CBA8 – the 8th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation – has been and gone in Kathmandu. Concluding on 30th April 2014, it was a packed week of field visits and conference sessions involving over 400 participants that culminated in the Kathmandu Declaration on Financing Local Adaptation. As Saleemul Huq of IIED and ICCAD noted when he launched the declaration in the closing plenary, “We are asking the global community to enhance the level of funding for adaptation at the community level, and we are asking for at least 50% of the funds to go to the most vulnerable communities”.
Two statements in the declaration emerged as key advocacy asks from a conference session chaired by myself and Farah Kabir of ActionAid Bangladesh – you can view the video in which we summarise these here.
The two advocacy messages from our session call for significant investment in local government capacity building to develop readiness to access and manage climate finance; and for a multistakeholder composition for the National Designated Authorities of the Green Climate Fund, to specifically include local government and NGO and CBO representation.
While the Kathmandu Declaration is not endorsed by any government, it has been developed at an opportune time to influence the evolving mechanisms of the Green Climate Fund and the international climate negotiations. And here’s hoping that having Christiana Figueres, Executive Director of the UNFCCC at the closing plenary won’t hurt either in this regard. Ms Figueres made a passionate speech about the need for urgent action on both adaptation and mitigation, emphasising too the need for adaptation funds to be used more quickly by the least developed countries. I could not help thinking that while this is certainly true, it would be even better if we could have rapid progress at the international climate negotiations. As the Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, the Honourable Prakash Man Singh stated, “People need immediate action, the world community needs to be more generous, and the process to access climate funds needs to be simplified.”
The urgency required in responding to climate change was eloquently conveyed by a number of speakers. The Chief Secretary of the Government of Nepal, Leela Mani Paudyal, related this to the avalanche on Mount Everest on 18th April 2014 in which 16 Nepalese guides, mostly Sherpas, were killed, stating that while the same accident in the developed world would have a negligible impact on the economy, this was not the case in Nepal, which is heavily dependent on tourism. He called for climate justice, saying “The increased rate of avalanches is linked to the life of luxury that some are living in the developed world”. In noting that a global temperature rise of 2 °C would mean a temperature rise of at least 6 °C in the Himalayan region, he said “We cannot afford it. We need a binding agreement with emissions cuts to keep below 1.5 °C temperature rise”.
Here’s hoping that the global leaders will be listening, when they meet at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in June 2014, in the lead-up to COP 20 – the twentieth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Lima, Peru, in December. Yes, that’s twenty years that our leaders have been meeting to find an agreed way to take decisive action on climate change. Bearing in mind recent news of the now in all probability irreversible melting of some West Antarctic glaciers, with dramatic consequences for sea level rise, the stakes have never been higher.