Niger

I had the opportunity to be in Niger, a few months back, before COVID-19 limited our travels.

It is a beautiful land with amazing humans. I left the land with few memories, and also a decision to expand work in the country, on climate change, sustainable development, law and policy.

While I struggle to finish the research paper that I am working on, which focuses on identifying the entry points for developing a National Adaptation Plan for Niger, I wanted to write a these few thoughts to remind myself of the beauty that the country holds.

Background

Niger is a country in the Africa, which consists of 17.7 millions inhabitants. 80% of the population live in the rural areas while 20% in the urban. As per national data, the country has a population growth rate: 3,9% and a GDP of US$6,303.5 million (as of 2015,).

Niger is a Sahelian country, and 75% of the country’s area is situated in the desert zone. It is also one of the world’s poorest countries, and remains ranked low in the Human Development Index.(Niger was ranked 189th out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index in 2017.)

Agriculture accounts for 43.4% of the country’s gross domestic product (2018) and is the most important sector of Niger’s economy. It remains the main source of livelihood for rural communities, with 85% of employment depending on it. Due to this reason, country is highly vulnerable to climate impacts, and has suffered losses worth millions of dollars due to droughts and floods.

Now to a few unforgettable aspects of Niger:

It’s People

Meet two of my favourites from Niger, Issa and Sani (and me of course, struggling to take a photo of all of us in the frame,) two individuals working on climate change and sustainable development.

It would not be wrong to say that Issa was my window to Niger, providing me an introduction to his country, over a decade ago. I have always been interested in the work he and his colleagues do with the aim of achieving climate resilience, engaging youth in decision making processes, and also working towards achieving sustainable development participatory and inclusive processes.

Issa and Sani work with many stakeholders, including the policy makers, civil society organisations, communities, youth and children, to make change possible.

(When we tried to take a post-workshop selfie, and it turned out like this)

It’s Beauty

The country holds amazing beauty. In the 24 hours I spent there, which consisted mostly at a workshop, then a ministry getting my passport which was handed over at the airport to the authorities, as well as travelling from hotel to meeting venues, I was still able to see a few amazing locations. What blew me away the most was the beauty of the sand dunes, situated about one hour away from Niamey, and the warmth of the local communities I met.

(A walk that I thought was a 5 minute one, which became a few hours)
(My new buddy, who decided to join me. He and his younger brother believed I was from their ethnicity/community. We did not speak the same language, but I would like to think we were able to communicate with each other, at some level. )
(And we made it to the top)

Evidently, I could not separate the beauty from its people. The children who engaged with me, and welcomed me as one of their own. The sand dunes that are mesmerising, and made me out of breath (not only due to all the walking) especially at sunset.

Building Climate Resilience & Achieving Sustainable Development

One more reason that I feel connected to the country, is the work that I do focusing on, and in Niger.

As a Least Developed Country (LDC) that is highly vulnerable to climate change, Niger is also among the countries that are in the process of developing their National Adaptation Plan. Focusing on building resilience of the country’s peoples and ecosystems to climate threats, inclusive and participatory sustainable development remains vital for Niger. And, it has been eye-opening to meet those who work on these processes, as well as to contribute through technical expertise to their work, and to share experiences and lessons learnt in our work, with them.

As I sign off, I am sharing this photo of me in Niamey, (since my attempt to upload a video on the same rooftop turned out to be futile).

(On a rooftop in Niamey, trying not to get blown off by the wind, as I wait for the workshop to start)

Note:

I do not get to write much, most of the time. Or, I just end up typing reports that I do not publish often on the blog regularly. But, I try.

Ageing

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A kid with whom I work guessed my age last week.

I don’t remember the reason for this guessing game. I believe the whole conversation started when I mentioned to him that his father wanted to triple check my age, when I went in for a medical check. I had thought that his son might have had something to do with this question being repeated one “three” many times.

The kid thought I was 45 years old. A good decade older than I actually am.

