27 November 2013, Warsaw – For the past 20 years, negotiations on how to combat and adapt to climate change have been led by environmental ministers. But the decisions made affect a country’s agriculture, energy and finance systems as well.
Now, experts say, it’s time for other players to be involved in the process, particularly when it comes to deciding how to most effectively spend available funds.
“It is now clear that for effective implementation of projects under climate change finance, the environment, agriculture, energy and finance sectors must work as a team,” said Ayalneh Bogale, the advisor for climate change and agriculture for the African Union Commission.
At the just-ended UN climate negotiations in Warsaw, developed countries agreed to contribute $100 million dollar to the Adaptation Fund to support more projects put forward by poor countries. Such projects include shoring up food production, reducing climate-related disaster risks, improving water security and other efforts to help people cope with climate change.
Through National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), least-developed countries, including many in Africa, have already identified their most urgent and immediate priorities for adaptation projects – those for which further delay would increase vulnerability and costs at a later stage.
All the countries listed as least developed have identified between 10 and 15 priority areas under the NAPAs, Bogale said. “But not more than two projects have been implemented in any single country since 2007,” said Bogale, a former professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
TOO MUCH SEPARATION
Besides a lack of funds, “the reason for poor implementation is that the majority of people who prepared the projects are from the environment sector, yet more than 60 percent of the projects are agriculture oriented, and have to be implemented by people from that sector,” Bogale told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
At the continental level, Africa similarly has a variety of bodies that unite players from different countries to make decisions, but many of them work in isolation.
Before international climate change negotiations, African ministers of environment usually meet under the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment to discuss a common position for negotiation.