeed refer both to developed and developing countries’ plans) is being asked to come forward with its own ambitions and plans for carbon reduction. INDCs put forward by countries will form a key input to the negotiations leading towards the 2015 climate agreement. It is worth recalling that the minimum characteristics required for the INDCs are those of comprehensiveness, transparency, and ambition.
INDCs bring together elements of a bottom-up system, in which countries put forward their contributions in the context of their national priorities, circumstances and capabilities, with a top-down system, in which countries collectively aim to reduce global emissions. As a result, INDCs can create a constructive feedback loop between national and international decision-making on climate change.
Although the bottom-up system is positive in terms of raising consciousness on climate change issues, it may be risky for two reasons. The first is that without a defined target the risk of free riding is high, and the second is that it keeps the differentiation of responsibility for poorer countries not having the resources for undertaking climate actions. This risk is reinforced by the fact that the principle of common but differentiated responsibility has been kept in the Lima Call for Climate Action, and also by the consideration that the term “contribution” was the result of a compromise of the terms “commitment” used until then for developed countries and “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” (NAMAs), used until then for developing countries. Moreover, the fact that in COP 20 Decisions there is no mention of the division between Annex I and non-Annex I parties, but only a weak reference to different contributions “in light of different national circumstances” is not clear enough and could lead to weakening climate actions.
The need for scaling up climate finance has been widely acknowledged by all Conference of the Parties’ countries, and this is recognised by the central debate at COP 20 around the role of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), with its initial capitalization under way, and its Private Sector Facility that will be a very useful tool for catalizing a significant multiplier effect in attracting private finance.
The recognition of the growing role of private finance, also due to constrained public budgets, encourages even further the strengthening of enabling environments conducive to private investors, better coordination at various levels, and the improvement of transparency by enhancing Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) systems. Also, the role of Public-Private Partnerships should be strengthened and officially recalled in the climate agreement as one of the most useful tool for attracting private finance. Among more direct measures, the 2015 climate agreement could play a very important role in mandating the operating entities under the Convention, i.e. the GCF and the GEF, to prioritise some part of their funding to specific regions or countries, or issues where climate finance would not be directed automatically.
The 2015 climate agreement should definitely cope with this lack of transparency and better clarify the differentiation of responsibility in all fields of climate action, both in mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, the agreement should forge a clear link to the new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the world’s governments are currently negotiating and that will be adopted at the “UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda” next 25-27 September in New York. The climate agreement and the SDGs should be seen as complementary, and lead to important opportunities for mutual benefits in areas such as the transition to a low carbon society, climate adaptation and resilience, and the new financial flows needed for both mitigation and adaptation actions.
Furthermore, a review of financial and insurance standards to promote long-term finance should be encouraged. Both Basel III and Solvency II should be reviewed to allow for a further mobilisation of private finance, especially towards needed energy infrastructure investment, which is usually long-term. Estimates by UNCTAD show that in climate change mitigation, and in particular in relevant infrastructures for renewable energy generation and research and deployment of climate friendly technologies, the total annual investment required between 2015 and 2030 is in the range of 550-850 US$ billion, and the annual investment gap is still very high, at 380-680 US$ billion.
In conclusion, although it is true that at COP 20 the debate was more on distributional issues i.e. how much will developing countries receive and how much will they contribute, rather than on efficiency issues and that “the Green Climate Fund will be far from covering both the required investments in adaptation, particularly in developing countries, and the costs to support the transition to a low-carbon economy”, this reflections aims at highlighting some potential positive actions that the 2015 climate agreement could concretely undertake in the way forward to the longstanding debate on climate finance.
(Image: UN event on “Mobilizing Long-term Climate Finance for Developing Countries”, 2011. Photo credit:UN Climate Change/Flickr)
Credit: Climate Policy Observer