I am not usually bothered about my age. But this time, I obviously was. I was also annoyed that I could no longer pride myself in not being bothered about how old I looked, or bothering about how I looked in general.

(I grew up thinking I was an ugly kid which continued to my late 20s, where I believed I was not physically. From 28 to this date, I was content not bothering about how my face looked, until of course the guessing game happened.)

Anyways, conclusion for the day being:

  • I discover about myself on a daily basis
  • I need to stop analysing what a 21 year old says.
  • I could (maybe) refer the kid to get his specs checked. (But, I won’t.)
Embracing my 45 years on this planet :D

Women’s Day: Late Post

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I was typing on Women’s Day when someone decided to interrupt, which changed the focus of what I wanted to write.

As usual, something that someone needed clarified at 12.30am (thank you very much!) because someone said, something (another thank you!) which needed to be double checked with me, on whether I said something like that, at midnight (thank you again!)

(And I did write a few more things, and erased. I have learnt that I should not publish things which I might regret later.And of course, changed the title a few times, based on what I was typing/ not typing/ should have been typing. According to me of course.)

I shall move back to the gist of what I wanted to say, as part of the Women’s Day Post. What I was hoping to type in a bit more detailed manner. Which I won’t now, cz I am starting to get sleepy (something strange for me, but much appreciated).

So here goes, a few things I have learnt in life, in the last 10 years:

  1. Being divorced is not the end of life. You could restart your life on getting a divorce, than live a life of misery with a wrong person.
  2. Being a single mother is not something to be ashamed of. If you are a single parent, due to a divorce, being unmarried, because your spouse is not alive, if you are doing what is best for your child, then you are doing things right. Your child will love you for it.
  3. What people say about you, what they think of you do not matter. What matters is what makes you happy, keeps you healthy, and successful. Focus on you, and not other people’s opinions. You cannot make everyone happy.
  4. Getting raped is not your fault. A no is a NO. You have the right to say no. Rape does not demean you. You should not blame yourself for another’s behavior.
  5. You should not tolerate domestic violence – be it physical or verbal. No one has the right to subject you to violence, and there is no justifiable reason for it.
  6. Educate yourself, gather knowledge through out life. We learn things on a daily basis. And it helps improve ourselves, as well as those around us.
  7. Be able to stand on your own feet. Be financially independent.
  8. Be able to say no to money – even millions. Sometimes, money is not everything. But also be able to be afford what you need in life. (Back to point 7 when in doubt)
  9. End of a relationship, a marriage is not the end of life. Nor is failing an exam, something you tried to achieve and did not.
  10. You will find love, meet interesting people. Be able to be happy with where you are in life, what you have become. Be able to look at yourself and be proud, for all that you are. 

We are not perfect humans, but we can be happy ones, in spite of it. And more for later. For when I am not sleepy.

Oh and smile! (Easier to do so in life, than not to. At least what I think).

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Divorcee, single parent, smiling me.  Evidence that every day is a new beginning, and that we can always change life’s course with our choices, you we really want to.

 

When 24 Hours Run Out Too Fast

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I am going to type this post on my phone, too lazy to open my laptop over a black coffee, and the sound of a man chuckling, potentially suffocating on the same chuckles a bit later

At least that is what I think I hear. My mind remains in its darker corners, after dealing with an immigration officer who kept scratching my visa for a good 10 minutes in an effort (I believe in his mind) to prove its authenticity (or not) till I interrupted him  by asking whay was wrong with it.

Loud people do not add to improving my mood, especially not at 1.41am. (I like silence, at most times.)

Brain keeps shifting on changing time zones. The last 2 weeks been quite crazy with 2 travels back to back, and 2 workshops during the days I was at home. The 10 days covered 3 national workshops in Africa, and 2 in Sri Lanka. And end of it, I stand/sit a very exhausted human.

And now I sit exhausted and sleep deprived heading out for then 2 more weeks, which will hopefully be followed by no travels for a while.

I like my home, my bed, my time with the kid. And nothing more comforting in life than the comfort of one’s “home,” where ever it may be. Especially for tired souls who have over-run their quota of travel.

