PAMACC News - Hurricane Beryl’s trail of destruction in the Caribbean reinforces the need for the newly created loss and damage fund to be able to respond quickly to climate disasters.

It also highlights the importance of more effective long-term support for small countries on the frontline of the climate crisis, so they don’t spiral further into unsustainable levels of debt.

Like Africa, countries such as Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada have suffered tragic losses from the hurricane – the earliest Category 5 storm on record for the Atlantic.

While it’s too early to put a value on the destruction, a disaster like this has the potential to wipe out a significant portion of an individual country’s annual economic output.

At last year’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai world leaders celebrated the operational phase of the loss and damage fund, although the design is yet to be finalised. Beryl has given a visceral demonstration of why administrators must be nimble, providing easy access to support in the lead up to – and aftermath of – these kinds of disasters.

In Beryl’s case, official warnings issued a week ago predicted its path through parts of the Caribbean. In reality though, there needs to be a significant investment in long-term measures to help frontline communities prepare for these disasters.

International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) principal researcher, Ritu Bharadwaj, said: “Hurricane Beryl is a brutal example of what loss and damage looks like.

“The immediate damage bill will be immense, but there will also be a significant long-term economic cost because of the time it will take to rebuild. And we’re just at the start of this year’s hurricane season.

“Getting the design of the loss and damage fund right will be critical to anticipating and responding to these kinds of disasters in the future.

“The international community needs to ensure that Hurricane Beryl and future storms don’t compound the debt burden facing many small island states.”

IIED has advocated for several measures to ensure the loss and damage fund is nimble enough to respond to major climate disasters, including immediate help for affected communities along with support for longer-term resilience.

In May, the leaders of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) endorsed a plan aimed at alleviating crippling levels of debt while also building economic protections.

Part of the plan involves parametric insurance and pooling risk, so that individual countries are not overwhelmed each time a climate-related disaster strikes.

IIED has developed a toolkit to help measure the readiness of a country's existing social protection programmes to deliver climate resilience.

 

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - As the technical session of the global climate negotiations enter into the final stretch in Bonn, Germany, climate activists from Africa have expressed fears that negotiators from the developed world are dragging their feet in a way to avoid paying their fair share to tackle the climate crisis.                                              

“I think we will be unfair to the snail if we said that the Bonn talks have all along moved at a snail pace,” quipped Mohammed Adow, the Director, Power Shift Africa.

“Ideally, there will be no climate action anywhere without climate finance. Yet what we have seen, is that developed countries are frustrating the process, blocking the UAE annual dialogues, which were agreed upon last year in Dubai, to focus on delivery of finance so as to give confidence to developing countries to implement climate actions,” said Adow.

According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) dialogue was created to focus on climate finance in relation to implementing the first Global Stoke Take (GST-1) outcomes, with the rationale of serving as a follow up mechanism dedicated to climate finance, ensuring response to and/or monitoring of, as may be appropriate and necessary, all climate finance items under the GST

The two week Bonn technical session of Subsidiary Bodies (SB60) was expected to develop an infrastructure for the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG), a climate change funding mechanism to raise the floor of climate finance for developing countries above the current $100 billion annual target.

In 2009 during the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the UNFCCC in Copenhagen, developed countries agreed that by 2020, they would collectively mobilize $100 billion per year to support priorities for developing countries in terms of adaptation to climate crisis, loss and damage, just energy transition and climate change mitigation.

When parties endorsed the Paris Agreement at COP 21 in 2015, they found it wise to set up the NCQG, which has to be implemented at the forthcoming COP 29, whose agenda has to be set at the SB60 in Bonn, providing scientific and technological advice, thereby shaping negotiations in Azerbaijan.

However, activists feel that the agenda being set in Bonn is likely going to undermine key outcomes of previous negotiations especially on climate finance.

“We came to Bonn with renewed hope that the NCQG discussions will be honest and frank with all parties committed to seeing that the finance mechanism will be based on the priorities and needs of developing country and support country-driven strategies, with a focus on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs),” said Memory Zonde-Kachambwa, the Executive Director, FEMNET.

