UN climate chief urges scaling up support for climate action in developing countries

'Climate agreement to be signed in 2015 must meet adaptation needs of vulnerable communities'

Published: Wednesday 30 April 2014

UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, has called for urgent scaling up of international support for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. She said communities in these countries have a wealth of local knowledge and ingenuity to adapt more successfully to climate change but that they need support to unlock their potential.

The executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said this on Wednesday after addressing the 8th Annual Community Based Adaptation Conference in Kathmandu, Nepal. 

"In the past few years, governments under the UN climate change convention have launched a whole new set of institutions to support action by the developing world. But there is still a gap between intent and full implementation that will allow vulnerable countries to make the most of their own abilities and adapt at a faster and more decisive scale," Figueres said. 

"Next year, governments will agree to a new, universal climate agreement that must put the world on track to a carbon-neutral future. An essential foundation for a successful agreement must be greater ambition by all sectors of society to reduce emissions and to support developing nations and communities build climate-resilient futures," she added.

The Kathmandu conference focused on issues such as how to ensure international finance can reach communities in need and how the private sector can better support such communities to adapt to climate change.

Figueres stressed on the importance of the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) which was established to become a major conduit of finance for developing country climate action

"It is in the interest of all sides that developed countries come forward with substantial pledges to capitalise the GCF. Billions are required. At least ten billion dollars are urgently needed as initial capitalization so the GCF can operate quickly and at scale," she said. 

Under the UN climate convention, developing countries also have the opportunity to give potential funders or other assisting institutions access to their detailed plans for low-carbon development and adaptation to climate change.

These include the so-called Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) and the new more long term National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

"The urgent task is to ensure that all these working parts are being designed, redesigned and dovetailed together into the most powerful engine of change to a carbon-neutral world – this will in part define the lives and legitimate aspirations of people for many years to come," said Figueres.

During her visit, Figueres highlighted local climate action happening on the ground in Nepal, which includes tackling glacial lake outburst floods. She is also visiting a local company called Biocomp Nepal, which is transforming organic waste from vegetable markets into compost. Developed in cooperation with non-profit foundation Myclimate, the project is generating income for the community in Kathmandu Valley and at the same time cutting greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.

Another local project is making cleaner, more efficient cook stoves that reduce emissions linked with both climate change and the air pollution that are harming the health and claiming the lives of millions of mainly women and children globally.

This project is supported by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol – the emission reduction treaty linked to the UNFCCC.


Report: Climate change 2014: mitigation of climate change (IPCC Climate Change Report, Fifth Assessment, WGIII AR5)

Report: Compendium of state policies from the perspective of climate change mitigation

Report: Enhancing direct access to the Green Climate Fund

Report: Pro-poor climate finance: is there a role for private finance in the Green Climate Fund?

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