Note: Downside of posting using my phone is that I am bad at adding a suitable photo for this. Maybe in a few hours…

 

 

 

Of Airports and other things

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Sometimes the only time I get to listen to Alanis Morissette, and watch a soldier-boy in a hat is when I am in dilemma mode at airports, trying to figure out whether I should continue typing to complete the research, or whether I should be a normal human at 1.38am.

What do I end up doing? I clean the screen of the laptop with wet-tissues (have no clue on the technological implications of my actions). A screen that has not been most likely not wiped for like a year (maybe, or longer. Not very sure).

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It’s one of those days when I can only think of the next 3 weeks and wonder when I am going to sleep, eat, or just be seated in peace. And as usual, it all ends up with “when I get the work done”.

Resolutions before I board this flight: Try to get a month away from planes, and maybe longer. And I run off to find my boarding gate, and potentially not miss this flight.

 

Of the Past and the Non-memories

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Of late I have been thinking about how life has changed over the last decade, or rather over the last 3 decades.

I certainly do not remember much of my childhood, or the teenage years. Come to think of it, not even my early twenties for that matter. It might be strange, but then again, I hardly remember what I ate for breakfast most of the days (this is on days I do actually eat something, that is). 

In my search to remember the person I was as a kid, a teenager, and a younger version of myself, I asked a former student of mine whether she remembers me as a bubbly person. A more chirpy, and happy-go-lucky human that is.

After a few minutes of thinking, she shook her head and said, “Nah, not really. You were pretty much the same.”

I guess I was serious/ morose back then too (most likely). Now, I take myself at the moment to be a cynical, occasionally witty, workaholic, easily irritable, one-track minded (when focused on work, or analysing something in my head while eating) human with very limited patience for nonsense. (I guess a few of the adjectives might match my younger version too. But I was definitely more naive, and more believing of others’ words than today).

Many years of my life from the years 0 to 30 are a blur to me. Present is more with facts, laws, analysis and then trying to fit in work, kid, and dogs to the 24 hours of the day, while responding to all the messages and calls received.

I have come to terms of moving on from different things, and not looking back to a past where I do not feel at home, and did not truly feel to be my true self in some ways.

b2

Today, I try to live in the present, and build the moments I want to live, and be surrounded by those who I choose to be with. Life is too short and I would like to live it with those whom I cherish, and doing what I love most.

Cz it’s 2020

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It’s been quite a while since I last wrote, but I am hoping I will make it a habit to write more frequently in 2020. (Here’s to hope!)

On 2019, the year was good in many ways and kind to me in general. Work was good, life was good. Drama in life if there was, revolved mostly around work budgets, research deadlines, reviews and other related things.

(Note: I try to avoid considering drama related to humans, attempts at understanding their behavior and then failing as a constant of life, and to ignore it) 

ryan(Ryan being his skeptical self, as Dylan holds his leash for 30 seconds)

2019 saw also our house-hold multiply with the addition of two (rescue) dogs – Ryan (not a name that I chose) and Yuki (a tiny puppy that decided to make our home, hers as well). Both dogs abandoned at some point in their lives, seem to settle in with us – to the point of taking over our beds, sofas and pretty much all the furniture in the house.

yuki(Yuki, being lazy to wake up)

Me, I have not changed much. I still have trouble sleeping, a workaholic as usual,continue to love my space an increased amount each year, and have seriously limited patience for bullshit.

me(Documenting myself as of 1st January for comparisons in 2021)

 

Things I hope I will be able to keep to/ learn to do in 2020

  1. Avoid pretentious people at all costs.
  2. Learn to say “no”
  3. Sleep more (much more)
  4. Avoid toxic behaviour and people at all fronts – especially at work
  5. Work less – if possible. (Make it try to work less, and try to keep sane.)
  6. Be good, even if others are not to you

And yes, hopefully write on this blog more frequently (when possible, if possible).

