Resource mobilization for adapting to impacts of climate change

01 Dec 2015 by Charles Nyandiga, Program Advisor (Sustainable Land Management, Forests and Climate Change Adaptation) and Regional Focal Point (Anglophone Africa and Arab States). GEF Small Grants Programme.

Planning for actions and resources by communities. Credit: SGP St. Lucia
After years of working with grassroots organizations in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, I can confidently say that communities around the developing world are acutely aware of the toll climate change is taking. But it is also the case that these communities possess the knowledge and will to adapt to those impacts. These communities have deep stores of intergenerational wisdom and knowledge about proven adaptation practices—practices that have been tested through decades through trial and error, and are an invaluable means for these communities to cope with climate hazards and uncertainties.  But if the knowledge and will are there, the resources are not—indeed, “we don’t have the resources” is far and away the single biggest obstacle these communities say is preventing them from implementing projects. This is troubling for practitioners like myself, since it means that we often have to hunt for financial resources before we can even begin the process of engaging with communities to see what actions can be taken. Thus, the availability of financial and labor resources is crucial for adaptation projects to thrive. And while the common practice is to try to secure financial resources from external resources, it’s necessary that local resources be … Read more

Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism in Montenegro

24 Nov 2015 by Radica Zekovic, Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism Project at UNDP Montenegro, Project Coordinator for Awareness Raising

As a member of the project, ‘Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism in Montenegro’, one of my tasks has been to find ways to make people understand the importance of the links between tourism and climate action. Tourism is an important source of income and employment for every country and fulfills an important role in social development and satisfaction. However, its rapid growth has also had detrimental environmental and socio-cultural impacts. As a main driver of Montenegro’s economic growth and investment, the tourism sector is directly and indirectly responsible for a large share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially from the transportation and accommodation industries. The tourism sector contributes over one-third of Montenegro’s GDP and half of the capital investment in infrastructure; it will increasingly be a significant, if not leading, factor in projected GHG emissions growth. But it doesn’t have to be this way. ‘Greening’ tourism can create new jobs and opportunities, strengthen the country against future economic and environmental shocks, and support efforts towards the global goal to combat climate change. By becoming a low carbon, sustainable tourism destination, Montenegro will give its tourism businesses a competitive edge by achieving cost savings and opening new tourism markets. If companies measure their … Read more

Marching towards a low-carbon, sustainable future in the Arab Region

23 Nov 2015 by Stephen Gitonga, Sustainable Energy Specialist in the Climate Change and Disaster Reduction Team at UNDP Regional Hub in Jordan

In September 2011, the UN Secretary General launched the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative and highlighted the need to monitor progress towards doubling the rate of energy efficiency, achieving universal energy access, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. One key aspect of this process is developing indicators to measure progress towards these goals, especially at the regional and country levels. With this in mind, my colleagues and I at UNDP’s Arab Climate Resilience Initiative (ACRI) worked with the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE) to develop the Arab Future Energy Index (AFEX), a flagship pan-Arab monitoring and tracking tool. AFEX is the first index developed by the region and for the region to monitor and analyze sustainable energy competitiveness across the Arab states. I believe AFEX’s greatest strength is its ability to rank countries according to their progress, which provides a means of recommending policy actions that can achieve regional and national sustainable energy goals. AFEX provides governments with information that helps them plan and monitor the impacts of their policies. For example, the 17 AFEX member governments can use the index to track progress from year to year and … Read more

Phasing down HFCs is a win-win way to address climate change

20 Nov 2015 by Jacques Van Engel, Director, Montreal Protocol Unit/Chemicals Sustainable Development Cluster, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are very potent greenhouse gases and their use is rapidly increasing — by some estimates, HFC emissions could constitute up to 20% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 in business-as-usual scenarios. HFCs can be found in air conditioning, refrigeration, foam blowing, solvents and aerosols. As the world community searches for ways to reconcile economic growth and development with the need to control greenhouse gases, it is of the utmost importance that we find ways to regulate HFCs. The Montreal Protocol (MP) on the protection of the global ozone layer is a unique example of how the world can respond when faced with a serious environmental threat. The MP was established to eliminate ozone-depleting substances (ODS), and it should be noted that most of these substances also have high Global Warming Potentials (GWP). For instance, CFC-11 has a GWP of 4,750 (compared to 1.0 for CO2) and CFC-12 has a GWP of 10,900. As the MP worked to eliminate ODS, it was also able to reduce their impact on global warming significantly—the Economist, citing UNEP sources, showed that the Montreal Protocol had, during the period 1989-2013, reduced cumulative CO2 eq. emissions by 135 billion tons. HFCs are substituting … Read more

How to ensure long-lasting results of a NAMA

20 Nov 2015 by Alexandra Soezer, MDG Carbon Project Manager

When Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) were first introduced at 2007’s COP13 in Bali, the expectation was that they would become a means of supporting developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also helping them meet their national objectives for growth and development. But eight years on, there are still some important discrepancies that plague NAMAs, chief of which is that what developing countries expect when it comes to financial and technical support is often at odds with what donors are willing or able to provide. There are many causes for such a disconnect, but one stands out—though “NAMA” is used prominently in the context of climate change mitigation, the term still doesn’t have a single, authoritative definition. When I started working on my first NAMA Design Document, it was evident that a NAMA would have to 1) fulfill certain criteria in order to guide countries’ efforts to develop a framework for inclusive green growth and 2) attract donors’ interest. This would be difficult enough as it is, and even more difficult given the absence of an official NAMA definition. I decided that, even if I couldn’t create a single definition myself, I could try to define the key design … Read more