The UNFCCC Paris Agreement clearly recognises developing and least developing countries' need for support in coping with climate change, with some mechanisms already in the pipeline to that effect. On the eve of COP22, East African Climate Negotiators met in Marrakesh to discuss their stakeholders' perspectives on such international climate support mechanisms, including climate finance which would be a negotiating priority for developing countries at the COP22.
Many countries are vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change in large part because they lack the domestic resources to support projects and innovations that would, for example, help stave off agricultural disasters or ease the transition to a clean energy economy. Financial, technical, and other support to countries whose economies are developing or in transition is crucial to helping them address the adaptation and mitigation issues acknowledged in the Convention. The magnitude of need requires close cooperation between developing and developed countries, as stated in the Commitments section of the Convention (Article 4).
Leveraging international support mechanisms to tackle climate change: Views from EAC agro-industries
The main challenges posed by climate change mentioned by agro-processors were fluctuations of raw materials supplies, damages on water and transport infrastructure, increasing costs of production and operational costs, etc. To deal with such challenges, they put in place some adaptation and/or mitigation strategies such as: diversifying businesses, diversify suppliers of raw materials in different region of the country, contract farming, invest in educating and mobilizing farmers on climate change impacts, etc.
Not many agro industrials that have been interviewed in the region are aware of international or regional support mechanisms/programmes that are available to help LDCs and developing countries’ stakeholders in coping with climate change. They were more aware of climate change support programs implemented by international donors and developed countries. Supports at national level, extension services and technical support provided by national and local governments were also acknowledged in some countries.
In the notes, EAC agro industrials made clear that they need more funding to cope with climate change, to be able to purchase adequate equipment, access required technologies etc. They need also a guarantee fund and an insurance scheme for SMEs to help SMEs develop and sustain their business facing climate change. Another example of the type of support they asked for is more education of agricultural stakeholders, including SMEs on international support mechanism.
An issue note titled “Climate Finance: Where are the UNFCC parties at and where they should aim to go to better support LDCs & developing countries?” was shared and provides information on the state of climate finance in the UNFCCC framework, before and after the Paris agreement, also looking at the challenges of current public climate finance as well as presenting possible alternatives and opportunities. This paper concludes with some recommendations to climate negotiators going to COP22, especially developing countries and LDCs negotiators (including EAC representatives).
Richard Muyungi, Assistant Director of Environment, United Republic of Tanzania, as co-moderator of the meeting provided some critical information about the history of climate finance under the UNFCCC processes to the rest of the participants, as well presented all the different funds existing and potentially helpful for LDCs and developing countries in fighting climate change. Due its large experience in climate negotiations, it was a good learning exercise to put the technical information contained in the issue note into the EAC context.
Discussions and Way Forward
Agriculture is a politically sensitive point to be discussed under the UNFCCC framework. LDCs and developing countries need to take into account climate change, while improving their productivity, ensuring food security, addressing emissions, adapting to adverse effects of climate etc. Main debates related to agriculture take place under the SBSTA at the moment. Participants agreed that there is a need to balance the intense discussions on agriculture and see how to advance EAC interests more efficiently.
There is a lack of work/appreciation in the region on Climate Smart Agriculture, its potential has not been utilized in the current NDCs. Some more research on who are the players, the current programs and actions, the potential benefits and opportunities of CSA might be needed.
Participants affirmed that they will need a lot of support to implement their NDCs in various sectors, in terms of policy and strategy, and other actions to be taken at national level.
Some negotiators showed interest about CUTS organizing a training workshop for young climate negotiators of the region. Others also asked CUTS to help them to identifying and writing good projects to access available international funds.
CUTS will be organizing the next forum in February/March 2017, through online means.