Sri Lanka, 7 Days After

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It’s been a week since the Easter Sunday Attacks. People ask me how things are. I usually tell out of reflect, “we are trying to regain normalcy”. The next moment I wonder what normalcy is. Anymore.

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On Saturday, I had been working on assignments focusing on peace building till quite late, to wake up to calls from those checking if I had gone to church. Those who know me would know how strange that question would ring in my ears, even when wide awake. But, it was only a few minutes later that reality shook me awake with the violence that had spread across Colombo.

The first thought to cross my mind: “It could have been us”.

 

I had slept hoping to take my family out on Sunday for breakfast. Then true to myself, overslept due to sleep-deprivation caused by writing for hours on peace-building , until 6am to be precise. The previous night, my curious mind had wondered to anlayse the potential conflicts which Sri Lanka could face, mostly related to resource management, and whether we are ready to address these situations. I also wondered how we as a community would react if we were to face a conflict again. Later at work, my colleague tells me “Vosi, you should not hypothesize!”

 

Last few weeks have been probably the scariest days of my whole life, even though I had lived through a few memories that haunt me. As a child my first memories are of dead bodies floating in a river. I must have been 4 or 5 at that time. I am not entirely sure. Then, I have memories of the war, the constant security checks. But those images seem distant, I think I had blurred them out of my mind.

I also remember the tsunami, and the many loved ones taken away, our usual Sunday market washed away, my favourite aunt growing up, getting washed away with it as well.

But the memory the memory that I hold close is how Sri Lanka came together during the hard times. Rebuilding and helping in solidarity.

 

21st April was different. It was difficult to focus. It was hard to think straight. I blamed it on my sleep deprived brain, or maybe the slightly old brain. We all closed down for a week, maybe even longer. I read stories of those affected, the children left alone, families dead and many in need of support.

I also read posters on guidance to boycott shops, the general hatred towards certain groups in our communities, reminding me of the 2nd World War. Do we truly believe what we are messaging?

 

Tomorrow, we will all wake up and try to go about our daily lives. And I shall return to my question “what is normalcy?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Peacebuilding: An Introduction

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Throughout history, natural resources have been the cause of many conflicts. While scarcity of resources such as water has been the cause of conflict among communities for the remaining water supply, the abundance of expensive resources such as diamonds has also been a cause of conflict in countries such as Sierra Leone, Congo, Liberia, and Angola which have experienced decades of civil war over diamonds. [1] Other countries where natural resources are the cause of conflict are Guatemala, Nepal, and Yemen. [2]

While control over natural resources become a source of conflict, the conflicts that take place have been the cause of severe damage to countries’ environment as well. Research data indicates that 90 percent of the major armed conflicts from 1950 to 2000 occurred in countries which contain biodiversity hot-spots, heightening their impact on the environment. [3] While some damages to eco-systems and natural resources due to conflicts are intentional, others are indirect impacts. Irrespective of the manner in which the damages occur, their impacts remain over many years and increase the vulnerabilities of those affected by conflict. One of the many examples of conflicts creating grave impacts to the environment and natural resources could be the Persian Gulf War, in which over 500 oil wells were torched and destroyed.

Focusing on the important role that natural resources play in creation of conflicts and the impacts the environment endures due to them, many efforts at peace building in post war contexts turn to concepts that interlink resilience building in the post war/conflict areas with environmental protection. With impacts of phenomena such as climate change that affects the available resources, scientists project many conflicts to erupt in countries where natural resources are more vulnerable to such impacts, many of them in Asia and the Pacific. [4] And it is highly important that environmental management ensures that resource depletion does not lead to communal impacts which in turn lead to conflicts.

Initiatives which combine environmental protection with peace building include negotiations for resource sharing, as well as collective communal actions for resource utilization and protection. Good governance is key to avoiding conflicts due to unbalanced access to resources. And an increased awareness on ecosystems contributes to better protection of existing resources and a decrease in the scarcity of resources.