“Seeing devastation climate change is causing in our countries in terms of floods, storms, droughts among others calamities, it was our hope that the rich countries will be eager and willing to indicate the Quantum as per article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement so as to allow developing countries plan their climate action,” she said.

So far, negotiators from the North have been pushing for collective ‘mobilization of financial resources,’ which African activists believe is merely privatization of climate finance within NCQG, thus surrendering poor countries to climate-debt speculators, further impoverishing countries clutching from debts.

Also on the spot was the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), where the activists feel that the means of implementation is being vehemently fought by the parties from developed countries.

“Adaptation must be funded from public resources and must not be seen as a business opportunity open to private sector players,” Dr Augustine Njamnshi, an Environmental Policy and Governance law expert, and the Executive Secretary of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access. “Without clear indications on the means of implementation, GGA is an empty shell and it is not fit-for-purpose,” he said.

According to Ambassador Ali Mohammed, the incoming Chair for the African Group of Negotiators (AGN), the SB60 is an opportunity to rebuild trust in the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

“That trust can only be rebuilt if we come out of Bonn with a quantum that adequately covers the needs of the continent,” he said, noting that the figure Africa is asking for, which is to be part of the agenda for COP29 is $1.3 trillion per year by 2030.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - A carbon taxation regime covering carbon tax on fossil fuel, maritime transport, and aviation could generate additional funds to support the Africa energy transition, says Claver Gatete, Executive Secretary at UNECA.

 “If combined with other policy measures, carbon tax could help to mitigate those residual emissions that cannot be addressed by carbon credit markets or subsidies and technologies. Such a tax could allow countries to improve responses to their commitments to contribute to reducing climate instability,” he said during a dialogue on carbon markets and development held on the sidelines of the tenth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-10) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In reference to ECA’s preliminary studies in exploring to benefits of carbon tax, Mr. Gatete noted that carbon tax in the global supply chains could allow countries like Egypt and Ethiopia to reap substantial revenues that could be reallocated to research and development in the aviation and marine transports.  

ECA studies also indicate that investing in nature-based solutions in African countries could generate up to US$82 billion annually at a price of US$120/tCO2 equivalent.

“Renewable energy and carbon sinks from forests and other ecosystems are indeed a great potential that countries should harness to generate additional revenues and support the ongoing efforts to build climate- and disaster-resilient green and blue economies. This would enable the countries to make more progress towards their sustainability goals,” said Mr. Gatete.

Highlighting the importance of decarbonizing economies and expanding revenue streams through clean energy, Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining at the African Union Commission said, decarbonizing economies through carbon taxation is crucial to address climate crisis. However, this requires strong engagement with stakeholders at national and global level is necessary for success.

“African economies are small and fragmented, integrating them together is necessary for a unified approach to promote a green transition across the continent,” said Mr. Muchanga.

Discussions at the dialogue session focused on the four themes of carbon markets: voluntary carbon markets, compliance carbon markets, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and carbon tax markets. Experts underscored that relying solely on carbon credit trading is insufficient and that fair negotiations and resource allocation to address development disparities effectively is necessary. 

In her contribution to the discussion, Ahunna Eziakonwa, Regional Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said climate carbon credits have the potential to address the financial challenges the continent is facing but favourable deals and ensuring resources are directed towards development initiatives are crucial to ensure that climate action in Africa is effective and sustainable.

“Beyond just understanding the carbon market space and carbon credits, there is need for experts to advise governments on the different options available to Africa and help them understand the opportunities presented by carbon markets as a source of development financing and how they function,” said Ms. Eziakonwa adding that this will require strong engagement with producers, consumers, investors, and many other stakeholders.

“Implementing the carbon tax requires evidence-based analysis and engagement with stakeholders including policymakers, investors and civil society organization.”

Sharing the results of the key findings of carbon emissions in the shipping industry, Jan Hoffmann, Head, Trade Logistics Branch, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD said there is disproportionate impact of climate change on small Islands developing states and coastal countries.

“Carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 21% in the last decade in the shipping industry which is a major concern in African countries. There is need for alternative fuels for Africa to become competitive,” he said.

