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Nicaragua signs the Paris Agreement while UN urges the world to upscale climate policies

A month after Nicaragua announced its intention to join the Paris Agreement, the country officially committed to the landmark climate accord, – one day after UNFCCC published a new report urging policymakers to upscale existing and new climate policies in order for the Paris goals to be met.

President Daniel Ortega had announced his plans to sign the Paris Agreement last month, during a meeting with a delegation of Senior Executives from the World Bank.

Nicaragua’s Nationally Determined Contributions haven’t been submitted yet, but the country is already considered a renewable energy paradise, as it currently produces more than 50 percent of its power needs from clean energy and aims to increase this to 90 percent by 2020.

Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s Vice President and First Lady commented that the Paris Agreement “is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters”.

Nicaragua constitutes a developing country, which is however threated disproportionally from the impacts of climate change like extreme weather events and it is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes.

In 2015, it refused to sign the Paris accord as it claimed the Agreement was too weak and it did not protect developing countries from climate change.

However, President Daniel Ortega decided that Nicaragua’s decision to join the Agreement will be done in support of these nations.

He had said: “We have to be in solidarity with this large number of countries that are the first victims, who are already the victims and are the ones who will continue to suffer the impact of these disasters and that are countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, of the Caribbean, which are in highly vulnerable areas”.

To date, 169 countries have ratified the agreement and 165 countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

On Monday, UNFCCC published its “Climate Action Now: Summary for Policymakers 2017” based on recommendations from the Technical Expert Meetings on climate change mitigation and adaptation held in May 2017 in Bonn, and as part of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action that is working to support INDCs and National Climate Action Plans.

The report shed light on the importance of coordination and coherence of all three global agendas related to climate change, i.e. the Paris Agreement, the UN SDGs, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

For example, climate change mitigation action can bring co-benefits for adaptation and sustainable development; renewables can increase access to electricity as well as reduce emissions and more efficient and sustainable agriculture and forestry can contribute to adaptation too.

In addition, it stressed the importance of data and information availability, as a lot of data about the impacts of climate change and the associated risks are not available for many countries.

The report also mentions the complexity of measuring and verifying emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use, stressing that this needs to be addressed soon.

You can read the full “Climate Action Now: Summary for Policymakers 2017” report here.

Credit: Climate Action Programme

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

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