Many stakeholders in countries that have experienced civil wars and conflicts have engaged in practicing environmental peace building. This includes the United Nations as well as national governments and civil society organisations which have engaged in creating awareness, as well as taking active initiatives focusing on both environmental protection and peace building as a combined effort. Examples of such actions could be the development of the Forest Law and Policy in Liberia (2006) which aimed to prevent corruption and illegal logging.

Such efforts embrace the concept of environmental peacebuilding which focuses on integrating natural resource management in conflict prevention, mitigation, resolution, and recovery to build resilience in communities affected by conflict. [5] These efforts focus on how natural resources such as land use or control over water and ecosystems could be better structured in order to avoid conflicts, as well as how the supply of resources could be better governed in post conflict areas.

This article is an introduction on how environment and conflicts interlink, and aims for a better understanding of ways to address conflicts through environmental and ecosystem-based systems as well as through good governance. It is published as a first step to articles on different issues of focus for a better understanding of how natural resources can be the cause of conflicts, as well as how impacts and vulnerabilities increased through climate change and resource depletion can be addressed through strategic and well managed ways to ensure that conflicts based on resource distribution are avoided.

Footnotes:

[1] Conflict and Natural Resources, The Environment and Literacy Council, Retrieved from: https://enviroliteracy.org/land-use/conflict-natural-resources/

[2] Curwin, Daniel, “How Resource Wealth Fuels War,” The National Interest, Retrieved from: http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-role-natural-resource-wealth-armed-conflicts-12195

[3] Ibid

[4] Blondel, Alice, “Climate Change Fuelling Research Based Conflict in Asia and the Pacific,” UNDP (2012) Restrived from: https://www.uncclearn.org/sites/default/files/inventory/undp304.pdf

[5] Environmental Peacebuilding, Retrieved from: https://environmentalpeacebuilding.org/

Outcomes COP23: Focusing on Addressing Climate Change in the Developing World

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The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Bonn, Germany from November 6th to 17th, 2017. It was the first COP to be presided by a Small Island Developing State, with Fiji as its presidency, and was politically and technically important due to diverse reasons.

This article will focus on key aspects of the negotiations which present implications on the developing countries, and prioritises on issues such as adaptation, loss and damage and climate finance. It does not discuss in extensive detail the topics related to discussion as many articles published on COP23 focuses primarily on it, and allocates space for issues that have not been widely discussed and would play a role in addressing climate change in the developing world.

The article does not present itself as an exhaustive discussion on all aspects important to developing countries in addressing adverse impacts of climate change. However, it is compiled with the objective of highlighting outcomes that focus on the needs of the developing countries, aspects that will be crucial to regions such as the South Asian region, and the activities that will follow in 2018 to build on these outcomes.

Adaptation

Climate change adaptation plays a crucial role for developing countries, especially those most vulnerable to climate change. While mitigation of CO2 and other Green House Gases is important, countries that are already impacted by climate change need urgent adaptive measures. The discussions on adaptation at the climate change negotiations were focused on many tracks among which are the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP), the Adaptation Committee, the Adaptation Communications, National Adaptation Plans as well as issues relevant to finance for adaptation.

Adaptation Communications could be seen as a tool under the Paris Agreement that will contribute to highlighting the adaptation-related priorities, and support for adaptation. The progress of the discussions on the Adaptation Communications will be important for developing countries as it would highlight the need for reporting on adaptation efforts and support, as well as drawing interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction. However, the negotiations on the topic saw divergences among the developing and developed countries on the inclusion of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, national circumstances, and flexibility on reporting.

In addition to this, the discussions on NAPs was another key element for the developing countries. This is due to the discussions focusing on support provided through the Readiness and Preparatory Programme of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Under the GCF Readiness Programme, developing countries are allocated up to USD 3 million per country for the formulation of national adaptation plans and/or other adaptation planning processes by NDAs or focal points[1]. The Readiness Programme is aimed to facilitate the development of NAPs with a focus on national priorities in developing adaptation measures to address impacts of climate change.  During the negotiations on NAPs, it was highlighted by developing countries that several hurdles were faced by them in accessing GCF Readiness Support. This included among others the lengthy time needed to get approval for Readiness Support. Further, it was noted that a very low number of approvals have been received for applications, and the importance of fast tracking and facilitating the access to finance for NAP readiness was emphasized, so as to contribute to addressing  the needs of developing countries related to climate change adaptation.

