BY OMORAGBON GLORIA ABIEYUWA
The launch of a 17-signature Ministerial Declaration calling for recognition of the Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility as an existing Non-Market Approach under the Paris Agreement in New York today could, say ministers, unlock significant additional climate finance for adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
The declaration, made by some of the world’s most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change, follows recent commitments from COP27 hosts Egypt to make November’s climate conference an opportunity to focus on implementation rather than further negotiation of existing texts and agreements.
The document, launched at the event ‘Making Paris Work for the People: Adaptation at scale in climate vulnerable nations’, is signed by some 17 ministers from LoCAL-participating countries and brings together a series of joint commitments to increase the total climate finance available to climate change vulnerable nations. Signatories represent countries dealing with some of the worst impacts of climate change but with limited resources to adapt.
“The Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility is a proven finance mechanism, a solution that is already being implemented,” said Hon Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Protection Agency in Liberia. at today’s event ‘Making Paris Work for the People’, part of the Climate Week NYC programme of activities and a side-event to the UN General Assembly.
“Let’s work together at COP27 for the adoption of LoCAL as an existing Non-Market Approach to scale up and boost access to climate finance, as laid out in this Ministerial Declaration…With our joint cooperation, let’s work together to ensure that the Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility is included in the outcome document from COP27 in Egypt. And ensure that this COP, the “Africa COP”, is a COP of solutions,” added Hon Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh.
The LoCAL Facility is a mechanism for channeling finance to local governments for locally led adaptation to the impacts of climate change and designed by the UN Capital Development Fund some ten years ago; UNCDF Executive Secretary Preeti Sinha officially opened the New York event. Today, some 32 countries across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific are currently designing or implementing their adaptation actions with the LoCAL Facility, which has mobilised over US $125 million for adaptation to date. The Ministerial Declaration, which is based on inter-governmental discussions held at a meeting of the 9th Annual LoCAL Board and Ministerial Meeting in May of this year, also includes a commitment from UNCDF to grow the LoCAL Facility to a US$ 500 million mechanism by 2027. This ambitious target supersedes a previous goal of doubling the size of the facility within the same time frame after that goal look set to be met before the end of 2022.
LoCAL countries Cambodia, The Gambia and Cote d’Ivoire have made submissions to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), formally requesting that LoCAL is recognised as an existing NMA and assists their country in the achievement of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Kenya, though not a LoCAL country, made a similar submission, as did UNCDF in its capacity as a UN observer to UNFCCC meetings. Those submissions were presented at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in June 2022.
Today’s event adds momentum to the Bonn submission with Ministers and high-level participants from Cambodia, Jamaica, Liberia and Niger, calling for NMA recognition to achieve increased adaptation finance for African nations, Small Island Developing Sates (SIDS) and LDCs. Many speakers highlighted the fact that while their countries are feeling some of the most acute impacts of climate change, they, as pre-industrialised nations, have contributed the least to the carbon emissions driving the crisis.
“ We know in Jamaica that climate impacts at the Local level: our towns and cities, our villages and coastal communities and we fully support and are committed to any effort to build the capacities of our local governments so they can serve the communities better and realise the adaptation projects their constituencies need and ask for.” said Hon. Matthew Samuda, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation in Jamaica and LoCAL Ministerial Ambassador who gave the key note speech.
“As a new LoCAL ambassador it is my hope that we can come together to drive action and secure LoCAL as an existing non-market approach following the article 6.8 and other climate financing that desperately needed”
The LoCAL approach combines increased climate finance with capacity-building, technical support and opportunities for South-South learning and exchange. LoCAL combines performance-based climate resilience grants (PBCRGs) – in the form of financial top-ups to existing local government budgets and resources to cover the additional costs of climate change adaptation. These grants ensure programming and verification of climate change expenditures at the local level while offering strong incentives for performance improvements in enhanced resilience through technical and capacity-building support. LoCAL pilots first launched over a decade ago in Bhutan and Cambodia, where LoCAL is presently rolling out at the national level.
“We have seen that LoCAL works,” said Dr Tin Ponlok, Cambodia Secretary of State of the Ministry of Environment speaking via video-link from Phnom Pen. “To date, we have delivered 538 adaptation investments across the country using LoCAL and the Performance Based Climate Resilience Grant system. Many of these are relatively small infrastructure investments: roads, small bridges, water provision, and so forth. But they have massive impact on the participating communities, enabling them to better withstand the often terrible impacts of climate change.”
Furthermore, LoCAL builds on the capacity of local government authorities and it gives a voice to the communities where it is being implemented through local community consultations. Ministers said that the LoCAL approach had much to recommend it, including its focus on using and strengthening national capacities.
“LoCAL is not a parallel system or ‘bolted-on’ programme. It uses national systems to ensure funds reach their destination – the communities dealing with climate change,” said Hon Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Protection Agency in Liberia. “And, [LoCAL] comes with an agreed process of monitoring, reporting and verification.” Hon Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Protection Agency in Liberia speaking at the 9th Board Meeting in Brussels this year.
LoCAL-participating countries own and steer the future direction of the LoCAL Facility through the LoCAL Board, co-chaired by the Permanent Representative to the United Nations of the country that leads the LDC group at the UN headquarters in New York, the Chair of the LDC group to the UNFCCC, together with UNCDF’s Director of Local Transformative Finance.
Belgium is one of the countries supporting LoCAL with funds, most recently for the roll-out of LoCAL in Mozambique and Uganda. Speaking at Tuesday’s event Heidy Rombouts, Director General for Development, Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the potential of countries coming together to highlight adaptation needs, underlining the value of LoCAL as a means of “unlocking collective action.”
The LoCAL mechanism is delivering at scale: LoCAL has engaged more than 300 local governments and benefited over 12.5 million people. With formal recognition of LoCAL as an existing NMA at COP27, ministers hope that finance could be unlocked for national roll-out of LoCAL in all 32 countries involved in the mechanism; this would realise adaptation results for over 600 million people on the climate change frontline.
“This event is an important step on the road to COP27 in in Egypt, which which we have high expectations…The COP presidency has repeatedly called for action, not words; for implementation, and not promises,” said Hon. Mrs. Garama Saratou Rabiou Inoussa, Minister of Environment and Fight against Desertification speaking in a video message from Niamey, the capital of Niger.
“Niger brings its support for the recognition of the LoCAL mechanism as a Non-Market Approach under article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement.”