“For African countries to become providers of alternative fuels, there is need to investment in infrastructure and trade to compensate for higher costs resulting from climate change mitigation,” he added.

Explaining why blue and green economies are important for Africa to mitigate climate change, James Kairo, a Senior Research Officer at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, said mangrove forests and other blue carbon ecosystems are crucial for achieving the SDGS, particularly SDG14 as they provide vital habitat for fisheries and support biodiversity.

However, Mr. Kairo said these ecosystems are under threat due to lack of awareness and capacity building and resource mobilization. To address these, we need to prioritize protection and restoration of these ecosystems and raise awareness about their importance to achieving SDGs.

Hence, countries should incentivize forest conservation and restoration efforts, while at the same time promoting sustainable forest management practices.

Experts at the dialogue session agreed that engagement, particularly from investors and civil society organizations is crucial for effective implementation of carbon taxation regime. Country-tailored engagement strategies (and/or cluster of countries with the similar contexts) were proposed to optimize support to governments in resource allocation and negotiation processes, promoting fairness and sustainability. Additionally, the establishment of institutional, legal, technical, and financial capacities was emphasized, alongside the nomination of focal points and reviewers for Article 6 implementation.

The Dialogue on Carbon Credits was organized by the Regional Collaborative Platform (RCP) which unites all UN entities working on sustainable development to ensure full collaboration and coordination of UN assets in addressing key challenges that transcend country borders. The RCP is chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General and co-chaired by two Vice-Chairs, the ECA Executive Secretary and the UNDP Regional Director

DAKAR, Senegal (PAMACC News) - Nearly 55 million people in West and Central Africa will struggle to feed themselves in the June-August 2024 lean season, according to the March 2024 Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis released by the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).

This figure represents a four-million increase in the number of people who are food-insecure compared to the November 2023 forecast and highlights a fourfold increase over the last five years. The situation is particularly worrying in conflict-affected northern Mali, where an estimated 2,600 people are likely to experience catastrophic hunger (IPC/CH phase 5). The latest data also reveals a significant shift in the factors driving food insecurity in the region, beyond recurring conflicts.

Economic challenges such as currency devaluations, soaring inflation, stagnating production, and trade barriers have worsened the food crisis, affecting ordinary people across the region with Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Mali being among the worst affected.

Prices of major staple grains continue to rise across the region from 10 percent to more than 100 percent compared to the five-year average, driven by currency inflation, fuel and transport costs, ECOWAS sanctions, and restrictions on agropastoral product flows. Currency inflation is a major driver of price volatility in Ghana (23%), Nigeria (30%), Sierra Leone (54%), Liberia (10%), and The Gambia (16%).

West and Central Africa remain heavily dependent on imports to meet the population's food needs. Still, import bills continue to rise due to currency depreciation and high inflation, even as countries struggle with major fiscal constraints and macroeconomic challenges.

Cereal production for the 2023-2024 agricultural season shows a deficit of 12 million tons, while the per capita availability of cereals is down by two percent compared to the last agricultural season.

“The time to act is now. We need all partners to step up, engage, adopt and implement innovative programs to prevent the situation from getting out of control, while ensuring no one is left behind,” said Margot Vandervelden, WFP’s Acting Regional Director for Western Africa. “We need to invest more in resilience-building and longer-term solutions for the future of West Africa,” she added.

Malnutrition in West and Central Africa is alarmingly high, with 16.7 million children under five acutely malnourished and more than 2 out of 3 households unable to afford healthy diets.  In addition, 8 out of 10 children aged 6-23 months do not consume the minimum number of foods required for optimal growth and development.

High food prices, limited healthcare access, and inadequate diets primarily drive acute malnutrition in children under 5, adolescents, and pregnant women. In parts of northern Nigeria, the prevalence of acute malnutrition in women aged 15-49 years is as high as 31 percent.

"For children in the region to reach their full potential, we need to ensure that each girl and boy receives good nutrition and care, lives in a healthy and safe environment, and is given the right learning opportunities," said UNICEF Regional Director Gilles Fagninou. "Good nutrition in early life and childhood is the promise for a productive and educated workforce for tomorrow's society. To make a lasting difference in children's lives, we need to consider the situation of the child as a whole and strengthen education, health, water and sanitation, food, and social protection systems."