Climate Finance

As expected, climate finance plays a key role in the negotiations, with support for climate action being indispensable for vulnerable countries. The finance discussions could be deemed cross-cutting and featured  under the streams on long-term finance, finance under the NDCs, Transparency Framework and the Global Stocktake, finance through the GCF, GEF and Adaptation Fund, and the negotiations on the Standing Committee on Finance.

One of the key issues to be reiterated in the negotiations on climate finance was the commitment of developed countries to jointly mobilise US$100 billion per year by 2020, which was agreed to in 2009, in Copenhagen. The next round of updated biennial submissions are requested from developed countries and a summary report will be prepared through these submissions. The upcoming intersessions in May, 2018 will see the organizing of an in-session workshop  on the topic whereby a summary report will be prepared for COP 24, and  two assessments on climate finance will be published in 2018 and 2020 to provide further information on the status of climate finance under the process.

Under the negotiations on the GCF, it was reported that the Fund is truly operational and delivering on its mandate. However, it was noted that the accreditation remains a challenge for many entities that have sought to gain accreditation to the GCF. This triggered the review of the accreditation framework, which is considered a challenge by many entities.

Another topic of interest on climate finance are the negotiations on the Adaptation Fund. The Fund has been a cause of divergence in COP22 as well as COP23. The members countries of the Kyoto Protocol agreed in COP23 that the Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement, which removed the doubts on the placement of the Fund. Further, pledges were made to the Fund, which amounted to US $93.3 million, with new pledges from Germany amounting to 50 million. Similar pledges were made to the Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF) during the COP23 as well.

The developments on the climate finance discussions and the workshop to be held in May will be important to see the pathway for support for climate action in the world.

Loss and Damage

Finance for Loss and Damage was not a win that the developing countries received during the last COP. While developing countries see loss and damage as one of the pillars with mitigation and adaptation, at present climate finance does not cover Loss and Damage as does the other two pillars.

However, there were discussions on the Loss and Damage during the COP, and these focused on the work of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage (WIM), the 5 year rolling plan, and the setting up of the expert dialogue on loss and damage. The Suva Expert Dialogue on Loss and Damage will be organized during the upcoming May session, to be held in Bonn. The discussions on the topic would be important to developing countries to understand the ways in which the topic of Loss and Damage could play a key role in climate change actions, and how finance could be mobilized to address the losses and damages felt by the developing countries due to adverse impacts of climate change.

Dealing with Risk Transfer and Launch of InsuRelience Global Partnership

Two key developments that could be linked and marked to adaptation and the Loss and Damage discussions could be deemed as the mode for addressing risk transfer and the ways of insuring vulnerable communities against the impacts of climate change. While insurance for climate change has been a topic debate, and seen as a negative element in cases where the communities are requested to insure themselves which places an additional financial burden on them, the InsuRelience Global Partnership presented a different structure for risk management.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through a contribution of 110 million euros (US $125 million) the Partnership focuses on disaster risk finance, and provides insurance solutions with the aim of providing affordable insurance for vulnerable groups. Additional contribution to the Partnership was provided by the United Kingdom in the form of   £30 million (US $39 million) as commitment made in July 2017.[2] The  Partnership builds on the InsuResilience initiative founded during the German G7 Presidency in 2015, and aimed to providing insurance for an additional 400 million poor and vulnerable people in developing countries against climate risks by 2020. [3]

COP23 also saw the launch of the  Fiji Clearing House for Risk Transfer, and online resource aimed to provide access to vulnerable countries to  the best available information on affordable insurance and solutions. [4]However, the process contributing directly to vulnerable communities accessing information through the online resource provision remains vague. While a person with access to internet and resources could address one’s questions to the experts on the system, it is unlikely that a marginalized and vulnerable communities will be realistically be able to address their questions to experts and make decisions on how to address risks on climate change. While the launch of the platform is appreciated, for it to be realistically meeting its objective, more work will remain to be done at the ground level.

