Tapping into climate financing for scaling up and disseminating land-based best practices for climate change adaptation
Dr. Anneke Trux, Head, Convention Project to Combat Desertification (CCD Project) GIZ, moderated this session. In her introductory remarks, she noted an increasing gap in the current levels of financial and political resources and the likely return on investments of sustainable land management. She also highlighted the problem of public and private expenditure and their integration into the climate finance.
Dr. Sergio Zelaya, UNCCD, presented the links between the climate change processes and agreements and sustainable land management. He said agriculture contributes up to 30% of the greenhouse gases and that the drylands are highly vulnerable. Dr. Zelaya acknowledged that quantifying the impacts of climate change in the drylands was difficult but, he said 0.9-1.9 gigatonnes of carbon is sequestered into the soil in drylands every year. He said the sequestration could be greatly enhanced by sustainable land management. He noted a gap between climate financing and the economic returns from it, which he said would only be possible if a participatory approach was integrated. Dr. Zelaya summarized the potential for accessing climate financing through the adaptation, mitigation, REDD and capacity building avenues, but also stressed the need to broaden the conceptual frameworks under these processes, such as the definition of forests and soil carbon sequestration. The current climate financing pot of USD9 billion, he said, is contained in the Global Environment Facility, the Adaptation Fund, the UN REDD, the MDG-Fund, the Climate Investment Frameworks, and other funds. He said emerging trends suggest that there is interest to increase this pot of financing to provide new modalities of access. Dr. Zelaya raised three points for consideration. These are: the opportunities and constraints to scaling up successful Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices; the development of political frameworks that could then be used to realize the technical solutions; and strengthening of the national capacities and relevant institutions.
Mr. Talbak Salimov, Chairman of the Committee for Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan (Minister), noted that Tajikistan is one of the countries least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, but one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Thus, it is very important to promote activities which mitigate and adapt to climate change in this country. In the context of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience of which Tajikistan is a pilot country, Mr. Salimov mentioned successful local land-based activities, such as the Joint Forestry Management approach, which highlight the significance of sustainable land management to increase productivity, resilience, reduce greenhouse gases emissions and enhance the achievement of national food security and development goals. In a closing statement, Mr Salimov underlined that Tajikistan is willing to cooperate with relevant partners in order to upscale and disseminate adequate approaches.
Mr. Amadou Souley Massaoudou, Executive Secretary, National Council of Environment for Sustainable Development, Niger, presented Niger as a case study. He said his institution oversees the implementation of the three Rio Conventions of Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification.
He highlighted the importance given to these, which is evident from the fact that the Council is housed in the Prime Minister’s office, and in order to foster synergy. He said 75% of the Niger population is concentrated in a very small geographic area and that sustainable land management practices had been undertaken since the 1980s. He reported that from an investment of USD400 million, nearly 5 million hectares of land had been rehabilitated, providing subsistence to 2.5 million people and an annual return of EUR200 million per year, which goes directly to the population. In conclusion, he said the country has the knowledge, the resources, the potential and an implementation framework for sustainable development. He called for participation in this process, urging that Niger be considered as a laboratory for dealing with climate change adaptation.
Ms. Bonizella Biagini, Head, Adaptation Program and Operations, Global Environment Facility (GEF), spoke about the role of the GEF, not simply as a financial mechanism, but also as an approach that holistically integrates financial sources turning them into a reality on the ground. It is an approach that promotes coordination and integration.
She said the GEF hosts the funding for both the UNFCCC and UNCCD and provides the financial support for programs aimed at addressing desertification and issues relating to climate change, which are becoming more segregated, in contrast to the required holistic and integrated financial approach. If we look back to the early 1990s, Ms. Biagini said, “respect for the global commons was central”. There wasn’t just a priority to fix one’s own needs but to address global biodiversity issues holistically. This concept is becoming lost and it is important to remember how productive it really is, she urged.
The GEF, Ms. Biagini said, was taking advantage of a multiplicity of knowledge to enhance interaction and piloting experiments, for example in Sri Lanka. She said that a holistic SLM was on track to becoming more resilient and common.
Dr. Trux emphasized the need to implement SLM strategies to improve the PPCR, and to make it successful. She said we must also perceive experiences of SLM strategies in an integrated and holistic manner. Dr. Trux concluded that the Panel had presented two examples from two different continents depicting that the populations affected by desertification are experiencing the same challenges. “A majority of the world population lives under such conditions,” she said. The results of the practices in Niger and Tajikistan, implemented with the support of the German National Development Cooperation, were successful and could be used as a baseline for future studies.
Questions and Answers: The speakers responded to a range of questions and comments. The questions addressed included the significance of the PPCR resource management, what it should be and if it is sufficient to address problems of environmental degradation. Dr. Zelaya noted two main challenges to a holistic approach at the national level. The first was the availability of national tools for implementing the Conventions – the NAPs, the NAPAs and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, which were sectoral. The second, he said was the failure to involve the finance and planning policy arms during the sectoral planning processes.
Mr. Massaoudou explained that leguminous plants had been used to rehabilitate land. He also noted that Niger’s adaptation strategy takes into account the growth of the population up to 2050. A challenge that emerges is the range of measures needed to manage resources appropriately and for livelihoods, and the appropriate policies to be integrated and adapted.