Ministers from some of the world’s most climate vulnerable nations urged international institutions and donors to boost access to climate finance for adaptation to the impacts of climate change using the Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility, LoCAL, designed and managed by UN Capital Development Fund. They joined with the Commissioner for International Partnerships at the European Union, Jutta Urpilainen, yesterday, in identifying LoCAL as part of the climate finance ‘solution’ at a Ministerial Meeting of LoCAL member countries in Brussels, Belgium.
Many ministers warned that without increased resources their populations face a bleak future plagued by devastating droughts, unsupportable rising temperatures and the prospect of more conflict and insecurity. The LoCAL Ministerial Meeting on the 12th May, attended by 16 ministers and 8 high-level country representatives, wrapped up a week of events for LoCAL member countries that offered practical solutions as well as policy and political commitments for increased action on adaptation.
“The LoCAL mechanism has brought an improvement in our country,” said H.E. Mr. Koné Modibo, Minister of Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development of Mali and a LoCAL Ministerial Ambassador who joined by video-link. “The key result of the implementation of the LoCAL mechanism in Mali is development skills at the local level, thanks to targeted financing at the community level […] reducing poverty in the country.”
Mali, which lies in the Sahel region of West Africa is one of a ribbon of countries traversing the Sahara that are grappling with surging insecurity. “We need to scale up this kind of intervention in order to reach more people and more municipalities in Mali – this will help us to reduce the rural exodus and the scope of terrorism in Mali,” he added.
Other ministers made the link between climate change and the threat of insecurity and violence. “[The impacts of climate change] has caused even tribal conflicts,” said H.E. Ms. Beatrice Atim Odwong, Minister of Water and Environment of Uganda, adding, “this is something that can escalate further if we don’t address it well. It has led to food insecurity… and to [violent] insecurity itself.”
LoCAL is presently working with 34 countries across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Pacific and has cumulatively mobilised over US$ 150 M for more than 2,100 adaptation projects. While much of these funds have been delivered in the last three years, support is not keeping up with country demand. Nations vulnerable to the impacts of climate change but with limited resources to respond, are looking to urgently increase access to international climate finance that supports local level adaptation and resilience building, which they say is in short supply. Ministers from countries implementing LoCAL and leaders from key partner the European Union, agreed that LoCAL is addressing this vital need.
“The EU is the leading contributor to the Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility, which is part of the solution: it channels climate finance directly to the local authorities who best understand the local needs,” said Ms Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships at the EU in a special video address delivered to the assembled ministers.
The EU and its Member States have provided the bulk of funds mobilised for adaptation with LoCAL. To date, the EU has provided over US $58 million with strong support from other EU Member States such as Sweden, which has contributed US $52 million, Denmark and Belgium each with some US $14 million, amongst others. LoCAL results and impacts, reported to the LoCAL Board on 11th May, highlighted a number of new LoCAL donors, including Norway, Luxembourg and Germany’s GIZ.
The LoCAL Facility, designed and managed by UNCDF over ten years ago, works through local governments to channel climate finance to communities for locally led adaptation to climate change. This builds on UNCDF’s long experience as a sub national financing hub. Local governments are a powerful ally in the race to adapt to rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and extreme weather events as they are close to communities and have a mandate to convene actors for coordinated resilience-building projects.
The LoCAL mechanism uses Performance Based Climate Resilience Grants that incentivise good practice and strong results. At COP27 last year, the International Standard Organisation published ISO 14093, which is based on this mechanism and LoCAL implementing country experience. The ISO 14093 was this week widely welcomed by LoCAL member countries and partners with the LoCAL Board urging all implementing countries to adhere to the standard in a decision document drafted yesterday, pending final approval.
The LoCAL Board draft decision reaffirmed their endorsement of an expansion of LoCAL to reach 42 countries and resources of US$ 500 million by 2027. Since 2014, LoCAL has delivered over US$ 100 million, with the bulk of those funds reaching communities the last three years. To realise this goal, the Board requested UNCDF diversify options for financing the LoCAL Facility and mechanism through a consolidated funding instrument. A number of ministers from LoCAL member countries Bhutan, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia echoed this request, calling for the establishment of a “LoCAL Fund” to complement existing climate finance flows, including those of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC.
“I join the ministers from Bhutan and from Somalia in calling for the establishment of new Fund. This LoCAL Fund would make it easier for emergency measures to be taken – for a rapid response intervention to respond to adaptation needs,” said Prof Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director of the Environment Protection Agency of Liberia, which is the principle authority for environmental policy in Liberia and who was also welcomed as the 12th LoCAL Ministerial Ambassador at yesterday’s meeting.
Ministers used yesterday’s meeting to press home the message that impacts of climate change are worsening and require urgent action to boost access to climate finance with increased resources for LoCAL.
“We are 18 days away from the 2023 hurricane season – a season made worse by the impacts of climate change,” said H.E. Mr. Matthew Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation of Jamaica. “That is the motivation to find an answer to this finance question. As small island and developing states, we are the ones with the least capacity to adapt and the most significant barrier is access to climate finance.”
“[Let] us to speak with one voice, he concluded: “Without finance there will be no acceleration of adaptation.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).