 

Progress in Agriculture

Agriculture has been a topic of divergence for over many years in the COP process. However, in COP23, the years of deadlock was terminated, with the countries reached an agreement on agriculture which aims to address food security, and impacts felt on agriculture through climate change impacts. This is considered as the first substantive outcome and COP decision in the history of the UNFCCC processes on agriculture.[5]

The agreement on agriculture at COP23 establishes the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture which focuses on developing cobenefit based actions on agriculture. This would mean that new actions and strategies will be implemented which focus on both  adaptation and mitigation focusing on both reduction of emissions and building of resilience in the agriculture sector.

The outcomes of COP23 on agriculture remain of great importance to countries of South Asia, and other developing countries as impacts of climate change are strongly felt on the small holder farmers, that contributes approximately 70% of the food production globally. Impacts felt on these farmers impact food security and increase existing vulnerabilities of communities of the region. Wish support of multiple actors, the small holder farmers of developing countries could build their resilience and face the impacts of climate change.

Wins for the Vulnerable

Gender negotiations in COP23 succeeded in developing a decision to develop a Gender Action Plan (GAP). This is developed with the aim to enhance the participation of women in the UNFCCC process and the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Among activities that are highlighted under the Gender Action Plan are Activities capacity building, knowledge sharing and communication as well as integrating gender perspectives and enhanced knowledge on gender-responsive policy, planning and programming, gender balance and participation, gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation with improved social and gender-assessments and information, and direct access for grassroots women’s groups, and gender-responsive climate technologies. The GAP aims to integrate gender into the many levels of work in addressing climate change, including monitoring and evaluation of climate action.

The decision remains important to developing countries where women remain vulnerable to climate change, and where at most times their voices and concerns are not reflected in the decision-making processes. In highlighting the need for integrating gender into the climate change processes under the UNFCCC, it provides scope for women to engage more in climate change initiatives to contribute as well as to benefit from the actions taken to address climate change.

In addition to the GAP, the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform was also a highlight of COP23 providing space for the indigenous communities to share experiences and best practices in addressing climate change.

From COP23 to COP24

2018 marks a key year for climate negotiations. With the Paris Rule Book to be finalized by COP24, negotiations on issues related to setting the framework for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), reporting of adaptation efforts, transparency and MRV framework, elements of the global stocktake, and monitoring of compliance under the Paris Agreement which remain to be finalized.

In May, in Bonn, and in months leading to the COP24 in Katowice in Poland, the discussions will focus on finalizing the Rule Book, and enhancing and building on the outcomes, as well as the unresolved elements of COP23 such as climate finance discussions focusing on article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement, relating to developed countries reporting on their climate finance flows to developing countries which was left unresolved in COP23.

In order to benefit from these negotiations, it will be important for developing countries, to stay focused on the national and global priorities needed to address the sustainable development of their populations. It will be equally important for the developing countries to find avenues for integrating climate change and negotiations on climate change at the global level to the sustainable development priorities at the national and local level so as to prioritise on the needs of the vulnerable communities who are most affected by the impacts of climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] GCF Readiness Support, Retrieved from: https://www.greenclimate.fund/gcf101/empowering-countries/readiness-support

[2] $125 Million Announced for New Global Partnership to Provide Financial Protection against Climate Risks, Retrieved from: https://cop23.com.fj/125-million-announced-new-global-partnership-provide-financial-protection-climate-risks/

[3] Ibid

[4] Key Achievements from COP23, Retrieved from: https://cop23.com.fj/key-achievements-cop23/

[5] Countries Reach Historic Outcome on Agriculture, Retrieved from: https://cop23.com.fj/countries-reach-historic-agreement-agriculture/