UN mobilises one billion dollars to help poorer nations fight climate change

 A farmer near Nairobi, Kenya. Photo credit: Pop Tech via Flickr.

By Anders Lorenzen

Last year, in the run-up to the crucial Paris climate talks, the United Nations (UN) announced they had mobilised $1 billion to help poorer nations fight climate change.
This comes as a result of major international partnerships formed under the Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA), which have formulated several initiatives. The announcement of these initiatives was made as part of a ‘Resilience Focus’ event. The initiatives will be directed at countries most vulnerable to climate change.  The aim is to build more resilient societies and economies and to benefit people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Across the globe, extreme weather events impact hundreds of millions of people each year, affecting their livelihoods, homes, and environment. Estimates produced by the Rockefeller Foundation state, that during the course of the last 30 years, $1 out of every $3 spent on development has been lost as a result of such recurring weather events. This amounts to a total worldwide loss of a staggering $3.8 trillion. In contrast, more resilient societies and economies suffer less and recover more quickly from such natural disasters.
The initiatives agreed at the ‘Resilience Focus’ will cover people’s needs while they face increasing climate impacts. This could be, for example, to give people early warnings of extreme weather events, although for this to be worthwhile people must also have access to insurance.
The initiative for early warning systems includes more than the 50 least developed countries and small island states to be covered by 2020. The Climate Risks and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative is to mobilize US$ 100 million over that period. This should aim to fill gaps in existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation programs. The trust fund is hosted by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery and will support this objective.
Another initiative aims to provide access to insurance that would cover 400 million vulnerable people in five years. In order to achieve this goal, G7’s InsuResilience Initiative will work with existing regional risk management and insurance pools, such as the African Risk Capacity and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).
Another initiative will aim to bring resilience to local communities in the Sahara and Sahel. This project, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative, is a major African-led project with the ambitious aim to restore the productivity and vitality of the Sahel region. This will be by halting desertification in the area, which has affected food security.  The hope is that the project will improve climate resilience for local communities, whilst ‘growing solutions’ to the Continent’s most urgent development challenges. The World Bank has pledged US$2.2 billion for this project.
The global weather phenomenon  ‘El Niño` poses a problem for the world’s least developed countries. To help countries adapt to this, the European Union (EU) has pledged €125 million, which will finance emergency actions in countries affected, ranging from Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America. The project will combine humanitarian and development assistance, addressing nutrition, water, and sanitation, health and shelter. As well as providing support to health structures, and the provision of food and safe drinking water, the project will supply supplementary food for pregnant women and children.
And a new UN initiative has been established with the help of 13 UN member states, lead by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The A2R initiative seeks to strengthen the ability to anticipate, absorb and ‘reshape’ the impacts of climate change. It will address the needs of 634 million people, equating to a tenth of the world population, who live in risk-prone coastal areas – just a few meters above existing sea levels, as well as people who live in areas prone to droughts and floods.
It brings together private sector organizations, governments, UN agencies, research institutions, as well as other stakeholders, and it will scale up transformative solutions. The focus is on Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries, and African countries. Commenting on the project Ki-moon said: “It is time to move from risk to resilience”.
“The initiative is a multi-stakeholder partnership that focuses on accelerating climate resilience before 2020 for the most vulnerable by strengthening three elements: First, the capacity to better anticipate and act on climate hazards through early warning and early action; second, the capacity to absorb shocks by increasing insurance and social protection coverage; third, the capacity to adapt development to reduce risks at the national and international levels,” he said.
The full list of initiatives is:
Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI)
Climate Risks and Early Warning Systems – CREWS
G7 Insurance Resilience Initiative
Food Security Climate Resilience Facility
Rural Resilience Facility R4
Global Resilience Partnership

A2R Anticipate Absorb Reshape

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