In response to increasingly growing needs, FAO, UNICEF, and WFP call on national governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector to implement sustainable solutions that bolster food security, enhance agricultural productivity, and mitigate the adverse effects of economic volatility. Governments and the private sector need to collaborate to ensure that the fundamental human right to food is upheld for all.

In Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Niger, millions of people now benefit from national social protection programs supported by UNICEF and WFP. Both agencies are expanding their support to the Chad and Burkina Faso governments. Similarly, FAO, IFAD, and WFP have joined forces across the Sahel to increase productivity, availability, and access to nutritious food through resilience-building programs.

"To respond to the unprecedented food and nutrition insecurity, it is important to mobilize for the promotion and support of policies that can encourage the diversification of plant, animal, and aquatic production and the processing of local foods (through the provision of agricultural inputs, access to productive resources for all to stimulate increased production and improve product availability)" said FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr. Robert Guei.

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - A new  report by the United Nations shows that financing challenges are at the heart of the world’s sustainable development crisis – as staggering debt burdens and sky-high borrowing costs prevent developing countries from responding to the confluence of crises they face. Only a massive surge of financing, and a reform of the international financial architecture can rescue the Sustainable Development Goals.
 
The 2024 Financing for Sustainable Development Report: Financing for Development at a Crossroads (FSDR 2024) says urgent steps are needed to mobilise financing at scale to close the development financing gap, now estimated at USD 4.2 trillion annually, up from USD 2.5 trillion before the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, rising geopolitical tensions, climate disasters and a global cost-of-living crisis have hit billions of people, battering progress on healthcare, education, and other development targets.

“This report is yet another proof of how far we still need to go and how fast we need to act to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed. “We are truly at a crossroads and time is running out. Leaders must go beyond mere rhetoric and deliver on their promises. Without adequate financing, the 2030 targets cannot be met.”
 
With only six years remaining to achieve the SDGs, hard-won development gains are being reversed, particularly in the poorest countries. If current trends continue, the UN estimates that almost 600 million people will continue to live in extreme poverty in 2030 and beyond, more than half of them women.

“We’re experiencing a sustainable development crisis, to which inequalities, inflation, debt, conflicts and climate disasters have all contributed,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Li Junhua. “Resources are needed to address this, and the money is there. Billions of dollars are lost annually from tax avoidance and evasion, and fossil fuel subsidies are in the trillions. Globally, there is no shortage of money; rather, a shortage of will and commitment.”
 
According to the report debt burdens and rising borrowing costs are large contributors to the crisis. Estimates are that in the least developed countries debt service will be USD 40 billion annually between 2023 and 2025, up more than 50 per cent from USD 26 billion in 2022. Stronger and more frequent climate related disasters account for more than half of the debt upsurge in vulnerable countries. The poorest countries now spend 12 per cent of their revenues on interest payments -- four times more than they spent a decade ago. Roughly 40 per cent of the global population live in countries where governments spend more on interest payments than on education or health.
 
While investment in SDG sectors had grown steadily in the early 2000s, major sources of development funding are now slowing down. For example, domestic revenue growth has stalled since 2010, especially in LDCs and other low-income countries, in part due to tax evasion and avoidance. Corporate income tax rates are falling, with global average tax rates down from 28.2 per cent in 2000 to 21.1 per cent in 2023, due to globalization and tax competition.

Meanwhile, Official Development Assistance from OECD countries and climate finance commitments are not being met. While ODA increased to an all-time high in 2022, reaching USD 211 billion, from USD 185.9 billion in 2021, much of the growth came from aid to refugees living in donor countries, and the total amount is inadequate for development. Only four countries met the UN aid target of 0.7 per cent of GNI in 2022.  

The report concludes that the international financial system, which was set up at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, is no longer fit for purpose. It proposes a new coherent system that is better equipped to respond to crises, scales up investment in the SDGs especially through stronger multilateral development banks, and improves the global safety net for all countries.

The report points to the UN Summit of the Future in September 2024 as a crucial opportunity to change course. It highlights the June 2025 Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD4) as the critical moment for countries to commit to closing the development financing gap and invest in achieving the SDGs.
 
FfD4 is an opportunity for countries to:
  • Close credibility gaps and rebuild trust in multilateralism.
  • Close financing and investment gaps, at scale and with urgency.
  • Reform and modernize the outdated international financial architecture and adjust international rules for trade, investment and finance.
  • Formulate and finance new development pathways to deliver on the SDGs and ensure no one is left behind.
“Without global cooperation, targeted financing, and, crucially, the political will, the world will not achieve the SDGs,” said Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed. “The clock is ticking. Between now and next year’s FfD4 Conference, we have a once-in-80-year opportunity to comprehensively reform the financial architecture, and a last chance to correct course before 2030. History will not be kind to those with the power to act who fail to do so, while the clock winds down on the planet and its people.”

 

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - When Dr Leah Tsuma, the founder Asticom Limited succumbed to cancer in August 2021, her idea of converting municipal waste from Kibera slum into some 10 mega watts of electricity seemed to have died too. But, three years down the line, the dream has become a global topic, with scientists calling on the world to start turning rubbish into resources.                                                                                                      

During the 2024 United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report offering assessment of global waste management and an analysis of data concerning municipal solid waste management worldwide.

“Waste generation is intrinsically tied to GDP, and many fast-growing economies are struggling under the burden of rapid waste growth,” observed Inger Andersen, the Executive Director at UNEP.

Generally, municipal waste is generated wherever there are human settlements. It is influenced by each person in the world, with every purchasing decision, through daily practices and in the choices made about managing waste in the home. According to the report, the world generates two billion tonnes of municipal solid waste every year.

One study shows that between 400,000 and one million people, most of them in developing countries die every year as a result of diseases related to mismanaged waste that includes diarrhoea, malaria, heart disease and different types of cancer.

On biodiversity, scientists have pointed out that indiscriminate waste disposal practices can introduce hazardous chemicals into soil, water bodies and the air, causing long-term, potentially irreversible damage to local flora and fauna, negatively impacting biodiversity, harming entire ecosystems, and entering the human food chain.

On the climate change front, a different report by UNEP shows that methane, which is a greenhouse gas is released from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills and dumpsites thereby directly contributing global warming.

And now, the new report finds that getting waste under control by taking waste prevention and management measures could limit net annual costs by 2050 to USD 270.2 billion.

However, projections, according to the report show that a circular economy model, where waste generation and economic growth are decoupled by adopting waste avoidance, sustainable business practices, and full waste management, could in fact lead to a full net gain of USD 108.5 billion per year.

“By identifying actionable steps to a more resourceful future and emphasizing the pivotal role of decision-makers in the public and private sectors to move towards zero waste, this (report) can support governments seeking to prevent missed opportunities to create more sustainable societies and to secure a liveable planet for future generations,” said Andersen.

According to Zoë Lenkiewicz, the lead author of the report, the findings demonstrate that the world urgently needs to shift to a zero waste approach, while improving waste management to prevent significant pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and negative impacts to human health.

“Pollution from waste knows no borders, so it is in everyone’s interests to commit to waste prevention and invest in waste management where it is lacking. The solutions are available and ready to be scaled up. What is needed now is strong leadership to set the direction and pace required, and to ensure no one is left behind,” said Lenkiewicz.

The scientists are therefore calling on counties to adopt the circular Economy scenario, which has a net-positive effect on greenhouse gas emissions and human health, and reduces significantly the negative impact on ecosystem quality.

In his speech at UNEA’s high level segment, President William Ruto said that such efforts in shared resources such as oceans will call for international collaboration.

“International collaboration is crucial in promoting the adoption of the "reduce, reuse, and recycle" life cycle approaches to waste that are vital for sustaining the blue economy and its ecosystems,” said Ruto. “We are (currently) implementing the Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan to shift waste management to a circular economy,” he added.

So far, according to Eath.org, Germany has been celebrated as a world leader in recycling of municipal waste, thus becoming the benchmark for other countries when it comes to implementation of greener practices of waste disposal.

--------- --------- --------- ---------
Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…